Photo credit: Carter Reschke

Hunting, Angling Offer Respite for Many in a Tenuous Moment

Coronavirus is forcing all of us to reconsider our daily interactions with other people. But hunters and anglers find a sense of peace, stability, and charity within the most ancient form of social distancing.

Clearly, we’re in a strange moment globally. Bars, restaurants, and even entire communities are battening down the hatches to protect the most at-risk among us.

And among the quarter-million posts on the hashtag #socialdistancing, hunters and anglers are adding in their moments of solace, sense of food security, and even their skillsets to help others out in this time of frenzied insecurity.

Full Freezers Equal Peace of Mind, Opportunities to Share

The one trend popping up specifically on social media is hunters and anglers sharing the amount of variety of meat they have in their freezers, along with the solace that food security brings in such a moment.

“Hunting allows me to carry the daily confidence that I have the meat in my freezer to feed my family, as well as the confidence to know that my success in the field is preparing my family for hard times,” HuntingLife.com‘s Kevin Paulson said.

“I have a 20-cubic-foot freezer that is filled with the meat of game birds, deer, fish, and pork that I’ve harvested throughout the last year. This gives me tremendous confidence to weather the storm through any kind of extended stay-at-home event.”

Beyond sharing the amount of meat they have on social media, hunters like Jared Frasier, executive director of 2% for Conservation, are offering to share their meat with folks in need.

“As someone who grew up in a household that didn’t have money for food, seeing empty shelves catalyzed my desire to help others who might be going hungry right now,” Frasier said. “Wild game sustained my family growing up, and now my family has an abundance of food that is hunted, foraged, and gardened. If our abundance can help kids and families from going hungry, I want to do my part.”

Skiers Turned to the Lakes After Closures

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Photo credit: Amy Duncan

Colorado fishing and hunting guide Amy Duncan witnessed a new type of solidarity in this odd moment. Last week, Colorado shut down its ski resorts with almost no warning. It caught a lot of visitors to the state off guard.

Duncan saw skiers turn to fishing as a way to pass the time. Many had to wait several days for their flights to return home. She saw it happen in her work at Alpine Fishing Adventures.

“After every ski resort closed, we absolutely blew up with business,” Duncan said. “[This crisis] has given birth to new opportunities for people to do things that they had no idea they wanted to try.”

With ski resorts closed, she saw tourists turn to all sorts of outdoor recreation not usually on their radar.

“There are families out there trying something new together,” Duncan added. “It makes my heart burst when I see as many people on the lake as there are. People are helping each other.”

At this time, most tourists have returned home. But at least many made the best of their hastily changed vacations. And they’ll carry home a memory of a new experience to replay through the uncertain days ahead.

An Age-Old Skillset With a New-Age Outlook

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Photo credit: Jared Frasier

As folks take up new activities that require 6-plus feet of distance from others, the sporting community finds that little needs to change to do what they do best.

“Tell you what, in the last 24 hours I’ve hit the river twice and I’ve started thinking about spring turkey, which I thought I’d miss due to other commitments,” said sportsman Brian Holcombe, principal at Rygr PR. “There may not be a better couple of activities than fishing and hunting in a time of social distancing.”

The naturally distant nature of obtaining food outside married with the need for recreation is a natural appeal to outdoorspeople of all sorts. And Sarah Burton of Burton’s Outdoor Guiding also sees this as an opportunity to both stay calm and continue to thrive.

“I believe [hunters are] more prepared to think through the current situation. Hunting is about thinking through scenarios, sometimes in a very fast time period,” Burton said.

“That skill is helpful to imploring our own common sense and staying calm through this virus pandemic. We have the ability to provide even more [meat for ourselves] in the upcoming turkey season, fishing is always an option, and gardening season is just around the corner.”

Like Burton, Holcombe felt that same sense of upcoming opportunity. Even better, hunting and fishing is a balm for cultural anxiety.

“Fishing gives a sense of escape; hunting gives the sense of control,” he said. “Time stops when I’m in the water, and all the worries of the world wash away. For a sense of control or independence, there’s no feeling like putting your own animal in the freezer.”

Nicole Qualtieri
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Based in Montana, Nicole Qualtieri is GearJunkie's Hunt + Fish Editor. When she's not writing or editing, she's likely hunting, fishing, or on the back of her little brown horse with a border collie named Butch Cassidy on heel in the mountains. Find her on Instagram at @nkqualtieri.

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