Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Whiter Than Snow

The recent snowstorms have created a wonderful blanket of clean white snow in the valleys, through the woodlands to the mountain tops. Everything looks so much different than the brown colors of November; creation glistens with God's splendor. I enjoy the snow as it piles up on all the tree limbs and fence posts. I grew up in Iowa and that rarely occurred in the windy country.

This is a great time to take the family out for sledding, cross country skiing or snow shoeing. The exercise will help burn off the extra calories we consume this time of year. Our dog loves the snow and likes to roll in it to make dog angels. Most of her tennis balls are lost until spring thaw.

Psalm 51 tells of God willingness to make us whiter than snow. It tells us about his compassion for us and that He can cleanse us from all our sin. God is a loving Father ! The psalm goes on to say that we need to pray for a clean heart and ask God to renew a steadfast spirit in us. This Christmas would be a great time to ask God for renewal of spirit; after all he sent his gift of love for everyone 2000 years ago.

Go to Matthew or Luke and read the Christmas story. It is a story of God's love for all of us. My prayer is for people to realize how much God loves them. Remember, Jesus is a relationship not a religion. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Winter Visitors

This time of year our property is a sanctuary to hundreds of birds. Each morning I put out a gallon of sunflower seeds and a large container of regular bird seed. By late afternoon all the feeding stations are empty. We also have suet in two locations. Our regular visitors are house finches, chickadees, gold finches, juncos, flickers, starlings, morning doves, stellar jays, pine siskins , and downy woodpeckers. Each year the dove population seems to grow. This year we have at least thirty. Several fox squirrels also call our property their home. Deer wander through at night to see if there are any seeds left for them. Once the snow gets deep I will feed the deer some grain to keep them off the railroad tracks.

The stellar jays are one of my favorite birds as they are so beautiful . God made the blues so vivid and striking on this bird and instilled a boldness in the jay that matches it's colors. Our jays have grown accustom of me and often approach me very close. The other morning a chickadee flew down and briefly perched in the sunflower container as to tell me I was late at putting out their breakfast. It amazes me that something as small as a chickadee can survive in this cold climate . It seems so fragile yet adjusts very well to winter.

We have recorded over sixty five bird species on our property; each unique and created in a special way. People who think we were created by some cosmic accident or evolved from a single specie need to take a closer look how each bird is so different and wonderfully made. God not only created them; He cares for them. Matthew 6:26 says' "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. "

Then it says, " Are you not much more valuable than they?" Our Heavenly Father loves us more than anything yet we often do not show the love back to Him. He wants us to have a relationship with Him not a religion. You are part of His story, an old old story. You can not escape it. We all are born and all die. What we do between those times is our story. The one thing He wants us to do is seek Him. It is decision with eternal consequences; we will spend eternity with God or be separated from Him.

So who would you rather spend eternity with; God or Satan?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Dad's Forgiveness

As the eighth grade approached I became very interested in learning to trap. That year I read many books and magazines about trapping beaver, mink, muskrat, and raccoon. I purchased some traps and asked permission from nearby landowners to trap the Des Moines River that meandered through their properties. The first year was a learning process but I caught a few animals and that fueled my ambitions for the next year.

By the time I reached high school, I had become very proficient and during November I would earn as much from trapping as I would working the rest of the year. Dad let me turn the garage into a place to skin , stretch and dry the hides . The wooden garage doors held beaver hides tacked to them and hides hung from the ceiling trusses. I also teemed up with my brother Ron and between us we checked over 500 traps every day. We would catch over 1500 muskrats, 30 mink, about 30 raccoon and 20 beaver every season. We even hired our brother-in-law to skin and stretch the pelts as we did not have the time. Our trap lines extended over a large area of creeks and rivers as our father knew many farmers in the county so getting permission to trap was easy.

One summer I read how to make our own sure fire raccoon lure out of fish. I thought about the money we would save by making the lure and went down to the river and caught some carp. These were chopped into small pieces and packed into quart jars. I talked Mom out of a few canning jars. The jars were supposed to be buried in the ground in a cool shady spot with about two inches above the ground. I looked around our yard and decided the big leaves on the rhubarb would be a perfect spot to bury this treasure. So the jars were carefully placed under the rhubarb and had to stay there for at least four weeks. Three weeks went by and I was anticipating unsealing the best lure ever made. One evening I was working in the garage when Dad came in and said he was going to mow off some of the garden plants as summer was nearly over and many vegetables were finished for the year. The mower came to life with a roar and old vegetables were being cut off to clean up the garden but suddenly there was a loud kurthump, and a moment of silence. Then Dad hollered, " Larry, bring a shovel out here right now!" As I rounded the garage a putrid odor hit me and was spreading rapidly throughout the neighborhood. My prize lure was ruined! Dad walked by me with a scowl and told me to clean up the mess and also clean the lawnmower. So I sorted out pieces of rotten fish and broken glass and hosed down the mower.

Dad was a little upset at me and I wondered what I could do to get back in his favor. A few days later I brought the subject up to Mom and she said he had gotten over it and was actually having a good laugh at work telling people about the episode. My Dad had forgiven me and I was back into his grace. What a relief that was to me .

Now our heavenly Dad is like that too. We goof up and create a big stink in our lives and God is merciful and forgets the whole thing. Psalm 103 says God forgives ALL our sins and heals our diseases, and redeems our life from the pit and crowns us with love and compassion. He satisfies our desires with good things and our youth is renewed like the eagle's.

