It seems hard to believe, but July 4 usually represents the midpoint of summer. I know the days of summer are ticking away for me and in a little over a month I'll be putting the finishing touches on many of my scouting efforts. I'll be on the hunt by mid-August.
But this weekend means relaxation and reflection. I'm going to reflect on a few things and you can add them to your list of thoughts or simply watch the fireworks.
First, America is still the land of the free and the home of the brave. Never forget that concept. Freedom means the right to bear arms and to partake in the rich tradition of hunting. If those freedoms ever come to question, will you be brave enough to defend them?
Second, Americans are blessed with an abundance of public lands, both state and federally controlled. Every year I expand my exploration of these lands, especially the broad expanse of national forests from coast to coast. This expanse of public domain gives you the freedom to roam, camp and hike on an estate where you hold the key. That's an invaluable freedom as well and one that also may need to be defended from too little protection or even too much.
Third, America's great wildlife resources owe their success to one group:
hunters. You and I brought many species back from the brink of extinction, protected masses of others and have been unparalleled stewards for nearly every other living animal. Nobody or no group has done more for wildlife, yet lately it seems everyone has their hands in wildlife management hampering the work of those paid to do the job. Litigation, research studies and the likes by groups who never give a dime to natural resources are holding up sensible management plans, or altering plans for unrealistic results. There's a simple fix. Match the money generated by hunters to gain the respect of America's true conservationists.
Americans have a rich history of firearms, hunting and protection of natural resources. Hunters are a key component of the results. Enjoy your freedoms this Independence Day weekend, but never forget that freedoms are never free. Our troops are testament to that statement.
Have a great holiday! I'll be spending some of my weekend putting out trail cameras, horseback riding in the mountains and taking the kids fishing. Does it get any better than that?
America the beautiful. Happy Independence Day!