Thursday, January 28, 2010

The End of a Season - Are You Prepared?

Duck season came to a close this past weekend, and so did another year of my hunting adventures. As I think back on the times I spent in the field this past fall and winter, I can’t help but think of how fast time slips away. For me, the anticipation of the arrival of hunting season is like a little kid waiting for Christmas morning to get here. Then once it gets here, I blink and it is gone.

That got me to thinking about life in general, and how it could be compared to hunting season.

Typically, hunting seasons are regulated by state and federal wildlife agencies that schedule season dates well in advance. The seasons are strategically planned with a specific opening date and closing date, allowing hunters a limited number of days in the field. While some seasons are rather long, others may be extremely short.

That sure is a lot like our lives. Our Creator has appointed each one of us a specific amount of time on this earth. From the day we are conceived until the day we take our last breath, we are given a limited number of days to live our lives. For some, that number may be quite large and they live to a ripe old age. But for others, life can be very brief.

The difference is this: When it comes to hunting, we know the date the season will end. We can mark it on a calendar and plan accordingly. But life is uncertain. No one knows the time when death will approach. It could be years from now, or life could tragically be taken away from us before the day is over.

My question to you is this: When your season of life is over, where will you be spending eternity?

The Bible says in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” That means that we are ALL sinners, and that we all have sin in our hearts. Sin separates us from God.

Romans 6:23 states, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” We will all face physical death someday, but our souls will live on forever in either Heaven or Hell. The Bible says that Hell will be an unquenchable fire where there is much torment and agony. But God offers us the free gift of salvation and eternal life in Heaven with Him - if we choose to receive it.

Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” When Jesus died on the cross, he paid the price for all our sins. He loved us enough that He gave Himself for us, and took the punishment of all the sins of the world upon Himself. Salvation is not something we can earn by doing good works or by being good people. Religion and church membership won’t save you. It is because of Christ’s love for us and by His grace that we are saved.

Romans 10:13 clearly says this: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” It doesn’t say only rich people, or only people of a certain race, or only people who go to church – it says “whosoever” – that means anybody.

In Romans 10:9-10 we see these words: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” By placing your faith and trust in Jesus Christ and confessing that He is Lord you can be saved.

Have you accepted the free gift of eternal life? You can receive that gift by following these simple steps:
- Acknowledge you are a sinner and that the penalty for sin is separation from God.
- Believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and was raised from the dead.
- Accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and ask Him to come into your heart.

If you are ready to place your trust in Christ, here is a simple prayer that you can pray to God:
“Lord, I know that I’m a sinner and I don’t deserve eternal life. I believe You died and rose from the grave to save me from my sins. I ask you to come into my life, forgive me of my sins and save me. I am now placing my faith and trust in You, Lord. I accept your free gift of eternal life.”

If you prayed that prayer, I would love to know about it so that I can pray for you as you grow in your walk with the Lord. You can let me know by leaving a comment at the end of this post or by using the “Contact Me” button on the right side of the screen to send me an email.

Don’t let your season of life come to an end without being prepared!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Duck Season Finale

I had the opportunity to get one last duck hunt in the books this morning before the season draws to a close tomorrow. On this hunt I was fortunate to have my friend Marc Rylander with me, and although we didn't see many birds during the hunt, the camaraderie was second to none! We were also joined by my friend Lee Flannery and his buddy Phil.

This week has been rather warm here in north Texas with temperatures rising into the upper 60's, and that may have played a part in the lack of birds we saw this morning. We woke up to overcast skies and light drizzling rain, both good waterfowling conditions, but the ducks were just not there. We had one group of Wigeons come in really early, and then it got really slow with only a pair of Redhead drakes after that. We only ended up bagging three ducks - 1 Wigeon drake and the 2 Redheads - but it was still a great hunt.

The older I get and the more I hunt, the more I realize that the success of a hunt isn't always measured by how many animals or birds you bag. Sometimes it is the relationships that are forged and the friendships that are developed that mean the most.

Here is our group from this morning. From left to right: me, Lee, Phil, and Marc.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Venison in the Freezer

Both of this year's deer are back from the processor and my freezer is full. Today I made the 55-mile one-way trip to Muenster, Texas to pick up one of my deer at Muenster Meat Co. (formerly Walterscheid Meat Co.).

You might be wondering - Why on earth would I drive over 100 miles to have a deer processed? The answer: Deer Sticks! Some people call them snack sticks, smoked sticks, or hunter sticks, but whatever you call them, I call them "Good"! They are kind of like a Slim Jim, but not nearly as greasy and taste way better.

As you can tell from the name, Muenster is a German community and this processor is known for producing some excellent German sausage and specialty meats. They are the only place relatively close that I have found who offers these deer sticks. This year I ordered 30 pounds of them, so hopefully that will last me several months.

When I shot my second deer, I was in a bit of a hurry, so I decided to use the local processor (Rick's Outpost) that is just a couple miles up the road. I had the basic cuts done on that deer, but I also decided to try their summer sausage. I ordered 5 pounds of the jalepeno and cheese variety, and I have been really impressed with it as well.

The deer sticks from Muenster are on the plate and the summer sausage from Rick's Outpost is on the right.

These specialty meats are definitely pricey, but I figure if I'm going to put all that time and effort into harvesting a deer I should at least have some really good meat to show for it. Maybe someday I can learn how to make these sausages at home and save some money on processing.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cold Morning Duck Hunt

I've been so focused on deer hunting for the last few months that I haven't spent much time duck hunting. This past week I planned to change that trend, and I invited a couple of my friends from work to come out and duck hunt with me at our lease. I had high hopes for our hunt because I have been seeing lots of ducks on the ponds this year, but with the recent Arctic air that moved into our area I wasn't sure if any of the birds would still be there. I figured they had either packed up and headed South or there would be more birds that had moved in from the North.

