Ray Petering, Chief of the Ohio Division of Wildlife, gave a talk last Friday at the Ohio Fish & Wildlife Management Conference that was a wakeup call to all those who support conservation and enjoy fishing and hunting. I wonít get into any statistics or all the reasons, you can easily look them up yourself. But the message is clear: fishing and hunting, and along with them the traditional Conservation movement, is dying.

Unless all of us make a serious effort to recruit youth into the great sports and recreations of fishing and hunting, these pastimes we all enjoy will for the most part disappear in the not-to-distant future. This is not a Chicken Little story. This is the reality.

All of us who enjoy fishing, hunting, and the outdoors must make time to recruit new people into the sport. You canít rely on nor expect someone else to do it. You must. We all must.

Start thinking about who you can get out fishing and/or hunting, someone new, especially kids and youth. The neighbors and their kids. A relative. Your kidís friends. Put something in the Church Bulletin or ask around at the organization you belong to, or at work. If you are retired, give some thought to finding a buddy and going to a local disadvantaged youth program and see if they will work with you to find some interested kids.
It doesnít matter who you find or how you find them. First timers of someone who hasnít been in awhile Ė get them out fishing or hunting. If we all donít make the effort, this Original American Outdoor Tradition will be lost. And weíll have nobody to blame but ourselves.