“On Earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it”
A friend and I were talking in my truck after a day trip to the Salmon River in Upstate New York this past Saturday. We got talking about the state of steelhead fishing in the great lakes and it’s tributaries. The conversation came up after chatting with some older gentleman after we got off the water. They were talking about how steelhead fishing these days is not like it was in years past. My friend had said, “Artie (a friend of his) has said that the state of steelhead in great lakes is concerning. About 5 years ago you could have several hookups and land several fish. Now going 1 for four or so is a good day on the river”. This is a concern, one that I have noticed even on smaller rivers in my area. The West Canada Creek that runs from Hinckley reservoir down through to the Mohawk river has slowly become a hit or miss fishery. I can remember going to that river with my grand father when I was about 14 and catching fish after fishing on my fly rod. Now you really have to work for our fish. This can also be said about the state of our deer populations in New York. Deer populations are high, mostly females, bucks now a days are few and far between. Trophy sized animals even more so.
This concern and trend got me thinking. What are we doing to this place? or better yet, What aren’t we doing? We see this all over the news now. There are protests currently happening in North Dakota over and oil pipeline, that could threaten millions of rivers/streams, acres upon acres of wildlife habitat, humans lives. All this for a monetary gain. I am a human being, but I must say that I find myself disgusted by what we have become as a species. We prioritize our lives over other lives. We are supposed to be set apart from other living things based on the simple fact that we can reason and know right from wrong. We see ourselves as superior to all other living things. You need to ask yourself though, are we truly superior? The other living things of this world we live in aren’t destroying the place they live. We live in a beautiful world. Only to destroy it for monetary gain. I know as an outdoorsman, I want my children and their children and so on to able to see what I’ve seen and do what I’ve done. That’s why I preach going outside. See what this world has to offer. Money or not, you can experience nature and when you do you have a better chance of protecting it. I try to do my small part, I recycle, I bring out what I’ve taken in, I try and open other’s eyes, I have compassion for the other creatures of this Earth. I hunt, yes, in some peoples eyes this is just blind killing. But, it’s not. We have created a problem in this world. We allow animals to overpopulate, which in turn does damage to an ecosystem. We are by nature, hunters. By hunting and fishing, we give the wildlife value. Which will help keep them safe. Be smart and keep conservation in mind whenever you’re out in the woods or on a river. Take care of game you pursue. If you don’t, one day it may not be there to enjoy.