Archive for the ‘Makin’ a Difference’ Category

Making the Most of the Great Outdoors

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

Kristine, over at the Outdoor Bloggers Summit has issued a challenge, and I am looking forward to reading all the posts that are already in the works. Recently, the American Spectator published a piece entitled the Hunt for Gray February by Christopher Orlet.  Basically, the author wrote a piece that was supposed to be funny (I assume) but instead he ended up insulting those who are true outdoorsmen.  He painted the typical hunter as needing “a gun in one hand and a beer in the other before they are able to talk to one another.”  He painted women as being inable to enjoy the hunting sports, and basically as being in the way of their chest pounding, gun toting, beer drinking husbands.  Reading Mr. Orlet’s piece, and then doing a quick search on American Spectator’s site to see what other pieces Mr. Orlet wrote, it became suspicious that he is a hunter, or an outdoorsman at all.  Perhaps Mr. Orlet should stick to writing about building cabinets (though I doubt he knows much about that either) and let true outdoorsmen and women tell about the great opportunities available to all in the great outdoors!

As frequent readers of this blog already know, I enjoy the outdoors, and spend much of my “down time” or relaxation time in some aspect of outdoor pursuits.  I hunt in the fall, fish in the spring and summer, and go camping and hiking whenever I get the opportunity.  Usually the camping and hiking is combined with hunting or fishing!  But, one of the greatest parts of enjoying these activities is the fact that my family loves to get out and go with me.  My wife enjoys wading the trout streams of West Virginia, casting to the perfect holes, and catching trout.  Yes, she baits her own hook, and removes fish by herself.  And for the record, I have never in 15 years of marriage heard my wife complain about a broken nail.  My kids all enjoy getting outside as well.  Jacob has been hunting and fishing.  Skylar has gone fishing as well.  JonDavid is not quite old enough to participate, but he sure loves getting outside and playing.

I say all of this to say that there are plenty of opportunities for anyone who has the desire to get outside and enjoy God’s wonderful creation.  Every single state has made it possible to enjoy outdoor recreational sports, no matter what type of person you are, or how much ability you might have. If you want to go camping, but don’t have much experience, you can check out camp grounds, that have great amenities such as restrooms and showers.  Like to rough it?  Most states have wilderness areas that you can gain permits to camp in.  Most people also have public land close enough to enjoy for hiking as well.  I know that here in WV we have several state and national forests that have miles and miles of hiking trails.  Those same state and national parks also have great fishing opportunities.  Whether you like lakes, ponds or rivers, the opportunities for fishing are nearly endless.  There are even more and more opportunities that are opening up for those who have disabilities.  Hiking trails are being paved so that even those in wheelchairs have access, and fishing piers are being built to make access easy, even for those who have cumbersome equipment that they must keep with them.

I wonder why anyone would want to try and eliminate any part of the populace from enjoying the outdoor sports?  There are so many opportunities available that there is always something for everyone.  You don’t have to be a hunter or fisherman to enjoy the outdoors.  Try canoeing, kayaking, or some other kind of boating.  Try mountain climbing, or hiking.  Try Frisbee golf if nothing else strikes your fancy.  But, you should try something!  Getting outside will make for a much more healthy lifestyle, and involving your family will get them out from in front of the TV and video games, and allow them to enjoy something that is far more fun.

I am not ashamed of my “country roots.”  In fact, I may be too proud of those roots sometimes.  I have “A Country Boy Can Survive” playing through my head at the moment.  I wonder how Mr. Orlet would do if he had to actually provide something for himself without having a Kroger’s to go to?  I am, however, offended by the characterization that Mr. Orlet uses in this piece.  If he is an outdoorsman, his characterization does much more harm than good to our image.  True hunters know that alcohol and guns never mix.  I personally do not drink at all, but anyone who drinks while hunting is simply an idiot.  The anti-hunters salivate when they see this type of article that portrays hunters as a buch of drunk bumpkins who cannot control themselves.  To also paint the hunting fraternity as being sexist and derrogatory is just added fodder for their attacks.  After all, if an “outdoorsman” paints the outdoors sports in this way, it must be true, right?

