Look hard enough and it's rarely tough to find something to complain about.
But why bother looking?
Many folks struggle to find the time to get in the woods or onto the water. When they finally do get the chance, they enjoy the moment and are happy for every second of it. The only time they grumble is when it's time to pack it in and head home.
For plenty of other folks, though, complaining is part of the sport. Take a growing chorus of trout anglers. Each year, the Fish and Boat Commission and its army of volunteers put some four million trout into the Commonwealth's waters.
For the grumblers, all those fish are not enough. They want more.
Instead of being happy with the fact that the Commission provides a world-class service that's open to anybody that shells out 30 or so bucks for a fishing license and a trout stamp, they complain that they don't get enough. They demand more.
But those trout aren't cheap. It costs millions of dollars each year to breed, feed and distribute all those fish.
If you've followed the story line, you know money is tight. The Fish and Boat Commission needs to find an extra $9.2 billion within the next 36 months. If not, it could come short of a serious pension obligation.
Needless to say, the agency is counting every penny and saving wherever it can. But despite the rumor and some recent back and forth about closing a couple of major hatcheries, the Commission has not made cuts to the number of trout it stocked this year. The same number of trout will be put into Pennsylvania's streams in 2014 as last year.
But longtime (or maybe just stubborn) anglers will notice some changes. The Commission constantly tweaks its stocking plans to adjust for changing angler patterns. In other words, if the agency notices fewer anglers on some streams and more on another, it will adjust the amount of fish it places in the creek with waning angler pressure. It may disappoint the folks that once had a little-known (and overstocked) honey hole all to themselves, but the Commission is simply maximizing its efforts.
Clearly, there is no easy solution to the agency's budgetary problem. Unless something dramatic happens, the state's trout-stocking program won't expand any time soon.
Like most states, the agencies charged with protecting Pennsylvania's wildlife are supported mainly by sportsman dollars. The fewer folks that buy fishing licenses, the fewer dollars the Fish and Boat Commission has to work with.
As anglers converge on the local trout streams, they've been buzzing about the agency's fiscal situation. Everything from a merger with the Game Commission to a license-fee increase to implementing some sort of sales tax devoted entirely to conservation (an idea worth studying) has been debated.
For now, though, the agency is doing the best it can with what it has. We can complain all we want when we don't catch fish or if our favorite hole has fewer trout in it this year than it did last season, but it won't do much good.
Instead of complaining, get informed. Understand the truth, get involved and help solve the problem. Spend your time outdoors with a smile on your face.
Save the complaining for when it's time to head home.
Andy Snyder writes about the outdoors for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.