Blessings: A First Deer

God blessed me with my first deer on September 21, 2013.

This day, and the preparation for this day, was filled with teamwork. Each venison meal brings back memories of the hunt I shot my first deer. It’s a great taste. There’s only one “first deer” for a hunter.

first deer

A trail camera about 30 yards from the tree I was sitting in captured me and my first deer. We found the deer the morning of September, 22. I dragged it from the brush to the clearing.

It was a calm September evening. I was sitting 20 feet up a tree listening to a Tom turkey calling, while anticipating any kind a movement from a deer. All of a sudden tall grass was moving in the distance. Then, lower branches of a tree on the edge of a cornfield began to shake. (If I was sleeping, I would have missed the subtle movement, and possibly, my first deer.)

Deer were walking through the woods towards the cornfield.

My heart began pumping quicker as the deer kept walking. I couldn’t make out if the two deer were bucks or does at this point because they were in the brush.

At first it seemed they were heading into the cornfield. Next minute, it seemed as if they were heading towards me. A few seconds passed and, sure enough, the deer were heading my way!

Instantly, my heart started to pound and my breathing increased. They were closer and out of the heavy brush, one was a buck, the other a doe.

Both deer stopped at a clearing about 40 yards away. Suddenly, the buck started walking towards me. He then stopped abruptly, shook his head violently and jogged back towards the clearing’s edge where the doe was standing still. I asked myself, “Did he get wind of me or hear me breathing hard?” (I jokingly wondered if they could hear my heart because it was still pounding.)

To my surprise, the doe he was with began walking in, hugging the treeline beside the clearing. Closer and closer she game. She then stopped and began feeding. She was 20 yards from me.

whitetail doe

The buck followed this doe. The trail camera captured the doe that was with the buck I took.

The buck, still at the clearing’s opening, started towards the doe following her path. As the buck walked closer, I could tell it was a young buck. As he continued to walk into a comfortable shooting range, about 20 yards, his walking slowed. Aiming for the rib cage I released my arrow. Thunk! I heard and saw the arrow hit.

Upon impact, the buck dashed towards the West through the treeline and into tall grass. Turning away from the cornfield ahead of him, he stayed in the tall grass and made a half circle back towards the woods. I took mental pictures of that path and continued to look where I heard him last.

Man, was I shaken-up and full of adrenaline. I took several deep breaths while thinking, “I just arrowed my first deer! I get to eat venison! Now I must wait 30 minutes before I start after him.” It was 6:30 when I shot him. (Rule of thumb is to wait 30 minutes before looking for a deer, especially in bowhunting.)

 Patience In A Tree
That was a long 30 minutes. I spent it thanking God for this hunt, praying my hit was as solid as it looked and observing nature. My heart rate gradually fell as I looked towards the sky. Also figured this was a good time to pull out my phone to remember how high I was. It was clear and the sun was shining on the cornfield enhancing its golden color. Most leaves were still green with a few turning color this second weekend of bow season.

When my pocket watch f i n a l l y reached 7 o’clock, I slowly climbed down the the ladder-stand. Walking towards where I shot the buck, I heard movement behind my treestand. I paused and questioned myself, “Am I starting too soon?” Silence shortly followed, so I continued to where I remembered the deer take-off after the shot. I found tracks, blood and a few feet further, my arrow. The arrow provided proof it was a good hit. There was red blood and it didn’t have a foul smell.

I found blood and started tracking until I came across a small creek and lost the blood trail. It was now 7:20 and getting dark. I took out my flashlight but could not pick up a blood trail again. Because of the movement I heard early on, I turned back and headed to camp to get advice of more experienced hunters.

Sunset while deer hunting

Walking back to camp that evening, I turned to admire the sunset.

 Around 8PM
Back at camp, I told my hunting party I had hit a deer, felt confident of my shot, lost the blood trail and asked for advice. After seeing my arrow, they also said it was a good hit. We headed back out after the deer.

Arriving at my stand, I picked up the initial blood trail and we all continued to follow it. Finding more of the trail than I did, we found an area of heavy blood and it seemed as if this was the end of the blood trail. We decided to head back and return in the morning.

 Is It Morning Yet?
The night was long. Prayer and anxiety made it tough to fall asleep. I was still replaying the shot in my mind.  Although I was confident of my shot, I was questioning the hit since we were going back out in the morning to look for the deer.

