Category Archives: Life in perspective

integrity for antler

Prostituting Integrity For Antlers

The voice on the other end of the line shared news any passionate whitetail hunter likes to hear, “I shot a giant!”
 
Relating the story of a 211-inch urban bow kill, the conversation was centered around a memorable bowhunt. But the tone quickly changed when the question was presented, “Do you think I could get some sponsors from this?” It was immediately apparent, this phone call wasn’t about sharing memories, it was about self-promotion.
 
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A few days later the story took an unexpected turn. Word came through the grapevine the heavy-horned buck was not a free range deer. It had been checked in as one, but the buck had actually been shot in a hunting preserve.
 
Would the hunter make it right? Or would he try to hide his obvious misrepresentation? Much like the story of Pinocchio, the antlers were not the only thing that seemed to have grown into Boone and Crockett proportions.
 
After receiving a text message that read, “I need to talk to you,” the real story unfolded. “I’m sorry. I lied to you. I thought I had to kill a big deer to make it in the hunting industry. I shot the buck in a preserve, it was not fair chase.”
 
This whole story had been a 211-inch Boone and Crockett lie.
 
Sadly the young bowhunter also related how a ‘celebrity hunter,’ whose show is regularly aired on one of the ‘hunting channels,’ had done the very same thing in the same preserve.
 
And the point is this! We should never allow someone who has no integrity to devalue our own.
 
Although some time has passed, those words still echo in my mind, “I thought I had to kill a big deer to make it in the hunting industry.” And there are multiple questions that linger. So a young man prostituted his integrity for 211-inches of bone? He set out to deceive his friends and family in order to make a name for himself? But why would someone allow ego to steal their integrity?
 
While it’s easy to be critical of the hunter, these events ought to be a warning for each of us. A fresh commentary as to how it only takes one lie and trust is damaged. A summons for each of us to contemplate how long it takes to build relationships and how fast they can be destroyed. A fresh revelation to how many reputations are tarnished over a single deer.
 
Just one hunt, one arrow, one lie and then what?
 
May this story remind us, the true worth of a man is not in the trophies on his wall—it’s in his character. A character that refuses to be prostituted for money or fame. A character founded on principals that will not be sold or squandered. A character that values and guards integrity at all cost.
 
Hopefully our infatuation with big antlers has not devalued integrity to the price of a pen-raised deer?
 
All of us enjoy harvesting a trophy deer. But, let’s remember integrity is of more value than a set of 211-inch antlers.
 
For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? – Mark 8:36

bowhunting devotional

‘Shootng’ – Can God Use What’s Missing?

I was angry. Then I laughed. My neurons were stuck on asking, “How in the world can you look at a word fifty times or more and never realize it’s missing a letter?” Shooting has an ‘i’ in between ‘t’ and ‘n’. Duh, Randy!
 
How I could make such a stupid mistake was a conundrum — or was it?
 
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I recently posted a video showing an incident of a buck checking out my archery target. In the video I included some text. Or at least tried to!
 
After several hundred views, it was brought to my attention that somehow I managed to leave the letter ‘i’ out of the word ‘shooting.’ In the process of dealing with my gross mistake, the thought occurred to me.
 
Should shooting even have an ‘I?’
 
What if there were no ‘I’ in archery. Or no ‘I’ in bowhunting. What if all things pertaining to the outdoors, where so often we see inflated egos, was eradicated of any ‘me,’ ‘my,’ or ‘I?’
 
How different would things be if ‘I’ came up missing?
 
Yes, we have individual needs. But, there are needy people all around us. It’s all too easy to get focused on ‘I’ and not see the bigger picture. Less of ‘I’ and more of ‘others’ would be a good thing.
 

Empty me of the selfishness inside.
Every vain ambition and poison of my pride.
And any foolish thing my heart holds to,
Lord empty me of me so I can be filled with You. – Chris Sligh

 
I appreciate when God uses my own mistakes to humble me. And looking at my blunder, I wonder if it was a blunder at all? Maybe it was a message. A subtle reminder to be careful in every area of my life. People don’t need to see me, they need to see Jesus in me.
 
Could it be my own inadequacies are to remind me of who I am and just how dependent I am on Christ to help me day by day?
 
There are many ways to deal with our failures. We can either keep record of how many we make, or realize we are only human and there is only One who is divine. Yet, even in this, there is a humbling — a recognition of our utter dependence upon Him.
 
