Merry Christmas to all sportsmen, sportswomen, and youngsters. We wish you the very best Holiday season for you and your families. These are certainly trying and fearful times, so cherish your families at all time.
We must all also realize that there are many families, and in particular, children, across this Commonwealth who are not as fortunate as some of us. Statistics show that 1 child out of every 4 children lives in poverty. Some counties reflect that rate as high as 55%. Many school systems are financially strapped due to the amount of free lunches, and take home weekend meals that these kids are provided. We urge all our members, those who can afford, to donate food, clothing, money, etc, to those organizations that are deemed worthy and legitimate. A perfect way for our members is to harvest an extra deer and donate it to Kentucky Hunters for the Hungry. They have established a legitimate avenue of very worthy charities to donate the venison too, and it is getting to the intended targets. Some homeless shelters depend on this donated venison to feed those in need.
As stated above, these are also fearful times. We have enemies throughout the world who have pledged violence and terror here in our country. The shooting in San Bernandino which killed 14 innocent people is just the tip of the iceberg. We must also be prepared to protect our families, friends, and communities against these threats. Certainly, I am not talking about wild west shootouts or anything that would violate current law, but certainly safeguards can be taken. Take advantage of the Carry Concealed Permits, and if you do not have one, take the course and obtain the permit. Then, as with anything, practice…practice….practice. Hopefully you or your family will never be in a position where that practice will be required, but at least you are ready. Not only do we have the enemies abroad from the terrorist groups, but unfortunately we have our issues with the rampant use of heroin and meth that is causing devastation in some communities.
Simple safeguards can go a long way in preventing some crime. I have strategically placed several “deer trail camera’s” around my own home that capture photographs of everything occurring around my home. Granted, not as nearly effective as a monitored alarm system, but some folks just cannot afford those fees. I was able to catch two thieves and recover a stolen trailer from my home due to having them on camera. If you have a home, a deer cabin, or a barn, etc,….invest in a couple cameras and stash them where they are unseen to most trespassers. Law Enforcement officers have advised me that one big target for thieves are trucks with lots of outdoor stickers on them. While I love my “Bowtech” and “Mossy Oak” decals, I have now removed all of them after having my truck broken into and two black powder rifles stolen a few years back. It is like a big beacon that says “Hunter’s truck…..lots of good stuff”. All of my ladder stands now have cable locks on them, which is an unfortunate sign of the time as trespassers and thieves are active in the woods as well. This is Christmas time but don’t leave packages visible inside the vehicle if you park and go into another store. One big item that is occurring in my area this time of year is thieves cruising the subdivisions looking for packages laying on the porch that were dropped off by UPS, FEDEX, USPS, etc. If at all possible, send them to your work or the home of a friend that you know someone will be at, if you are gone during the day.
When I grew up as a child, most of our neighbors never even locked a door on their home or their vehicles. We knew all our neighbors and everyone watched out for each other. However, “the times they are a’changing”, and we must take precautions to work and protect all that is dear to us.
What is perhaps as important as anything is the quality and integrity of our Leaders. Sportsmen have excellent friends on both sides of the aisle and it is your duty and responsibility as an outdoors person, to investigate, read, listen to debates, and make your decisions on whom to support based upon that information acquired. I don’t vote on straight party lines, even as a conservative, because I might be eliminating someone from the other party that especially loves the outdoor sports as much as I do. Educate yourself and your voting family members and remember our biggest battles are fought in Washington and Frankfort, and we need good folks there who represent us. As the oldest line in politics goes……”If you don’t vote……don’t complain”. We have a long time until the next General Election, but in the interim, call your State Representative, State Senator, US Congressman, or US Senator, and let them know how you feel on every single issue affecting our passion. Believe me, the phone calls and emails are counted and they do bear a lot of weight.
Being an active sportsmen means much more than heading to the field, the water, or the duck blind. It means knowing the issues, knowing the candidates, and being able to protect your family, and help provide for others.
The LKS Board of Directors and myself wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.