Category Archives: Life in perspective

bowhunter jealousy

Bowhunter Jealousy Is Downright Stoopid (With Two O’s)

The pace at which friends can become enemies and partners become strangers, due to the size of an antler or some other pseudo hunting success, is downright astounding.
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To think that a deer could distort someone’s reality to the point of forsaking a friend can only be described as absurd. The idea that an animal with bone on its head offers one the right to treat another with contempt is the epitome of insanity. But when a jealous bowhunter sets his eyes on a few minutes of self-promotion—it can happen.
Bowhunter jealousy is a sad reality.
Jealous bowhunters are all the same. As long as your so-called successes don’t outnumber theirs, they’ll keep their negative comments, barbed innuendos and double-edged tongue in check. If you’re not a ‘threat’ to their perceived domain or ego, friendships will continue and hunting property can be shared. But if your hunting opportunities, set of antlers or hunting gear is deemed bigger or better, someone who suffers from green-eyed jealousy will find every reason to ridicule and crucify.
But, have you ever stopped to think how ‘stoopid’ jealousy is? Stooooooopid with multiple o’s!

So What Are You Saying, Oh’ Jealous One?

I recently read a public comment regarding Cameron Hanes in which a jealous individual wrote, “The guy buys his clothes at Baby Gap. What is he 5’2?” What about the outdoor writer who penned, “Bulking up, Cameron Hanes-style, may impress the ladies and flabby desk jockeys, but is all show on the mountains.”
These comments took years of discipline and self-sacrifice to pen. (Sarcasm intended!)
If I had the opportunity to talk face to face with the jealous writers, I would ask why they wrote what they did? Did they really think Hanes would stop exercising every day because of the comments? Or were they suggesting if Hanes was 5’9 and weighed 340 pounds they would be impressed? Or just maybe they thought Hanes would revert to being ‘average’ if someone took the time to post something juvenile!
What was the purpose behind the public ridicule? What were they saying?
When bowhunters make snide remarks about one another what’s the point? When they downgrade bowhunters like Tom Miranda or Chuck Adams, what is the objective? Do they expect Miranda or Adams to take their trophies off the wall or give up bowhunting because someone’s jealous?
Why is it if someone gains a sponsor or gets paid to do what they enjoy doing in the outdoor industry, it invokes infantile comments. Even someone’s ability to buy a new bow can earn them a cold shoulder and a, “Must be nice!” Or how about when someone simply wants to share some hunting photos and receives the remark, “Do you ever work?”
Why would any bowhunter ever wish failure on someone who shares the same discipline? Jealousy is downright stoopid!

Be Your Own Man

It seems jealousy is a born out of insecurity and self-pity, but when it exhibits itself in gossip and slander it personifies immaturity. And this type of behavior has no place in the hunting community.
As bowhunters we need to be happy with who we are and be willing to celebrate one another’s successes. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. All of us excel at something.
I’ll never run like Cameron Hanes. I’ll never shoot like Levi Morgan. I’ll never write like Steven Rinella. I’ll never have trophies like Tom Miranda. And I’ll never have as much money as Willie Robertson.
So what!
Does my lack in running, shooting, writing, hunting, or owning, mean I have a right to use a a jealous tongue to butcher those who are better than me? The answer is, no! Just because my personal achievements will not match those of Hanes, Miranda, or Adams does not grant me the right to be jealous.
If I allow myself to be governed by jealousy, I’m not only stoopid (with two o’s), I’m insane and will soon self-destruct.
When someone is a better bowhunter, archer or outdoorsman, why not be happy for him or her? It’s not a reason to demean them.

