A Message from Ray Scott -- In the Arena

As the Whitetail Institute turns 25 and the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.) turns 45 and I turn 80, allow me to turn philosophical for a moment.
My preacher is always saying to practice an attitude of gratitude and as I look back on these past 80 years, I can only be grateful to have been part of not just one but two great American outdoor traditions — bass fishing and whitetail hunting; first, as founder of B.A.S.S. in 1968 and 20 years later the Whitetail Institute of North America. After all the inevitable struggles and eventual success, the sweetest success by far is being in a position to be able to leave these sports better than I found them and help leave a legacy for generations to come. Some people think I have some sort of magic touch, but that is not the case. I will tell anyone for every success, I have a graveyard of ideas that didn’t work. That has been true at the Institute. Many Whitetail Institute product ideas have not survived our grueling product development and real-world testing. But the important thing is we all kept trying. For me the ultimate failure is not trying. I was reminded of that just recently when I came across one of my favorite quotes of all times from Theodore Roosevelt, not just one of our greatest presidents but one of our greatest outdoorsmen as well. You’ve probably heard it, but it is timeless for all those out there working, struggling, creating, supporting a cause, devoted to an endeavor. Here’s what Teddy had to say: “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of good deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcomings, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” The Whitetail Institute has been in the arena these past 25 years and that’s where we’ll stay, not just for our field testers and customers but for quality deer management and the future of our sport.