I continued trapping through college but never, ever made anymore lure.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Tradition

Families across this nation will gather on Thursday to celebrate Thanksgiving. It is my prayer that they remember to whom we are thankful. Psalm 100 puts thanksgiving in perspective. It says, “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his, we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his loves endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

I am afraid most people don’t appreciate that Psalm. We try to rely on wealth, status, and ourselves for happiness and thanksgiving. If every person in this nation would get down on their knees Thursday and thank the Father for his rich blessings, He would bless our socks off. God is waiting for us to praise him and thank him all the time, not just on Thanksgiving. Give Him the praise all the time!

For the last thirty seven years Thanksgiving morning has often found me in the woods deer hunting. It has become a family tradition with the son-in-laws. There is usually one of us still needing to fill a deer tag. This year we all three still have tags. I have a doe tag, Thane has a regular deer tag, and Vance has two deer tags. It looks like we will be able to work up a good appetite before dinner. I am thankful to have these magnificent creatures that God put here. No matter what time of year I see a deer, I praise God .

Take time this week to praise God for all the blessings he has given you. Read some of the praise Psalms that David wrote and realize that God wants to richly bless you.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Doubt, Humility, and Patience

My deer season began last spring when Ardella and I saw a big buck briefly one evening as we were bear hunting. He had a huge body and dashed away fast into the timber. I immediately envisioned this old boy on our wall. Everytime we were in the area during the summer I would search for his tracks. The buck's hoof print was easy to distinguish from the other deer by the size and how he sunk into soft dirt. Just seeing his footprint raised my hopes for a chance at this old monarch.

In late August we saw him in the clear cut and got a glimpse of the immense rack as the buck once again melted away into thick cover. During the first week of September I was archery hunting elk in the clear cut when I noticed two young bucks feeding about one hundred yards away and below them was the big boy munching on some tender grass. This time I had a better look at his big rack before he fed out of sight. For the rest of the bow season I would see the same doe every time but no buck. Something told me she was the key to getting the big buck.

October rifle season opened and the doe was out the first afternoon and helped draw in a three pointer for Ardella. For the rest of the month I would hunt this area many times but could not find any deer. It was like they vanished from the earth. We heard wolves howling a few times in the vicinity and thought this was the reason no deer were around. I hunted hard and could only find an occasional track, none which were the big buck's. The old doe was gone too and doubt about my success started to creep in my mind. I doubted my ability to find tracks, my knowledge of whitetails, and if I would miss one if I did see a deer. The dream of the big buck was fading fast. Then one evening while glassing the clear cut I reviewed my season. God had provided several spectacular sunsets, I was serenaded by coyotes, and I saw autumn in all the splendor of golds and greens. This hadn't been such a bad season after all. I praised God for His creation and how it works in such precision and harmony. I started to feel better but where was the doe? Did the wolves get her?

Sunday afternoon I started searching several deer trails for fresh sign as it rained the day before. The first trail yielded some deer tracks but none that were the big buck's. I came to the clear cut and decided to walk down to the area the doe liked to feed . As I stepped over a log , a huge fresh buck track jumped out at me! It was the old buck and he had been here last night. I walked up to an old wood pile we use as a blind and started glassing. By three thirty my eyes were getting tired of staring through the Burris binoculars when a doe appeared in them. The old doe! A smile came across my face; my friend was back. She was about one hundred and fifty yards away so I settled in to watch her. Later she jerked her head up and gazed down hill but there was a big log pile in the way . Her body language told me it was a deer but she did not seem real thrilled. I was sure it was the big buck so checked my rifle and scope. Several minutes later a huge buck with a heavy rack ran around the log pile. It was the big guy! I waited until he turned broadside, put the cross hairs on the shoulder and slowly squeezed the trigger. He bolted uphill and I shot once more but knew I missed that time. As I looked up the buck went down. The old doe looked around and slowly bounded away waving her big white tail as if saying goodbye.

I walked down and found him laying behind a brush pile. I couldn't believe the size of his body and big rack. I praised God for allowing me to take such a wonderful creature. His meat will give us organic protein and some day his great head will grace our home. As I walked back to the truck, God painted another glorious sunset across the Selkirk Mountains.

I learned some good lessons from this fall while hunting. We let doubt settle in our minds instead of relying on God for help. Satan is the master of doubt. Through prayer and talking to the Father we can make doubt flee. I finally humbled myself that I didn't know everything about deer hunting and decided to just enjoy the rest of the season no matter what happened. I need to be more patient and realize that big deer and other blessings can take time .

Monday, November 5, 2007

Like An Old Friend

Every hunter has a favorite rifle or shotgun. Mine is a bolt action Ruger 7mm mag. that I have carried up and down mountains for thirty years. Last week I sat watching a hillside on the last day of elk season and took notice of the gun on my lap. It has several character nicks and dings in the stock and the bluing is worn off where the scope has rubbed against my coat over the years. An inscription on the barrel says" Made in the 200th year of American liberty. I bought the gun the next year after someone had it only one hunting season. It was two weeks before elk season and I needed a rifle but searched several sporting shops without finding one. A friend told me about a guy that might have some in his shop. He mainly built custom rifles but also did some gun trading. I found two rifles; one was a short barreled 30-06 that looked like a toy gun and the other was the slightly used Ruger. I questioned the shop owner why the person had traded it but he had no answer. I'm left handed but have always shot a right handed bolt and I can deliver fire power with great precision and speed if necessary. I decided to buy it even though I had some doubts. Now I needed a scope. He brought out a used Weaver 3to 9 power scope in the original box and said it was a good one. I took it with some doubts too. I zeroed the gun in for 200 yards and it has performed flawlessly for thirty years. It is like and old friend, reliable and I trust it to do what I ask. I can not remember all the bear, deer ,or elk I have taken with it but do vividly recall the shortest shot and the longest.

