Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Bit More on Pursuing the Whitetail Deer

As I wrote last, I really enjoy the Deer hunting season from 15 Oct- 31 Jan each fall.  Over the years I have had some great hunting buddies:

  • Bobby
  • Ronnie
  • Mark
  • Matt
  • Eric
  • Paul
  • Hugh
  • Charles
  • Newt

I am amazed at some of the details of some of the memories from long ago.  I remember my fist good buck on the Oakmulgee Wildlife Management Area, and still have those horns in my office.  I recall the mule deer I killed in Montana, and a whitetail there.

I remember killing a doe with my bow in NY, and I remember the great buck I missed twice there.  Of course I recall with great clarity the best buck of my life, 3 years back.

Besides hours and hours of enjoyment, I have also enjoyed pounds of delicious venison.  Surprisingly to me, it has also become a source of income.

Although I didn’t get into this hobby for the dough, it has helped pay, or maybe even paid for all my deer hunting.  I sell between 1 and 7 Deer hunting articles each year to a big hunting magazine.  I have made as much as $800 for many of these.  This came about almost accidentally when I was asked to write one little article on the physiology of suspension trauma.

Speaking of which, that led to my work as a special consultant for tree stand and safety harness accidents.  This is quite a bit more lucrative than writing, but also involves mostly writing.  I enjoy this work too, and learn a lot in the process.

That sounds like I have wandered pretty far afield from deer hunting (pun intended).  But these things kind of reinforce each other.  And that’s what I want to happen spiritually too.  I want everything in my life to link to glorifying G^d and enjoying Him forever.  I want each part to reinforce the other.  It turns out, that this is really all that matters.  Not deer hunting, or work, or success, or happiness, or even family matters.  Each of these can be a means to an end, but none of them are the end.

Now if I can just keep that in mind.

Monday, January 27, 2014

"Esplaining" Deer Hunting

Lots of people cannot conceive why an otherwise intelligent person, not facing starvation, would venture out into the cold woods in 22 F weather.  After all there is no tv, no www, no cell coverage there.


For the majority of the year, I am running hither and yon, I am emailing, texting, talking on the phone.  I am trying to resolve problems, many of my own creation.  I am proposing this project or that, I am trying to teach this or that.  Sometimes I am studying, sometimes writing, sometimes talking, but not so often thinking quietly.

All that changes with deer season.  In mid-October the archery season begins.  The odds of killing a deer with a bow, especially for me, are quite low.  But, the joy of sitting quietly in the woods, the joy of seeing sunrise, the joy of seeing the woods wake up, is an irresistible draw for me.

This is the quietest it gets in the modern world.  The first sound is a squirrel coming down a tree to search for acorns in the dry leaves.  Now a titmouse lights in the dead tree next to my elevated perch.  A crow calls in the distance, and a pileated woodpecker calls nearby.  The blue jays, the ruby-crowned kinglets, the cardinals sprinkled the dark gray woods with sparks of light.

Bow season is quietly replaced by a week of muzzle-loader hunting.  This week we pour a measured dose of black-powder down a long heavy barrel, and follow that with a separate 50-caliber bullet.   The gun looks antique, and connects me with a couple hundred years of our forefathers, who hunted to stave off starvation.  We have different motives, but share some of the joys of the hunt.  Just I am under considerably less pressure for success than they were.

After a short week we are at the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  In Alabama that is opening day of modern gun hunting.  Many citizens have been waiting for this day since the 31st of January earlier that year.  It will be high excitement, as it is for about 11 million of my fellow deer hunters across the USA.

When the kids were little, we needed about 5 whitetails per year to give us lean, organic, free-range meat.  Now one or two deer is all we need. 

Our kids ate a lot of it when they were growing up.  Our son David would whine a bit about eating nothing but venison as mostly our only red meat.  When he came home this Christmas, and Brenda asked him what special food to prepare, he said, “venison”.

Go figure.

