Freedom



By Dwight Schuh, Editor


As I'm writing this, troops from the Armed Forces of the United States are fighting in Iraq. While many reasons are given for the war, one word constantly surfaces to describe the broad objective of that campaign. Freedom. We are fighting for freedom.

When the war in Iraq broke out, many people debated whether we should postpone or cancel certain sporting events and activities in this country. In response to that, one soldier was quoted as saying, "We're not fighting to stop these things. We're fighting to preserve them."


In other words, carry on. Putting our lives on hold at home will do no good for the war cause over there. In fact, it would contradict the purpose of the war. After all, in the broadest sense, our troops are fighting for one reason - so that we all can enjoy freedom. That freedom is what gives them something to fight for. And it's what gives them something to return to.

I have some personal knowledge of that concept. In 1967, I spent a year in Vietnam. Now, I wasn't there for any heroic reasons. I was there because the U.S. government sent me a draft notice and told me that's where I was going. So I went and did my best to fulfill my patriotic duty.

During my year in Vietnam, my friend Don Hummel wrote to me every week, sometimes every day. Don and I had grown up together, beginning in the first grade, and we had hunted English sparrows with our BB guns together, we had shot our bows together, had fished together. But, above all, we had hunted ducks together. That was our real bond.

Don had preceded me to Vietnam. As a Marine, he was on the front lines and, seriously injured, he returned to the U.S. about the time I was heading overseas. So Don knew what war was like. He knew a soldier's mentality. That's why he wrote to me.

But he didn't write me sympathy cards. When he recovered from his injuries and returned to civilian life, he resumed his first love - duck hunting. And that's what he wrote to me about. Duck hunting. He wrote me long, detailed letters about the smells of the marsh, about the feel of the wind, about watching flights of ducks coming in from the north, about the smells of gun powder and Hoppe's #9, about running his fingers through the feathers of a fat pintail. And he sent me photos chronicling all of his duck hunts and other outdoors adventures.

I clung to those letters and pictures. They were my sustenance. And it wasn't just because they stirred memories of past hunts in my mind. It was because, deep inside, down in my guts, I knew, That's why I'm over here. So that you and other Americans can do that. That's why I'm over here. So that once again, someday, I can return home and do that myself.

And so it is that our soldiers are fighting now - so that we all can carry on our lives and activities, including hunting. So that we can enjoy freedom. If you read my "The Wild Side" column in this issue, you get a slight taste of the freedom we enjoy in North America. While that column is written slightly tongue in cheek, it reveals a lot of truth, because it hints at the vast opportunities we North Americans have at our fingertips. It reveals freedom.

The next time you're sitting peacefully in a treestand or shivering in the chill wind on mountaintop, with a bow in your hand, don't dare take that moment for granted. Instead, thank God you live in the United States of America or in Canada, where you have the freedom and resources to do what you're doing at that moment. You're hunting - because you're free to hunt. The only appropriate response is thanksgiving.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Texas Hog and Whitetail Hunt

Texas Hog and Whitetail Hunt

Bowhunter TV Editor Derek Mleynek sets up for some hog and whitetail hunting at Canyon Ranch in Texas.

Dead On: Picking a Spot

Dead On: Picking a Spot

On this edition of "Dead On," Hall-of-Fame bowhunter Randy Ulmer shares advice on picking a spot.

Turkey Decoy Beatdown

Turkey Decoy Beatdown

Bowhunter contributor Matt Palmquist witnesses a hen trying to destroy one of his decoys while hunting turkeys in Kansas.

Early Season Kentucky Whitetail Bowhunt

Early Season Kentucky Whitetail Bowhunt

Christian Berg begins the scouting process in Kentucky on his first whitetail hunt of the season.

Trending Articles

With May comes an opportunity to re-think turkey bowhunting strategies. Turkeys

Spring Gobbler Reset: How to Bowhunt Turkeys in May

Tony J. Peterson

With May comes an opportunity to re-think turkey bowhunting strategies.

Here's how to choose vanes that will yield the best accuracy, forgiveness, and trajectory. Arrows & Broadheads

What Are the Best Vanes For Hunting?

Joe Bell

Here's how to choose vanes that will yield the best accuracy, forgiveness, and trajectory.

New year, new look at your whitetail ground How-To

Summer Scouting from Scratch

Tony J. Peterson

New year, new look at your whitetail ground

This past fall my twin daughters started kindergarten, which meant that I stopped paying for Bows

9 Top Budget Bows for 2018

Tony J. Peterson - February 20, 2018

This past fall my twin daughters started kindergarten, which meant that I stopped paying for

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

Hunting seasons don't just happen in the fall. Editor Curt Wells details some spring bowhunting adventures to extend your time in the outdoors! Stories

Don't Forget About Spring Bowhunting

Curt Wells - March 20, 2018

Hunting seasons don't just happen in the fall. Editor Curt Wells details some spring...

Although there was never any question as to whether my two girls would hunt, my first step was Stories

Who Says Girls Can't Bowhunt?

C. J. Winand - December 14, 2017

Although there was never any question as to whether my two girls would hunt, my first step was

It's often said archers do it Stories

The Journey For A Longbow Super Slam

Nathan L. Andersohn - July 31, 2018

It's often said archers do it "the hard way," but hunting with a longbow is, by far, the...

Choosing to bowhunt during gun season certainly adds an extra layer of difficult to and already Stories

Yes, You Can Bowhunt During Gun Season

Bowhunter TV - November 20, 2014

Choosing to bowhunt during gun season certainly adds an extra layer of difficult to and already

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.