The shortest shot happened one morning when I was walking down a deer trail to check for sign when I heard a buck grunting loudly as he walked up the trail directly toward me. Since the buck was just a 3 by 3 and it was early in the season, I decided not to shoot him so lowered the rifle to my waist. The buck closed to thirty feet and stopped, lowered his head and charged me at full speed. Everything seemed to unfold in slow motion but he was coming fast. I brought the rifle up to my waist , pointed it at his chest just ten feet away and pulled the trigger. The impact spun him around and the buck crumpled in the heap . It took me a few minutes to get my composer.

The longest shot was over 500 yards at a nice bull elk in Idaho's Clearwater Unit. Ardella and I were walking an old road early one morning when I spotted this bull in some timber across a timbered swale. I didn't have a range finder so estimated the distance in one hundred yard increments. I put my pack on the ground and placed the rifle across it and put the scope on him but there was too much timber in the path to shoot. While I waited for him to move , I checked the box of Hornaday shells that gave me the drop of bullet at five hundred yards. Soon the bull moved into a small opening ; I put the cross hairs just above his back and slowly squeezed the trigger. He folded up about sixty feet away.

Now this relationship with my rifle is one sided. I appreciate that it is reliable and I have great confidence in the gun's ability, but it doesn't respond back. There is a friend that is always there and ready to help us and seeks a relationship with us. His name is Jesus. He will forgive us of ANY sin and wants to walk with us daily. Proverbs says there is a friend closer than a brother, that friend is the King of the universe . Jesus is ready to listen to you and you know what? HE will talk back to you if you take time to listen.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Moonbeams and Dawn's Early Light

As Thane and I left the truck the soft light of a full moon bathed the woodlands . Even though sunrise was over an hour away we were able to walk up through the clear cut without any aid of flashlight. The clear cut was recently planted to seedlings for the next forest crop in about fifty years. Right now it looks more like a war zone with only a few sentinel trees left standing but new growth is appearing. Many aspen, wild rose and a variety of grasses are emerging and in about three years elk and deer will start using this area.

The moon slowly gave way to the sun starting to scale the Cabinet Mountain range. The ravens roosting in some dark timber awoke to noisily announce the morning. We sat in silence and watched the forest come to life. Unfortunately, no elk appeared so we each took an old road and would meet later in the morning.

I find it amazing that God could put the world in order so we know exactly when the sun and moon rise and set. The same order is found in the natural world. Only man in his arrogance knows how to rebel against the Father.

Get out some early morning and watch the dawn and you will understand how great our God is!Listen to the woods wake up and praise Him for the song it sings.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Symphony Of Autumn

It's happening now; do you hear it? Listen! The fall symphony is on stage as sweet melodies flow from the mountain tops , resonating off distant hills, descending to the valley floor. The once a year production is short lived , starting in September and ending with silence as the November snows pile up. God orchestrated this wonderful harmony that no human musical troupe can equal. The vocalization is usually heard one species at a time but they can overlap adding to sweet music to our ears.

The elk start the show off by echoing their harmonious bugles from ridge top to deep dark timbered canyons. Cows will join the chorus with their meows. Ardella and I had the awesome opportunity to watch this opera several years ago while hunting in the Clearwater area of Idaho. We were hiking up a timbered ridge one afternoon when an opening allowed us to view the distant hillside so we sat down to listen . Soon a lone bugle drifted from the forest below us and was joined by another down the canyon; then a deeper voice answered from the far slope. Soon a sweet repertoire of bugling filled the area and rest of the participates entered from the dark timber across from us as if on cue. About fifty cows and calves marched out on the open hill to sing back to the bulls. The production held us spell bound for over and hour until the show closed for the day with a curtain of darkness enveloping everyone. It was the most God inspired music we have ever heard from nature.

The moose are next with deep bass grunts and they nearly perform a ballet as two bulls meet and walk stiff legged and tip their huge racks at each other. The performance is one of power and intimidation. Once in while you will hear the long lonesome response from the cow. I like to participate in their musicals and they don't seem to mind. This time of year the ravens gather for some raucous and rowdy dinner parties and can be heard carrying on until dark. The geese are next honking wildly as they migrate south . Their calls stir deep with in me. Swans are also heard with the sound of trumpets as they wing south at very high altitudes.

One of my favorites is the loud yucka, yucka, yucka from the pileated woodpeckers. They are the power drummers of the woods where the small downy woodpecker responds with a soft rat, tat, tat. The great gray owl's hoo,hoo, hoo is heard so seldom and the vocalist is rarely seen. More common is the who, who, whoee from the great horned owl as it calls out to warn it's prey to remain alert.

The whitetail deer are one of the last musicians in this woodland cast. Their clash of antlers sound like clanging cymbals in the quiet forest. This is followed by the grunts of the bucks and the bleats of the does. It is sweet music to my ears. A pack of yodeling coyotes brings a smile to my face as they yap away and then hit high soprano pitches that could shatter glass. Sometimes they are answered by the baritone howl of the wolves whose mournful music sends shivers through all the creatures in the woods. The show ends with the chickadee all dressed up in it's tuxedo as if this was a formal occasion. It applauds with a chick a dee dee. Curtain closes as the November snows pile up and a new sound echos from the woods. The sound of silence.

