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Talking It Over -- Hunting about more than daily limits

In today's issue of the Morris Sun Tribune, we are recognizing a special day -- National Hunting and Fishing Day. It is a day set aside to honor the many people who do so much for conservation and wildlife management.

As many of you know, I enjoy deer hunting and fishing. I love being out in the great outdoors especially when the weather is nice and the scenery is beautiful. I like to watch wild animals interact in their environment and have participated in many events or acts to feed and conserve our wildlife and the areas they need in order to exist. My husband and I are active in lake associations and have planted acres of trees and grasses for wildlife habitat.

Modern hunters and fishermen are not just interested in shooting game or catching fish. For the most part, these same individuals are also concerned with the protection of our natural resources and becoming educated on safe and conservative hunting practices.

Even as sportsmen have seen a change in their roles, so have Conservation Officers -- formerly called game wardens -- who work with a variety of people and projects. Not only do they enforce the regulations for hunting and fishing, but they also participate in public education and training sessions. These officers can even be called upon in emergency situations such as rescues, accidents or assisting local law enforcement or EMTs.

Each spring, an education class for our young hunters, generally called gun training, is taught by area volunteers. This class gives boys and girls the basics of safe gun practices, laws and conservation. Quite often, our Conservation Officers are regular speakers at these trainings.

The typical hunter or fisherman is also active in outside activities such as Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, the Deer Hunters Association, local sportsmen's clubs and other organizations that spend countless hours and donate large sums of money to protect and conserve our wildlife and the habitat in which they live.

We need our hunters and fishermen in order to keep our environment in balance and habitats in place. The men and women who hunt and fish are also the ones who fight the hardest to protect the grasslands, forests and waters. These are the people we salute on National Hunting and Fishing Day.