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.

Season Opener: Kentucky Whitetail Bowhunt

Season Opener: Kentucky Whitetail Bowhunt

Christian Berg arrives at Whitetail Heaven Outfitters in Kentucky to kick off the beginning of his hunting season.

Release Arm Alignment

Release Arm Alignment

On this edition of "Dead On," pro archer Randy Ulmer shows you how to properly align your release arm.

2018 Bowhunter TV Episode 13: The Call of Cross Mountain

2018 Bowhunter TV Episode 13: The Call of Cross Mountain

Team Bowhunter makes its annual pilgrimage to the elk-rich high country of Colorado's Cross Mountain Ranch.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

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

Curt Wells and Randy Ulmer [video] explain the importance of momentum and penetration when choosing heavy vs. light arrows for bowhunting. How-To

How to Choose the Best Hunting Arrow - Heavy vs. Light

Curt Wells

Curt Wells and Randy Ulmer [video] explain the importance of momentum and penetration when...

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.

Go farther, hunt deeper, and trek lighter while enjoying all-day comfort. How-To

Tree Saddle Hunting — Demo Climb With Aider

Mike Carney - June 07, 2019

Go farther, hunt deeper, and trek lighter while enjoying all-day comfort.

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

Dwight Schuh explains why it's okay to be serious about bowhunting - but not too serious! Stories

Hunting for the Fun of It

Dwight Schuh

Dwight Schuh explains why it's okay to be serious about bowhunting - but not too serious!

Suddenly quiet, the bright-orange, one-time Danish Coast Guard boat drifted with the current, water Stories

A Greenland Hunting Adventure to Remember

Jeff Waring - January 02, 2018

Suddenly quiet, the bright-orange, one-time Danish Coast Guard boat drifted with the current,...

Emily Schuh Berriochoa details her father's final harvest. Stories

The Last Stand: Dwight Schuh's Final Buck

Emily Schuh Berriochoa

Emily Schuh Berriochoa details her father's final harvest.

Bowhunter Magazine is turning 45 years old! My, how time flies! I began bowhunting not long after Stories

Bowhunting: Passion, Obsession or Addiction?

Randy Ulmer - October 21, 2016

Bowhunter Magazine is turning 45 years old! My, how time flies! I began bowhunting not long...

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.

Get Digital Access.

All Bowhunter subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now