John Martino; "Good old days could be right now"

Good old days could be right now By: John Martino First off, I want to congratulate all those who collected deer during the opening week of this year’s firearms deer hunting season, especially those who saw success for the very first time. For most hunters this is one of the biggest times of the year and bagging a deer is a worthy outdoor accomplishment. There were also an amazingly large number who harvested bucks worthy of gracing anyone’s wall. Second, I want to congratulate all those who didn’t notch their tag but still made time to take to the woods in search of one of our nation’s most prominent big game animals. Rest assured, although the game pole may hang empty, you still played a major role in supporting all consumptive recreational opportunities through your purchase of a hunting license and outdoor equipment. Because of this, wildlife thrives and everything that goes along with it including the purchase of additional public land, introduction efforts, their future management and conservation efforts. Hunters contribute over 75 percent of our states wildlife budget. The nice thing is everyone benefits not just hunters. Birdwatchers, hikers, photographers or anyone who utilizes state properties will benefit. Even non-game species of birds and mammals reap the rewards of lands managed for a particular species. It was a few months back someone gave me a book full of hunting stories from the early 1900’s. It was fascinating to read how hunting was conducted back then before roads spanned the countryside like veins over a muscle. Farms were bisected with thick fencerows, sprawling wood lots and fallow pastures. Rural areas were rural, a time when subdivisions had not yet filled many once natural areas. But the thing that amazed me most by these stories was the constant references by the writers to the good old days, which apparently were long gone by the time they put pen to paper. I have always thought the good old days would have been during the time of their writing. So where does that leave us in the tail end of 2018? I am convinced some of the best hunting, especially for deer and wild turkey, is right now. The initiation of true game management, regulated hunting and conservation was introduced in the mid 1900’s and slowly but surely has created rewards for hunters. Before that anything went. More deer are collected now than ever before and the reintroduction of wild turkeys is one of Indiana’s greatest success stories. Since that time, due in large part to the hard dollars put forth by hunting sportsmen, game that was limited in number or scarce continue to flourish today. Think I am kidding. Look in any hunting magazine, or this column for example, and you will see hundreds who have taken deer worthy of trophy status in any part of the United States. And when Indiana’s total deer harvest far exceeds 100,000 every year, who can complain about that. I would venture to say hunting now is as good as it’s ever been. I guess it’s only human nature to lament about the years gone by. But as I approach senior citizenship (ok, I’m already there) the mountains are steeper and the trails longer, even I have to admit I see more game than decades back. But as I look ahead at the future of hunting, I also see a good outcome for my children and grandchildren. I recognize that the best of the good old days are still here. And as long as the hunting communities of sportsmen and women have anything to do with it, the good old days will continue for generations.