God help me to remember: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” – John 3:30

In Pursuit by Zeke Pipher

Book Review: In Pursuit by Zeke Pipher – Devotions For The Hunter & Fisherman

Dipping his pen in a vast resource of pithy thoughts and personal experience, Zeke Pipher has compiled a captivating devotional tailored especially for the avid outdoorsman. In Pursuit reflects Pipher’s unique ability to aim for the heart by offering simple but spiritual truths in a way that moves one to look beyond the mundane to things most important.
 
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In Pursuit – Devotions for the Hunter & Fishermen contains 90 devotional readings written in thought provoking style and carefully crafted in order to directly relate to those who live for the outdoors. As a regular contributor to several well-known outdoor magazines, including Deer & Deer Hunting, Petersen’s Bowhunting, and Bow & Arrow Hunting, Pipher’s extensive knowledge of the outdoors adds a unique perspective to each devotional reading. Whether it’s chasing elk, reeling in trout, flushing pheasant, or waiting out a trophy whitetail, each devotional takes us someplace we all enjoy and points us to Someone we all need.
 
Pipher pens in his foreword, “Several years ago I realized that the only thing better than going into creation and enjoying all that it has to offer is letting the Creator come into me and enjoying all He has to offer. This change in my frame of mind as an outdoorsman completely altered the way I entered the fields and woods.” And Pipher’s passion for a closer relationship with the One who created it all is clearly conveyed through the pages of In Pursuit.
 
Beginning with devotional number one, entitled “The Gigantic Secret” and ending with number ninety “A Strong Finish,” Pipher leaves few stones unturned as he traverses the grand subject of pursuing Jesus Christ within in the context of all things outdoors. There is little doubt the pithy reflections found on the pages of In Pursuit will challenge you, convict you, and help you to celebrate the most important pursuit of all.
 

“Pursue God more than you pursue wild game this season.” – Zeke Pipher

 
As an avid reader there are books I read in order to learn and then there are books I read for enjoyment. Pipher’s unique style has qualified In Pursuit to be read for both reasons. (Even my wife and kids have enjoyed its contents.) If you’re a hunter or fisherman, don’t pass up the chance to own this life-changing book — you won’t regret it.
 

Enter The 90-Day Sportsmen’s Challenge (Bonus: Win A $100 Cabela’s Gift Card)

 
In Pursuit is more than a book. It’s a way for you to join other hunters and fishermen in pursuing a closer walk with God this fall. By purchasing In Pursuit along with the In Pursuit Challenge t-shirt, you can join fellow outdoorsmen in what is being called the 90-Day Sportsmen’s Challenge.
 
The challenge is simple. Just take time to read the 90 devotions and their Scriptures between September 1 – December 31, 2014, and share what you’re learning. You’ll also be able to join other hunters in the In Pursuit Challenge Facebook page. Here you can go through the daily devotionals with other outdoorsmen, along with sharing stories, pictures, and what God is teaching you throughout the hunting season.
 
Plus, there’s a bonus! When you enter the In Pursuit Challenge you are also eligible to win a $100 Cabela’s gift card. (What are you waiting for?)
 
Visit inpursuitchallenge.com today and begin the pursuit of a lifetime. (All proceeds of shirts/books for this promo will be donated to supporting families battling breast cancer – check out the Shoot Pink Project!)
 
Zeke Pipher In Pursuit Challenge

Kicking Bear Ministries

Ray Howell, Kicking Bear, and Jesus Christ

If you’re not familiar with Ray Howell or Kicking Bear Ministry, you’re missing out! Having experienced firsthand what Kicking Bear is doing for youth all across America — this is an organization every believer should get behind.
 
So, what do archery shoots, tug-a-war, and marshmallow fights have to do with the outdoors and Jesus Christ?
 
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The Kicking Bear Story

 
We all have a story — some more dramatic than others. What is universally significant within each story is the recognition we’ve needed someone within our lives to come along side and mentor us. Few of us have achieved every single success completely on our own.
 
Ray Howell has a unique story that demonstrates the result of mentorship. His story reflects what it was like to grow up without a father and live longing for someone to love and mentor him. Thankfully, that someone came in the form of the unexpected — and through mentorship, Ray Howell learned how to hunt and he learned how to love.
 
kicking bear camp
 
Through divine providence and the willingness of someone to mentor a troubled youth, Howell became a hunting success. Eventually harvesting a multitude of game from around the globe, Howell was able to live out his boyhood dream — all because someone took the time to show him what he didn’t know.
 
But there’s more.
 
