Editorial-Opinion August 2020

Daryl Kirby | August 2, 2020

I can’t watch the news anymore. Every story is maddening on some level, whether it’s simply what is being shown—how people are behaving—or it’s how the ‘reporter’ spins the story. Both drive up the blood pressure. Very frustrating times.

You know what’s also maddening and frustrating? This stinking virus.

Do the kids go to school, will there be football games, are we allowed to work or just deemed non-essential? Do I delete Facebook once and for all, or just ignore the idiocy and hope for more pictures of kids and updates on dogs?

Another big virus question… will there be GON’s annual Outdoor Blast? That’s a big question around our office right now. The Blast has already been rescheduled from its normal time slot the last weekend of July to Sept. 25-27.

As we sit here working on the final pages of this August issue of GON, we’re also working on making sure we can hold an Outdoor Blast that’s safe for all of y’all who like to visit and shop for bargains, and safe for our vendors. We also have to make sure it’s an event that while safe is not so full of restrictions that it just won’t work well for anyone. And we also can’t rent out that big Infinite Energy Center building in Duluth if too many people are afraid to come. So, in the next few weeks that decision will be made—we will either reaffirm the Sept. 25-27 Outdoor Blast dates and begin promoting the heck out of the event and hope everyone will come visit and support us, or we will punt. Not an easy decision, but just know that we will make the best decision.

There’s some sunshine peeking through the dark clouds hanging over us during these crazy days we’re living through right now. If this fall looks anything like the spring we just went through, there will be lots more hunting and fishing going on. That’s a shaft of light that makes us smile, for sure.

I guarantee you there wasn’t a meat shortage in many GON homes. Ol’ Hank said it best—a country boy can survive. Seriously. If you haven’t heard that song in a while, cue it up. The meat counter at the supermarket shelves may get slap empty again like they did in April, but our freezers will be slap full of the best meats and fish—the truly organic protein that God provides and that the American conservation model makes sure is plentiful and readily available for anyone to go get for themselves.

Don’t dismiss public land. Some of the best hunting in Georgia is on state-managed WMAs and National Wildlife Refuges. You can find a good spot and bring home some meat. This August issue of GON is full of great info on public hunting opportunities.

There’s been talk lately of people being “woke.” The hundreds of thousands of Georgians who hunt and fish woke up a bit, too. If anyone was getting a little too complacent, a little too comfortable in everyday life, maybe thinking that hunting and fishing weren’t that important anymore, I hope your eyes are now wide open. Those who believed we don’t really have to worry about the government taking away rights, jeopardizing our ability to go hunting or fishing, or own and the tools we use to hunt or protect our families, I hope the awakening has occurred.

I really don’t think too many GON people were getting complacent about being good at getting your own meat and fish, about teaching your kids how it works and how to get it done for yourself. I just wish there were more like you. We need more GON folks, more people who care about conservation and the outdoor way of life.

But please don’t try to convince anyone or change their mind on social media. Instead, actually take someone hunting or fishing. Get them a GON subscription for a year, so they can learn where to go and what techniques might work, so they can fill their own freezer. That’s a wonderful feeling more people should know—kind of like putting up some wood for next winter, not a cord you bought, but wood from a tree you bucked and split.

Sorry for all the virus talk. We know that’s the last topic you want to read about in GON.

Here’s to a great fall, memorable and fruitful outings in the woods and fields, a full freezer. Maybe a return to decency and civility, respect, prosperity… Too much to ask? Seems like just yesterday that was where this country was centered.

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