Covid-19 Affects everyone. by John Martino

Covid-19 affects everyone. By: John Martino Unless you’ve been living under the proverbial rock you are well aware of the growing concerns in the United States and around the globe concerning the coronavirus outbreak. The entire world has changed in just a few short weeks. To me, we are now dealing with a crisis unseen since the Great Depression. It’s a modern-day pandemic, something akin to the bubonic plague or typhoid that swept the country years ago. But with modern medicine and advanced forms of mass communications hopefully it won’t get as bad. This pandemic has affected all of us in one way or another and I’m sure it will change our lives forever, much like 9-11 did. But how has it impacted sportsmen and women? With our glorious spring season now upon us and the full effects of the virus still unknown, smart outdoor enthusiasts are taking note. Already I have heard of many people who have cancelled travel plans. “We were planning on going to Watts Barr Lake on our annual fishing trip,” said Mark Preston, who with a handful of family and friends has always enjoyed their spring fishing trip to the sprawling lake. “It just didn’t make good sense to go with all the travel restrictions and seriousness of the pandemic,” he added. Jeff Hunt is another who has seen his plans change. “With time off of work I wanted to spend some time crappie fishing on Kentucky Lake,” he explained. “But with the orange travel alert only for essential travel I didn’t think it would be right,” he said. “Oh, I could consider it “essential” as many fishermen could, but I am going to do what is asked so as not to be part of the problem.” So instead he will fish close to home and keep interaction with others to a minimum. In case you are wondering. When our Governor issued the “Stay at Home” order, many people have asked, “What about fishing?” Yes, you can go. The public is urged to engage in recreational activity providing you do it a safe distance from others. Another problem that could arise from the pandemic is in equipment. Have you ever really thought about how much of our outdoor equipment is manufactured in China, where the virus originated? The bulk of rods, reels, lures and even clothing come from the Middle East. The recent slowdown and stoppages in China will no doubt have an impact on equipment, supplies and their cost, especially as we move into the summer season. Other issues created by the coronavirus are in the area of outdoor shows and even local programs. Industry shows have been cancelled across the U.S. where even local Hunter Ed and other DNR programs have been scuttled for the time being. The end of March and the beginning of April usually plays host to the beginning of the tournament fishing season. Tournaments scheduled for the next several months have all been postponed in an effort to safeguard participants. If the coronavirus doesn’t subside in the upcoming weeks expect to see even more postponements and cancellations. There is no doubt much is still unknown about what the final outcome will be for the coronavirus outbreak, its effects on our daily lives and how it will continue to impact all outdoor enthusiasts during the upcoming year. But what is known is that smart hunters and anglers will continue to become informed, plan ahead as much as possible, refuse to panic and follow recommendations from health care specialists and local enforcement agencies. We all need to play by the rules, not just for our health but the safety of others. Here’s a way for outdoor enthusiasts to help I have always considered Kokomo resident Jeannie Gale an upstanding outdoor enthusiast, great lady and good friend. I received the following note from her which I would like to share. “One of my neighbors generously shared some surplus processed venison with my daughter. It was a blessing for her and the kiddos. Meat counters have been bare. Every trip to the store poses an exposure risk. Not to mention the time and gas spent on repeated efforts to find food. Makes me wonder... is there any merit to getting the word out to look out for others and share excess bounty? Maybe other hunters and fishermen are in the position to help a neighbor- old (like me) or simply struggling. You would find the magic words to inspire if you agree that an inch of your column could help. Just asking. Hugs,” Can’t be said any better than that Jeannie! Photo Below; "Matt Helton hooked this seven pound largemouth bass while fishing in Florida shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic."-Photo Provided