Outdoor Sportsman: A Time for Reflection

By Garnet Wilson & Dennis L. ClayIt happens every year at about this time. The old year continues the unavoidable countdown to a brand, spankin’ new year. It is a respectable exercise to spend a few moments to reflect on the past 52 weeks and the events that happened during the past year.Giving back It is our tradition to begin each year with a column about giving back to the Great Outdoors. Many times people only think about taking from the outdoors, but there is much a person or family can accomplish that will benefit the outdoor areas we visit. Expect this column next week. Outdoor cookingCooking what we gather during our adventures is important and we will again share a few recipes. This year we cooked venison tenderloins, moose stew, cornbread and offered some general camp cooking tips.By the way, outdoor terms are an interesting part of our lives. The word venison used in the last sentence is an example. During those so-called old days, the meaning of the word venison was the term for any wild meat or the meat of any game animal when used as food.Of course, game animals or animals used for food included most animals walking the earth. Some we don’t think of today are beaver and porcupine. The Lewis and Clark Expedition enjoyed beaver, because there was a bunch of fat under the skin and they craved the fat.Today, we think of venison only as the meat of a deer when used as food. Another interesting point about seeking food in an outdoor setting is the porcupine. My father taught me to never kill one of these animals, because it was one animal a lost person could capture, kill and eat without a firearm because they are so slow.Outdoor ethicsWe covered this subject in a couple columns, but the topic is fair game each year and should be discussed with beginning hunters and anglers, no matter their age.Fish hatcheryWe covered the history of Trout Lodge, a company who provides most, if not all, of the triploid trout supplied to Fish and Wildlife each year for planting in state waters. These sterile fish will grow to a great size if they aren’t caught.Soap Opera starWe covered the outdoor adventures of Jess Walton. This actress plays Jill on the daytime soap opera, “The Young and the Restless.”Dennis note: Never did I ever expect to interview a soap opera star about her adventures in the Great Outdoors, but it was a delightful and enjoyable meeting.Turkey hunting and other outdoor tipsWe featured a column about hunting spring turkey. Expect hunting/angling/camping tips from outdoor authorities throughout the coming year. This is our way to pass along a variety of methods to accomplish outdoor tasks.As one authority put it, “The tips will provide ideas on how to notch more tags and catch more fish.”  We expand the idea to include concepts on making time spent around the campfire and while watching birds and wildlife extra enjoyable.Turkey and deer huntingThe spring turkey hunt is said to meet or exceed the economic value of hunting white-tailed deer in the fall, a fact that continues to astonish us. The outdoor dollars are important to the outlying communities of the state.Salmon and steelheadThe same is true of the salmon and steelhead fishing in the Brewster area of the Columbia River. This fishery offers an economic boost to the agricultural communities along the river, plus provides a chance for the rest of us to catch some good-eating fish.Looking ahead to 2012Our columns have appeared in the Statesman-Examiner for a couple of years now and we are pleased to be communicating with our friends in Northeastern Washington State by providing outdoor-related stories for your enjoyment and study. However, we are not content with our current level of interaction. We want to be more proactive.Perhaps we could travel to the Colville area at least once each quarter, once every three months, to meet for coffee and visit. Imagine a meeting in March, where we could visit about whatever outdoor topics are on your mind. As an incentive, we would have a Buck Knife, Model 110, appropriately etched: Spring 2012 Visit with Garnet Wilson and Dennis L. Clay, to give away. Other such gatherings in June, September and December would be appropriate. If four visits a year prove to be too many, maybe three a year would do.In the futureA common theme in newspaper writing centers around the idea that no feedback means a writer is doing a good job. A writer is sure to hear complaints, but not if the writing is aimed in the correct direction.We would enjoy hearing from you, the readers, whatever your feelings. Feel free to call us or send us e-mail at: 509-762-5158 or dclay@atnet.net. Your suggestions and ideas are welcome.When the clock strikes 12 this Saturday night, we will bid farewell to 2011 and welcome 2012; another year of outdoor adventures.