When I think back on the events that shaped my outlook on life, and the values that guided me to where I am today, I inevitably return to my experiences in the field and on the water as a hunter, angler and boater.
I’m proud of my achievements in the classroom and as a biologist. But that education truly began in the outdoors, guided by my father and other sportsmen and women.
Hunting with my Dad and brothers taught me the importance of preparation. Selecting the right spot to hunt. Setting your blind and decoys strategically. Learning and practicing calls.
|Dan with a shad. Photo by USFWS
Fishing taught me persistence. Some days you go out and don’t get a bite. Others, you lose your favorite fly or fail to land the big one. But still, you head out and cast the line, waiting for a strike.
Boating taught me attention to detail. Whether you own a bass boat, a skipjack or a flat-bottomed jonboat, you have to maintain it rigorously. You have to understand nautical charts and navigation intimately, and account for the weather whenever you’re out on the water.
Most of all, spending time in the outdoors taught me the value of discipline – and the rewards of working toward a larger goal. Nature functions across seasons and generations – it doesn’t accommodate our desire for instant gratification.