Howell’s story centers around the day he realized his abilities were not earned, they were given. In his own words, “I realized Someone had been guiding my arrows all my life.” With that realization came conviction, and on that day he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ, along with answering a call to minister to underprivileged and at-risk youth.
 
Over a decade later, Howell still travels across the United States fulfilling a God given mission to, “Put a bow in a kid’s hand and lead their family to the Lord — one by one.”
 
That is the story behind Kicking Bear.
 

Our First Kicking Bear

 
Having had the opportunity to take my boys to a Kicking Bear event, hosted by Bass and Bucks in Wabash, Indiana, I came away challenged and impressed. Challenged by Howell’s vivid reminder that each of us has a greater purpose in life. Impressed by the event and activities enjoyed by all.
 
The archery shoot, water balloon battle, tug-a-war, and marshmallow fight were simply a platform to let kids know there is Someone who can guide their arrows just like He did for Ray Howell.
 
Although I’m not sure who had more fun, the kids or adults, Kicking Bear left an impression on my boys and myself. In a world where many have forgotten the words of James 1:27, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” it’s good to be reminded what really matters in life and to know there are still people like Ray Howell who are dedicated to the mission of telling others about Jesus Christ.
 
Kicking Bear Ray Howell
 
I would encourage every youth leader, pastor or parent who has a passion for Christ and the outdoors to take your kids to a Kicking Bear event. It was out first, but won’t be our last.
 
For more information on Kicking Bear Ministries, how you can support this ministry, and what events are hosted in your local area, check out the Kicking Bear website and Facebook page.
 
For a sample of what you or your kids will experience at at Kicking Bear event check out the video below.
 

Take time to listen

Are We Taking The Time To Listen?

The sun dabbed its colors on the dark canvas of dawn and began painting a breathtaking backdrop. In a matter of a few moments the master artist had transformed darkness into indescribable beauty.
 
In response to this magnificent display of color the woods erupted with applause. As if directed by an invisible conductor, the notes of nature’s symphony filled the early morning with song.
 
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Somewhere in the disappearing shadows of the woodlot, a bird of prey welcomed the morning. Responding to the owl’s early morning call, a gobbling Tom echoed with a vibrato of his own. And in perfect harmony a choir of bearded birds joined the soloist in his incessant sonata.
 
We listened. This was music.
 
Serenaded by a melody of gobbling, yelping, clucking, and an occasional purr, we had been honored with the best seats in the house. Creation’s choir was performing and we were privileged to be in the audience.
 

Take Time To Listen

 
In contrast to the irritating sounds of emails, text messages and cell phones, the sounds of nature are inviting and tranquil. The sounds of a trout stream laughing its way across the rocks can quickly carry away stress. The voice of a bobwhite quail can erase the burdens of life. The cadence of a whitetail’s walk through the fallen leaves can cause us to either forget or remember.
 
There is something about the sounds of the outdoors that we need – we long for. Could it be one of the reasons why we climb to mountain peaks, hike to little known places, and seek to find tranquility beyond the reach of manmade noise?
 

What Are We Listening To

 
I for one am guilty of allowing myself to get distracted by life’s racket. With bills to pay, work to do, and burdens to carry, the noise of everyday life can quickly drown out the voice of God, my wife, and kids. Overwhelmed by blaring negative influences we hear what is loud, but not what is most important.
 
While most outdoorsmen have learned to differentiate between the walk of a whitetail and the scurrying of a squirrel – sorting out the sounds of life takes the same type of discipline.
 
To the hunter – sounds matter. To the Christ follower, husband, and father – sounds are even more important.
 
Are we taking the time to listen?
 
Some might call us old-fashioned and out of date, but our need to listen is why I find it vitally important to read God’s word every day. It’s also the reason why after twenty-three years of marriage my wife and I still need to go on dates. It’s also why our family has decided to keep all electronic devices away from the dinner table.
 
Listening is vital in any relationship.
 
Take time to hear what God, your wife, and kids are saying. Much like hunting, it is in the place of listening where we begin to find what it is we’re really seeking.
 
He who has ears to hear, let him hear! Matthew 11:15

Ghillie Suit Bowhunter Marc Anthony

Integrity: An Important Lesson From Ghillie Suit Bowhunter Marc Anthony

While reading the news of Marc Anthony, often known as the Ghillie Suit Bowhunter, and his possible misrepresentation of a Boone and Crockett buck, I was reminded of a chapter in Dr. David McKenna’s book, Never Blink in a Hailstorm and Other Lessons on Leadership. The chapter is entitled, “Never Steal A Paperclip.”
 
