President's Message: Counting Blessings

Sep 13, 2017

Growing up, one of the most anticipated times of the year was whitetail deer season in November. My dad wasn’t what you’d call an “avid” hunter (there were chores to do), but he also wasn’t immune to the excitement and increased heart rate the sight of a nice whitetail buck can elicit. From time to time, you might catch him with binoculars on the tractor when feeding cattle or in the truck as he checked the farm. His enthusiasm got me hooked, far more so than he was, at a very early age. Each fall, the excitement would build, and most nights after school and chores – and many mornings too – would end in a drive around our property and surrounding area, in a quest to find a trophy deer to dream about and creating a strategy to hunt him. We didn’t have today’s fancy trail cams. When the season opened, it was like a national holiday. We went to school dressed in blaze orange and classes let out early so we would be ready when the clock struck noon. Looking back on it, I’m pretty sure that day was a wasted day for most of our teachers… in part because the students were clearly not thinking about school… and in part because most teachers weren’t either.

That was life in small town North Dakota. And I am blessed to have it as part of how I got here. Those were days and times I’ll never forget.

Today of course, like many of you, I enlist the assistance of GPS, aerial maps to view the terrain and yes, there are a few trail cameras in my arsenal. My most recent trail camera actually sends me photos, in real-time, from literally anywhere I put it (as long as there is cell service and you solve the endless battery issues – which I hope I may have finally tackled). Honestly, my blood is already pumping faster.

I live about 6 hours away from where I grew up and where I still hunt, but I can now keep tabs on the local deer population. It’s pretty remarkable, really. I’d have never dreamed it possible in the 1970’s and 80’s. But it’s part of my hunting life today. A great, great life.

While I’m personally blessed and excited, and clearly anticipating deer season, my heart is also broken for all the folks in Texas and Florida suffering from the recent hurricanes and the many people in the western US devastated by wildfires. Losing your home and belongings is not fun. No doubt it will impact many hunting adventures that were planned for this fall.

If you’ve been impacted directly, I’m praying you and everyone else gets back on your feet quickly, so you can get back into the field as soon as possible. And if you weren’t directly impacted, I hope you can take time to count all the blessings in your life. I know I am.

As we prepare to gather in a few weeks for the annual NASGW Expo and Annual Meeting, to celebrate our great shooting sports lifestyle and get a jump start on the 2018 sales year, let’s be sure to keep in mind that many of our friends and neighbors are hurting. There are numerous charities collecting money or seeking volunteer assistance, so I urge you all to give some thought to the best way you can lend a hand. There’s a lot of folks who need it.

See you in San Antonio!

Kenyon Gleason

NASGW President

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