Our Heavenly father orchestrated this production company thousands of years ago and He set in motion for us to enjoy every autumn. Take time to hear this wonderful melody and better yet include a youngster. You won't be disappointed

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Opening Day Buck
Last Wednesday the rifle deer and elk season opened under cloudy and threatening skies. Ardella and I headed out early afternoon to get a load of larch firewood before walking in about a mile to evening hunt. As we rounded a curve in an old road I noticed the beautiful fall colors that jumped off the mountains to rejoice the autumn. Bright yellows of larch and golds of birch stood out against the dark green of the pines. We settled in behind an old slash pile of logs and were soon joined by a cow moose about 150 yards away on the adjacent hillside. She was busy feeding on a variety of plants but seemed to prefer birch if she could reach the golden leaves. The cow found a birch log sticking out a slash pile and decided to use the log to scratch behind her ears. Then she proceeded to rub her neck on both sides before finally leaving for the evening. A doe appeared at the bottom of the clear cut and I told Ardella not to shoot her as she would be our decoy. We watched her for about an hour and it seemed like that was going to be the only deer. We were busy glassing when I spotted something about 250 yards away that looked out of place in the tall grass. I watched it closely and finally a set of horns appeared briefly. The buck was headed away from us and would soon disappear if he walked uphill. He finally turned around and started feeding downhill. He soon disappeared again behind some brush for several minutes only to emerge and head directly to a large hemlock tree. Once the buck got behind the tree he turned broadside but all we could see was a head on on side and a tail on the other. Then he turned toward the doe and went across a grassy opening. I heard the safety click off on Ardella's rifle followed by a loud boom. The buck staggered and took a few steps and went down. I congratulated her on the 165 yard shot and noticed that she was shaking but had a big smile. We found the buck laying against an old stump with a shot through the heart. She uses a 7 mag. with 175 grain Speer bullets. It was a great hunt and I had to unload some of the wood, but it was worth it.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Fate of Fickle Wind

The old doe's head snap to attention and gazed uphill to my right. Maybe that big buck was coming down the trail. Her eyes never left whatever she was looking at, but the hair on her neck was raised and she seemed to be ready for a blast off up the hill. I looked through the holes in the camo fabric of my blind hoping to see something. Slowly a shape took form. A huge dark brown neck the size of my body, a black nose checking the wind, two big brown eyes, a pair of ears listening to every sound in the woods , and a crown of horns. A nice five by six bull elk! The doe launch like a rocket up the hill, blowing her digust the whole way. He never moved.

I started cow calling but he seemed reluctant to respond. So I threw more calls away from him , hoping he would think the cows were down the hill out of sight. It worked. Slowly the bull turned and started to check these gals out. His muscles rippled with every step and he held that head high like proud royalty. I tried to calm my shaking body, took a deep breath, and released the air slowly. He crossed the game trail and was going to come in above me. I crawled about ten feet to an old log pile and got on my knees to shoot. Fifty yards, forty yards, thirty yards and I drew the arrow back and slowly eased up so the bow limb would clear a log. As I put the pin on his vitals, I noticed a log out fifteen feet was directly in the way of the arrow's path. The bull saw some movement and bolted. I cow called and he stopped at sixty yards. I use three different makes of cow calls to sound more like a herd. I grabbed the Primos call and really tried to convince the bull that the cows were down the hill. It seemed to work as he turned and slowly headed back. So I tried the other two calls which are different brands and he stopped and turned away. I switched to the Primos and he headed back again. This time the bull stopped just out of range and acted like he was trying to stand on tip toes ( tip hooves) so he could see the cows. The old boy decided they were down the hill so he started for a small depression about thirty yards from me. I came to full draw and started to put the pin on him when I felt the wind blow from behind me. The bull turned ends in a blur and covered and covered eighty yards in a few seconds. I stopped him again with the Promos call but he refused to come back. The king left with a regal swagger that those cows didn't deserve him.

As I watched him disappear over the hill ,I thanked God for the opportunity to be so close to this majestic animal He created. The sunset was beautiful making for a nearly perfect day. I sat in silence reliving the moment and thinking about two things. Always use a Primos game call and never trust the wind.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Messing With Moose

Newcomers to north Idaho soon realize that the moose they liked seeing in their yard has a ravenous appetite for their flowers, shrubs, and trees. A moose can strip limbs bare in a few minutes and destroy a flower bed in a flash. People find that sending out the dog doesn't do much good, as the dog usually ends up getting chased back to the house by the big intruder.

Over the years , Ardella and I have had many exciting encounters with these big deer. We experienced being chased by irate cows in the spring and charged by a lovestruck bull one evening as we came off the mountain from archery hunting elk. I had called this bull in one morning in the same area while archery hunting elk and he had a huge rack. About three years later I went with our neighbor who had a moose tag and I called this bull in for him. The rack measured fifty inches . It was sort of sweet revenge for the night he charged us.

The most unusual encounter with a moose happened one fall afternoon as my son-in-law and I were archery hunting elk. As we climbed the mountain, we heard some loud growling and sounds above us. We finally reached an old road so proceeded down it toward the area that might have some elk. Thane and I rounded a bend in the road and saw a cow moose standing just off the lower side with her calf . She had the calf pressed up against the bank and was looking down into the brush below her. The old cow hardly paid any attention to us. Just then the brush erupted with a loud growl of a bear and the cow responded with her own warning reply to the predator. We realized the bear wanted her calf for lunch. The cow and bear were in a large patch of thimble berries that were just high enough to conceal the bear from us. We moved about thirty feet past the cow and I gave a blow on my cow elk call. The bear decided elk might be easier and I could see the thimble berries move as it came at us very fast. I came to a full draw waiting to shoot the bear at about ten feet , when the thought entered my brain that this could be a grizzly bear. A big black head appeared just feet away but it saw me before I could release an arrow into the chest . The bear took off down hill and all was quiet. The cow gathered up her calf and started to leave. After taking a few steps, she turned to looked back and seemed to be thanking us for saving her calf. We didn't find any elk that day but I didn't care.