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The chapter title might seem ridiculous to some. A paperclip has no value in comparison to a set of antlers. Although, as McKenna so adequately penned, it’s not about the value of the paperclip, it’s about the principal of taking what does not rightfully belong to us, no matter its value.
 

Bigger Gets Noticed, But At What Cost?

 
Having read multiple reports surrounding the Anthony scandal, there seems to be a preoccupation with assigning possible motives to Anthony’s actions, and to focus on “fame,” “money” or “sponsorships.” What I have failed to see mentioned is a reminder to those hunters who are very passionate about what we do — to learn from this and be careful we don’t start ‘stealing paperclips.’ In an industry that thrives on bigger, we can never allow our egos to become more valuable than our integrity.
 
In a world where many believe they are entitled to what rightfully belongs to someone else, we cannot dismiss our own susceptibility to the same temptation. (I didn’t say we had to succumb.) And these temptations are clearly evident in the outdoor industry. In 1998 there was the Rampola Buck scandal. Now we have Marc Anthony’s recent debacle. And there is a significant list of others who have fallen prey to greed and fame. It’s not hard to see that assuming an entitlement attitude always leads to a lack of ethics.
 
It would be easy to sit back and ridicule Marc Anthony for his possible misrepresentation of a Boone and Crockett buck, but what does it say to us as hunters – what does it mean for me? Personally, the scandal surrounding the legendary Ghillie Suit Bowhunter has left me shaking my head and checking my heart.
 

Just Be Real

 
If what he is being accused of is true, I doubt Anthony started his downward spiral by surgically placing a set of 190-inch antlers on a much smaller buck. Somewhere he started underestimating the value of his integrity. This should be a solemn reminder to just be genuine, for in the end it’s your integrity that matters.
 
Yes, it’s okay if you want your photos to look good, but its not okay if they’re fake? Yes, it’s okay when people compliment, but it’s not okay if you’re arrogant. No, there is nothing wrong with wanting to harvest a Boone and Crockett buck, but what’s your motive? If intent and motive lack integrity, they will drive us to self destruction.
 
Anthony’s situation should force us to ask some tough questions? Such as, “Are we making ourselves look better than what we really are?” “How much ego is in what we do?” These are fair questions that I need to ask myself. I know no other way to safeguard my own integrity.
 

What’s More Valuable?

 
A part of me wants to go ask Mr. Anthony how it all started. What small decision led to his alleged fall? I would also like to go hug his kids, tell them to love their daddy, and to forgive him.
 
What’s hard to comprehend is it’s all over a piece of bone. Bone. A bone. A stupid bone. Ultimately, it’s over something that has no intrinsic value.
 
And this piece of bone has left me asking, “…for what?”
 
We all know the answer. God help us to keep our egos in check. We must keep God first, family second and continue to realize the most important things in life don’t hang on a wall.
 
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Mark 8:36

Never give up

Mocked, Hated and Misunderstood

The motivational quote read, “Small minds cannot comprehend big spirits. To be great you have to be mocked, hated, and misunderstood. Stay strong.” These are simple words, but ones that inspire us to pursue in spite of the pressure to quit.
 
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All of us face hurdles. They can come in the form of the misinformed who will do their best to undermine whatever success they feel we have achieved. They can arise because of the jealous who have no respect for themselves and therefore cannot respect others. They can be the haters whose sharp tongues will devise a way to cast a negative perspective on our limited accomplishments. In some form we all face negativity and with it the temptation to quit.
 
All of our stories are similar. Mine is much like yours. I’m just a farm boy, far from wealthy, attended the school of hard knocks and know very little. The only thing I really know is — you never forget where you came from and you never give up on where you’re going.
 
All of us have learned, in spite of the difficulties, we have no choice but to push forward continuing to believe in the dream and passion that compels us. There’s no excuse not to nock another arrow, write another article, or run another mile. Success is never achieved by quitting.
 
As a Christ follower I see a parallel.
 
We call this Passion Week because Someone identified with the motivational quote far better than any of us. The Hebrew writer penned, “…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” Heb. 12:2,3
 
No matter what difficulties we face in life, we can put our confidence in Someone who took our sin and can identify with our difficult moments. Remember during this week, He was mocked, hated and misunderstood for you. Jesus didn’t and hasn’t given up. (And neither should we.)
 
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Best Archery Arrows

Just Released: Top Secret Carbon/Bamboo Arrow – Truth?

