Every now and again it’s good to not only look ahead but to also look back and reflect a little, take a moment to soak it all up because invariably there are things that really worth remembering. Like a lot of you who read this paper on a weekly basis I can say that the last year has been nothing short of a real eye opener. Our community spent all of last year trying to get back on our collective feet and for the most part we accomplished that feat. The really important things like family and friends took center stage and readjusted some of the lesser things to where they rightly belong. I personally, for various reasons, did a bunch of self evaluation and came away with a whole new outlook on things and I am ready to apply to the coming year. My goals, wishes, and wants have been stripped down to the things that really matter and I am thankful for that. I am also thankful that I have the opportunity to witness on a very personal level some of the things that kept me sane over the last year and many of those are outdoor related.

I have long felt that there are some miraculous and wonderful things in the outdoors that only few people get the chance to see. The most basic being a sunrise or sunset over some pristine piece of land, a marsh pond or the calm waters of a lake certainly come to mind. Some of my best trips in the field have very little to do with what was caught or what was killed, rather it was what was seen and heard that made the biggest impression. I read a quote the other day, by an author whose name escapes me at the moment that said “life should not be measured by the breaths we take but rather by the moments that take our breath away.” Plenty of truth in that statement as far as I’m concerned. I had several moments like that this past year and I look forward to more in the years to come.

Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that my best hunting and fishing partner is my son Hunter who is now 14, God I’m getting old. There is nobody I would rather spend a day on the water or in the blind with than him, period. He has begun to pay big dividends as he gets older, I no longer have to baby sit him and take care of all the little things associated with a day on the water or a hunting trip. I now have the luxury of just showing up in the garage and he has everything ready all the way down to the last item in the boat. I sat in the blind and watched him work a group a gadwall into position over the decoys, pick out a beautiful plump drake, make a clean shot, and handle our dog on the retrieve. I just shook my head at the whole thing and smiled remembering the days when I had to pack juice boxes and snacks to keep him interested. He now goes on hunts with other guys of all ages when I’m working and more than holds his own with all of them. I look forward to many more days in the field with him and look back on all the days we’ve spent together already.

For the year 2010 I hope that everyone of you are back in a place you call home and are able to start doing the things you love to do again, especially hunt and fish. The end of hunting season is fast closing in on us and we need to make these last few weeks count before all our thoughts turn back to catching fish. I know that the best big trout of the season are just around the corner and they are closely followed by some big largemouth bass on the lakes. We have the annual boat shows staring at us shortly and there are a ton of new gadgets and toys that will be there looking for new homes. January and February will no doubt be brutal as far as weather goes but as is the case someone will find a way to catch some great fish. I know I will certainly be doing my best to be that person and I hope each one of you gets the chance as well. I hope each of you have a great holiday as well as a safe and Happy New Year. Enjoy your time on the water and in the outdoors. See ya out there.