As I am writing this column, I am sitting against a Rocky Mountain fur camouflaged by thick logs and brush. I am hunting the Idaho black bear. A tributary of the Snake River flows to my left and an open meadow scattered with various conifers surrounds me. This is truly my natural element.
I will be in Idaho for a week and have been made a believer in the American west. For starters, the people here closely resemble our men and women at home. They are friendly, fiercely independent, and take their 2nd Amendment rights as seriously as our Founding Fathers.
The people of this wild country rely on themselves, are eager to serve others, and take care of this beautiful environment. They do not have a panic attack (like I do) when cell service is unavailable and seem to personally be able to manage by self reliance and the voluntary help of their fellow citizens. If a disaster hit the state of Idaho, at least in the mountain areas, I am sure that the people would not wait on government assistance, but would take action immediately.
Idahoans also seem to be serious environmentalists. To my surprise, I have not found even one piece of litter on my trip so far. This provides an example that reasonable environmentalists and hunters/conservationists actually have much in common.
I am told that the state of Idaho has just over 1.5 million inhabitants with around 30% of those people living in Boise. (I must say that I am still not over the Dawgs losing to Boise State, but I have chosen to look past all of the blue and orange in the city).
Many of the Boise residents leave after work and travel north to hunt the bear, elk, whitetail, and mule deer that inhabit the vast national forest. In fact, around 80 percent of the state is publicly owned wildlife habitat.
Because of the culture of personal responsibility that exists here, the crime rate is very low. I met a corrections officer in Boise who was kind enough to give me some interesting statistics. When I asked her where a large supermax facility may be located, she gave me a puzzled look and said that there are currently only 800 maximum security inmates in the whole state. Wow.
She did say that the death penalty will be handed out in Idaho though it has been a long time since an execution took place. Like most states, lethal injection is used. But, in keeping with their western tradition not too long ago, an inmate could have also chosen the firing squad. This practice was ended by the governor’s signature in 2009.
I feel blessed and very grateful to have had the opportunity to experience this part of America. Idaho seems to have brightened my attitude about the current state of this country.
Remember, we are an independent, self reliant people who trust in God to lead our country on the right path. God himself gave us these vast natural resources to enjoy and protect. He also presents tough challenges for us to face and expects to ask for His guidance.
I pray that we can dig deep in the next few months and years and live the way our Founding Fathers were inspired to set the example. Let’s get it done, folks.