An eighty one year young friend named Kenny drew a moose permit for the last half of September. Today was the last day for his hunt slot. Kenny put in the time and miles looking for a bull moose but had warm weather most of his hunting period. I went out with him one afternoon last week and we walked a few miles on an old road that usually has a bull hanging out this time of year. We couldn't even find a recent track so went and sat at a beaver pond that was covered with tracks but no moose showed up that evening. I was amazed how physically fit he is. He never tired.

Yesterday I went out with Kenny again and we stopped to glass an large clear cut that moose heavily use do to the great food available. We glassed and checked out every dark spot hoping a bull would be seen. No luck. So we went up the road and checked out two more areas but could not find a moose. As we drove back down the road along that first area I saw something that looked out a place and told Kenny to stop. Six hundred yards away on the opposite hillside was a bull feeding. I gave out a cow call to tell him that he was a good looking hunk and the bull immediately turned and started down the hill to find the cow. Kenny and I dove over the side and worked our way down the mountain until we were about hundred yards from a creek that dissected the clear cut. I had Kenny set up by a large stump and I stayed above him and continued cow calling to the bull. I also threw in some bull grunts to let him know another bull liked this beautiful long legged gal. He never answered back which surprised me but soon showed up on the opposite side of the creek . Kenny took a steady rest and fired. The bull lurched and ran off out of sight. I cow called again and got a glimpse of his rack which suddenly disappeared as if he went down. I was so excited for Kenny that I could hardly contain myself from shouting. Kenny appeared quite calm. We proceeded to where I had last seen the bull and there he laid. Later, my son-in-law Vance and his son-in-law Larry came and helped us pack it out. The full moon came up over the mountain just before we reached the trucks and completed a perfect hunt. I forgot to mention the bull had a forty six inch spread.

I learned a few things hunting with this great guy. Patience, patience, patience. Proverbs 14:29 says a patient man has great understanding and Kenny sure does. Kenny kept the faith that he still had ample opportunity to bag a moose.

Kenny also taught me something else on the previous hunt. A large green trash bag make a great rain coat.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Watching Our Backside

Ravens are mentioned in the Bible several times. It was the first bird Noah released , they fed Elijah morning and evening, and God says he provides food for their young. I have watched them with interest over the years and have seen them use their intellect at times to accomplish their mission.

Once while tractor mowing a field, a raven discovered I was flushing out mice so it took advantage of the opportunity and caught several fleeing mice right beside the mower. We observed one once while elk hunting that found something to it's liking under a tree limb. After trying to bend over and peck on the underside for a while; it decided to just hang on with it's feet and swing upside down to get it's meal. One fall in Alaska a client and I were sitting on a mountain side watching the valley for caribou when two ravens landed on the remains of a recent caribou kill about one hundred yards from us. They were eating away when a grizzly bear rushed at them and claimed their meal. The ravens flew uphill about fifty yards to discuss the situation. Shortly they both flew back to the bear who was busy with it's meal. One raven hovered just above the bear taunting it until the bear chased it up the hill about one hundred yards. The other raven took up dining on the caribou. The bear realized it's meal was being pecked away by the other raven so it charged down to it with amazing speed . That raven then harassed the bear until it chased it up the hill and the other raven took it's turn feasting. The ravens repeated this scene for nearly an hour until they had enough to eat and left the enraged bear to finish it's meal. We backed off a ways as I was sure the bear would be in a bad mood for the rest of the day.

Recently while elk hunting I saw a raven come gliding over a ridge in the afternoon heat , allowing the thermals to keep it going. It seemed to be enjoying the day and was oblivious to a fast moving object approaching from the rear. A falcon had set it's sights on the raven and was closing in a a remarkable speed. The raven didn't realize it was lunch until the falcon was just inches away from the raven's tail. The raven went into several dives to try and shake it off but the swift predator matched every move the raven made. They soon disappeared over another ridge so I don't know who won that contest. It didn't look good for the raven. It should have been watching behind.

People are like the raven as we go through life thinking all is well , yet we don't see trouble coming. Satan likes to catch Christians off guard. What can we do? Jesus told his disciples to pray and watch. What did they do? They feel asleep. The disciples later realized the power of prayer and how it protected them from Satan's arrows.

Prayer protects us and keeps the communication lines open to God. Praying with other believers is better yet. Remember, Satan has no power when God is involved.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hitting Your Target

There was a television program on recently that had 2 man sniper teams in a national competition at Fort Benning, Georgia. They were from the Army Rangers, Marines , and Great Britain and put through real life scenarios of sniper engagement. The weapons varied from automatic rifles , bolt actions, and 50 caliber Barrett sniper rifles. I found it interesting that they are two man teams that rely on each other for safety and precision. Jesus sent his disciples out in two's so they could face the enemy together. He knew they were in a spiritual war and would do better with a partner. They could also identify the enemy better as a team.

Shots from the 50 caliber were from 500 meters to one and a half miles away. One of the rangers was asked how successful they are at hitting a target at one an a half miles away on the first shot. He calmly said, " Eighty percent of the time." And I thought I was a good shot with my rifle. I once shot a bull elk with one shot at 525 yards after estimating the distance carefully for several minutes. Ardella shot one bull through the lungs with her 30-06 at 700 yards. The next year she saw two white tail bucks 500 yards across a canyon and asked if she could shoot one. " Sure go right ahead." I replied. She hit the buck through the heart and he piled up in a fir thicket. It was not a fun pack.

As Christians we need to learn we do better in pairs when confronting Satan's army. They are well camouflaged and really can blend in. Most people, including many Christians don't even see them nor if they do, can they hit their target.

