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Independence Day

The “4th of July” is a huge holiday for my family.  Many of us would rate it as the best holiday of the year.  Why?  I do not know all the reasons, but most of all it is enjoying our time together.  Oh, there will be lots of good food, antics, and yes, you could say we like to blow stuff up, but really I believe it is because we do it all together!

Our float in the 4th of July parade in Valentine last year!

Have you ever stopped and wondered when it is you feel most free?  We take it for granted that we live in a free country and for the most part are free to pursue life, liberty and happiness.  When do you appreciate that the most?  When do you feel the most free?

My answer would be when I am on the water or in the field hunting, fishing and trapping.  Even though I may be with a partner or two, likely a friend or family member, what we do in the outdoors is largely on our own.  No, we may not live in the wilds of Alaska where our decisions in the field or on the water may literally dictate our life or death, but our decisions in the field and on the water are pretty much our own.  We are free to act as we choose.  Oh yes, there are fish & game rules and regulations, and ethics that dictate our actions, but the decisions, the freedom is ours.

But there are two points about hunting which deserve special emphasis.  One is that the ethics of sportsmanship are not a fixed code, but must be formulated and practiced by the individual, with no referee but the Almighty.–Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

That is heavy stuff, and over the holiday you might not have time to ponder it.  Sometime you will, on some shoreline, in some duck blind, think about it:  How free are you, and how responsible are you with that freedom?

Is this a great country or what?


About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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