Morning came. We headed out to begin the search. Not long after searching, we found my first deer! The deer was about 50 yards behind the tree I was sitting in. It was found beside a tree in thick brush.

Holding my first deer.

Fulfillment is the best word to describe how I felt walking up to the deer and laying hands on it. Though hunting is a solo sport, it took teamwork for my first deer and I appreciate everyone that helped.

I have been gun deer hunting since 13 and started bowhunting in 2012. Although I didn’t get a deer in 2012, I learned hunting skills and bowhunting preparation that was crucial in getting my first deer on September 21, 2013. The friends and family who helped out are as much a part of this as myself.

Contentment Is Great Gain

Contentment is tough to hang on to, yet necessary to keep.

Being content is making the best with the old, the hand-me-downs and possessions you already have. It’s about realizing what’s practical for your current stage of life as it will bring balance, comfort, and fulfillment.

Contentment

1 Timothy 6:6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Knowing Where You Stand
It’s not about having the best, but rather, making the best of what you have. Doing so takes patience, which encourages ingenuity because you’ll find ways to improve what you have. You may even find that customizing an old item is better than what’s on the market today, or simply, meets your needs.

Still Aim For Higher Ground
If you make the best of what you have you’ll know where there’s room for improvement. You can still improve the quality of your life, be ambitious, and reach for the clouds. It’s important to have balance so you avoid complacency.

Appreciate What You Have
Be thankful for what you have. Making the best of what you have also encourages you to take care of your things. So when you can afford a better option or replacement you’ll have the wisdom to make the new item last. If you can’t take care of the old, how will you take care of the new?

Furthermore, contentment helps to look for ways to make the best of situations. Making the best of what you have allows you to be content with what you have and means you’ll have a positive outlook on life. You’ll be able to make the best out of struggles you face, even those unexpected ones. Thus, it’s rewarding to teach yourself to be content.

R.I.P. Greed
Contentment provides motivation to live within your means, drowning out materialism. It’s challenging but keep in mind that material possessions come and go, rot, rust, and get old. Don’t let this happen to your outlook on life.

Be At Ease
When content, you’ll feel at peace with yourself. Being at peace with yourself keeps you grounded and is crucial for maintaining good spiritual, mental, and physical health. It brings a comforting feeling to the current stage of your life while allowing you to work toward your goals. Don’t get caught up in what people say you should have. Remember if you can afford it’s a good deal, both time, dollar, and resource wise.

Contentment’s a handy key to keep with you throughout your life. It’ll help you realize your blessings and give you balance.

 

This is the third in a continuing series about discovering your personal key chain.

Running Into Colors, Faith, and Promise

While on a morning run during the spring of 2011 I saw a rainbow in the clouds and after my run, reflected on this covenant from God.

While looking at a rainbow in the sky, it’s God’s covenant he will never again destroy the world with a flood. (Genesis 9:11-17) With every rainbow, God’s keeping his promise.

There are problems in life; some problems seem like floods. It’s refreshing in such times to remember God keeps his promises. It’s refreshing to see a rainbow in the sky. How many rainbows do you see?

Every time you see a rainbow God’s reassuring you he keeps his promises. Amazing we still see rainbows appear; the first one appeared in Noah’s time, that’s B.C.!

A promise God has made is that we’ll go to heaven by believing in his son; God doesn’t break promises. I am unable to see God, yet am able to see his promises. In fact, every time you see a rainbow, you see God’s promise. God keeps his promises.

“Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds. I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. ” Genesis 9:14-15

Life’s Roller Coasters

It’s awesome to hear God-given talent through song.
While listening to John Denver’s song:

“Looking For Space”, I jotted down the following:

I’m realizing I can relate to lyrics in this song and they help me explain certain feelings in my life.

“Looking for space” helps me reflect on my values, my goals in life and where I see myself in the future. 

Sometimes I wish I could fly away,” I imagine eagles soaring and how they represent freedom. It’s about those times I feel like I need a break from work or facing a new challenge in my life. Fishing also comes to mind and the freedom of exploring God’s creation. 

“When I think that i’m moving, suddenly things stand still. I’m afraid cus I think they always will.” I relate to this line because there’s times problems arise while everything’s going well. Some challenges take longer to overcome so I feel stuck in a rut. Some ruts take more work to get out of than others. Once I’m out it’s rewarding and I am refocused.

