By: Dan Harrison
Dan Harrison is a veteran guide and outdoorsman, native Coloradan and long-time supporter and partner of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. Harrison is also an expert tracker for trophy mule deer, elk and bear, having helped score numerous hunters into the record books over his 20+ year career. From horseback hunts, to five-star tent camps, to Boone and Crockett rankings, Harrison’s pursuits are a year-round passion and one of his greatest achievements is helping introduce over 300 youth and women to the ethical sport of hunting.
There’s only one person who can ensure the future of hunting, fishing and celebrating the great outdoors. And that’s YOU, my friend.
Think back to your earliest outdoor memory. You were cold. It was dark. You were wearing someone else’s boots and a hand-me-down coat. You were somewhere you’d never been…in a place you’d always wondered about. And you were in the shadow of a mentor: a sibling, parent, uncle, neighbor who gave you that gift of discovery. Somebody showed you the way.
Now you need to return the favor to the next generation and the future of conservation. Not just because it’s a stand-up thing to do but because it’s our calling as outdoorsmen and women to pass on our passion for all things wild.
I call it “Reloading Our Heritage;” being pro-active mentors seeking out starry-eyed kids who are hungry for adventure along with fresh air, self-confidence, independence, physical fitness and personal development.
Why do I care so much about the next generation of sportsmen and women? Because they will carry on when we are gone. They are our sporting legacy. And they need us. Badly.
It seems like every kid I meet is starved for something real in their lives beyond their mind-numbing video games and not-so-smart smartphones. Ironically, technology could be one way to do get kids involved.
I recently got my hands on a Bushnell Trophy Cam HD, one of those wireless ones that send the pictures to your phone. Well, even though I coulda done it myself, I let a youngster show me how to get that thing working. And then she and I hiked out into the woods with lots of chatting and learning along the way. I showed her where I’d set it up and she showed me how to make it go.
Then I put her in charge of monitoring it and managing all the photos that come through. Now a wild new world is unfolding before her and neither one of us can wait to go set up another camera.
The premise of “Reloading Our Heritage” is that we absolutely HAVE to pass along our love and knowledge of the outdoors. Each one of us. Every chance we get. Or there won’t BE an outdoors. Period.
You can be a mentor, too. Look for your first little sidekick at church or through a local Boy Scout troop. Get involved with Fathers in the Field or Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Then get those kids out of their comfort zones and into the REAL world. Once they get a taste of that freedom and adventure they’ll never lose their appetite for it. Just like you and me way back when.
One little outdoor act of kindness at a time, YOU can make all the difference in the world.