In the midst of a cultural upheaval that has seen the anti-private gun ownership forces given new impetus through their media Amen Corner's linkage of the recent tragedy in Connecticut to guns themselves rather than those that actually commit crimes, an administration in Washington that is as actively and thoroughly anti-hunter as any in evidence -- and now somehow entering a second term in which even the pretense of even-handedness -- will be unnecessary without re-election concerns. A public school's and teacher's union hierarchy that continues to trend unerringly leftward, it becomes quickly evident that outdoorsmen -- not just hunters and private gun owners -- are under siege as never before.
Media powers increasingly and understandably continue to increasingly lump fishermen with hunters as their ideological enemies as well.
In the face of such unrestrained assault, I find myself as besieged in my lifestyle, preferences and personal philosophy.
Still, whining doesn't help any more than wishing.
But if I could wish for a few key things around Ohio, and elsewhere, this year, the following would be on the list:
Any upcoming legislation ostensibly intended to curb violence and assaults such as what occurred in Connecticut would be decided intellectually, not emotionally. I do fear some kind of gun-control sanctions will indeed be enacted. Let's hope they do not give impetus to the eventual large-scale confiscation we all are leery of.
That each and every one of us catches the biggest bass we've ever caught this year, preferably on a topwater lure.
n That the Boy Scouts of America are once more allowed to assemble, recruit and hold forth within our public schools; a true test of tolerance, understanding and diversity thus far blunted by those in positions of responsibility that will never forgive this great and worthy organization for adhering stubbornly to Biblical precepts.
Just one local TV station at longlast shows the courage to do a story on how much deer meat is provided to the impoverished by hunters throughout Ohio every year. Don't hold your breath: This would involve showing hunters doing something undeniably positive -- an absolute media no-no heretofore.
Local or state officials finally do a sweep of local lakes and rivers and lastly do a major, well-publicized crackdown on anybody and everybody they encounter trashing shorelines, backroads and, yes, tying their trash in the limbs of area foliage.
The City of Cuyahoga Falls, the EPA and the ODNR take another hard and more reasoned look at the overall consequences of the total removal of the Front Street dams. They might start by at least providing an honest projection of what the water depths will really end up being afterwards, and finally providing credible evidence of exactly how the lowering of the Kent and Munroe Falls dams have "markedly improved water quality." Showing statistical analysis comparing pre- and post-dam shock-testing results of residual fish species, numbers and sizes.
Our "Buckeye Angler" TV show is able to go ahead with plans to film at least one program at beautiful and under-appreciated Hiram Rapids, a part of the Cuyahoga so far, but so linked to the stretch I grew up on many miles downstream. It truly is long overdue.
Fishermen continue to stay away in droves from my Deer Creek reservoir -- arguably our area's most underrated bass fishery.
The small "Mom-and-Pop" baitshops thrive as more and more anglers learn to take proper advantage of the greatest sources of local knowledge in angling and just one (1) Hollywood movie, TV show, sitcom or made-for-TV epic breaks free from the shackles of liberal orthodoxy at longlast and somehow sneaks by the thought police a program portraying a hunter and/or gun owner as something other than a foaming-at-the-mouth redneck maniac or violent cretin bent on compulsive mayhem.
In other words, a simple, albeit brief and spasmodic encounter with honesty and integrity.
Is it possible in the upcoming year?
Jack Kiser is the host of "Buckeye Angler" TV and co-host of The Hunting & Fishing Show" on radio. You may contact him at either program's Facebook site.