Ephesians 6: 10 through 20 tells us how to prepare for the war that is raging around us. . First is to seek the power of the Lord. Identify the foe which are the powers of this dark world. Put on the armor of God and stand firm. Most importantly is to pray in the Spirit so we may make known the mystery of the gospel to others.

I meet every week with a band of brothers to study and pray. As a team we are able to identify the enemy and through God's help we have won some spectacular victories. As a Christian, you need to find a buddy or platoon that will help you in the fight we are waging.

God Bless

Monday, September 10, 2007

Calling Libby Outdoorsmen

This past weekend we had a booth at the Nordic Fest show in Libby , Montana and it was a great time seeing old friends and meeting some new ones. On Friday evening we enjoyed the musicians that gathered at our friend's deck and filled the air with wonderful melodies. It was as close to heaven as we could experience on earth. Thank you Trent and Peggy!

I met several people who expressed interest in an outdoor men's ministry in Libby. One man in particular came back Sunday morning to get a card and we talked about how we can worship in the outdoors and about elk hunting. If you read this , would you please contact me as I would like to talk to you more. You can use this email or wdnwings@televar.com . Also, anyone else that has an interest in an outdoor ministry starting in Libby, please contact me. I feel one could be launched with a few key people. It can impact the community for Christ and change families.

Jesus used twelve ordinary guys to change the world. So some hunters and fishermen from Libby can also use the same power to change lives .

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Power And Majesty Belong To The Lord

Opening morning was just like I wrote about in the previous blog. The sunrise was incredible over the Selkirks as I descended the steep slope . I went slowly looking for mule deer or elk and the smell of alpine fir filled my nostrils. I stopped just above a sea of tangled alder and cow called softly a few times. Shortly a weak bugle of a young bull answered back so I called again trying to pin point his location. No response was heard from him. As the morning sun heated up the slope I headed back to camp. The following days were hot and not much animal movement was seen.

On Friday afternoon the heat intensified and a black ominous cloud developed on the western horizon. I watched it in interest as it crept closer. Slowly the Selkirk range thirty miles to the west disappeared and the black monster descended to the valley floor. It looked like the whole area to the west had vanished . There was a lower ridge about a half mile away and it was approaching the ridge like an army on a mission. As it started to engulf the ridge , white wind clouds suddenly appeared . With long fingers they blasted over the top and down the side; the fingers looked like they were trying to tear apart everything in their path. The white fingers then dashed for our mountain top and came over us in creeping silence. Then the wind force hit us with a blast like I have never experienced , along with driving rain . I rushed for my truck and it was like riding through a car wash. The long spiny fingers plunged down the other side of the mountain and the whole world just disappeared. It became very dark even though the time was about four in the afternoon. I thought this must be some what like happened at the Crucifixion; it seemed very eerie. Ardella, Jolene, and the girls rode out the storm in the camper as the winds pounded away at them. My tent looked like it would go airborne and disappear off the ridge at any moment. Slowly things returned to normal.

As the storm was raging, I could only think of God's awesome power and how He has complete control over it. I thought of Psalm 77 where it says, "Your ways , O God , are holy. What god is so great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples." It also says " The clouds poured down water, the skies resounded with thunder,your arrows flashed back and forth. Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked. That pretty much sums up the feeling we had as we rode out the storm at 6,400 feet.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Answering The Call

Next Thursday the millions of stars from the night will slowly give way to the hues of the morning light. At first will be shades of blues and violets followed by reds and yellows of the dawn over the Cabinet Mountains of northern Idaho. As this is occurring, I will be descending 1000 feet down a mountain side into the wilds of elk country. I will travel past the tall spruce that stand as sentinels to God, through red huckleberry brush and around mountain ash bushes laden with bright orange berries. All my senses will be an alert as I may not be the only predator there. The area is home to black and grizzly bears , mountain lions , and the newly arrived predator- the wolf. Where the mountain side meets the tangle of the awful alder brush is the beginning of a small stream . I will quietly stop in some cover and cow call to see if there is a bull in the area that would be using the headwaters for his muddy wallow. If need be I may also grunt and squeal at him to challenge his authority over this area. I'm hoping he answers the call. I wait now in great anticipation.

As I thought about this opening day for elk hunting, I was reminded how God asks us to answer the call. Jesus said He waits at the door and knocks. What Door? I have never heard him knock on my front house door. No, He knocks at the door to our hearts. That can be frightening to most people. A few months ago, God came to me in a very audible way and told me to start Into The Wild Ministries. Not only that, He told me to go register it on the web. Now me of little faith tried to tell Him the name would surely be taken. So I searched for Into The Wild and yes it was already registered. I said " See God , I told you ." Then HE said " Put Ministries with it." Guess what, it worked! I don't know where His call is going to lead me but I know it will be an exciting journey. He has put me in touch with people across this nation and some in far off lands in just a short time. Just prior to His beckoning, I said that I would never write a blog. He must have laughed over that one.

It is important that we listen for His call and often that faint knock on the door to our hearts. He is the Creator of Heaven and Earth but He wants us to walk with Him and be His friend. That is absolutely awesome! He can use YOU, will you let Him? Remember Philippians4:13

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Celebrating Forty Two Years

Ardella and I celebrated our forty second anniversary yesterday , a little different than most couples. Some would opt for a cruise or an exotic get away but not us. We went to the mountains Monday evening and came back last night because I had a tooth extracted this morning. No I'm not in pain, not at the moment anyway.