Perhaps Mr. Orlet can’t stand his family, or perhaps his family can’t stand him.  Perhaps he doesn’t even have a family, which is why he doesn’t really understand the family dynamic. But, for him to presume that all hunters are as he portrays is neither truthful nor humorous, so he missed both possibilities.

I am glad that the Oudoor Summit exists to band together real oudoors men and women.  I enjoy reading about real experiences, and seeing the humor that comes out of those real experiences.  If I want to read something humorous, I think I’ll go back to Patrick McManus.  There was a man who understood the outdoors…Mr. Orlet is certainly no Patrick McManus…

buy a kayak!


Contact the Howard County Council

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Ok guys (and gals), Arthur asked for contact information for the Howard County Council.  If you want to contact the County Council for the purpose of speaking out against the new safety zone regulations, you can contact them either by regular mail, or by email.  You are running out of time to use regular mail, as the Council Meeting will be next Wednesday.

The mailing address is:

Howard County Council
George Howard Building
3430 Court House Drive
Ellicott City, MD 21043

To contact them by email:

You can also contact the County Executive by CLICKING HERE.

I don’t know how much good it will do to contact these guys as we are not in their district, but it certainly cannot hurt.  If nothing else, it can get us some practice for when this does hit a bit closer to home.  If you are out there, and live in Maryland, especially in Howard County, make sure to contact the council, and let them know that you do not support this type of change!  I live in a state that is boardering Maryland, so I fear this is coming faster than we would like!

EDIT:  Here is the letter that I am sending to the County Executive concerning this issue.  I believe I will copy it to the council as well.

Dear Sir,
I realize that I am not one of your constituents, but I am still writing to you concerning the new Safety Zone Regulations that are under consideration in Howard County Maryland.  As a an avid (and safe) hunter/outdoorsman, I wanted to speak out on behalf of my fellow hunters in the state of Maryland.

The new Safety Zone Regulations under consideration are devised with good intentions I am sure.  However, some of the elements will ensure that hunting with any type of firearm will be made illegal.  As you are probably aware, some firearms have a maximum range of over 2 miles.  If it is true that “hunters also would be barred from firing a gun in the direction of any building if it is within the maximum range of the weapon being fired” then hunters could not hunt within two miles (or more) of a neighboring property.

I realize that I may not know all that is included in the bill that is under consideration.  I only know what I have been able to read in various news sources.  This bill, however, (at least as it has been reported) would take thousands of acres away from hunters to enjoy their sport, and it would infringe on the rights of property owners to use their land as they would like.

I hope that Maryland hunters will stand up for their rights, and that you will see many at the upcoming County Council Meeting.  Please consider the impact such a bill would have on the law abiding, and safety minded hunters that take to the woods every fall.  There are far more safe hunters than those who are careless.

Thanks for your consideration!

Kris Brewer

Save a Stream Opportunity

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Fly RodI heard something on the news last night that made me want to write a post, but when doing research for it today I found something completely different! I wrote some time ago about trying to do some posts on “Making a Difference”, but haven’t been too diligent about finding good topics in that theme. Today, I want to share with you an opportunity to team up with Outdoor Life to make a difference in your area!

While surfing the Outdoor Life site today, I came across a page on the site that promotes a contest to get Outdoor Life to help with the restoration of a stream in your area. You can enter their contest, and have their help to restore a stream to a much more environmentally friendly state (which means more fishing and hunting opportunities for you in the future, and for generations to come!)

Here is the information from the page:

As sportsmen it is our duty to keep America’s rivers, streams and marshlands free from contamination and teeming with wildlife. Outdoor Life is challenging readers to take action in their own backyards to seek out and revive our local fisheries.

To enter, send us photos or a video and a written description about a stream in your area that needs help. If your project is chosen, Outdoor Life will help get you started this summer.

