Happy Mother’s Day.

Much of what we enjoy in the outdoors is directly related to our mothers, maybe more than any of us know.

Statistics abound tracking the dramatic decline in our country’s number of hunters to the rapid increase of single-parent families.

Yes, there are other factors, like correlating the movement from a rural to an urban society and decreasing open-land space that limits hunting opportunity. But increasing single-parent stats stand out as if they were printed in red.

OK, so some of you will respond that the decline is because there’s no “man in the house” to get the last two generations of youngsters outdoors, or that moms working to support a household simply don’t have the time, energy, means, or the opportunity to fill in for the absent parent. That’s true.

Yet when you think about where you are today, that hundreds of thousands across Louisiana will go fishing in the next weeks and months, and tens of thousands will head to fields, forests, swamps and marshes for the hunting seasons, and trace your first fishing/hunting experience to the source, you will find your mother had a hand in making it something you’ve wanted to do for years.

That’s why it’s important to make sure to thank your mom for her gushing praise when you presented her with that stringer of bluegill, more than likely better suited for an aquarium than frying pan, and she furnished a meal. Or was it squirrel, rabbit, or bird?

It didn’t matter to your mom: What mattered was that it was you, not the fish nor the game.

For today’s single-parent moms, there are mentoring programs to get your children into the outdoors, and these programs take your children far beyond hooks and bullets into the world of our environment and resources conservation.

Today, if you mom is with you, thank her for what she’s done. If not, then remember her for what she did.

To my wife, Cheryl, and mother-in-law, Carolyn Talbot, Happy Mother’s Day. For my mom, I hope she’s in a place where she is free of the pain she endured during her last years and that her soul is rested.

For our daughters-in-law, Robin and Katie, thanks for bringing your sons, Joseph and Hank, into our lives. Robin has had a couple of years to practice on Joseph, born on Christmas Eve more than four years ago and to the struggles she faced to welcome such a vivacious youngster into her Colorado home.

This is Katie’s first Mother’s Day: Hank’s almost constant warm smile, his loving nature is a tribute to her affection and caring attention. For us men, this baby’s smile hardly seems a reward for her many near sleepless nights, but us men don’t have a mother’s heart and will never understand the depth of a mother’s love for her children.

That’s why today comes a month before Father’s Day. Mom’s deserve today and deserve to be honored before us fathers. Come to think of it, they deserve more than a day, and we would be best served to remember that.