(Disclaimer: Some parts of this post are not true.)

Over the last several months we have been privileged to work with aeronautical engineers, scientists and a respected arrow manufacture in an attempt to offer the most technologically advanced arrow ever produced.
 
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Until today this technology was regarded as ‘top secret.’ With our patents confirmed and manufacturing well under way, it is an honor to present to the world what will be the most accurate arrow every developed, bar none!
 
Our preliminary testing confirms our arrow technology is decades ahead of the competition and will exceed current arrow performance by 60%.
 
What makes this arrow different? The answer is simple. Through a revolutionary process used by the commercial spaceflight industry, our engineers have been able to produce an arrow offering inconceivable precision.
 
So what is the top-secret material we are manufacturing arrow’s from? Believe it or not, it’s a proprietary blend of carbon and bamboo. Much like fine bamboo fly rods, our arrows will deliver unprecedented performance with the finesse allowed by all natural fibers.
 

It’s Unbelievable Because It’s Untrue

 
If you believed anything we just wrote, don’t. None of it is true. As good as it was beginning to sound, there isn’t an ounce of truth in it. Yet, because it sounded good, some will have been tempted to believe what was said without any research or confirmation.
 
So it is in the outdoor industry and in life.
 
Every day we are bombarded with untruths. Untruths about products that will make us better hunters and untruths surrounding what will make us better people. We are marketed to through email, social media and countless other mediums. This barrage of content comes to us through our desktops, notebooks, tablets and phones. And more than marketed to, we are being force-fed untruths.
 

Live On Truth

 
As hunters, we have become numb to words like ‘revolutionary,’ ‘unparalleled’ and ‘unprecedented.’ Matter of fact it’s hard to believe much of anything anymore, and for that fact, some don’t.
 
Truth has become hard to find.
 
This goes for both hunting products and life in general. Just because a celebrity gets paid 50K or more to say a certain product works or is the best thing since sliced bread, doesn’t make it so.
 
It’s interesting to note how many successful bowhunters have stuck with conventional wisdom rather buying into the latest fad. What’s popular isn’t always what works.
 
Gene Wensel illustrated this in his book, Buckskin and Bone – Postgraduate Whitetails when he wrote, “…I am NOT a scent control freak. I don’t wear carbon suits. I don’t spray myself down with various misted potions, nor do I chew special gum. I don’t quit eating red meat before hunting season. I don’t shower with magic formula soaps every morning before I go hunting; unscented brands will do. Although I change underwear and socks every day, I don’t launder my hunting clothing on a daily basis, nor do I carry them around in tubs filled with fresh dirt or forest debris. I chew leaf tobacco and pee right out of my stands. But, I do pay attention to the wind at all times when I’m in the woods.” (I doubt Mr. Wensel was paid to say this.)
 
This isn’t an attempt to get you to stop purchasing your favorite product but it is an attempt to inform the new hunter that there are more important things than simply buying the latest items so you can fit in with the crowd. When trying to find truth, look for authentic reviews and research what works. Most importantly, stick to the fundamentals!
 
This may sound a little preachy, but I’m reminded of Jesus words, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32.
 
Just because someone with a celebrity status says God doesn’t exist or that He doesn’t care about you, doesn’t make it so. Knowing Truth is what gives us true freedom in life.
 
Don’t seek to fit in. Seek to know the Truth. He died for you. Seek the Truth and both hunting and life will be better.

Archery and Life

In Both Archery And Life, The Little Things Matter

It wasn’t much, matter of fact it was barely noticeable. Yet, a small adjustment made all the difference at 40-yards. Although minuscule, it was all that was needed to sink an arrow into the three-inch circle.
 
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This insignificant tweak to a bow sight has changed more than my arrow flight—it has left me challenged in several areas of my life.
 

The Little Things

 
It was on a warm weekend when three boys and their mother came into my office and asked to go shoot bows as a family. Wanting to spend time with them and sight in the Elite Energy 35, I dropped my work, gathered up the targets and headed out to fling some arrows. Towards the end of the day while making changes to my sight pins—it occurred to me.
 
Moving a sight pin or placing a few more ounces of weight on the back bar were rather small adjustments. But these refinements were all that was needed to make major changes in downrange accuracy.
 

Archery And Life

 
Just like in archery, life’s successes are also the culmination of small adjustments made on a daily basis. In time, the little things make all the difference.
 
