October Deer Hunt
In late October, 14 men of all ages met at Stillwater Refuge for a weekend of deer hunting and spending time together. It was one of the best outings of 2012!
Stillwater Refuge had recently completed renovations on the Bunkhouse and we took advantage. Although we never had any complaints about the old Bunkhouse, the new design is AWESOME! I encourage you to take your family, friends or group there and stay for a weekend too.
Our time was spent hunting deer- management bucks, spikes and doe. Some of our outing participants had never shot a deer before and for others, this would only be their second chance to take a deer. For the most part, we had a fairly inexperienced group of hunters...but they didn't shoot like it! Three guys shot their first deer during the weekend and two others shot their second deer. We also spent a good bit of time training hunters how to identify different ages of deer. This is an important skill that many hunters don't ever bother to acquire. After a couple of hours talking about deer and watching them through binoculars, the guys really started picking it up! All in all, we fired 7 shots and had 7 clean kills. The Stillwater Staff sent me the following message, "I feel like your marksmanship outings and being faithful to go make young men shoot at the range before hunting has really paid off. We didn't lose a single animal this weekend... This was a great outing". I was very encouraged by this message as it shows me that FieldGuides is meeting its goal of building up skilled outdoors men.
Our camp fire talks centered on two things during the weekend: purpose and forgiveness. On the first night we asked each guy "What is God's purpose for having you on this trip". Some said this trip helped them avoid temptations and situations at home that needed to be avoided. Others said that God had been speaking to them and that the purpose of the trip for them was to have an environment to hear from Him. A few others felt their purpose was rest and stress relief. We learned that the Lord always has a purpose for us where we are- sometimes His purposes are for specific words to be spoken or heard and other times it is as simple as God-focused rest and relaxation.
The second night of camp fire was more focused. In the morning I asked the guys to think about who they needed to forgive, or who they were holding unforgiveness against. This question hit very close to home for each of us. As the day progressed we each thought about the question and specific people came to mind for us all. That night around the fire we shared our answers. We did this for a few reasons. It is important to acknowledge that we need to forgive so that we can put actions to work and do it! We also shared with everyone so that we can hold each other accountable to do the things we said we were going to do. Unforgiveness is like a cancer inside us- as it grows stronger it makes our spirits and even our physical bodies weaker. Forgiving and releasing those who have harmed or wronged us brings freedom from the sickening trap of unforgiveness and bitterness. As you read this, pray for each of the guys who sat around that fire, that they would be able to walk out in the forgiveness that they pinpointed that night. Also, ask the Lord to show you areas of your own life where you need to forgive someone.
This weekend was a highlight of the year so far as we saw our practical and spiritual goals being met before our eyes- young men becoming spiritually deep followers of Jesus and skilled outdoors men at the same time.
Check out the pics here. The smiling faces say it all!
November Duck Hunt
During the weekend before Thanksgiving Field Guides played the role of "asphalt cowboy" and rode all the way to Rockport, TX! We stayed in a beach house on Copano Bay called Pier Pressure. It's not that often that we will take an outing that far away, but this one was one for the books!
We hunted ducks in the bay on Saturday morning, afternoon and Sunday morning. Of the 12 outing participants, at least 7 were completely new to duck hunting. They all got their first ducks during this trip and some may have caught the duck hunting bug for good! Watching a dog retrieve, birds respond to a call and work over decoys is a fantastic sight. We shot 26 ducks, 17 ducks and 13 ducks during those hunts for a weekend total of 56 ducks. Guys got to see LOTS of redheads and a few pintails, bluebills, widgen and bufflehead. Being out on the water and in the duck blinds was a great experience and one I look forward to repeating next season!
When we weren't hunting we spent time fishing on the 300+ foot long pier, cooking out and relaxing around the beach house. We caught a few speckled trout, but nothing major was biting. On Saturday night all 14 of us shared a fajita meal around the table and let me tell you, these guys can eat! Close to a dozen pounds of beef, chicken and pork fajitas were consumed.
After we ate we discussed a parable that Jesus told, the parable of the sower. This story highlighted the 4 different ways that people receive the Word of the Lord. We then had each person classify themselves according to the parable. Some had soft hearts and were receiving the Word of the Lord and some had hard hearts. Most of the group fell somewhere in the middle- we had accepted the Word of the Lord and received it happily, but our passion had been stolen by the numerous cares and distractions of this life. Most of the things that kept us from following Jesus the way we wanted to were not "bad" things, in fact, most of them are wonderful when kept in the proper perspective. But, as we discussed on this outing, when anything (even great things) distract us from following Jesus we become less effective for the Kingdom. That night we challenged each other to refocus on the King and His Kingdom and watch as the words of the old gospel song come true: "Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face, and the things of Earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace." We also challenged each other to not settle for the "Sunday School" status quo, but to let our experiences with Him refuel the passion and faith that has been lost and let those things push our spiritual roots deeper into the Lord than we have ever been.
Let's all join the guys from this trip and do this together. If we do, the world around us just might become a different place!
Click here for pics.