by Tim Smith
The Story: "Lost-Unable to find one's way; not knowing one's whereabouts". Have you ever felt that way? How about at 4:30 in the morning in the middle of the Alabama backwoods? Yours truly did not too long ago-let me explain.
This past December, my good friend Jason Cruise, Founder of the Outdoor Ministry Network and www.TheMissionVision.net came down to our place here in Alabama in order to film a hunt for a project he was working on.
Jason arrived on a Sunday night and the plan was to hit the ground running Monday morning. In turn, I devised a fool proof plan that included being in the perfect spot an hour and a half before daylight Monday morning that would get Jason, his cameraman (me) and our 872 pounds of gear in the tree before first light.
Just as I'd done many times before, I crossed the creek below the double buck hut, went up the big rocky hill and entered the trail next to the big oak. All I had to do was follow the old wash that ran from the top of the ridge to the bottom and the stand would be right there in front of me. Peace of cake-or so I thought.
As I entered the woods, dreams of Big Daddy Sad and his massive rack danced in my head. I knew without a shadow of a doubt this was the stand where Big Daddy would show himself and the death angel would pay Big Sad a visit on this fine morning. All I had to do was get us there. Well friends, as you've probably guessed by now, "there in lies the problem Peter." Ten minutes into this little soirée, I was as lost as a blind goose in a hailstorm and my head was spinning like the latch on an outhouse door. As Jason and I made our way down the "killin' ridge", I began to notice things did not look as familiar as they had in times past. In turn, I swept the area with my flashlight hoping to see something familiar, but as hard as I tried, nothing stuck out. "Awe crap", I thought to myself..."this AIN'T good." Figuring I must have made a
wrong turn, I swallowed my pride and told Jason we needed to back track and make our way back to the top of the ridge. By now I'm sweating like a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs because of all the gear I'm lugging and I'm embarrassed beyond belief knowing what Jason must be thinking. After we lug all our gear to the top of the ridge, I tell Jason to stay put and I'll walk down by myself, locate the stand and come back and get him. Wouldn't you know it, this time I walk straight to the stand; I found it! We're back in business. With Jason now in tow (again) I make my way to the bottom of the ridge for the third time, and the feeling hits me (again). I'm off track-"somebody make the bad man stop!" "This can't be happening". As my light begins to wander a bit from left to right, I know my guest has read my mind and I hear him say in a kind, gentle, Christian voice..."Dude, you know you're killing me." Trying to comfort my guest, I assure him we're close...but inside I'm dying a slow painful death. A full ten minutes later, after making enough noise to scare off all animals within a 3-mile radius and more sweat on my part, I stumble across the stand.
The Word: There have been numerous times in my life when I wandered around in the dark. My typical response was to kick down a door and hope that was where I was supposed to go. You guessed it; time and time again I was wrong and even more lost. It was only after I understood and began to apply the words of Psalms 119:105 did I begin to find my way. The Psalmist relayed that God's word (the Bible) was a lamp to his feet and a light to his path. Without God's instruction in his life he was lost.
Alabama at Night!!!
Field Tip: You may recall I had stated I had been to the stand many times before. However, did I mention I had not accessed that stand before daylight? Not a smart move. As you probably well know, things look different in the dark and familiar landmarks aren't so familiar in the dark. So what can we do? There are several items that can help "light your path". One common item is the handheld GPS. Simply input the latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates of your stand and it will navigate you via waypoints right back to your stand on those dark mornings. Another item on the market is a light that attaches to the base of your stand and remotely flashes once a flashlight beam hits the built in sensor. These lights activate once the hunter gets within about 100 yards of his stand. However, the simplest, and in my opinion, the most efficient item is reflective tape or reflective trail tacks. Simply attach these little items to a tree trunk or low hanging limb about every 40 yards and let them "be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path".
Making Him known,
Chink in the Armor
by Tim Smith
You've probably heard someone make reference to a "chink in their armor" but do you know what it really means and how the phrase came about? The phrase came about during the middle ages when warriors would enter the battlefield suited from head to toe in a heavy steel armor. It was this armor that protected them from the most powerful weapons of the period. Any opening, crack or fissure in the armor created a serious vulnerability for the warrior and was known as a "chink".
Every deer hunter goes into the woods in a battle and armor of their own. They battle a deer's greatest asset, their nose. The modern deer hunter's armor includes products like scent eliminating laundry detergent, dryer sheets, soap and shampoo not to mention space age clothing and shoes engineered to stop human scent from hitting the air waves.
This past bow season, it was hot. How hot you ask? It was so hot cows were giving evaporated milk. However, heat is something you just have to put up with if you're going to bowhunt in the south. As such, I suited up for battle one hot afternoon in hopes of defeating my foe, a giant Alabama buck. As I had done time and time again, I donned my full suit of armor (in the form of Scent-Lock). However, as I was about to put on my scent-free, knee-high, rubber boots, a thought crossed my mind. "Tim, do you know how hot your feet are going to get in those rubber boots? Your poor little tootsies may just melt when that hot sun bears down on those boots." So, I decided to just leave on my lighter weight leather boots I always wear around the farm.
Despite the sauna like temps, I had been in the stand for only about an hour when I spotted a tall set of antlers skirting the edge of the field, making their way to my downwind side. Just like most old, smart bucks do, he was making a cursory check before entering. As you've probably already guessed, as he got directly downwind of me his nose went straight into the air. I was busted!! This fellow's nose told him something wasn't quite right and he began to stomp and then walk away. This old boy had found the "chink" in my armor!
The Word: The devil is always looking for a "chink" in our spiritual armor. There's no doubt if it's there he'll exploit it. However, the Apostle Paul described the pieces of the armor and how to wear it in order to combat the enemy.
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should." Ephesians 6:10-20
I would encourage you as we enter this New Year, to ensure the pieces of armor Paul described are present in your life and eliminate any "chinks" you may have.
Field Tip: As you probably already figured out, those old smelly leather boots were my "chink". As soon as the air molecules from those old nasty boots hit this deer's nose he knew there was a dude sitting in his house. However, for some unknown reason, this deer decided to stop one last time and pause at 34 yards giving me one last opportunity at a shot. Fortunately, my arrow found its mark and I was able to make a decent shot on the deer. However, if I had put on my full armor I believe I would've had an easy shot inside of 20 yards. So, your field tip is this: During bow season you can't afford to take shortcuts, put on the full armor. It's the only chance you have at fooling his nose.
Making Him known,
Field Tips is a light-hearted look at everything outdoors. The stories will make you laugh, the verses from God's Word will inspire you and it'll always provide a "tip" you can take into the deep woods. The best part is you can read it all in under two minutes (even if you're like me and a proud product of the Alabama Public School System).