We’ll continue this another day, there’s just too much to tell.  It you are highly sensitive, look away, you can look next time.

 Dec 2013 deer Bobby Mc and I killed same day.

Friday, January 24, 2014


Some clever sage once suggested, if G^d intended for us to see sunrise, he would have scheduled it later in the morning.  I know just what they mean.  At least the summer sunrises are warm.  Now sunrise is cold, very cold, even here in Alabama.

The sunrise you see here is from last Wed., 15 Jan, down in Marengo County, AL.  What am I doing there, and awake at that time of day?  I’ll leave that question to your wonder.

But the sunrise is especially joyful.  This marks the start of a brand new day with all its hope, promise, opportunity.  It is of value, because days make up weeks, which make up months, which make up years, which make up decades, and decades make up our lives.

Each sunrise represents a new day.  How will we spend it?  We can do good, or not.  We can spend it on ourselves, or others.

The sunrises have gotten closer and closer together.  At my age, I expect not more than 20 years of sunrises, and it could be a lot fewer than that. 

How we think about these sunrises, and the growing end of all sunrises, matters.  As my supply of sunrises dwindles, I find myself thinking more and more about eternity. I wonder how my non-Christian friends handle this.

I know how I do.  I look forward to that day.  Come quickly L^rd Jesus.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Phil Renicks and I are teaching a Sunday School class this term, with Jimmy Moore as our back-up singer.  The class topic is “The Disciplines of a Godly Man” based on the book by that name by R K Hughes.

Last week I introduced the concept of discipline and our goal: “To glorify G^d and enjoy Him forever.”  This week, was a far more challenging topic:  Purity.

Well, I exaggerate a bit.  Last week we never got to one of the key points, differentiating between obedience for discipline or legalism.  A simple definition that distinguishes between the two is this: What I do is obedience, what you do is legalism.

Just kidding (or am I?)

1 Thessalonians 4:3–8

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body3 in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Sexual purity is a challenge in this day and age.  Just ask Samson, David, Solomon, among others.  Yeah, you are right, these guys were not exactly contemporaries.  But purity has gotten maybe a bit tougher due to our constant exposure to images, tv, movies, and most of all… the www.  It is easy to feel defeated at times.  Sexual stimulation is ubiquitous, and overwhelming.

But we don’t have to be defeated.

Succeeding in overcoming sexual temptation requires a multi-level approach using Prayer, Scripture, Accountability, Avoidance, Hedges, Fleeing, and many others.  It is a formidable task, it is a difficult challenge, and it never totally ends.  But take heart.

We have G^d on which to rely.

Psalms 37:28, For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off.

Deuteronomy 31:6, Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."

And, when you have a chance, see who is listed in the “Roll Call of Faith”, speciafially Hebrews 11:32.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Pain is regarded by most people as something to be avoided at all costs.  No one likes pain, so the word is generally used in modern culture to denote all sorts of unpleasantries.

Several of my friends, and my wife, have suffered lately, so it is on my mind.  Pain is often bad, but it can be a great motivator.  In fact I speculate that G^d created pain particularly as a powerful motivator/demotivator.

Pain is bad, but the motivation it supplies is good.  Pain is what tells us to move our hand, quickly, off a hot stove top, or grill, or propane torch. Pain tells us we are doing damage to our heel, or our toes.

Pain tells us to seek a remedy to the problem.  Too often, we seek relief from the pain with a pill, an injection, or a topical potion without resolving the cause.  In fact I am guessing this is the rule more than the exception.

G^d created pain as a method of getting our attention.  “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”  C.S. Lewis

Pain avoidance is also part of our training and habit.  As children we learn, or some of us do, that some actions bring pain, and we learn to avoid those actions.
G^d has used this principle in the lives of Moses, David, Solomon, Samson, and me.

Of course the ultimate pain is that pain that never ends, that never has a prospect of ending.  But keep this in mind:
“But we are to keep our wits and rejoice with gladness because this life is as close to hell as we will ever get.”                                                   M Driscoll