As I stood next to my wife and three boys (who would probably remember this day more than they would remember how much money I made last year) it occurred to me just how easy it is to underestimate or not appreciate what seems to be insignificant.
 

They Matter

 
Everyday life can get busy and with its busyness it’s easy to focus on the moment. Days can be short and so follows our patience and attention to what matters long term. This leads to passing up the opportunities we have been given that will make a difference in days to come.
 
Simply taking the time to say, “I love you,” “Good job” or “Thanks for dinner, honey” are rather small in the grand scheme of things. But so are the adjustments we make to our archery equipment. We adjust arrow weight by a few grains, we time our bows by a slight twist in the cable, and tune by extremely small adjustments—it’s the small things that make the difference. So it is in life.
 
The bible says in Matthew 10:42 “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
 
If a cup of cold water seems like a small thing to you, just remember, it all depends if you’re the giver or the receiver. Small, insignificant, or irrelevant, are all qualifications that can only be measured by time (or downrange).
 
Etched into my mind from that moment to this, is an insignificant adjustment I made to a fiber optic pin on that sunny Saturday. It was a small movement that should reflect how I value the small things in life, because one day those minor things will have a great impact.
 
Make an adjustment in someone’s life today, it may seem small—but it could make all the difference tomorrow.
 
Remember, archery is a lot like life.

Seeing God and Avoiding Blindness (Two More Reasons To Shed Hunt)

We are a poor society. Not in that we lack bank accounts or possessions, but in the fact we are distracted. Our preoccupation with inferior things has left us impoverished.
 
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Think how many sunrises go unnoticed or sunsets we ignore. Count the times we pass scenery so magnificent a poet couldn’t describe it, yet we’re unaware. Our constant running pell-mell has left us visually impaired, not physically, but philosophically.
 
While nature’s beauty blooms all around us, our anxious eyes are diverted to billboards, television screens, marketing campaigns or some other man-made contraption. Compared to the woodsmen before us, we are paupers. We are comfortable, but our perception is poverty-stricken.
 
We have become bankrupt, because we are blind.
 

Avoiding Blindness

 
The hunters of yesteryear talked of trees, fenceposts and rock formations. Their writings included detailed descriptions of nature’s common things. They saw the outdoors as a collection of simple masterpieces. Woodpecker to Whip-poor-will — few things went unnoticed.
 
Shed Hunting Tips For Seeing
 
From a uniquely colored rock to the Barn Swallow, the simple things were photographed and included in the records of outdoor adventures. They were not just hunters; they were naturalist who saw what others didn’t. To prevent blindness they looked for grandeur in what others ignored.
 
So should we.
 
For hidden behind our busy schedules and text messages is a limitless world to be explored and learned from.
 
Over 100-years ago John Muir penned in Our National Parks, “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life. Awakening from the stupefying effects of the vice of over-industry and the deadly apathy of luxury, they are trying as best they can to mix and enrich their own little ongoings with those of Nature, and to get rid of rust and disease.”
 
(And why was John Muir such an advocate of wilderness preservation? Because he suffered an eye injury that could have left him blind. It is said that after being confined to a darkened room for six whole weeks, “…he saw the world — and his purpose — in a new light.”)
 
From the naked sycamore to the twisted oak, the woods offers insights much more meaningful than the artificial advancements of technology. The moss laden fencepost, a heap of tangled barbed wire, the abandoned cabin, the lone oak, the dying ash, a flitting Blue Jay — a trip to the forest can give us back our sight.
 
Seeing Shed Hunting
 
Some have asked, “Why do you like to shed hunt?” Well, to be truthful, because there is so much more to be found than just an antler.
 

What It Means To See

 
My Grandfather’s favorite hymn is, “How Great Thou Art”. Although written over 125-years ago, its meaningful words were obviously written by someone who learned to see.
 
The second verse reads:
 
“When through the woods and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze.”
Refrain:
“Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!”
 
A walk in the woods helps us see Someone much greater than ourselves.
 
Do you think this is what Fred Bear suggested when he said, “I feel like one of God’s chosen people, having had the opportunity to share, with many fine companions, these varied and lovely realms of our natural world.”
 
Society may judge someone’s value by how much they have accumulated. But in life, success can’t be defined by a bank account or name. Whether photographer, outdoorsman or follower of Christ, there are those who are considered rich because of what they can purchase, and there are also those whose wealth is amassed by what they have perceived.
 
So in reality, who is richer?
 
I choose to believe it’s the man who can see.
 
So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.” – Mark 10:51
 
Seeing while shed hunting