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Making the Most of the Great Outdoors

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…

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11 Responses to “Making the Most of the Great Outdoors”

  1. Excellent post and well written. I think what you have posted pretty well sums it up for a lot of us outdoor types. I have read many of the other blog posts from fellow outdoor bloggers who took upon the challenge to write what they feel about the great outdoors and who belongs there. I have written my own post also. I don’t believe that Mr. Orlet has much to be proud of at this point about his comments.

  2. […] Making the Most of the Great Outdoors–Kris at Jake’s Outdoors wrote a terrific post in response to a disparaging article. Yes, I am biased because he is my dear husband, but it is a really good post! […]

  3. Great post Kris.

    I couldn’t agree more with you. I think Mr. Orlet was trying to be humorous as well. But I really didn’t see the humor in the article at all. I tried to stand back, and not be to uptight about it, but I couldn’t. All his article did was to solidify the views that the anti’s already have of us. That we are gun-toting, beer drinking, women hating idiots.

    It really doesn’t make any sense.

    I love having my wife hunt and fish with me, and I can’t wait for my daughter to do the same. It is a family affair for us, and it will always be.

  4. Terrific post and thank you for participating in the challenge.

    I’m with you, I’ll take Patrick McManus any time. He’s funny.

  5. Good post. Sounds like you have three boys also – and they all like the same outdoors. They got a good start.

  6. Hey Gary, thanks for stopping in. I have 2 boys and a girl…Skylar is my girl (I know sometimes there is some confusion with that name :)) Yes, they all love the outdoors. And, I love the fact that they love the outdoors!

  7. My apologies to Skylar. Interesting when I hear a name the first time attached to a certain sex, it attaches its self in my mind. Daughters do add another dimension to a family, I’m glad I had that experience also. Best to your entire family.

  8. I like your words, although I would never have thought that a name like Orlet would be in the same sentence as Pat McManus’. 😉

  9. Good read. Definitely no need to be ashamed of country roots. I’ll take venison steaks or walleye over processed and package goods any day. I suspect Mr. Orlet is a vegan who believes an outdoor experience is 18 holes and a martini.

  10. I love the outdoors and my family and I are blessed to live in British Columbia where the opportunities for adventure are endless. Camping and the outdoors is a way of life for most people here.

  11. Top blog! Who doesn’t like enjoying the outdoors, and spending time relaxating time in outdoor pursuits. But I wish I had your spare time. Nice read though!!

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