Selected projects will receive clean-up materials, expert manuals and more. A few projects will be featured in the December/January 2009 issue of Outdoor Life and online.

To enter click HERE.

This is dated April 11, 2008, so I know it is a bit late to get it posted here, but it appears that the deadlines are still in the future, so you have time to do something about it. If you have a local stream that you know could use a little work (or a lot for that matter), get your entry ready and send it in so that you will have a chance to have the power of Outdoor Life behind you! I know there are a couple of streams I can think of in our great state that could use their help. I just wish I was close enough to them to be able to put together a good entry!

Another idea might be to get together with a group and put an entry together. If you are a member of a local group of Trout Unlimited, or Ducks Unlimited, you could combine your resources to come up with a great entry, and draw the attention of the Outdoor Life staff.

If you get an entry done, be sure to let us know here so we can be on the look out for it in the December/January issue!

EDIT:  While looking at the rules of the contest, I see that the winners will be notified on or around July 1, so if this is something that interests you, get those entries in within the next few days!

A Worthy Cause…

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

I have not been able to write for a while, and I have not been able to read too many blogs either (I think I am suffering some withdraw symptoms). I wrote a few weeks ago (about 7 weeks ago) about my sister-in-law and her unborn baby. She was put into the hospital, at only 27 weeks. She has a condition known as pre-eclampsia, which has high blood pressure as its major symptom. The doctors thought at the time that she was admitted they were going to have to take the baby, but were able to stave off the birth with medication and bed rest until she reached 34 weeks, which was last Sunday. They decided to deliver the baby on Monday night, but she did not come until yesterday evening. Baby Cheyenne is now in the NICU, where she is on oxygen to help her breathe. We just found out that she has had to be put on a ventilator, instead of just a breathing tube in her nose.

My brother has been working as much as he can, but has had to take off a lot of time over the last 7 weeks to care for his wife and be with her during the frightening time she has been in the hospital. He has exhausted all his “paid time”, but his bosses have been great about letting him continue to take time off to be with his family while they need him. He has had to drive from Cleveland to Pittsburgh over and over, and they have had to provide food and other necessities away from home during this period of time. It appears that these conitions will still be present for at least another week, and perhaps longer, depending on how long the baby will have to stay in the hospital. Once my sister-in-law is discharged they will have additional expense in providing accommodations near enough the hospital to be convenient to care for the baby.

We have, in an effort to help with the additional expenses that will obviously not be covered by insurance, set up a paypal account for my brother and sister-in-law. If you would like to help them in this difficult time, by providing a small monetary gift, it would be greatly appreciated. I know that most who read this blog are very generous, and very helpful. That fact has become evident in the recent challenge issued to us all to “write about the good”. If you are able, and willing to help, I know that this is a good cause. This young family will be very thankful for your considerations!



Even if you are not able to help at this time, I ask that you do me a favor. Simply click on the icon at the upper right hand corner of this post to “Digg” it. The more “diggs” it gets, the more people will see it, and have the opportunity to help! Thanks for your help!

Blog About the Good: National Hunting and Fishing Day

Friday, March 14th, 2008

Kristine at the Outdoor Bloggers Summit has issued a challenge to outdoor bloggers to write about the good that occurs when it comes to hunting and fishing. These sports receive so much bad press, we need to take the time to think about, and write about, what is good. Why is that we participate in these endeavors? It is because we see the good! We know the great things that happen because of our involvement, from personal growth and enjoyment, to the protection of the environment, to the fact that getting kids involved keeps them off the streets and out of trouble. So, first, off, hats off to Kristine for putting this challenge out there, and providing a way for us all to join voices and improve the image of our respective outdoor sports.

There have been a lot of great posts that encompass the spirit of blogging about the good this week. You probably have already seen them, but if you haven’t, make sure to go see these posts:

I am sure that I missed some good ones, but will be happy to add them to the list if you let me know about them! It is great to see so many people who are interested in writing about the good things that are out there supporting the outdoor sports!

