Putting Sheep On The Mountain

Putting and keeping sheep on the mountain since 1977, the Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF) National Convention in Reno, Nevada, is something that every serious hunter and conservationist should attend annually.

The WSF is a small group of less than 6,000 members world-wide that are making a big difference to enhance wild sheep populations, the promotion of professional wildlife management, educating the public and our youth on sustainable use, and the conservation benefits of hunting.

The WSF convention is one of my favorite conventions to attend simply because of the many events that occur during the weekend—the Celebrity Sporting Clays event features members of the U.S. Shooting Team and Wounded Warrior Outdoors alumni; the elaborate ladies luncheon presented by Cabela’s, themed this year as a South Pacific Ladies Luau; the Club Cocktail Reception where those who enter that have never hunted sheep are eligible to win one of three coveted sheep hunts; the 3 days of expositions featuring the latest and greatest in gear; and some of the best hunting outfitters in the world. There’s something for everyone in the seminars, grand banquets, and live and silent auctions.

The two keynote speakers, Shane Mahoney and Rick Carone, left me inspired and convicted to do more and be more.

Shane Mahoney brought decades of profound experiences and insight to our ever-changing future as hunters and conservationists. Listening to Shane describe our world and how we, as hunters, need to educate and inform people about how and why our time-honored hunting traditions are relevant in this new world motivated me beyond belief.

As hunters, we serve the most important purpose in the world: conservation. This truth might be self-evident among our peers; however, the remainder of the world doesn’t understand how hunting is conservation … and that is our true mission.

Now is the time for us to all unite, become leaders and share with the rest of the world how we are conserving for this generation and ensuring a brighter future for the next. This all starts with each and every one of us as individuals. This starts in our homes, teaching our children what conservation is and how hunting is conservation. This branches out to our communities that are familiar and those beyond our back door and neighborhood into the cities that live an urban lifestyle.

We need to take an individual role to serve, volunteer, educate and empower others to do the same. Our voice is dwindling, so we must roar loudly before our voice is silenced forever.

Shane’s speech left me with a feeling of more. I need to do more, we need to do more. More needs to be done. We each are responsible to equally help lift this nation into greatness and continue the time-honored traditions that we hold so dear … traditions that are the key to our future in an ever-changing world.

Rick’s Message
At the age of 42, Rick was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. As an athlete and outdoorsman, Rick is a fighter, strong in his faith—and the perfect person to take part in the inspirational new outdoor television show, Sheep Shape TV.

Taking part in Sheep Shape TV with three other extraordinary people, Chad Hall, Patrick Scrogin and Kelsie Burford, they push through their individual challenges and take on the mountain for one of the toughest hunts in the world.

Rick is a strong Christian and is sharing his purpose with the world, overcoming great obstacles and living life one breath at a time. Rick is an amazing person that we can all learn from. His adversity strengthening his faith, friendships and his purpose. Rick’s story is raising awareness and helping the fight to shut down cancer.

After listening to Rick and learning of his story, I believe that everyone in the room took a look inside themselves to evaluate their own life. The conviction of purpose is something that each and every one of us needs to be in touch with.

When I was done listening to Shane Mahoney and Rick Carone, I spent the 8-hour drive home reflecting on my own life, and I hope that after reading this blog, each and every one of you is going to take a few minutes to do the same. Come up with a plan and start living with purpose.

The Wild Sheep Foundation has raised and spent more than $90 million to help put and keep sheep on the mountain. They have also inspired and encouraged the dreams of mountain hunters across the world, touching the most important landscape—our hearts—with a mission that is helping to conserve a bright future for the next generation of hunters, wildlife and habitat.

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