Saturday, September 17, 2011

Missing The Mark

Late, I hate to be late  I was brought up to be 10 minutes early for everything.   This was our first morning hunt of the season and we were late.  After leaving the house 10 minutes late we discovered fog so thick I couldn't see the gravel road  This of course would slow us down even more.   About 4 miles later I remembered I had left my harness at home and then Sam remembered we had left our tree steps in the other pickup and Toby would not be able to climb into his stand.  I knew I had to go back   Now about 25 minutes later I chose to take the pavement .  The trip is slightly longer but at least I could follow the white line through the fog   We finally arrived at our new spot on public ground near Orleans, Ne.  First light was only 15 minutes away   Sam headed for his spot and Toby found the stand we had hung for him while he was away at college. My youngest son Jesse is 14 and his stand is harder to find so I took him in.   As he began to ascend the ladder I noticed the stabilizer bars flopping   Someone had cut the ropes.  Yes, it is always interesting when hunting public land.   So I dug in my pack for the rope I always carry and tied them to the tree again.   Then I headed for my stand.   By now it was nearly sunrise as I climbed the ladder. I quickly got settled and sat down to take a breath when I heard it.   It has been 9 months since I last heard this sound but there was no mistake   A deer was coming.  5 minutes into my first morning hunt of the season a year and a half old 3x3 buck stepped out at 25 yards.  Normally I wouldn't have even consider shooting but this buck appeared to have a significant front leg injury.   Had one of the boys shot this buck?   I didn't know what to do.   Permits are 30 dollars and I would need a new buck tag.   Nebraska only allows two bucks a year.  The buck was clearly in pain.   My mind raced through the options   Finally I decided I would have to take this deer if he gave me a shot.   I couldn't let him limp past without an attempt   I grunted at him at 25 yards but he stopped a half step early with no shot available.  Then he took a step.  There it was, a 27 yard quartering away shot  But he was alert and ready to go.   I drew, set the pin behind his injured shoulder, and shot low and way left.   What!!!!    IMG_0561 After all the practice how could I miss him that badly?   I had simply missed the mark.   After he walked away I sat down and thought about it.   I don't think I ever set my anchor point. And I aimed generally behind the shoulder but I had not picked an exact spot.   Both are elementary mistakes I should not make at this point in my hunting career.  Yet, this little buck limped off and left me with the "what ifs".  I will come up with lots of excuses as I explain it to my boys and my dad but in the end I simply missed the mark.  And that got me to thinking.   Our English word "sin" comes from the world of Archery.   In old English when an archer would miss the target they would say he sinned or missed the mark.   Every day I miss the mark of God's holiness.   The penalty for missing this mark is death.   I miss the mark and Jesus dies for me.   That’s not a fair trade, yet Jesus offers each of us salvation through this trade.  And that is a great harvest lesson.

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