One thing that gets some pretty big news up here in West Virginia is the National Hunting and Fishing Day. This is a day that is set aside, usually in the fall, to promote the outdoor sports. There are several festivals worked in around the National Day here in West Virginia. You can see a list of available activities at the State DNR Page, or at the State Specific Events page at the National Hunting and Fishing Days website. There is obviously some marketing and sales/profit from many of these events, but they still serve to lay out an opportunity for people to see the good that exists in hunting. Many sponsors come to these events, and make them possible for free, or low cost to the patrons. Most of these events have activities for the kids which can encourage them to start hunting or fishing if they are not already so inclined.

Another thing that WV does is to offer a free fishing weekend. I thought that this was in direct connection to the National Hunting and Fishing Day, but upon further research, it does not seem to be. It is an activity that is sponsored by the WV DNR. This is a great opportunity to get someone who does not currently fish started in the sport. There is no license required, so the new fisherman doesn’t have to pay the $20-$30 upfront to find out they don’t like it. Perhaps that fee stands in the way of someone trying the sport. Last year, the free weekend was June 9-10. I haven’t been able to find the date for this year, but I am sure it will be announced soon.

West Virginia has a ton of opportunities for promoting the outdoor sports. I am sure that many states provide the same types of programs. But, it is always good to know what is going on out there, and what opportunities we can join in to promote our sport.

Hunt of a Lifetime

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

There has been much written in the blogosphere recently about the image of hunters and other outdoorsmen. Many writers have been trying to address ways that we can help develop a better image. There are tons of great things going on out there, that we all should be proud of. I am starting yet another category, with this post, to look at the great things that are done by hunters that help the world around us see our true character. Most of the time, in the media, only the stories that portray hunters in a bad light are publicized. Not only do we need to do more for ourselves, but we need to hold up the hands of those that are doing such a great job of promoting our sport, and doing good things for the community, for the needy, and for the underprivileged.

My inaugural post in this category is featuring Hunt of a Lifetime.  This is an organization that provides hunting trips for children who are terminally ill.  I first read about this organization several years ago, and really liked the idea.  Make-A-Wish Foundation used to grant these type of wishes to terminally ill children, but they caved in to the pressures of anti-hunting organizations.  Can you even imagine a group protesting the granting of the wish of a dying child?  Can you imagine why an organization like Make-A-Wish would cave into such demands?  Fortunately, a lady from Pennsylvania decided to do something about it.  Tina Pattison, whose son had Hodgkin’s Disease, was turned down by Make-A-Wish, when her son wanted to do a moose hunt in Canada.  Instead of giving up on her son’s wish, she jumped into action, and started calling outfitters.  Eventually, she was able to work out the whole trip for her son, who was able to kill a large moose.  You can read more of the story by clicking here.

But, the story didn’t stop there.  Tina continued organizing hunts for other terminally ill children.  Now, the nonprofit organization provides hunting and fishing trips for those 18 years old or younger that have a terminal disease.  There are a lot of different hunting and fishing organizations that donate to this cause, including Cabela’s, and the Pennsylvania Game Commission.  Outfitters from all over the country have donated their services, as have some helicopter companies and taxidermists.  Every aspect of a hunt is donated by some hunting or fishing related business, and even licenses are covered through the Hunt of a Lifetime foundation.   They have also received a lot of press from outdoors related publications.  Some of the first money donated came from readers of an article written in a school paper in Georgia.

This looks like a great organization.  Everything I have read about this charity has been good.  As with anything, make sure that you check out any organization before you contribute, so that you have confidence in those that you help financially.  It is certainly worth your time to check out this organization.  Surf their site, and get a feel for what they are trying to do.  It certainly appears that they are Makin’ a Difference.  They have stepped up, and have filled a need that is very important.  I am glad that someone has had the ability to get this type of organization rolling, and they can give these kids something that they really want.  Even though this is a controversial issue as Make-A-Wish discovered, Hunt of Lifetime is sticking to their guns, and providing these trips for kids who need them!

Thinking about helping?  Click Here.