We went to scout for my archery elk season which starts August 30. On Monday evening we were first rewarded by seeing three does and a short time later two yearling bucks. One had a weird rack. We drove up an old road to look for elk and as we rounded the curve , a huge buck stood feeding about 100 yards away. He did not stay there very long but was nice to see him. Later I got out of the truck to peek over a hill and there was a cow and calf elk feeding up an old road so I snuck back to the truck and shortly they appeared on the hillside. The calf probably weighed 175 pounds but still wanted to nurse from mom. The cow acted like it's nursing days are numbered. Now that cow is safe with me as I won't shoot her when she has a calf but I suspected she was not alone. The next morning we went back to see if there were other elk below the hill and yes they had feed on various plants all night. It had just rained so the tracks were fresh. I tried to find the their trail but it looked like those elk flew in and ate and left the same way. There is a brushy old clearcut and some dark timber to the north but I could not find the trail. So we started building a ground blind in an old slash pile but found out it was home to some unfriendly yellow jackets so we moved up the hill to a small bushy hemlock tree. Just behind the tree was a stump for setting and it is only about 20 yards from their trail. We took some camo cloth and draped it around the tree and across some logs so it will hide me pretty good. Then we took old branches and stuck them behind to hide my silhouette. I know there will be a bull with those cows soon.

Later we went on another walk up to a big rock where we could see for miles. Wow , God made some beautiful country in north Idaho! Even Sadie seemed to enjoy the view from the rock. We also found where another small herd of elk had fed the night before. This time I found their trail that came out of heavy timber at the top of a clearcut. These are nonflying elk.

We spent the rest of the day reading and relaxing. I'm very fortunate to have a wife that enjoys the outdoors as much as I do. She has put up with my short cuts and wild adventures all these years. She is also my favorite hunting partner so I hope she bags that big buck.

Thanks Dear for putting up with me and for our two wonderful daughters.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Blessings From The Heart

Last weekend Ardella and I had a booth at the Arts and Craft Fair at the city beach. We saw many old friends and customers and met some new friends through our art work. We were amazed at the number of people that have purchased our birds and it was nice to hear how they enjoy them in their homes.

We had a friend from Libby, Montana stay with us and it was nice to visit with her . Another couple from Libby were at the show with their beautiful handmade rockers. They are built to last generations and are so comfortable.

The biggest surprise came on Sunday morning when we had a lull in activity. I gazed across the lawn and saw a woman smiling and waving at me. It was Lisa ,a dear friend and former neighbor whom we haven't seen in over ten years. She ran across the lawn and gave me a big hug. As the excitement calmed down some I noticed a pretty young woman standing at her side. The eyes and smile were familiar even though she was about three or four when I last saw her. It was Kia , Lisa's daughter. Ardella soon joined us and the hugging was repeated.

I worked five falls in Alaska for Justin, Lisa's husband. Justin is a master outdoors man and owns a fishing lodge and hunting service in southwest Alaska. He is the best! We became friends with them when they moved to our neighborhood ; actually more like family than friends. They are great people and when they lived here their boy and girl were quite young and we would babysit them so the parents could have break once in a while. We had many fun times with the children. My favorite was draping blankets over the furniture to make an Alaskan camp and then we would hunt bears, caribou, and moose. Of course we always got our game.

We started reminiscing about the past . Kia has always been special to us ; it was more than those big dark eyes and joyful presence. Kia was born with a hole in her little heart and when she was about three the surgeons scheduled an operation to repair it. I remember the day like it was just yesterday. I went to the hospital to be with Justin and Lisa. We were all pretty quiet and the concern for this little girl wore on all of us. I remember praying with them for God to guide the doctors hands so this little angel could live a normal life. It seemed an eternity before the doctor appeared and the room went very silent. We heard " She is going to be okay." The next thing we knew was Lisa's legs were starting to buckle so we helped her sit down and absorb the good news. I went home and Ardella and I came back two days later to see Kia. I had visions of a little girl in bed with tubes and monitors attached to her. We were very surprised to see Kia setting on the edge of her bed wildly swinging her legs in and out and that big smile had returned. She immediately asked us to take her up a few floors to the nursery so she could see the babies. Lisa said it was okay so Ardella and I went, each holding Kia's hands as she excitedly walked down the hall toward the elevator. We couldn't believe this little girl had just under gone such a serious surgery. It was truly a day of joy.

Shortly after that our friends moved and we were not to see Kia for over ten years. On Sunday , Ardella explained it best to Kia. Ardella said" Honey, you are more than a memory, you are and always will be in our hearts." A heart blessing another heart; just how God would want it.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

What's In Your Pack ?

The other day I took my hunting pack apart to see what needs added for elk hunting which starts August 30. I try to carry enough to stay in the woods overnight in case I have to. Yet at the same time I don't want much extra weight either. Here are a few things in my hunting pack: two flashlights and extra batteries, game bags, extra knife, knife sharpener, Gerber hatchet, folding saw, compass, GPS unit(new this year), lighter, game calls, scent, allergy pills( for bee stings),toilet paper, flagging ribbon,space blanket, extra socks and gloves,and hunting license and tags. I also will have food and water and a jacket or wool shirt tied to the outside of the pack. Binoculars will always be worn around my neck and on my belt will be a favorite hunting knife and pepper spray in case I run into a grizzly bear.

A rigid framed pack will be left in the pickup in case I need to transport meat. I recently tallied all the bears, elk, moose, deer, and caribou that I have packed out for myself and other people over the years. The sum is around 30,000 pounds! No wonder my back aches. Some packs were a light load and others a big burden over difficult terrain. One of the worst packs was a bull elk Ardella shot across a canyon and took three days to get it out. It was so steep that I lost my footing on the first pack and quickly threw off the pack with an elk quarter which bounced down the slope into the creek bottom about two hundred yards away. More about that elk hunt in a later blog.

