By Richard Childress
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Throughout my life, I have been blessed with a love and passion for the outdoors. From hunting big game out West to bass fishing in North Carolina, I have a lifetime of cherished memories shared with family and friends. Being in the outdoors brings me pleasure, exhilaration, peace of mind and a sense of wonderment.
My life outdoors is as much a part of me as auto racing. This lifetime love began with my stepfather and step-grandfather introducing me to hunting and trapping at an early age. Without those mentors, I may have never been able to experience those unforgettable outdoor experiences. For me, serving as a mentor is the easiest and most effective way to ensure the future of our outdoor traditions.
This Saturday will mark two weeks remaining before the annual National Hunting and Fishing Day, where sportsmen and women celebrate the rich tradition of fishing and hunting with national, state, regional and local organizations hosting fishing- and hunting-related events. The program aims to promote mentorship and, as this year's honorary chair, I also strongly believe in the power of mentorship.
The number of hunters and anglers are declining. As outdoorsmen and women, we have the responsibility to foster and develop the next generations of hunters, anglers, shooters and, actually, conservationists. Much of each state's budget for wildlife support, management and conservation programs are funding from hunting license fees and federal excise taxes (Pittman-Robertson Act), derived from the sale of firearms and ammunition. If we want our hunting and fishing heritage to live on, our main focus should be recruiting new outdoorsmen, retaining the current ones and reactivating former hunters and anglers.
When people think of mentoring, most think of taking a child fishing for bluegill or hunting squirrels. Maybe a coworker, neighbor or family member has shown interest in your hunting or fishing stories. Make the effort to reach out and offer to take them out for a day. It doesn't have to be the perfect day either. Having fun and keeping them engaged is more important than ensuring a great catch or harvest.
I sometimes wonder how different my life would have been if someone had never introduced me to hunting and fishing. I would have missed out on memorable time with my family and good friends. One of my proudest accomplishments is being a mentor to my grandchildren. This has not only developed a love for the outdoors in them, but has enriched my life beyond anything else. Passing down our legacy from generation to generation is key to ensuring the future for our outdoor heritage.
To help promote mentorship for this year's National Hunting and Fishing Day, we established the National Hunting and Fishing Day Challenge. By pledging to take someone outdoors, you will be will be eligible to win a Richard Childress Racing VIP race weekend package or the Ultimate Outdoor Experience in America's Conservation Capital from Big Cedar Lodge and Johnny Morris' Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium.
To take the pledge for NHF Day Challenge, visit NHFDay.org or call 417-225-1162.
For more information about National Hunting and Fishing Day visit, http://www.nhfday.org.
About National Hunting and Fishing Day:
Over the years, National Hunting and Fishing Day boasted many more public relations successes, assisted by celebrities who volunteered to help spotlight the conservation accomplishments of sportsmen and women. Honorary chairs have included George Bush, Tom Seaver, Hank Williams Jr., Arnold Palmer, Terry Bradshaw, George Brett, Robert Urich, Ward Burton, Louise Mandrell, Travis Tritt, Tracy Byrd, Jeff Foxworthy and many other sports and entertainment figures. National Hunting and Fishing Day, celebrated the fourth Saturday of every September, remains the most effective grassroots efforts ever undertaken to promote the outdoor sports and conservation.
For more information, visit their website.