This year’s director’s message is being written from my home as the world has been turned upside down amid a global pandemic. I cannot imagine there is anyone fortunate enough to be unaware or unaffected by the Coronavirus or the illness it causes, COVID-19. As I write this year’s director’s message, I have been working remotely for nearly two months with an unknown and uncertain date of return.
Despite the overwhelming pre-draw optimism I was experiencing when I wrote the director’s message last year, I went unsuccessful in the draw and was again forced to live vicariously through more fortunate friends and family. This year is different for a lot of reasons. I am growing increasingly anxious to get outside and have an adventure. I am watching my precious supply of lean organic wild harvested meat shrink to the point of concern. I am feeling a greater sense of appreciation for Mother Earth’s bounty along with feeling a greater connection and greater respect for animals with whom we share our planet and great state.
More than ever I feel a deep and genuine need to experience the little things that are such integral reminders of our outdoor experiences. I truly yearn for a chance to pour over maps and study Google Earth imagery, sit around a campfire, skip a rock on a lake or reservoir, climb into a sleeping bag with sore feet and tired legs after a tough hunt or pack out, and to share it all with family and friends. No matter how old I get or how much this crazy world changes, I hope I always live fully and never lose touch with the sights, sounds, and smells of the outdoors.
The year 2020 will forever be remembered for a lot of things. The global pandemic is affecting us all in different ways. History will contain a lot of different tales regarding this event, many will be sad, and some will be faceless yet filled with statistics. It will be remembered as the year the NBA, NHL, and MLB shortened or cancelled their seasons. It will be the year the NCAA March Madness was cancelled, and all schools were closed. Let us hope 2020 will also be remembered as a turning point at which there existed broader recognition and appreciation for the food security benefits of wild and sustainably harvested fish and game. Let us also hope that through our free-time aided nostalgic reflections of our past wildlife related experiences or our free-time aided contemplation of our future wildlife related experiences, we realize how truly blessed we are to live among wild, free roaming, native North American wildlife. It is truly our deep connection to these animals through our experiences with them that fosters our respect for them. It is our respect for them that fuels our desire to protect them. Our connection, respect, and protection of the very same animals we pursue and harvest can be difficult to explain to nonhunters. During a global pandemic with potential food shortages, meat scarcity, and general uncertainty, it gets a little easier.
If you’re a hunter, I hope that by the time you are reading this message both you and I will be excitedly contemplating our future wildlife related experiences and how we have a chance to fill our freezer as we have learned that we drew a Nevada big game tag. In the unfortunate event you didn’t draw a tag, I hope you will find solace in knowing that despite the misfortune of not drawing a tag you are still contributing to wildlife management in Nevada and through your contributions you are paying for scientific-based management that will keep wildlife abundant and available to perpetuate sustainable wild harvest, feed people and their friends and family, and ultimately you are funding conservation.
Thank you very much for contributing to Nevada’s wildlife management, best of luck on your outdoor adventures, and no matter what, live fully and never lose touch.
Department of Wildlife