|We must keep the lands public, the water clean and the forests thick with life.|
Many of the most well-known outdoorsmen of days passed were also strong conservationists and naturalists. Theodore Roosevelt comes to mind as a person who championed many national parks and also supported conservationist ideas up until the day he died.
As president of the United States, he kept his outdoorsman roots and continued to hunt and fish throughout his presidency. Teddy was an outdoorsman who explicitly understood that the state of our environment directly translates into the state of our sport within it.
If the streams are pure and pristine, then the fish within will be strong and healthy and bountiful for all fisherman to enjoy and partake in. If the stream is soaked in oil and chemical run-off, then the fish’s existence will mirror that unhealthy environment.
As outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen we all have a responsibility to be champions for the land and waters we explore. We must keep the lands public, the water clean and the forests thick with life.
One act of conservation that anglers and hunters can partake in is that of switching from using lead weights and shot to steel or tungsten.
Lead is harmful to the ecosystem. The toxic metal can be lethal for game birds like geese and ducks which swallow rocks in order to digest their flora based diets. Sometimes along with the rocks they may inadvertently swallow some lead.
Some statistics indicate that the number of organisms that die from lead poisoning each year ranges from 10 to 20 million with most deaths stemming from migratory bird species.
Along the same lines, many other organisms may ingest lead when scavenging the carcasses of already deceased animals. These numbers are harder to determine because they seldom die near the point of ingestion.
Whether or not we live in a state where lead is banned from use in outdoor pursuits we can all consider making the switch and do our part to protect the health of our public lands and waters.
These little acts, however insignificant they may seem, can add up when more and more people take up the effort.
If we do our part, our public land and water can remain public and healthy for all of us to enjoy for generations to come.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of My Hunting & Fishing.