“Sometimes I fly like an eagle.” Hearing this inspires me because when God is brought into perspective, I feel refreshed and feel like I’m soaring high like an eagle, suddenly everything’s clear. The big picture is that God wants us to be in heaven with him; we have the gift of eternal life through Jesus.

High points are exhilarating; low points are puzzling. The reality is that life’s a roller coaster. Your faith is a roller coaster. Sometimes it’s strong, other times it’ll seem weak.

Always living in you, God will strengthen your faith and be at your side throughout your life. It will feel like you’re flying on eagle’s wings. Other times you’ll seem to be in a slump and may find yourself in despair. Whatever the case, God is always walking with you, never leaving you. It’s a sweet dream.

St. Paul says, “I am convinced neither angels nor demons can separate you from the love of God.”

God’s love is strong, so strong he was willing to send his only son to die on the cross. Jesus Christ died for all people, humbling himself to live as a human and be tempted, tortured, and mocked; that we may live and have life to the full.

When in despair or feeling like you’re stuck, remember Jesus went through temptation and challenges as you and I do, so he knows exactly how living in this world can be. He promises, surely I will be with you always to the very end of the age. That alone is exhilarating. God keeps his promises.

 

Reflective Morning

Today’s blog post comes from guest blogger Kirsten Pfeifer, grad student at University of Minnesota, recalling her early morning adventure in Minneapolis.

bridge sunrise
“The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning. It’s time to sing Your song again.”
– 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord), by Matt Redman

Waking up early in the morning, before the sun is plenty high in the sky is not particularly a priority in my life. However, one cold December morning I challenged myself to get up early enough to see the sunrise. I enjoy taking any type of nature photos, so knowing that the sunrise would present some ideal shots served as motivation for me to abandon my blankets for a few warm layers and a pair of running shoes.

I left my apartment building and began  running towards the Mississippi River. The sky was dark grey. It still felt like nighttime, yet I was dodging commuters on the sidewalk heading toward the University hospital ready to start their work day.  I ran along the riverbank, wasting time until the sun was ready to break free from the horizon. I turned to my left where there is a sandy area that I had visited a couple times before, and was surprised to see about fifty geese floating in the water, as still as statues. I stopped to appreciate the stillness and serenity of this scene before continuing along the path.

Minnesota sunrise

The sky began to light up with streaks of yellow and orange, and I captured the colorful array to the best of my Kodak’s ability. Soon, I was lost in the process of discovering new camera angles to shoot from, finding a variety of natural elements to include in the foreground, and experimenting with the reflections on the water. Before I knew it, it was time for me to leave the riverbank and return to reality.

However, this hour allowed me to enjoy my hobby of photography and my love of exploring nature, all while appreciating the beauty of God’s creation.

This morning, I learned how valuable a single hour of time for oneself, before jumping into another hectic day can be.  Getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city commute, and finding solace in the trees by the river helped remind me that every minute of that day was a gift from God. He had given me the ability to rise early from my slumber in order to experience these quiet moments and to see the colorful sunrise he had painted. Therefore, I wanted to take in as much of its beauty as I possibly could, and face the day with the only attitude that is suitable for a blood-bought child of Christ; an attitude of gratefulness.

“I won’t take it for granted, I won’t waste another second. All I want is to give you a life well-lived to say ‘Thank you.’”  – Good to be Alive, by Jason Gray

 

 

 

Tagging Out On Determination

Determination is part of hunting. You’re reading about my hunting experience for the the 2012 WI gun deer season. The season opened November 17 and closed November 25. Although I didn’t get a deer yet this season… I had fun hunting and gained one more year of hunting experience.

Furthermore, each year I hunt, I come to conclusions for my love of hunting and being outdoors. I realize just how deep my passion for hunting resides.

My plan each day was this:

  • get in the woods before light
  • sit until midmorning
  • scout around and still-hunt the afternoon
  • return to a separate spot to sit until dark

 

 

As I walked out of the public deer woods and back to my car each day during the 2012 gun deer season, I asked myself, “Will I get a deer?” Thoughts of frustration entered my mind as I was walking out of the woods without a deer.

Yet, each day I was anxious for the next time I would come back to the deer woods.

And sure enough, the next morning, I’d be just as excited and optimistic of my chances seeing deer as I was the morning of the season opener.

Morning of Day 4 of the 2012 gun deer opener was a foggy one.

It’s exhilarating when you find a prospective spot and see deer sign such as droppings, rubs, trails, and beddings.

