A return to the sporting season

There is a draw that brings us back into the fold of the forest, it is a sportsman's drive. Even dogs can sense it. They yip and pace at the back door with the first appearance of a shotgun. They know it is their time too.

This indescribable draw of the season does not solely affect just sportsmen and women. It beckons to all members of the outdoor community, from hikers to paddlers, bikers to birders and beyond.

Whether a photographer or a leaf peeper, a rock climber or a trail runner, the autumn woods beckon. And we simply must answer the call. For we recognize that autumn will exit before before too long.

Soon, the ski season will overtake the landscape, encapsulating it in cold, drab monotones as winter begins to settle in. Autumn offers a sampling of the best of all seasons, with bluebird days backlighting a snow capped mountain peak backdropped by a colorful landscape that yields a bounty of natural harvests.

Forget about sports, put down the remote and pull yourself out of the chair. Now is the time to get out and enjoy the finest season of the year, the High Holy Days of the Woods and Waters.

Don't gulp the season down all at once. Sip autumn's days slowly and savor them for a time when winter's bitterness is in command of the land. Quench yourself in fall's fullness and experience the season as it ripens, it is truly the sweetest time of the year.

Who is the average American hunter?

According to the most recent National Survey on Hunting and Fishing, conducted in 2006, 87 million US residents aged 16 years and older participated in wildlife related recreational activities. This number represents nearly 38 percent of the entire US population.

A total of 12.5 million people described themselves as hunters, with 86 percent primarily pursuing big game, 38 percent seeking small game and 18 percent hunting migratory birds such as ducks and geese. This figure is down from 13 million hunters in 2001.

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