Congratulations to Brian Lozes of Covington Louisiana, winner of the 2007 Daisy outdoor Products “Take aim at Safety” youth essay contest. Brian won a trip to Elk Camp for him and one of his parents, plus a new Daisy Red Rider BB gun. He will be introduced and was honored at the beginning of the Friday luncheon Auction. His essay, printed below, will also be in the July-August 2008 Bugle.

We are hoping to get a short interview with this remarkable young man about his experiences at RMEF Elk Camp in Reno and to learn about his hunting plans for 2008.

Brian Lozes

Life Lessons from Hunting and Nature

By: Brian Lozes 

     I have been hunting and learning about the outdoors for most of my life.  My Dad taught me how to shoot at the age of six or seven, and he has taken me camping and backpacking many times since then.  I have grown to love the outdoors and am very appreciative to my dad for introducing me to everything that I come to love so much.  In my experiences outdoors and hunting with my father I have learned respect, responsibility, patience, and how to conserve resources.  Most importantly, I have learned to be prepared.  Hunting and camping have instilled in me knowledge that will prove to be invaluable in the future.

One of the most important lessons my father ever taught me is to respect people and things.  When he bought me my first gun, he told me to “always treat the gun as if it were loaded.”  This message taught me to respect the lives and wellbeing of others.  I also learned to treat guns with respect; they are not toys and can be very dangerous if they are in the hands of inexperienced ore irresponsible people.  Since he first introduced me to guns the one message that my father has endlessly driven into my mind is “safety.”  I have also learned to respect the outdoors, through all my camping and backpacking experiences.  One of these lessons is to “leave the campsite cleaner than you found it.”  This principle applies to anything in life.  Anywhere you go you can clean up; there is no shortage of trash, and unfortunately there are people in this world who litter and do not care about the trash once they have gotten rid of it.  I have learned to be the person who stops to pick up a piece of trash instead of walking by it like most people tend to do.

Backpacking and my respect for the outdoors have taught me to conserve.  From limiting the weight of my pack to conserving water because there is a limited amount, I have learned how to save anything through this knowledge.  I now use only what is necessary then save the rest for later or for somebody else.  Conservation is becoming a very important issue in today’s world and will continue to be as important in years to come.  We must all accept our responsibilities as stewards of the earth.

Patience.  There is nothing in this world that has taught me the virtue of patience more than hunting.  During my first hunting trips, I would read books because sitting and waiting seemed quite boring.  That was seven years ago.  I have since learned to sit in the stand for hours waiting to see or for the opportune shot on that colossal sized buck.  I have learned through this experience to enjoy nature and have gained the ability to wait for hours for anything or anyone.  These experiences keep me from getting angry when having to wait for other people.

I have been involved in scouting since the first grade, and it was scouting that first introduced me to the outdoors.  Since then I have been on over one hundred campouts, backpacking, and rafting trips that have taken me across the country.  It was this organization that first sparked my love of nature and allowed it to grow.  The Boy Scout motto is “Be prepared.”  Two years ago, I attained the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in scouting.  I have learned first hand that heeding to this motto will prevent trouble and prepare anyone for life.  This is the single most important life skill that I have learned in my seventeen years.  It can be applied to everything that we do in life, whether it is having a first aid kit in our cars or preparing for a job interview.  Through my experiences and mistakes I have learned “Be Prepared,” which will allow me to accomplish anything in life.

Nothing that I learned in the outdoors and through hunting can be taught by a textbook or in a classroom.  This knowledge is gained by doing or witnessing something first hand.  There is no better teacher than experience.  It is something very special to be able to come closer to nature, and my experiences in the outdoors have given me knowledge that will be used for the rest of my life.

Brian Lozes