During one of my hunts, I confirmed that I enjoy deer hunting for the challenge and that’s what keeps me coming back.

The challenge may be going through thick brush and heavy cover in order to explore a new area. I went through thick cattails because I felt deer were in there, and I found sign leading to this marsh that I had not explored yet.  Always be scouting around, even in season.

Followed this deer trail through the cattails, doing so also led me to a prospective spot I’ll try late season.

When scouting, pay attention to the ground in order to find good deer sign. This may sound obvious, yet it’s worth mentioning ‘cus it’s easy to overlook deer droppings, and finding deer droppings allows you to learn how to age them.

Most importantly, finding good deer sign rejuvenates yourself by giving you a positive feeling that deer are indeed in the area.  Much of hunting is about a positive attitude. This will keep you going no matter how frustrating the hunt seems.

Because I wasn’t seeing deer, I was reminding myself each day that “just being out in the woods gives me a significant chance at tagging a deer”. It’s this attitude that kept me coming back to the woods and scouting around.

For me, it was frustrating to not see any deer even though I found great deer sign. Not seeing deer teaches me a cool cool thing about hunting: you don’t need to get the animal you’re after to have fun. You can take away other things about yourself, and the memories you make with friends and family.

Found a good size deer bed after kicking up deer in a marsh.

You also prove to yourself qualities you may not have thought you had, and even build on the qualities you know you do have. You are improving your hunting skills, and are able to utilize the gear you’ve spent money on.

One of the things I found was a new way to carry my deer seat in the woods that lets me travel lighter, stealthier, and, if a deer presented a shot opportunity while walking to my spot, this newfound way would give me a more comfortable shot.

In the end, I’m able to look ahead to remind myself I still have an archery tag through January 6 and there is a second WI gun deer season in the CWD Units over Christmas. I was able to look for additional spots to sit during these two seasons and there’s still hope to get a deer. It will happen by taking a positive attitude.

Because I work for Sportsman Channel I feel I should be tagging out every year on deer, limiting out on fish each adventure out there. It’s when I start feeling this pressure I remind myself of this simple thought: if I am able to get out in the woods, breathe the fresh air, and enjoy walking in public land, than I am experiencing being an American Sportsman. And this alone is a blessing.

Adventure For Unity

Well the presidential election came to a close, and the political adventures continue on.

One of the adventures I hope will fade away are petitions to secede  Politicians must unite.

I’ll admit, my candidate did not win. Yet, my voting decision was a well informed one and that allowed me to sleep the night of the election.

I call myself neither a republican; nor a democrat. I am more conservative than liberal. These days I try to vote for the politician with the best plan, and also see if I agree with their morals and ethics(it was a real challenge to this election). The rest I leave to prayer otherwise I’ll drive myself crazy. God has more power than me anyway, and with this mindset, I find relief.

Ultimately, both candidates made some good points, and other points I disagreed with. I wasn’t impressed with either candidates plans that were laid out during the debates/conventions. I expected to hear more of a vision from Obama for the next four years.

Now where do we go? What is my attitude? It’s realizing that reality is Obama’s the president. I, (we) should do our best to respect him, yet know why we disagree with him, if we do.

Obama won. Whining about Obama is no good, and neither is debating his birth certificate. Forget about doing this. Bad attitudes are not good for work, for solving problems. Just know what the reality is and move on. This is still America. We live in a country of freedom.

We are able to voice our opinion, enjoy our hobbies, and worship freely. You are able to visit this blog and either finish reading this, or not. Heck, you can even write your own blog.

I can still fish where I please, (with proper permits), have either chicken for dinner or fish, and wake up to go work out before work if I chose or during my lunch break. And if I don’t feel like brushing my teeth before bed, I won’t. Remember, we still have choices! We have to work through challenges, even if we don’t get our way. Being immature leads to crybabies, that’s unproductive.

 

A strong solution is to work together. Both parties must come together. Political gridlock cannot go on.

And you see, that’s one thing both Romney and Obama agree on. Working together. To the extent Obama and fellow republicans are willing too needs to be great.

What about these petitions to secede? Nonsense. What we need now is unity. Secession is the opposite of working together and unity, in my opinion, and ridiculous. Even more so if the motive to sign these petitions is because Obama is re-elected.

We’re Here Breathing

Time out. Take a deep breathe. Do it again.

