Sitting in complete silence — watching the morning sun penetrate the woods full of Georgia pines and large white oaks — you cannot help but marvel at God’s creation.
Growing up in rural Hall County, I have always been an avid outdoorsman. Whether it was fishing in Papa Bill’s farm pond or hunting game — especially deer, dove and duck — some of my fondest memories were spent in those fields and woods where a “boy becomes a man.”
I strongly believe that hunting and fishing are more than just enjoyable activities — they are important past-times that impart valuable lessons on our next generation.
Teaching my three boys to hunt — and helping them learn the proper techniques for handling firearms responsibly — was a source of tremendous pride and great enjoyment for our family. There is simply nothing better than sitting uninterrupted with your son as you watch and wait for the flash of a Georgia whitetail. These precious moments together — sharing the bond that can only be found in nature — cannot be replaced.
Hunting taught my boys the valuable lessons of patience, perseverance, and the ability to learn from mistakes. These principles have served them well as they’ve grown into fine men with families of their own. That is one reason why as Georgia’s Lt. Governor, I have been adamant that through educational and outreach programs, the Department of Natural Resources must continually grow their base and interactively engage our youth. This year, we took a significant step towards achieving this goal.
We have authorized the DNR to collect more Pittman-Robertson funds, known among our hunting community as hook-and-bullet funds, from the Federal Government. This means DNR will be able to conduct more programs, pay for additional conservation rangers, and enhance access to our pristine natural lands. As an outdoorsman, I will always strongly support improving access to pristine hunting and fishing. I encourage everyone to participate in the outdoors and celebrate God’s most precious gifts to us.
Legendary golfer Sam Snead once said, “The only reason I played golf in the first place was so I could afford to hunt and fish.”
While I didn’t become Lt. Governor for the salary, and it actually restricts my time in the woods, Snead’s heartfelt passion for the outdoors is the reason I love this quote. As outdoorsmen, we must do everything we can to instill a similar passion and commitment in our next generation so they are actively involved in hunting, fishing, and conserving Georgia’s natural beauty.
I know that I cannot wait for the opportunity to share those memorable cold mornings with my new-born grandson, Levi Mick. Teaching him should be easy. After all, he is a Cagle — so I know he will be a good shot!
Good luck and good huntin’ this deer season.
Cagle is Georgia’s lieutenant governor.