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What’s Changed?

October 18, 2018 - Larry Claypool
That’s not a tough question for most outdoors people. We still hunt, fish and enjoy the outdoors. What’s changed in the past 5-10 years is how much we enjoy the outdoors, in regards to how much time we spend pursuing our outside interests.

Time? We’ve got more of that, right? The Internet and computers have helped us with everything we do — at work, home and at play. Yes, helped us — in so many ways. But, has that help come at a cost? Sure it has.

The Internet has left us disconnected — from many things. We don’t spend enough face-to-face time with our friends or family. That’s a problem, especially with our kids. For parents that limit the amount of ‘screen time’ their kids get each day, I applaud you! Being in front of a computer screen, Ipad or Smartphone means your kids are not spending time communicating with others (virtually connected doesn’t count) and being OUTSIDE!

Being outdoors — whatever you’re doing — is good for the body and mind. Learning and experiencing the outdoors is enriching, young or old. Earlier this summer I spent a few hours with my 14-year-old grandson (he lives in Florida) exploring the creek near our home. When I was a kid we spent time in the streets (riding our bikes), playing in creeks, woods, trails, empty grass lots (football), basketball courts and more. Do kids even ride bikes anymore? And what about Daisy BB guns? How many of those do we see now? We used to spend hours plinking tin cans.

And my kids (they’re in their 30’s now), they also spent a lot of time outside, and in the same creek near our home. Yes, they also killed a nice dogwood tree that was featured in our yard, but at least they were playing outdoors and as parents we knew where they were. They would also bring home their found treasures from the creek; old bottles, toys, pottery, trinkets, and even a large wood carved Indian head (which is still in our yard, 20 years later, because I thought it would bring bad luck to destroy it).

Do my kids remember their exploits of playing in ‘the creek’? You bet. Some stories I may not have heard yet. One ‘creekin’ story we all recall is when a neighbor boy was hit by a large rock in the head (thrown by my daughter) and he needed several stitches at the hospital to close the wound. My daughter ended up marrying that boy about 10 years later.

As tough as it is to get lost wading in a creek, now kids (and adults) are led ‘astray’ with GPS units attached to our phones and the interesting game of Pokeman Go. If you don’t know what game that is, read my take on it, in the August 2017 OVO Times and on our website (www.ohiovalleyoutdoors.com) titled ‘Get Outside, and Poke Around!’ (posted August 9, 2017).

Here’s the first few lines of that article, “Last summer the “augmented-reality cellphone game” was the talk everywhere, not only in this country, but around the world. People — adults and children — were seen walking aimlessly around neighborhoods, city streets, businesses and landmarks focused keenly on their cellphone screens — looking to track down Pokeman characters.”

Yes, a bunch of computer-generated characters. At least my point was made: “Get Outside, and Poke Around!”

Yes, things have changed.

For hunters, mostly deer hunters, a big part of the hunting experience has been stripped away by the current game check-in procedure. It’s mostly done online now. Convenient? Sure, for both the hunter and state wildlife officials. No longer do you have to drag your harvest to a physical deer check station in your area. Turkey harvests, same thing.

But what is missing? What’s missing is the camaraderie between hunters when they met each deer season at the local check-in station. There’s also a pride factor in showing off your harvest, trophy or not, to others in the hunting community. For the mom and pop stores, shops who were operating the check-in stations, they lost revenue from selling pop, coffee, chips, etc. to hunters during their trips. Now it’s all done by computer or Smartphone.

That’s changed, and will never be the same.

 
 

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Blog Photos

My grandson Nick posed for this photo in the creek bed near our house earlier this summer. Nick was able to find several old bottles, ceramic balls (used in the local pottery industry years ago), pottery pieces and more during our trip.