Attempting to Pass it On!   At some point in everyone's life you're influenced by someone or something.  In some cases these influences lead us in a direction that dead ends.  Other influences ignite an internal fire and will lead us down a never ending road.  One influence in my life that I'm thankful for and that will burn forever is my outdoor influence.  When I was twelve I can remember going with my Dad to a local pawn shop looking for my first deer rifle.  At the time money meant nothing to me, but now I realize that was no small purchase.  My Dad traded one of his shotguns and a sum of cash for that rifle.  It was a semi-auto .243 that seemed to weigh as much as me.  It was already equipped with a scope and it was ready for action.  My Dad poured a lot of sweat that summer getting ready for the upcoming deer season.  Now I realize that he did that for me because he saw the passion I had and he wanted to fuel that fire.  That first season came and went without a deer.  I learned a lot that year.  One thing was that a semi-auto was heavy and I needed a lighter rifle.  We traded the .243 for a bolt-action .270.  Another thing was that we had to get the stand out of the back yard.  I know Dad (probably Mom) wanted to keep me close but that just wasn't working.  So we moved that stand to an oak hollow that was a good hike from the house.      I got to meet my childhood idol! Not long into that season I had my opportunity for my first deer.  A four point strolled down through the oak hollow and met his match.  I was so pumped that I jumped down and ran all the way back home.  My Dad was at work so I pulled Mom out of the house and we made the trek back through the woods to find the deer.  My Mom always joked that she passed the hunting gene to me because she was 1/16th Native American.  Well after watching her find that deer I would agree.  My Mom passed away this year and I will always cherish the pride she had and interest she showed in my outdoor adventures.  I told her to find a good hunting spot for me in heaven.  No doubt that she influenced me. Although hunting is now my favored outdoor activity, fishing was my first love.  I was lucky enough to grow up with a small pond within walking distance from my house.  I can remember many a day when my Dad and I shoveled up a few worms and hit the pond.  As I got older I started to let my imagination wonder.  My favorite TV show was Hank Parker's Outdoor Magazine.  The jingle still rings in my head.  "The house needs paintin, the yard needs mowin, where's he at?  He's gone fishin!"  Talk about influence.  Well I had a many of battles with Hank on that small pond.  (In my imagination).  It would always come down to the last minute.  I would be down a fish in the Bassmaster Classic with 10 minutes to go.  I always seemed to catch that fish, whether it took me three hours or not.  As many of you would agree, those who have been bit by the outdoor bug will never heal.  An outdoor influence is needed more than ever in today's world, and hopefully I can pass it on!  Share your story of what influenced the outdoors in you.