Hunting and fishing gives me this connection with nature that you can’t get any other way,” says Dom Watts, a biologist at Alaska’s Kenai National Wildlife …
[wind whistling]
[drum banging]
[snow crunching]
When you're by yourself,
it's just you and what's around you that
gives you a more clear picture of nature.
And the sound of the water,
and the wind blowing through the trees,
and all these things that you're kinda overlooking
if there's something else distracting you.
[water gurgling]
Hunting and fishing gives me this connection
with nature that you can't get any other way.
And it gives you this closeness to the wild.
[gunshot rings]
[guitar twang]
My name's Dominic Watts.
I'm a large mammal biologist
for Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
[dramatic music]
Hunting and fishing allow me to kind of be part
of this bigger thing, this bigger system,
bigger experience.
Hunters and anglers were the first conservationists,
and they started seeing the things that they loved,
they start seeing those things go away.
There's this inherent need to protect that place,
to really inundate yourself in the experience in the system,
and fishing allows me to do that,
hunting allows me to do that, as well.
Kenai Refuge is a vast expanse of wilderness.
It's a place to get away.
The water is the lifeblood of the whole system.
You're watching something that shaped everything
that we see today.
All the water in this lake system is coming from
this just continuous flow from the glaciers downstream.
And then you keep going up, it's cracked ice,
hundreds of feet thick, as far as you can see
all around you.
These glaciers are slowly moving downstream
through time, carving out the landscape,
providing those things like spawning habitats
for salmon that all the other species are relying on.
As an angler you enter this part of the system
where the sockeye salmon are coming up out of the ocean,
they're coming back in to spawn.
Every time I walk up to a stream,
I still feel this just kind of sense of wonder
that there's that many fish coming up into the system.
You're becoming part of this bigger picture
in this thing that's been going on essentially
since the beginning of time.
For me, hunting and fishing is so central in my life,
and it's always been this kind of main component
and driving factor.
Just growing up, I always had this kind of urge
to come to Alaska.
Even as a kid, all I wanted to do was be outside,
and it originally started with my father.
An ideal future is where these things are conserved
in perpetuity, and generations from now,
people can go out and have
the same experiences like I've had.
There's this inherent need to protect that place,
'cause you wanna come back, you wanna share that
for the next generation.

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