Friday, September 16, 2011

Opening Day


Opening day 11As I wiped the sweat from my brow on a hot 90 degree mid September afternoon it was hard to believe that the Nebraska Archery Opener was just three days away.  I had a little bit of free time on Monday and was able to get in some solid practice on the back yard archery range.  This Spring I was able to purchase a slightly used Hoyt Turbo Hawk  from a friend.  I had the awesome privilege of taking a Turkey with it in April. Turkey 11 But this is my first deer season with the new bow.  Previously I had been using a Browning Mag Reflex that I had purchased with college graduation money in 1990.  As I practiced on that hot late summer day I was pleased to shoot solid groups at 40 yards.  I even took a few shots at 50 yards and did ok, though I can’t imagine shooting at a deer that far.  With my old bow 30 yards was my max and even that was not certain.   As the opener dawned we were met with temperatures in the low 40s and rain.  I had to work most of the day so I was left to day dream about the bucks walking past our stands.  Finally the time had come.  Sam was home from school and we headed out for our first hunt of the new season.  The wind was completely wrong and the rain persisted so we decided to set up a ground blind on an alfalfa field 20 yards downwind of a trail the deer use to enter the field.   As I set up, I noticed a scrape along the fence line.   Scrapes, this early?  I have never seen scrapes in mid September before.   Not long after setting up, deer began entering the field a couple hundred yards north of us.  We knew most deer entered there but there was no way we could set up in that location because of the wind direction.  We saw several does and two small bucks, a spike and a fork.  All we could do was enjoy the show and hope deer would enter the field closer to us.  Both Sam and I had spent a great deal of time on the range honing our shooting skills.  We each had modern equipment more than adequate for deer hunting.  But on this opener we had no deer closer than 200 yards.  40 Yards is what I can do, any animal beyond that is safe in spite of all my practice.  This got me to thinking.   No amount of striving, practice, or expensive equipment could change our circumstances.  On this night we were in the wrong location.  Nothing we could do would change that.   So the deer fed peacefully never knowing that we were 200 yards south.  This reminds me of the great message of the Gospel.  On my own, no amount of striving or religious work can ever earn God’s love.  I am a sinner without hope so long as I keep trying to earn God’s favor.  Yet, God himself came to earth and endured the cross in order that he would put me in the right spot.  He nailed my sin to the cross and I am forever saved by his grace.   And that is a great Harvest Lesson.

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