Public Lands Bring Simple Pleasures in a Stressful World
Emily Heiman is an Artemis Ambassador for Louisiana and is part of the Kayak Bass Fishing community. She loves fishing and hunting on public lands.
I work in a very stressful field: law enforcement. If that wasn’t enough, I’m a female police officer in a world full of men. Public lands are where I go to burn off stress, calm my soul, and enjoy the beauty of nature. I hunt and fish. I wish I had time for more, but the world needs me. I grew up in the swamps of south Louisiana, but moved to the piney woods of north Louisiana. Pine isn’t exactly my favorite place. But when I find that cypress swamp, no matter what life has thrown at me, I’m back home with all the things that make me smile.
I hunt in the Kisatchie National Forest. There’s ducks and deer and that little squirrel that won’t stop barking at me. Life in the forest is simple. The deer wants to browse, the duck wants to fly, and that squirrel wants to find a beautiful pecan tree and stuff his little cheeks. These creatures don’t care about politics or what’s popular. Eat, sleep, repeat. That’s all they care about. That’s what makes them so beautiful.
Public lands remind me of how simple life should be. It allows me to breath fresh, clean air, relax, and hopefully put my next meal on the table. We can all learn from the simplicity of nature. It’s beautiful and I am very grateful I am able to be a small part of it.
I remember one evening hunt, a momma doe was with her twin yearlings. We were in a hardwood bottom, one of my favorite places to hunt. It was a “bucks only” day, so they were safe from becoming dinner. It was wonderful to watch the twins playing and the momma doe keeping a watchful eye. There was a white oak that had dropped a bunch of acorns, and those beautiful creatures feasted. They stayed for about an hour and as the sun began to set, they walked off…or so I thought. As I began my descent from my stand (I rappel) I heard a twig snap beneath me. The momma doe was right under my tree and I almost landed on her. We both had a confused look on our faces and she eventually figured out I was a person and scurried off. It was a first for me — and I would assume her as well — and it’s a moment I’ll never forget.
We’d love to hear about the public lands you love! If you’re interested in writing a love note, please email us at OurPublicLands@nwf.org for guidelines. If you submit your entry before November 15th, you’ll be entered in a drawing to win one of two hoodies from Anetik.