Some random thoughts about the past and the future in the Great Outdoors
Well, we made it! It’s now 2000.
And with the year 2000 marking the beginning of a new millennium, this is an ideal time to reflect on what has happened in the past and to try to anticipate what might happen in the future in the Great Outdoors.
So, let’s take a journey into the past and then take a peek into the future, as seen thorough the eyes of Don Q:
I was born right here in Carson City, many years ago, and I can remember:
– All the highways leading into and out of Carson City were two-lanes.
– The old Clear Creek Road was U.S. 50 between Carson City and Lake Tahoe.
– Almost all of the businesses at Lake Tahoe closed down between Labor Day and Memorial Day.
– Having an excused absence from school to go fishing in Ash Canyon on the opening day of the fishing season.
– Fishing all day on the Carson River, just east of Carson City, and not seeing another person.
– 25 fish were a daily limit.
– An annual California non-resident fishing license cost $21. By comparison, today, that same license is $75.85.
– Hunting jackrabbits where the Silver Oaks Golf Course is now located.
– Hunting buck mule deer where the National Guard Armory is now located.
– You could buy your deer tag over the counter at any sporting goods store.
– You could purchase both a buck and a doe tag for the deer hunting season.
– You could drive to Marlette Lake or Hobart Reservoir to go deer hunting.
– Harold’s Club in Reno held its annual, big buck contest.
– Big game management area Nos. 194-196 (the mountains west of Carson City) were restricted to 4-point or larger bucks during the deer hunting season.
– You could spend the entire weekend camping at Winnemucca Lake near Kit Carson Pass and never see another soul.
– Chasing jack rabbits on King Street with our cars, while in high school.
– Having a hard time playing “ditch” at night with our cars, while in high school. Most of Carson’s streets were still dirt and you could sure stir up the dust!
– Ice skating with high school friends on Big Washoe Lake.
– Going to Carson High School when Carson City had as many people as there are students in CHS today!
Here is what I predict for the future:
– A U.S. 395 bypass for Carson City. Honest! If we all live long enough!
– A bigger population for Carson City.
– A Douglas County population, even larger than that of Carson City.
– Encountering huge crowds of other hunters and fishermen wherever you go to hunt or fish.
– The costs of your hunting and fishing licenses continuing to increase.
– Finding fewer and fewer places where you can go to hunt or fish.
– Having a more and more difficult time in obtaining Nevada’s big game hunting tags.
– The Nevada Division of Wildlife coming up with more and more creative ways to charge hunters and fishermen for their licenses, tags and permits.
– And. perhaps the most disturbing of all, the decline of hunting and fishing as we know it today.
Some Random Thoughts:
Nevada currently has a population of approximately 1.8 million people. The vast majority of that population is located in the large urban centers of Las Vegas, Henderson, Reno, Sparks, Carson City, Douglas County, Elko, North Las Vegas and Boulder City.
And because of our state’s exploding urbanized populations, I predict that there will be an interesting shift in outdoor activities by Nevadans.
As more and more people move to Nevada from places like Southern California and as more and more people grow up in our major urban environments, I predict that there will continue to be a shift away from our traditional outdoor sports of hunting and fishing.
And here’s why I think so:
Hunters make up about 9-10 percent of our country’s population, based on a nationwide average. If you were to apply that nationwide average to the 1.2 million people who live in Clark County, you would expect to find about 108-120,000 licensed hunters in Southern Nevada. Quite to the contrary! In 1999, Clark County had approximately 11,500 licensed hunters. That is .095 percent (less than one percent)!
Nationwide, fewer and fewer new hunters are entering our hunting population each year.
I believe that national decline is due to a number of reasons such as:
1. Larger and larger urban areas.
More and more people are being born and raised in those areas. In doing so, they do not have the exposure to hunting and fishing experienced by the residents of small rural communities.
2. Difficulty in obtaining hunting tags.
After a number of years of being unsuccessful in drawing tags, many hunters (including yours truly) get discouraged, lose interest and switch to other activities. I used to deer hunt each fall. Now, I fish at Walker Lake or cross country ski at Kit Carson Pass.
3. The ever increasing cost of the various licenses, tags, stamps, etc., associated with hunting.
It could very easily evolve into a sport enjoyed only by the wealthy because they will be the only ones who could afford it.
4. Fewer and fewer places where one can go to hunt or fish.
Today, the many open areas of the past are truly a thing of the past. In addition, many private landowners now charge significant trespass fees for hunting or fishing on their lands.
5. More single parent homes, with mom raising the children alone.
Mothers do not normally hunt or fish. With dad gone, that type of experience and knowledge is not being passed onto the youngsters in the household.
6. An increasing interest in diversified sports such as biking, mountain biking, in-line skating, skate boarding, snow boarding, cross country skiing, golf, tennis, etc. In my case, I hike in the summer and cross country ski in the winter.
And as the interest in those sports increases, there is a corresponding decrease in hunting and fishing.
Finally – 20 years in the future when the date is 2020 and you reminisce about the “Good Old Days,” remember they were what you are experiencing now!
So, if you hunt or fish, enjoy what you are doing today.
Tomorrow, it could be quite different or it might even a thing of the past.
What do you think?
– Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can’t name three different sub-species of bighorn sheep found in Nevada.
If he says, “The California, desert and Rocky Mountain,” I hope that the amount of money that you bet was small, because he wins and you lose!