Be Happy For The Other Guy

Yes, I know stoopid isn’t spelled with two o’s. And neither is success.
You can’t be successful by being stoopid—or jealous. And you can’t promote this great disciple called bowhunting by being either. So, isn’t being happy for those who have more, know more, or do more, the right thing to do?
Bowhunters share a unique discipline that should unite us. Not divide us. We need to see our diversity, strengths and weaknesses as what balances out the team, not as detriments to the whole.
So get over it! Someone will always be better than you at something. Besides, what kind of a person wants to see someone else fail?
We are in this together—let’s act like it!

bowhunting and the bible

Three Bowhunting Lessons Derived From The Bible

It even went to hunting camp; and often he was seen reading it by the light of the gas lantern. His well-worn leather bible went where he went — he treasured this book.
Each evening he would spend time pondering its words and his life reflected what he had read. From the way he approached a relationship with his Creator to the way he treated his neighbor — he took each passage to heart.
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Much like his old Remington, there were some things he believed one should never let go of. The bible and its truths were one of them.
This book had impacted every detail of grandfather’s life. His relationships, work ethics, stewardship, conservation, love for his children, and grandchildren — every aspect of his life was governed by the bible.
Although now in his mid ninety’s little has changed. With a furrowed brow and slowing step Grandfather is just as committed to loving Jesus Christ as he was fifty years ago. On his coffee table rests the same dog-eared bible that has been a source of strength for him all these years. Its pages are torn, tear stained and smudged from hard working hands, but to him it still holds the words of life.
This morning I sit reading from the same book. As I read I’m praying that its words impact my life just as they did my grandfathers. From the way I treat others to the way I see life in general — I want my character to be molded by its truths.
Yet, as I study its words I recognize scriptural principals can apply to every facet of life — believe it or not — even to bowhunting. Here are three simple scripture lessons that can apply to every area of the bowhunters life.

1. Philippians 4:8 – A Lesson In Perspective

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Few will argue with the fact that life is a journey. It’s a meandering road filled with unexpected adventure. How we embrace its twist and turns will impact our overall attitude towards life.
If our steps are driven by negativity and disbelief we will be shaped by our own fears. If we are compelled by faith, mercy and grace, we will be consumed by the belief that Someone greater than ourselves is directing our paths.
It’s all in the perspective.
Having spent a considerable amount of time around bowhunters, there seem to be two camps. In one camp are bowhunters who apologize for the does they shoot and poor-mouth the less-than trophy bucks they kill. In the second camp, are bowhunters who remain positive no matter the outcome of the hunt — Fred Eichler is a perfect example. The guy is ecstatic just to be outside with a bow in his hand. Just a few minutes spent with Fred and one can easily see that perspective determines attitude.
It has been said, “Your mind is to your soul, what your heart is to your body.” Although the bible gives us a proper view of God, it also offers us insight into how and why it’s important to keep a proper perspective in every area of our life.

2. Philippians 3: 13-14 – A Lesson In Dedication

Philippians 3: 13-14 “…but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Just as my Grandfather lives his faith 365 days a year — so to be successful at anything takes a daily commitment. Dedication does not come with a set of regulations to determine on what day it begins or ends. Dedication is not seasonal. Neither is dedication dictated by the exact moment of a sunrise or sunset. Dedication must be perpetual.
Dedication means the bowhunter prepares in spite of how he or she feels or what others say. Dedication is a commitment to disciple oneself in order become more proficient at the disciples we pursue.
Dedication can determine ones depth of devotion, knowledge and proficiency in both spiritual things and bowhunting.
My grandfather is preparing for his eternal destiny, so he makes daily bible reading a priority. Bowhunting isn’t about salvation, but shouldn’t we embrace the same persistence in every area of life?

3. Matthew 6: 33 – A Lesson in Priorities

Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
The genesis of my passion for hunting began in the woods of northern Michigan. Seated on a blanket of pine needles my grandfather would explain the ways of the whitetail. Surrounded by the colors of fall he showed me how to shoot his old 30-06. On the way back to hunting camp he answered the simple questions of an inquisitive boy. It was also in those woods where I learned about God.
Grandfather never missed a chance to remind me how good God is. When scouting, building blinds or dragging out a deer, I would always hear him make reference to God’s creation and its beauty. God was a priority to my grandfather. God was the pivotal point around which everything else evolved. In grandfathers life, God was first place. And everyone knew where his priorities were.
Because grandfather had experienced the truth of what life is really about. Not antlers on the wall, bragging rights, big egos or records. He had found life is best when God is first.
As a bowhunter it’s easy to allow bowhunting to take the place of God. The only problem is bowhunting isn’t God. Bowhunting didn’t send His son to die for my sins.
God did.
John 3:16 “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.”
The bible reminds me what my priorities are, God, family, friends — then bowhunting.
Keep the faith!

