Hunting Creates Community


By Ray Scott

 After all these years I am still awed by the enthusiastic community created by a shared interest in hunting and fishing. One of my latest speaking engagements was at a well-attended church-sponsored “outdoor expo” in north Alabama and all they wanted me to talk about was — you guessed it — hunting and fishing.

As a matter of fact, when I am invited to speak at most places, I am told “tell us how you created those hunting and fishing businesses.” All I can tell them is it’s a whole lot of fun when you’re doing something you love! But I have to admit even I was a little surprised when, some twenty years ago, we created the Whitetail Institute and tapped into an even deeper dedication to hunting through whitetail nutrition and improved management techniques.

Surprised because nutrition and management take WORK. Frankly, the Whitetail Institute doesn’t sell glamor — the “sizzle” of the steak.We sell the steak itself — the products and the practices that involve time, effort, money and lots of patience. But as our  field testers know, the efforts are almost always well rewarded and the final pay off is huge, especially when Mother Nature cooperates.

The fellowship encouraged by a love of hunting and the outdoors is wonderfully illustrated in Tom Fegely’s heartwarming article from Ft. Benning where some amazing individuals are helping other amazing individuals — our wounded vets — to participate in the whitetail hunting experience despite their varying personal challenges.

I had the great privilege and honor of doing a weeklong Thanksgiving Tour for our troops in Iraq in 2004 and entertaining them with tales of — you guessed it again — hunting and fishing. These guys (and gals) were into it. It was without doubt one of the most gratifying experiences I have ever had in my life. To find that familiar passion far away in the deserts of Iraq was a magical moment.

Our men and women in uniform are truly bright spots in these difficult times, exemplifying integrity and sacrifice when this country seems to be suffering from a massive “greed hangover” — and most of us haven’t been drinking.

I can only profoundly thank our military and the dedicated individuals who are working so hard to make a success of these innovative projects for our wounded warriors.