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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Another year — hopefully — of outdoor fun approaches

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  • What would I say to you if this was my last outdoor column?
    I had a wreck earlier in the fall. I hit black ice in a northbound lane at more than 70 miles per hour, did a 45-degree turn in the highway and bounced across I-29’s southbound lane.
    I managed not to roll down a big hill and walked away without a scratch. But, what if a tractor-trailer had been coming in the southbound lane? I would not be here to write this column, but I am, and who knows, there is always more black ice and this could be my last column.
    So, what shall I say?
    Writers love their readers. We share a great deal of ourselves in each story. Most of us will never meet, but we still share affection for the outdoors.
    Next year is the beginning of my 27th year writing this column, and some of you have read it since the first story, a magic time when I still had hair on my head and no belly.
    That's 52 stories for 26 full years — you do the math.
    My goal is to provide you with entertaining or informative copy so you will want to read my stories again.
    But, what if this was my last time to chat with you?
    I would start by asking you to take a child hunting or fishing. Let them enjoy the same outdoor experiences that have helped you through life.
    Hunters should start with a Hunter’s Education Program, followed by lots of target practice so your young hunter knows his or her firearm. Fishermen should start with casting practice and then take a child where the fish are biting.
    Hunting and fishing have been my release since I was old enough to hold a rod or gun. These beautiful activities helped me through many difficult times in my life. I am certain that modern day kids' peer pressure is more severe now than ever before. Kids need a healthy release these days and perhaps more than ever before.
    Show a video or watch shows on the outdoor channel with kids, but explain to them that hunting and fishing trips are not always successful.
    Some fishing productions portray their trip as a fish per cast. We all know that's not always the case.
    I would next request that you support conservation.
    The Missouri Conservation, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, The Conservation Federation of your state and nonprofit organizations like Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, Quail Forever, Pheasants Forever and other groups that all support wildlife habitat.
    You don’t have to be a hunter or fisherman to support these groups, just someone who loves wildlife. Purchasing a Federal Duck Stamp for $15 each year helps, too.
    Page 2 of 2 - Supporting Conservation and introducing kids to the good, clean outdoor experience are my passions. Would you like to introduce your child to hunting or fishing?
    Email me at kkieser@comcast.net and I will send you tips on how to accomplish an enjoyable day afield for your children or an adult that simply wants to try outdoor sports.
    I will conclude this column by asking you to take a day from work and go outdoors. This may be a walk in the woods with or without firearms, or take a drive to some beautiful spot like Squaw Creek Refuge in Northwest, Mo.
    I especially like to walk through the woods when it is snowing. The woods are quiet and a slow walk without noise often turns up wildlife like a variety of birds, squirrels, rabbits, coyote, turkey or deer.
    Big, fluffy snowflakes cover drab ground and create a beautiful scene and you are the only person on earth who is watching this happen. This is your slice of heaven on Earth, if only for a moment.
    That is what I would tell you if this was my last column to write.
    Have a great holiday season and I wish the happiest of new years.

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