Tag Soup Recipe

In Retrospect: A New Recipe for Tag Soup

Any and all recipes for Tag Soup remain hidden in the darkest recesses of the recipe box. Along with things we ‘might’ eat if starving; like aunt Mable’s slumgullion, grandma’s Brussels sprouts and uncle John’s goose liver, Tag Soup is lumped in with all the other unpalatable plates—better to hide it.
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Front row seats in the recipe box are reserved for items like Bacon Wrapped Backstrap, Marinated Tenderloin, and Slow Cooked Venison Roast. Those are the dishes whose recipe cards are dog earned, stained and well worn.
After taking some time to reflect on this years hunting season, I donned an apron and decided if I had to cook Tag Soup, it might as well be fixed to perfection. Rummaging through cognitive cabinets I found some overlooked seasonings and mixed up a culinary variation that made those unnotched tags a little easier to swallow.
You will need:
• A smidgen of memorable experiences
• A pinch of perspective
• A dash of positive attitude
• A hint of faith

1. Mix Memorable Experiences With Perspective.

To some hunting is all about the kill, but anyone who has spent time in a treestand or on a mountainside will soon recognize there is more to hunting than downing an animal. The memories made in the outdoors can’t be displayed on a wall, but they can be hung in a heart.
Whether awestruck by a starlit sky, mesmerized by the beauty of a sunrise, fascinated by a sudden storm or enjoying the performance of a fawn romping in the field, these are the incidents that shape a hunter’s perspective.
Beyond the reach of city lights and away from our concrete jungles, nature shares riches which cannot be described by pen. These are the experiences nature affords to those who are willing to journey beyond their own comforts, limitations and imagination. The treasures found in the outdoors are meant to be pondered, contemplated, lived, and shared around campfires for a lifetime.
Even when you can’t score antlers, it doesn’t mean there are no trophies.
Mix experiences and perspective well.

2. Combine Mixture Of Perspective With A Positive Attitude.

“Dad stop! Look at all the stars!” The father obeyed, and while the stars blazed overhead two boys and a dad stood gazing at the sea of glittering light. At that moment nothing else mattered. For the father it was confirmation his boys were learning to see more than just the path back to the truck.
As their stargazing ended and they made their way in the darkness, the middle son exclaimed, “Thanks for taking us hunting, Dad!” Whispering in the darkness all three realized this moment was part of a journey we call hunting.
Although I wish this season had ended differently, overall this was the most enjoyable season to date. My boys and I made indelible memories that we are still relishing in. We have had life changing conversations that none of us will forget. We have all learned lessons that will forever mold our character. We have laughed at our mistakes and each other. We have shared in untold emotions—from elation to frustration.
All the while spending time together in picturesque places where there are no remote controls, electrical outlets or TV screens. It’s all about perspective!
Combine perspective with a positive attitude. It makes Tag Soup a little more palatable.

3. Blend Your Perspective And Positive Attitude With Faith.

The bible says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” and although 1 Corintians 5:7 was not written in the context of hunting, it is applicable.
No matter the outcome the hunter must aggressively continue on this journey conscience of the fact—there are no guarantees. No amount of practice, perfection or patience can assure us of a notched tag. Every hour of practice is done in faith, every stand hung is hung in faith, and every state hunted is hunted in faith.
So we blend our perspective, positive attitude and faith—and keep believing. We walk by faith.
Garnish your Tag Soup with a sense of humor. Enjoy!

