Where My Soul Belongs

Deer Stand
We are in the midst of hunting season... bow, gun, waterfowl, you name. Yes, I love to be out hunting myself, but quite honestly, I do more watching than actual shooting anymore. Though later today... I'll be up at Fish Point on Saginaw Bay doing a little waterfowl hunting with my son and a good friend. Can't beat that.
Many people don't know that without hunters and the fees we pay many conservation efforts wouldn't exist. Information provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service says each year nearly $200 million in fees is distributed to State agencies to support wildlife management programs, purchase land, and hunter education classes. They have purchased more than five million acres of habitat for the refuge system. It is estimated that hunting boosts the Michigan economy by $2.3 million annually. In Michigan roughly 80% of wildlife management and conservation comes from the purchase of licenses and hunting-related equipment. That money is used to manage wildlife and their habitat for hunters but also if you're a bird-watcher, hiker or camper. In addition to funding, many hunters volunteer in local sportsmen's clubs or national organizations like Pheasants Forever or Ducks Unlimited to restore habitats.

Because I interact with a lot of people, I see funny stories and thought provoking poems shared about hunting or about just enjoying nature. I think one thing most of us can agree on whether we hunt or not is that nature has a unique influence on our well being. There is a line from a poem I've seen, and I apologize that I can't tell you the author, but it says, "I rise to greet the coming and stay until the sun is gone for this is where my soul belongs to become one with nature's song." There are days in the woods when that verse fits my state of mind perfectly. I have a favorite spot to hunt out in the Saginaw Gratiot State Game Area and even in the middle of summer, it is where my soul belongs.

Hunting is about sharing too. It sure comes with a lot of memories for many of us. I have memories of my Dad mostly and now memories with my adult son. Memories and a lot of laughs. A LOT OF LAUGHS! I'm going to keep this short this month (because there aren't enough hours in the day this time of year to get everything done) and I want to leave you with a little truth about hunting in humor. Hope you enjoy.

He got up bright and early before the crack of dawn, and waited in this tree stand for a buck to come along.

His heart is beating rapidly, He's breathing hard and fast, He knows he must calm himself down, He gains control at last.

He listens very carefully In hopes that he might hear, A sound besides his pounding heart Beating in his ear.

He hears a sound and slowly turns, And sees this pair of eyes, Then a little coyote scampers out As if to say, "Surprise."

It's time to go back home for lunch, His choice is pretty clear, This time he'll choose another stand When he goes back for deer.

And that is just what Danny did, He chose another stand, Knowing deer were there before, He'd have the upper hand.

But things did not turn out just right, The deer were there no more, In fact they passed by that same stand, That he was in before.

By Patricia Capansky

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