Greetings from Port Aransas. The Texas Coastal Bend is no stranger to wind, but right now if it gains another knot or two of steam I suspect the National Weather Service is going to give it a name. Any thoughts of making a side trip with one of the many local fishing guides has gone south ... to be precise, south to 35 mph, when it's not seriously gusting.
It's the final evening of the Texas Outdoor Writers Association annual convention. Port Royale has hosted a variegated contingency of outdoor writers and industry supporting members since Thursday evening, all of whom have brought their own unique stories and products to share ... much of which I will be sharing with you in the next several weeks. If there is anything cool about a TOWA meeting ... and indeed there are many cool things about these get-togethers ... it's that we get the first look at so many products and services that in the next year or so will become part of the common vernacular among Texas outdoor sportsmen.
It's also an opportunity to visit with friends, some made in the past 36 hours and some made over 30 years ago. As endangered species go, the 'outdoor writer' may be a candidate .. at least the full-timer, anyway ... but those of us still plugging at it are hanging in there like rusty old fish hooks, and all because someone like you is willing to pay attention to our observations.
We never take that fact for granted.
Last year, I was honored with the L.A. Wilke Lifetime Achievement Award, TOWA's highest honor. Writer Doug Pike presented the award to me at the association's '08 confab in Bryan/College Station. This year it is my privilege to pass that award to another individual, one whose name the CIA could arguably have not done a better job of keeping under wraps. Among other things about him (her?), you will learn the name of the recipient in the next few days, right here on TFF.
Tomorrow, son James and I leave early in the morning to make it to Columbus, Texas by noon, where I will be the keynote speaker for the Texas Sportsman Association's annual meeting. The TSA was in large part responsible for a then-experimental white-tailed deer management program that in the five years since its inception has been expanded to a great many Texas counties, and which has made an incredible difference in the quality of our bucks. I never believed any group would be able to bring together so many people with such radically different philosophies and agendas. They did. And they succeeded, to a degree beyond anything most of imagined possible. The all-volunteer conservation group deserves to be acknowledged for it, and its remarkable, and even historic tale of progressive wildlife managment success is yet one more topic that, hopefully, will make this column worthy of your time in the days and months to come.
Not too long ago, the average age of a buck hitting the ground in our part of South Central Texas was a staggering 14 months. Now, a mere half-decade later, we are passing up 8-point and better bucks that were previously almost unheard of. A minimum 13-inch spread requirement rests at the core of the program, and this is one time the number 13 has indeed proven itself lucky.
But as with most things that happen to our outdoor and natural resources, it is "luck" that we have made for ourselves.
I look forward to sharing insights, travels and a few opinions with you in the future, and encourage you to drop an email my way if I can help in any manner. At the very least, here you find one more place at which to vent. It's worth noting that were it not for venting, the earth's volcanoes would have long ago consumed our planet (although plenty of hot air remains). The same can be said for our various passions about the outdoors. The day we fail to have opinions, to share our agreements and differences alike, we will all be sorely diminished. More importantly, our natural resources will suffer even more.
However, judging from the current state of public opinion on countless outdoor-related topics, and gauging from the volatile barometer that the TOWA annual meeting invariably provides in tandem with venues such as the one you are reading now, I dare say we needn't worry about falling victim to complacency any time soon.
Meanwhile, if you can do anything about this wind, I definitely want to hear from you.
That will REALLY make the news.
Keep your line wet and your powder dry ...
Last edited by Larry Bozka; 03/01/09 12:16 AM.