bowhunting alabama

Bowhunting Alabama: Culture, Cuisine and Climate

The thought of Spanish moss, pecan groves and cotton fields brought a smile. With final preparations made and dates set, it felt good to know we would be headed back to a favorite southern state, especially with a whitetail tag to fill.
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The Indiana archery season had come and gone with little success. Having passed on some younger bucks in our home state, a chance to hunt Alabama during the rut offered another opportunity to harvest a mature whitetail.
With Alabama’s rut peaking in the month of January, we couldn’t turn down a chance to experience some whitetail rutting action. Having left the ATA Show a few days before, an invitation to hunt Alabama meant pointing our vehicle back towards Nashville to hunt one of our favorite places—Alabama.

Why Bowhunt Alabama?

So many have asked why I enjoy bowhunting Alabama. To be honest, it’s not all about the deer. Although I have seen some good bucks come from the ‘Heart of Dixie’, there is more to bowhunting Alabama than just a set of antlers.
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For those of us born and raised north of the Mason-Dixon line, there is a mystical culture shared by our Southern brothers that is almost hard to explain—but thoroughly enjoyed once experienced. Each opportunity I’ve had to share in Southern hunting culture has only enriched my appreciation for deer hunters of all traditions.

Southern Hunting Camp Culture

The South abounds with euphemisms, clichés and figures of speech. While in a Southern hunting camp, hardly a moment passes without someone weaving a one-liner that has the entire camp smiling. You might hear things such as:
“That climber sounded like it was made of bell clappers!”
“That’ll butter yur’ biscuit.”
“That’d knock yur’ hat in the creek.“
“He was on that deer like a duck on a June bug.”
“You can’t eat tracks n’ blood soup.”
“If you can’t pat’m on the butt you missed’m.”
“Cheapest part of the hunt is the shell.”
“There ain’t nothin’ wrong with yur’ gun!”

Evenings are filled with each hunter narrating the day’s events or lack thereof. The camp scene might depict some hunters sitting on the edge of their bunks, others sprawled on chairs, and the rest standing with arms folded. With a straight face someone will start a story. As they speak, the eyes tell more than words.
bowhunting alabama story
Spreading over the faces of fellow hunters will be signs of disbelief mixed with an appreciation for a well-woven tale. Although most will have heard the story a dozen times or more, when the story-teller finishes the room will be filled with laugher. Tailored from a hunter’s imagination going wild in the swamp, to an owl scaring the ‘begeebers’ out of someone, or buck fever getting the upper hand—a Southern hunting camp cannot be topped for good stories.
Few can tell a hunting story like a Southerner. Say what you want, they have a gift. Analogies mixed with quaint cultural twists make even the harvest of a small buck an extreme adventure.
Although I have learned to wear the tallest boots I own, (and not because of the swamp) I have come to greatly appreciate the culture of a Southern deer camp.

Southern Cuisine – Just Fry It!

Hunting Alabama wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the food. Few things compare to Southern style cooking. The fine folks in the South can fry anything and make it taste like it came from the kitchen of a 5-star restaurant. The arteries might complain but the taste buds enjoy it.
Where I currently live it’s hard to find good Southern fried catfish, but a trip to Alabama meant a chance to get caught up on fried catfish and some delicious barbecue. From hole-in-the-wall barbecue joints to locally owned and operated restaurants, experiencing the local cuisine is all part of the Alabama experience.
Of course there is the added bonus of fried pickles, sweet potato casserole, corn bread, plenty of butter and lots of gravy. Like they say in Alabama, “You can put gravy on a golf ball and make it good.”
Mix in some Southern hospitality, and you have the ‘fixin’s’ for a good time.
bowhunting alabama south