Just before we arrived at our hunting spot early Saturday morning the thermometer on my truck was reading 1 degree. There was no wind at all so I knew the pond would probably be completely frozen over and we would have to break ice to put the decoys out. And that we did. We busted ice, threw out a few decoys, and waited for legal shooting hours to arrive, which is 30 minutes before sunrise.

Once the clock ticked over to 7:08 and we could legally begin to shoot, the ducks began piling in. It was one of the best duck hunts I have ever been a part of, and by 8:00 the four of us had limited out! Here is a picture of the crew. From left to right: David Mackintosh, Justin Berndt, Lee Flannery, and myself.

This was quite a mixed bag of ducks with most of them being Widgeons and Gadwalls. We also saw some Pintails and a Redhead drake but we couldn't get a shot because they were too far out and wouldn't commit. There were also some Mallards that came in, and Lee shot the trophy bird of the morning by bagging his first Mallard drake.

It was an awesome time with some good friends! I can't think of a much better place to watch the sun come up and enjoy the immaculate handiwork of our Creator!

Here are a few more images from the weekend. Thanks to my friend Justin for the picture in my new blog header.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Rabbit Hunting

Due to some icy road conditions this morning, I got to stay home from work, so my buddy David and I went rabbit hunting this afternoon. I haven't hunted rabbits since I was a kid, and I forgot how much fun it was!

While we were out hunting we saw a few deer, some ducks, and a big bobcat. We ended up seeing three cottontails, but two of them got away. I missed on the only shot I took, but David was able to connect and bag one rabbit.

David, it was a blast! You better fire up the stew pot this evening!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Shawn Peterson's Big Iowa Buck

I got these pictures in an email a few days ago from one of my friends in Iowa. The hunter in these pictures is Shawn Peterson, who is one of the Guides and Directors for SYC Ministries of Northwest Iowa. I had the pleasure of meeting Shawn during the SYC deer hunt this past fall. I contacted him to congratulate him on his hunt and asked for permission to use these pictures and his story on my blog. Shawn most graciously accepted my request, so here is his account of how the hunt unfolded:

"I finally got a keeper on the first day of late muzzleloader. Made a 2 hour stalk, through knee deep snow, to get within 60 yards of this buck and doe bedded in a thicket. Tried to grunt the buck out, but no luck. Figured this stalk would end quicker, but I ended up sitting against a tree in the fenceline from 10:00 AM to 3:00PM until the doe finally came out. Left my backpack down in the timber with my snacks and water, ended up eating a little snow to get me through. The doe fed out in front of me for an hour, then bedded down at 100 yards facing me for 35 minutes. I couldn't move at all and started cramping up. She finally got up about 4:40 PM and continued to mill around, while looking back into the thicket periodically. I was hoping he was still there. The buck finally stepped out about 4:50 and gave me a 100 yard shot. I dropped him in his tracks with my new Knight Long Range Hunter, which could be my new favorite gun. The bitter sweet problem was that he flopped his head a couple of times and snapped both of his antlers off and I was sick. He had to be within a couple of days of shedding his antlers. The doe that he was tending eventually worked downwind of the buck and allowed me a chance to reload. When she was about 10 yards from the buck, I popped her also. She ran about 75 yards. This was a hunt that I will never forget. The work to get them out was even harder, I'm glad that I at least took my snowmobile. My day finally ended about 10:00 PM. The buck is a typical 10-point with split brow tines and gross scores just over 158", the first mature buck I've taken with a gun for over 11 years. My success comes from one thing, and that’s because God continues to bless me on my hunting endeavors."

Congratulations on a great hunt and a great buck, Shawn! If sitting there all day in those kind of conditions isn't dedication, well then, I just don't know what is! That is definitely a bruiser of a buck and a hunt to remember!

Monday, January 4, 2010

An email from another blogger . . .

I recieved a nice email earlier today from another outdoors blogger, and I thought I would share what it had to say:


My name is Greg Edmonds and I am from the Richmond, VA area. I wanted to drop you a note to say that I have enjoyed reading your blog, and it is refreshing and encouraging to see the numbers of folks out there who are passionate about the outdoors as well as its Creator. Keep up the good work.

I have just gotten started blogging over the last few months. I was felt led to start one for the guys in our area to read in conjunction with our newly established church Outdoor Ministry. Check it out when you get a chance -

Take it easy,

Greg Edmonds

Thanks for the kind words, Greg! I really appreciate it.

I got a chance to read Greg's blog this evening and it is worth checking out. I have included the link above.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Year, A New Decade

It is hard to believe, but 2010 is upon us.

Seems like just yesterday it was the year 2000. There have been many milestones in my life over the past 10 years - got married, graduated from college, started a career, started a family, bought a house, and the list goes on. It has been a good decade for my family and I, but we are excited about a new year and what the Lord has in store for us in 2010!

I've also had lots of milestones when it comes to hunting over the last decade - shot my first deer, got on a hunting lease, shot my first turkey, got my first deer with a bow, started this blog, as well as many other exciting memories. I am thankful for the opportunities I've had to go hunting and the resources I've had access to. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't hunt!

I'm not much on new year's resolutions, but as I look toward 2010 and this new decade I have several goals (some being long-term) I would like to reach for.
1: Harvest a Pope & Young deer.
2: Teach my daughters how to hunt and fish.
3: Implement management practices to improve the property I hunt.
4: Continually learn more about hunting and wildlife.
5: Go on my first elk hunt.
6: Purchase some land of my own.
7: Never cease to be amazed at the beauty and awe of God's creation.

Happy new year, everybody!