Weekend of Freedom

It's Independence Day weekend and I urge you to embrace your freedom and do whatever pleases you and yours. Barbecues, beaches and fireworks all have a place on the schedule, but if you have a nervous big buck hunting tick, then consider the following with an extra vacation day.

First, get your trail cameras out. Start taking photos. You can finally distinguish individual bucks since they now have enough character for differentiation. Nevertheless, don't be too enthusiastic and outfitter Aaron Volkmar who operates Iowa-based Tails of the Hunt explains why.

"I know lots of guys who manage farms and they have great trail camera photos, but they never kill those deer," Volkmar explains. "They check their cameras too often and they go in the same way every time. The deer pattern the hunters better than the hunters pattern the deer."

If you do happen to be out putting up trail cameras, drop by your local landowner and wish them a happy Independence Day. Many of us don't have or likely won't have enough money to purchase our own hunting properties. We rely on the generosity of others, regardless if money is exchanged or not, for hunting access. Many farmers welcome the occasional "hello" to break up the monotony of a long day in the field or the loneliness of rural living. Dropping in with a pan of homemade rhubarb cobbler is an even better plan.

Finally, if it's too hot to be out and about, begin inventorying your big buck gear. Do you have enough treestands? Have they been inspected for safety? Is your binocular working properly or does it need service? What's the condition of your bowstring? I could go on and on, but you get the point. Get organized now for success later.

We're on the downhill slide to hunting season and it will be here before you know it. Enjoy your Independence Day holiday. Thank a soldier. Embrace your freedom.