No one I know seems to be able to say, definitively, what has happened to us and to our beautiful republic. The nattering pundits of television and the internet claim that we are a nation hopelessly divided. They—these expensively coiffed soap-locks; these poltroons of right, left, the bizarre, the interplanetary, and the fungal—claim that our very own citizens seethe with hatred for one another, that we agree on nothing, that we batten on the potent energies of scorn and the thinnest gruels of despair, that we’ve forsaken all we once held self-evident and in common.
And here these “commentators” and pundits betray their utter and spineless lack of knowledge of the true America, of the rest of us, out here on the rivers and creeks, in the swamps (the real ones), ringing with birdsong and splashing with fish, the forests and prairies, the mountains from the Alleghenies to the Coast Range, chasing steelhead and bullhead, ptarmigan to gators, whitetails to Coues, fox squirrels to tarpon.
Because out here, in the America of mud and dust and brass tacks, we agree on just about all the basics when it comes to the outdoors. And those shrunken souls who traffic in, and profit by, cultivating division might—if they were not so blinded by the light of their screens or their respective lunacies—take note, and pause for a moment to reflect, as a man will when turning down an unfamiliar road and sensing danger. Americans do not like to be taken for suckers.
A new poll shows extraordinary unity among us Americans—right and left, rich and poor—when it comes to hunting and fishing and our unique and hard-won brand of conservation that makes them possible.
But first, any reader worth his or her salt will want to know who conducted this poll, how it was conducted, and who stands most to benefit from publishing its results, so here are the answers: The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership conducted the poll in partnership with Public Opinion Strategies to find out as much as possible about how American outdoorsmen feel about conservation. It’s worth noting that Public Opinion Strategies is not a conservation or politics-oriented business; they’ve worked for everybody from the American Beverage Association to Walmart. The poll was conducted from May 1 to 8 2017, and…