Alabama Climate

With temperatures climbing into the 50’s it’s hard to beat Alabama in January. Most days begin with crisp cold air but warm relatively quickly. By noon the chill can be gone and the sunshine is a welcome friend. While friends and family back home are snowed in or complaining about the cold, bowhunting Alabama offers a nice break from the frigid air.
Although I had to break ice a couple time while getting to my stand, Alabama usually offers a mild climate for the avid bowhunter.
Maybe I’m getting old, or maybe I’m maturing—I’d like to think the later. Whatever compels me to head south in January gets stronger each year. With affordable tags and a long season, Alabama is quickly becoming a favorite January hang out.
Although had a memorable time with new and old friends and made some great memories, we returned with no antlers in hand. If the moon would have been cooperative, maybe we could have told you a hunting story in true southern form. Nevertheless, Lord willing we will return next year.
bowhunting alabama rut

Bowhunting failure

Bowhunting Failure: It Should Only Make Us Stronger

Three states, thousands of miles, hundreds of hours, countless days, and no buck harvested—simply put—it’s failure. Irrevocable failure.
The bowhunter may prepare for the kill, but the uninvited emotions that arrive on the final day of season are not subject to our skill or proficiency. In that moment there is a tug-of-war between finding fulfillment and admitting defeat. Facing the reality of an unfilled tag can reveal the true motivation behind why we bowhunt. But, embracing those realities can serve as the catalyst for us to become better at what we do and who we are.
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For some, the failure to tag a mature buck might give them the right to feel a sense of shame. Others might never mention the fact they’ve failed and resort to living on past successes. But in the long run, this kind of failure should not defeat us—it should only make us stronger.
The majority may interject and claim an unnotched tag cannot define failure—and rightfully so. Passing immature bucks for quality deer management or waiting on an opportunity at a more mature deer isn’t failure. Making sure a youth has an opportunity to fill a tag before oneself isn’t failure. Refusing to pick up a firearm in order to meet a personal challenge isn’t failure.

Only You Can Define And Overcome Failure

But the majority cannot define our goals or objectives. Because the majority isn’t there to help you find strength to keep going when you’re all alone. The majority isn’t there to cheer you on when weariness weighs in. The majority isn’t there when the moment of truth arrives. Bowhunting isn’t about the majority.
The bowhunter knows his quest is personal.
I would agree that failure is more than an act. Failure cannot be defined by the lack of opportunity to release an arrow and slice a small notch in a paper tag. Failure at its core is an attitude. An attitude that refuses to learn from the disappointments we face.

“The passion to hunt with a bow and arrow moves us beyond normal limits, challenges us to unordinary disciples, and drives us to find within ourselves a person we are not used to being. Our instincts, attitude and adeptness are all cultivated by days and hours of preparation. Shaping us to the very core we enter bow season with unswerving confidence. So should we end the season with the same conviction—no matter the outcome.”

Did I fail this year? It depends on who sets the standard. I prefer to establish my own sense of accomplishment.

Failure Must Be Overcome Or It Will Overcome You

So we acknowledge, adjust and adapt. There’s no room for excuses in the life of the bowhunter. We now have eight months to prepare. Next season we’ll continue the quest, made better and wiser by failure.
Defining this season as a ‘failure’ compels me to push harder, go farther and enter next season stronger then ever. And we will.

Cameron Hanes Correct

Is Cameron Hanes Crazy Or Correct?

‘Beast Mode.’ ‘Keep Hammering.’ ‘The Ultimate Predator.’ ‘Bleed.’
Are these just slogans that make for cool looking hats and great looking t-shirts? Or are they mantra’s that can make a difference in how we think?
It depends.
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It depends on whether you’re willing to fight against a current of complacency. It depends on whether you think pushing yourself beyond average is important. It depends on whether you believe being at your best isn’t an option. It depends on whether you think mediocre is acceptable.
It depends on whether you think Cameron Hanes is crazy or correct.
In a world where men and boys are told to go with the flow; don’t tell me that Cameron Hanes is crazy. As a father of three boys, I want my sons to have men they can look up to who love the outdoors, work hard and promote personal achievement.

In a day when twerkers and twerps are promoted and manliness is taunted, we need more individuals like Cameron Hanes to remind our kids what the rewards of hard work look like.