Recently, Bill Nye came out to slam creation and exploit his view of things. His take is “We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need engineers that can build stuff and solve problems”. This is true, we need those things and the fact is those literate voters, taxpayers for the future, and engineers to solve problems and build stuff will be living on a planet God created.

Hebrews 11:3 states “By faith we understand the universe was formed at God’s command…” (In fact, read all of Hebrews 11.) Notice, it’s by FAITH. Just as it takes faith to believe in God and the Holy Bible. It takes faith to

Hebrews

believe that the world came about by the big bang, random events, and evolution. And it takes faith to believe the world is billions of years old. (side note: from my christian perspective, the earth could be billions of years old, or it could be thousands. God never said how old the earth is. It remains a mystery to me. Some things we won’t know, we are not God, until we’re in heaven and get to ask God.)

 

Yes, I am offended at Bill’s remarks. I’m going to be because I believe in God with all my heart, my soul, my mind. I am a christian who solves problems, who is a literate voter. Furthermore, evolution is already taught in public schools, creationism is not. Does Nye realize this? So the majority of kids in this world are already being taught evolution, it’s also printed in scientific text books. Nye also needs to realize that those who believe God created the universe and everything in it are scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future, and they can be engineers to solve problems and build stuff. You do not need to believe in the big bang theory to solve problems and build stuff.

Not all science is bad; but science is not God, cannot be God, cannot replace God. There is right and wrong. Science can be wrong, and Science does not have all the answers. God does. And because we, you and I are humans, we are not going to know all the answers in this world, however, there is an answer to who created this world, God. Christians will reject certain scientific beliefs. This is why Christians reject evolution and the big bang theory. It’s why there is a clash between science and religion.

I believe God created the world in which we live, the world I am sitting in today typing this blog post. It’s the world that Bill Nye lives in. The air that Bill Nye is breathing in the video? God created that too. Nye has chosen not to believe in creation, his belief comes from man. Mine is in God, the Father almighty the maker of heaven and earth.

God gave us his Word in the Holy Bible that we may believe in him. We can learn how the world became to be in Genesis. It’s literally how the world became to be. Please don’t make it more complicated, for God’s word says what is means and means what it says. God wants us to know about him and what he has done for us. God keeps his promises and means what he says. As Christians we take God at his Word.

genisis

Being An American Sportsman

Being An American Sportsman

The smell of the lake as I’m getting into the boat is one of the things that causes me to come back for more. The scent of the air after a fresh rain/snow fall is another.

I’m feeling the early morning dew penetrating my shoes as I walk to a shore fishing spot beside a river or beside a lake. What a gift to chose where my next fishing trip will be. And I can fish by boat; backing your trailer into the lake of your choice is a great freedom as an American Sportsman.

American Sportsman Hooking Up

The freedom of hooking your boat up to the vehicle of your choice and heading to the lake you chose is a great freedom as an American sportsman. And so is the freedom to ride or walk to your fishing spot.

It’s a blessing to get away from the normal daily routine to feel free and adventurous. Discovering something new. The ability to make, and even mark your own path as you leave your driveway. Yes, God has blessed our country; you and I experience those blessings of His hand each time we venture to the outdoors.

These are some of the feelings that come to my mind, being an American sportsman. (If I were to go on I suppose there wouldn’t be enough words to describe the richness of how it feels to be in the great outdoors, to be an American sportsman.)

Let us always remember why can enjoy the freedoms we do as American sportsmen. God has blessed and soldiers have served our country.

When It’s Been A While

Whoa! It truly has been a while since my last post. However, “Phew!”, at least it has not been a year.

Since my last post I’ve secured the position I went to school for, through the Lord’s help. In my heart I set a goal to obtain a digital marketing position. Achieving this goal is the most rewarding feeling after one of the toughest challenges I’ve experienced after college. Now, it’s working harder than I have before. I used to think college was hard. It was. But, now I see how much time,(free time), a college student truly has.

Free time, now, is a rewarding feeling in itself. What to do with the free time is a challenge as I feel like I must delve into my career that much more while I am tugged into my passions, (fishing, hunting, snowboarding), to reap the benefits of leisure.

God has blessed me with balance. This natural talent of mine, is now being pushed to the limit by the tasks of life. With the Lord’s help, I feel my balance always improving.

A favorite sayings that inspires me is, “Behind every challenge lies reward.” (I came up with this saying while preparing for the interview question, “Tell me about yourself?”)

What are sayings that have inspired you, and what achievement has stood out to you this past year? Feel free to leave them in the comments.