Written by Mart Allen
One hundred years too late.
For years I felt I was born 100 years too late and expressed it on numerous occasions. But I have recently started to have doubts. I envied the profusion of wildlife that existed at the turn of the last century and the sport they must have represented to the hunters, fishermen and trappers of the day.
I would not have wanted to be one of the market hunters that were responsible for the extinction of the passenger pigeon or the decimation of the buffalo. But I would have liked to have been able to enjoy the fruits of the game more fully as a true sportsman. But now I am beginning to have second thoughts. Technology has improved every facet of life and outdoor sports interests are no exception. Primarily the gear available has more than offset any disadvantage smaller numbers of game animals may pose.
One of the first things that come to my mind as an octogenarian is the comfort and safety technology has brought to the various aspects of outdoor activities. Success in the field under all kinds of weather conditions, in many instances, was predicated on the physical well-being of the sportsman or woman. Yes, I have included women as more of them are being recruited into the ranks, not only as simple participants but experts as well. Technology has been a decided asset, not only to them but seniors and younger people, in helping them overcome what theretofore were formidable obstacles in the past. Several years have been added to the time people are able to participate and enjoy what, for many, are their favorite pastimes. The basic equipment and myriad additions associated to hunting, fishing or trapping make the sport more pleasurable.
If I were asked to say in what field the greatest advancements were made I believe I would have to answer, in the field of fishing. The advent of the spinning reel and monofilament line has revolutionized the whole sport fishing industry, followed close behind by fiberglass and carbon rods. Now the lures are taking center stage with more and better facsimiles of the real prey. Electronic depth and fish finders are enabling the angler to precisely locate the fish and zero in more quickly. The guess work is practically being taken out of the equation but not the thrill of hooking and fighting them.
The hunting fraternity has seen its share of innovations equally as ground-breaking. Sporting arms are lighter, more powerful, in more calibers, better balanced and equipped with more and better sighting devices. Calling of game has expanded far beyond what once was the nearly exclusive domain of the waterfowl and turkey hunters.
Trappers have many more choices of traps that are more selective of the quarry and are much more humane than the old conventional foot-hold standbys.
The snowmobile and kayak, since their development to the point they are today, have not only enhanced all the above mentioned activities but spawned new avenues that were not even dreamed of before. Both vehicles are growing in popularity and terms of their economic impact on the economy and expansion into new realms. They are being discovered by ever increasing numbers of people and offering them outlets that they would never otherwise be aware of.
Creature comforts are hard to beat and I was lucky to enjoy my share of those that came my way. I can only imagine what it would be like to live life over with the advantages they bring. At this stage in life I couldn’t care less. I am thankful and blessed to do what I can with fishing from a boat I can get in comfortably with conventional seats. I have the sense that my days even doing that are drawing near. I already enjoy reading about the things I once did but can no longer do.
I well remember my mother admonishing me and my siblings when she thought we were too young to pursue various things we longed to do. It was always, “Your time is coming.” It is hard to believe most of my time has come and gone. To be very honest I sincerely believe I lived in the best of times and not one minute later than I did.
Remember life isn’t fair but it’s still fun.