Welcome to 2021-22 Nevada Hunting
I think we can all agree, 2020 is a year with more to be forgotten than reminisced. Before we rush to forget the challenges and struggles of 2020, let us recognize a few important validations it provided for much of what we do. In the rat race of humanity that dictates most of our daily routines of sleep, eat, work, eat, sleep, repeat—punctuated by intermittent meetings, an occasional work trip, or maybe, if we are lucky, a child’s sports event or other similar activity—we seldom, if ever, get the official global scale “time out” or cause for pause that 2020 presented. Before we quickly jump back on the treadmill of life’s predictable and repeated events, we need to reflect on what 2020 taught us.
We learned that it is not just us sportsmen and women who find great comfort and solace in the peaceful settings of nature. Society turned to the outdoors in unprecedented numbers, consciously or otherwise, to heal, to safely gather, and to pursue health promoting activities like hiking and biking. The outdoors helped heal our minds and our bodies. Sportsmen and women have long-recognized these nature-related benefits.
We learned that in a non-pandemic year there are tens of millions of people who suffer from food insecurity, and in a pandemic that number soars even higher. Having large stores of fish and game in our freezers, canned, or dried significantly eased our minds and reduced the burden on food processors, suppliers, and delivery infrastructure.
Although at times we lament the financial burden on sportsmen and women to bear the disproportionate costs of funding conservation through a user-pay system, we learned the value of that self-reliance as budgetary woes and employment challenges struck nearly everywhere, yet wildlife agency budgets were largely stable.
It is unfortunate that sometimes it takes drastic circumstances to make a case or prove a point, and 2020 was certainly filled with drastic circumstances that helped make a case and validate what most of us already know. Take a moment to reflect; nature heals our minds and bodies, self-procured food promotes food security and lessens the burden on society, and a self-reliant user-pay funding model makes conservation largely recession-proof. We outdoorsmen and women have been practicing social distancing in a healthy, self-reliant, and sustainable manner for a long time. Thank you, Mother Nature, for all you give us and thank you sportsmen and women for your part in this success story.
Director, Nevada Department of Wildlife