Cameron Hanes
So what makes Cameron Hanes so inspiring to my kids?
Some might say success. Others might say ability. But is that really what makes the man? Is success the end all? Are trophies on the wall and being able to count your abs, the end? Is ability the real contributing factor here?
Or is it… belief.
A belief powerful enough that it took a no-name from Eugene, Oregon and made him a household name in the hunting industry. A belief strong enough that it enabled a nobody to become an elk hunting legend. A belief that continues to push Cameron Hanes beyond what he thought was possible.
My boys are inspired by his believing.
Believing that no one can keep you from living out your dreams. Believing that the only person holding you back is you. Believing that if you want it, you’ll have to work to get it. Believing that by living it, you can achieve it.
Through Cam, my kids see that belief can still build an icon and belief is still the most powerful thing in the universe.
Anyone who promotes belief in God, belief in one other and belief in ourselves, isn’t crazy. They’re correct.
Cameron Hanes belief has influenced my kid’s grades. Cam’s attitude has inspired my kids to get off the couch and be active. Cam’s drive has made them aware that extra effort has its rewards.
You’ll have to answer for yourself, but I’ve come to the conclusion that Cameron Hanes isn’t crazy — he’s correct.

“Better today than yesterday, better tomorrow than today.” – Cameron Hanes

Does antler score matter

Is Antler Score Really That Important?

His body tensed, his hands shook, and his breathing became short and swift. Settling the sight pin behind the crease of the deer’s front shoulder, he released a flawless blend of carbon and kinetic energy. The forest floor was now stained with a crimson trail which would lead us to our quarry.
Slowly, the young archer turned to face his father. A large smile spread across his face and excitement radiated from his countenance. His first archery buck was down. Reveling in the moment, it never entered the boy’s mind this deer would not find a place in the record books.
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As someone who believes in quality deer management and attempts to harvest a mature buck each year, I struggle with the value that some attribute to an antler score. Don’t get me wrong, I like big antlers. Matter of fact, I’m enamored with them. Furthermore, I score every deer I harvest.

But if we list the many reasons why we take our kids hunting, is antler score that important?

Having visited the Buffalo Bill Historic Center in Cody, Wyoming several times, I understand there was a day when big game numbers were dwindling. I believe the vast collection that Mr. Hornaday established called the National Collection of Heads and Horns has value. I also see the reason for keeping records of fine animal specimens and have no qualms with the Boone and Crockett Club or its scoring system.
Knowing what we know today about conservation and deer management, I would have enjoyed sitting down with William T. Hornaday and asking him, “If you had sons, would you let them shoot a spike buck?” “How old would your sons have had to be before you made them hold to a higher standard?”

Score alone is based upon measurement and dimension. Score speaks of limits. But these limits cannot properly define an experience. The quest for a trophy whitetail cannot be defined by a calculation.

The memories, experiences and adventures we assemble from hunting are immeasurable. The moments we share at hunting camp or in a treestand border on the infinite. My 95-year-old grandfather still gets a spark in his eye when he shares his hunting stories. Yet, my grandfather doesn’t have a single buck in the books.
Hunting is the summation of indescribable moments etched upon the heart and mind. These are what I want my boys to cherish and pursue. Will I teach them about management? Yes! Will one day they hold to the same standards I do? I hope. But for now, I want them to cherish their time spent in the outdoors.
It was more than a score those hunters before us handed down to us. They passed down traditions, passion and respect. This quest cannot be measured — it must be lived.

Bowhunters Christmas

Bowhunters, Can We Talk Christmas?

