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Midwest Bucks is the driving force behind my addiction to bow hunting, but not far behind is getting up close and personal with gobbling thunder chickens in spring.

What Matters Most

IMG_5175As turkey season comes to a close, my mind is already shifting gears to chasing thick necked, big racked Iowa whitetails next fall.  As I think about next deer season, I can’t help but reflect on the last.  I am coming off of the best season I have had.  Now, I don’t get to travel all over the US chasing whitetails from Ohio down to Texas like the guys on TV, so I am not referring to a banner six pope and young buck year.  However, personally this has been the best whitetail season I have ever had.  I started off the year with a couple of early season doe kills.  November came with a lot of good buck sightings and I was able to take a beautiful 140” ten point buck at TW2forty-yards with my Strother SHO bow.  Then after waiting for over a month to hunt again here in Iowa I took my muzzle loader out and on my first hunt of the late season my friend and I doubled up on a pair of great Iowa bucks.

A couple of years ago, I was not quite so fortunate.  I hunted hard and long in Nebraska with only one encounter with a mature buck to show for my efforts.  I also traveled to Illinois to hunt in the Golden Triangle.  After six days of sitting on stand daylight to dark, finally on the last day I had a old, narly, tank of a buck come into twenty-yards broadside and while I was at full draw my bow hit the camera arm and that buck too bolted out of my life.  I threatened to give it all up after that.

photo 1You see without realizing it I had put so much pressure on myself to kill a good buck that year that when it did not happen I was almost disgusted with how my season ended.  I remember that five hour drive home to Nebraska where I lived at the time.  Not one time did I feel thankful just to have the opportunity to hunt, to encounter the good bucks I did that week.  I felt nothing but sorry for myself.  I just kept thinking, “I can’t believe it, this will be the first year in ten years that I would not kill a buck.”  As I said I had put so much effort into taking a buck when it did not happen I was left feeling like the entire season was just a waste.

As I pulled into the driveway I saw our living room light on, and two little boys watching my truck with big smiles on their faces.  The minute I stepped out of my truck they disappeared heading towards the front door.  I could already hear their excitement on the inside as I turned the door handle, and the second the door opened they screamed, Daddy’s Home! Each of my boys came flying into my arms.  As I hugged them and kissed their heads I caught a glimpse of my beautiful wife looking at the three men in her life and I could tell in that moment how happy she was.

Instantly I felt the Lord tell me, “This is what matters.”  He did not have to say another word.  I got it, all the pressure I had felt just minutes before faded away.  I would say that this moment was the first time in my hunting career that I realized how little it mattered if I killed a big buck.  My wife and boys didn’t care if I brought a buck home, they were just happy I was home.  To be honest I did not care anymore either, I was just as happy as they were.

That lesson has stayed with me, in fact the following year in 2012 again I went without a buck and I did not even see very many deer mostly due to the major EHD outbreak throughout the Midwest, but I never felt bad about it.  I learned again to enjoy what God has created for me and to embrace what really matters in life.

I travel and speak at various outdoor related events through the year and this is something I talk about regularly because I think it is something that us men really need to understand.  Every one of us will one day stand before a living a holy God, we will be judged according to what we have done for Him with our time on this earth.  I guarantee that God is not going to ask any one of us how many bucks were on our walls.  The only two things He will care about is one, did you make Jesus Christ the Lord of your life and two, what did you do to advance His Kingdom?

To be honest when it comes to eternity everything else is irrelevant.  We have been created to glorify Him with every aspect of our lives.  I firmly believe that He desires for us to enjoy what He has created for us especially the outdoors.  However, if we begin to put those things in front of Him we are walking on shaky ground and are not living as He has called us to live.  So let us all purpose in our hearts while living on this side of eternity to focus on what matters most.

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