Today, I spent my morning helping the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources host a fishing event for residents of Bella Terra Rehabilitation Services in Cedar City, Utah.
Dan Kidder, Managing Editor of Sportsman's News Magazine helps a resident of Bella Terra Rehabilitation Living show off the fish she caught with Heather Talley of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
So many of us take our time in the outdoors for granted, and while we are cognizant that there are a multitude of young people who have never caught a fish or been hunting, we forget that there are just as many who we might consider beyond the prime of life, who also have never done these things.
Seeing the looks of delight as these residents of this assisted care facility caught their first fish, then their second, and sometimes third, was a very rewarding way to spend a Thursday morning. Approximately 50 resident, and scores of volunteers crowded around three large livestock tanks brimming with hungry rainbows, waiting for a bite. The volunteers, mainly participants in the Utah Dedicated Hunter program, baited lines, helped land the fish and posed with photos of the trophies with the residents. Other volunteers were busily filleting the catch and breading and frying them so the residents could taste the fruits of their labor.
Programs like the Utah DWR Community Fisheries Program, is one of the reasons I never mind paying my annual fishing license fee. The fees collected in licensing go toward programs like this, as well as stocking and maintaining the excellent fisheries across the state.
The Community Fisheries Program provides clinics for children in urban areas, as well as at expos and events like the one this morning to encourage people to take advantage of the great fishing opportunities in their area. This program is not exclusive to Utah either, with many states having similar outreach initiatives to encourage children, both young and old, to get outside and enjoy the outdoors.
Nothing beats seeing the look of excitement when a first time angler lands that first fish and gets hooked on the sport for life. Contact your local wildlife division and see how you can volunteer to help grow the sportsman's lifestyle in your community.