Do you ever get discouraged? Be honest.
If you do, can we talk?
Can we sit down and push pause on bowhunting for a few moments? Can we take time to discuss what’s most important this time of year? Can we spend five minutes ditching the mask, opening our hearts and sharing the true meaning of Christmas? If you don’t have the time, I understand. If you have a moment to spare, let’s talk.
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During the holidays I try to read the biblical account of the Christmas story every morning. I’m always surprised as I read it over again at all the little details that stand out. This morning as I was reading Luke chapter 2, I saw something in a new light. It was a great encouragement to me and I want to share it with you.
The Christmas story as found in Luke 2 verse 6 says, “…that while they were there….” The entire verse reads, “So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.”
“There.” Where was “there?” Where were Mary and Joseph anyway?
Was “there” someplace Mary and Joseph had chosen? Was “there” someplace they had gone voluntarily? Was “there” a comfortable place? Was “there” an easy place?
No, none of the above.
1. They were forced by a dictator to leave home and occupation.
2. Due to a census they had travel around 80 miles by foot, caravan or beast of burden.
3. It is suggested they had no place to stay once they arrived.
4. It is inferred they were all alone in a strange place.
Here was a couple that had been forced to be in a place they didn’t choose. Ever been “there?”

Has life put you in a place that can only be described as “there?”

Ever had life put you in a place that could only be described as “there?”
Ever had reverses that caused you to have to start over?
Ever faced a situation that left you wondering why you even exist?
Unfortunately, we all have been, will be, or currently are “there.”
Now before you go on thinking that Randy is one of those guys whose life has been a bed of roses, let’s have some disclosure. If it wasn’t for God’s mercy, I wouldn’t be here. Having survived a gas explosion which left me burnt almost 70% of my body, rest assured I understand hard times. And have the scars to prove it.
I also know that God shows us through the Christmas story that He has a plan even when we are “there.”
I doubt Mary understood why her delivery room had to smell like animals. I doubt Joseph understood why the Ob/Gyn floor had to be a barn. Matter of fact, I doubt Mary and Joseph understood “there” at all.
Frankly, neither do I.
I will never understand why we have to face pain, hurt and situations in life that tear our very heart out. Yet…
“There” is where the first Christmas carol was sung.
“There” is where the first message of hope was spread.
“There” is where our Savior was born.
“There” is where God worked the greatest miracle ever – the birth of Jesus Christ.
As I have been reminded today, I want to remind you this Christmas season that no matter your frustration, pain, and “there,” God can redeem it. Even when it can only be described as “there.” Just remember, Christmas is because of “there.”
How ironic this is being written in a doctor’s office. In some form or fashion we all have been “there.”
And so has Jesus Christ.

Blessed Bowhunter

A Bummed But Blessed Bowhunter

“I never said you could hunt here.” Those words might as well have been a five-pound sledge to the temple — I was stunned. Quickly recovering from the initial shock, I mustered an apology while feeling a sickening sense of disbelief begin to settle in my stomach.
After a short and civil conversation, I was given permission to resume my hunt, but I knew my season had just taken a turn for the worse. We had spent all summer hanging stands and locating travel corridors on this property. Now the owner had just told me we couldn’t hunt this property after today. I was bummed.
To be truthful, I was seething.
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I never said you could hunt here

To say that I was upset would be an understatement. I knew we had permission and had even been on the property two previous times with the property owner. Sensing something was amiss; I shook it off and tried to stay positive. There was only one problem, I was boiling inside.
Taking my frustration into the following mornings hunt, I sat in my treestand chewing on the events of the previous day. How? Why? What was he thinking? How could we lose our best property this late in the season? Then I began to grumble to God.

Then I began to grumble to God

“God, why did this have to happen?” “Can’t anything go right this year?” “Why does it seem like the harder I work the more that goes wrong?” “What next?”
About this time the sun began to peak over the horizon. Unfolding before me was a masterpiece of breathtaking beauty. As I was clothed in the soft morning light, I immediately felt ashamed. I felt selfish.
My mind wandered to the day when a doctor at the University of Cincinnati hospital told me it was a miracle I could walk. Yet, here I was complaining and grumbling about a single loss when I had two good arms to draw a bow and two good legs to climb a ladder to my treestand. Because of God’s mercy, I was sitting here with two good eyes that allowed me to see a another sunrise. I had two boys hunting with me that loved me and a wife that is happy my boys enjoy hunting with their dad. I am very blessed.

