Thanksgiving has arrived and Montana’s general big game seasons are winding down to a close. It seems to be coming so quickly this year.
Maybe it’s because the fall weather has been so mild. Maybe it’s Thanksgiving comes early – on the fourth Thursday in November in a year when we have five Thursdays.
Whether you’ve filled your tags or not, we’ve got a lot to be thankful for.
With our families and friends who gather around the Thanksgiving table, we’ve got a great place to live and an area where there are many outdoor activities to enjoy.
Montana is a unique state in many respects. I want to take this time to point out some of the places, people, and events that make it so unique. It’s time to give thanks for them.
Thanks for the people who work at Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, a self-funded government agency. That the agency funds itself with user-fees from its license-holders is, in itself, enough for taxpayers to give thanks.
But we also need to hand out a big heap of gratitude towards its director Jeff Hagener and the biologists, technicians, wardens, field staff and office staff who work under his direction. It is not an easy job to manage the wildlife that live on the land and the fish that swim under the water. I think they do a great job.
Thanks to the wildlife conservation groups, of which there are many. It’s the volunteers of these organizations that keep the mission statements on track and deserve a lot of credit.
The corporate, business, and private sectors that donate money and products to the growing list of conservation banquets also should be acknowledged and thanked. Without their generosity, a wide range of wildlife wouldn’t be nearly as abundant as they are today.
Thanks to the fishing derbies that are held every year on lakes throughout the state. From Fort Peck Reservoir to Flathead Lake, these events bring a lot of fun and friendly competition for anglers to enjoy their sport and each other’s companionship, young and old.
Thanks to Les Rutledge “The Fish Guy” who has been introducing and teaching thousands of kids through his special fishing program every year. The more we can keep our kids excited about fishing and hunting the longer our heritage will remain alive in Montana.
Thanks to the many volunteers who teach Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks’ hunters education programs for archery and rifle hunters.
Thanks to radio, TV, newspaper, magazine, and web sites who promote hunting and fishing in their media. Keep pointing out the positives of the sport and tell stories about he wonderful adventures that sportsman and women experience in the outdoors.
Thanks to the hunters who donate their game to the Montana Food Bank through a local wild game processor. It is a great way to live off and give off the land.
Thanks for the landowners who give us permission to hunt their land. Thanks also for the hunters who respect the privilege given them of hunting on someone else’s land.
Finally, thanks for my family, my business associates, and friends for understanding the importance and also for enjoying hunting and fishing with me. The best we can hope for at the end of each day and each season is that your freezers are full of fish and game and your families are healthy. Happy Thanksgiving!