I was more focused on a single loss than on my many blessings

Was I bummed? Boy howdy!
Am I blessed? Beyond measure!
I bowed my head and asked God to forgive me for being so self-centered. As I prayed I told Him that if He would help me, I would enjoy His creation and be happy to be in the outdoors even if I had to eat tag soup this year. It was an honor just to be alive.
Thanksgiving is different this year, different in that I have a new perspective gained by loss. Interesting enough, it’s been during the week of Thanksgiving I’ve harvested my biggest bucks. But, it’s also been during this week that I’ve realized my greatest blessings aren’t the trophies on the wall.

Romans 8:28 is still true

This “from the heart” story wouldn’t be complete without telling you that I have since been in contact with the property owner. Sensing something just wasn’t right, I have found that he is going through a very difficult time in his life. If the circumstances of this story would have never came about, I would have never been given the opportunity to be an encouragement to him.
The scripture says in Romans 8:28 that “All things work together for good…” and although I don’t always understand, I still believe it’s true. In reality that property owner’s quality of life is more important than a 170-inch trophy on my wall. We all face situations that leave us bummed and we all need encouragement.
Happy Thanksgiving and remember to count your blessings. Even when you’re bummed.


Can Bowhunting Make You A Better Dad

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We didn’t have pre-nuptials, but our marriage was followed by an additional agreement. She could go when and where she wanted to, just as long as I could go bowhunting when I wanted. For several years our agreement worked flawlessly, then God gave us boys.


Becoming both dad and bowhunter had its challenges.


From car seats to kindergarten and now on to junior high, raising kids along with finding time to bow hunt has been an adventure. Thankfully, we have been blessed with three boys who are learning to enjoy the mysteries of the bow and arrow just as much as their father. They are becoming young men who enjoy 3D archery shoots, back yard archery, along with chasing whitetail – all of which I am very proud.


With two of them being old enough to bowhunt, we have enjoyed assisting them in the pursuit of their first archery harvest. Last season, one of them scored and the other struck out. In both cases it was not the hunts we remember most, it’s the memories we made while spending time together that linger with us.


Can bowhunting make you a better dad?


With the approach of Fathers Day I have begun pondering the question at hand, “can bowhunting make you a better dad?” There have been numerous articles written on the values instilled within kids who hunt with their dads, but what about the values instilled within the dads who hunt with their kids. It seems the boy or girl who goes afield with dad isn’t the only one who benefits from the experience. Although I don’t consider myself to be a model parent, I can see that my relationship with my boys is richer and better because of the time we have spent bowhunting together.


In considering just how bowhunting with them has impacted my life as a parent, here are 5 ways bowhunting with my kids has made a difference.


1. Bowhunting with my kids has helped me to become a more patient father.

Everything takes time and none of us are perfect. Sharing the disappointment when my “traditional archer” missed his first deer made me much more aware how to help (and hug) my boys through all of life’s “misses.” Much like our heavenly Father does to us.


2. Bowhunting with my kids has helped me see the need to teach.

Sometimes I take for granted that my boys know the things I know. Spending time with them in the outdoors has helped me to observe and learn what they don’t know and gives opportunity to teach them principals and practical tools for living that would have otherwise been missed.


3. Bowhunting with my kids has helped me to listen.

It’s easy to want to fix their problems for them. But sometimes my boys just want to talk it through and by talking it out; they see how to fix it themselves. If only I can learn to just shut up.


4. Bowhunting with my kids has helped me to know how to pray.

Maybe this one should have been number one. Sitting 20 foot in a tree listening to them, has helped me see areas where I need wisdom in being a better dad. To be a better dad, takes God’s help.


5. Bowhunting with my kids has helped me be conscience of my most important possession.

It’s easy to get distracted by our careers or our goals and lose sight of the most valuable things we have. Spending time with them in a hunting situation brings freshness to this focus. Our family is the most valuable thing we possess.


There would be some that might disagree, but I firmly believe that if kept in balance and proper perspective, bowhunting can make you a better dad. What do you think? Has bowhunting made you a better father?


Happy Fathers Day!