Some times people carry heavy burdens due to what comes along in life. Some of these burdens we cause ourselves , others just catch us off guard. Luke 11: 28 - 30 tells us Jesus is ready to carry our burdens for us. He tells us in Him we can find rest for our souls. I find that very comforting that we have a Lord and Savior who takes on our burdens. It means He loves us and wants to help us through all our trials and heavy loads. The more I turn over to Him the better my life goes. So if you are carrying a heavy load, why not turn it over to Jesus and walk with him and get refreshed.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Training A Child

Sometimes simple lessons on life happen in nature and once in a while I'm fortunate to observe them. Yesterday I was tractor mowing a three acre field for a lady northeast of Sandpoint. Her property is in the Selle valley which used to be the farming area of the county. Now it is mostly small acreages with a few farms and horse ranches. There was a harvested hayfield just north of the area I was mowing. I noticed an adult red tail hawk in a cottonwood tree in the fence line and a juvenile hawk about seventy yards away in another tree. I saw the adult hawk launch into the air and it glided without a wing beat over the field ,slowly descending toward the ground. When it was about six feet from the ground it folded it's wings and landed on an unsuspecting mouse. The young hawk immediately flew down and landed about thirty feet away from it's parent. Soon the adult picked up the mouse and flew upward and the youngster also took to the air. The parent flew toward the young hawk and when they were a few feet apart it released the dead mouse which fell to the ground. The young hawk quickly dove down and landed on the mouse. It then ate the poor critter while the parent went back to a nearby tree. Now, the older hawk could have just given the juvenile the mouse on the ground but did not because the youngster needs to learn how to hunt mice and catch them if it is going to survive on it's own. I have observed hawks all my life but had never seen this training lesson before. I thanked God for what I had just seen.

Proverbs 22:6 says Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. God tells us to train our children right and they will grow up and remember their upbringing. Parents and grandparents have a big responsibility to instruct the children in a way pleasing to God.

I am so thankful for the simple life lesson the hawk showed me. I also believe keeping a child close to God's creation and letting them learn life from His creatures is a good way to start.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Art of Deception

As an archer, I use deception every chance I get to fool the animals I'm hunting. There are camouflage clothing, lures and scents, decoys, and tree stands to name a few ways to fool the animals. I have even been known to roll in a fresh bed of a stinky bull elk to hide my scent; but found out later I might be banned from camp. The better an archer uses deception, the more opportunities for shots.

I had a dream the other night that was about deception. Now I usually don't remember much about my dreams but this one was very different and very real. I this dream I was called by God to join Him in the air above the earth. That was very cool being able to hang out with God and see down like He can. We were able to view all the earth at once and see individual people from all nations. Wow, I was pretty awe struck at first ; then I began to notice the people. They all had chains on their bodies. Some only had a few and others were so weighted down with chains from head to toe that they could barely move. I could see their faces of despair. I went from wow to confused very fast so I asked God what I was seeing.

He said the chains represented the hold Satan had on these people using his power of lies and deception. I was suddenly engulfed in sorrow for these people. God said "They don't understand. I came and set them free but they don't call on me to help them. Many of them don't believe in me. They have let Satan fool their minds." He told me He wants a relationship with them and for them to seek power from HIM to resist Satan.

Jesus talks much about this in Matthew 24. He warns us to be on watch for the master of deception. In Matthew 11:28 He gives us assurance that if we seek Him we will be given rest and freedom from our burdens.

We all carry chains. Chains of sin and guilt, of despair. of low self esteem and many other chains of burdens that we need to release to God. He is a loving Father waiting for us to seek Him out so He can help us overcome anything in our life.

Don't let Satan keep deceiving you : God has already won the battle for us.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Finishing The Race

Ardella and I get caught up in the Tour de France even though we are not bike riders. It is interesting to see bike riders give it their all for a good finish in such a demanding race. This year has been very different with no one clear leader and so many new riders.

The Apostle Paul would have liked the bike race as he often made reference to running the race and finishing well. I believed Paul liked good competitive sports. In Acts 20:24 he says" if only I finish the race and complete the task". He was referring to spreading the gospel and completing his race in life . Paul's goal was to go to Rome to preach the good news of Jesus and he was granted that opportunity. He was a witness for the gospel even in chains and in a dark dungeon. The Romans could not stop him. Paul went from the high rank and status of a Pharisee to an apostle for Jesus . His life went from persecuting Christians to being persecuted for being a believer in Jesus. Paul had a dramatic conversion by meeting Jesus personally on the Damascas Road.

Jesus is waiting to meet everyone personally. He is not a religion, He is a relationship. He wants us to get on board and run the race with Him. Life is about finishing well and enjoying an eternity with the King of Kings. It is one race we can't afford to lose.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Permission Granted

Sunday afternoon we went to the woods to pick dewberries; they are like a wild blackberry but grow on the ground. The black small berries are delicious but watch out for the thorns. We were leaving the cabin area and everyone was going to ride in our truck so I jumped in the back to ride. Our granddaughter, Lizzie crawled in too and Grandma came to shut the tail gate and asked Lizzie if she should get in the front. Lizzie started to slowly back out of the bed of the truck but I could see in her eyes that she was waiting for my permission to join me . I said, " Lizzie , do you want to ride back here?" A big smile came across her face as she darted forward. It was her first time to ride in the back of a pickup truck. On the way back I noticed a new confidence in her look. She had grown a little on that ride; reached a new milestone in her life. Permission granted.

God did the same thing at the cross of Calvary. Jesus took on all our sins and died for each one of us who believe in him as our savior. So when we seek Him and ask Him to forgive us , He says" Permission granted."

Saturday, June 30, 2007


The other day I was tractor mowing for a client just west of Sandpoint . His beautiful home sets on a hill top with spectacular views of Lake Pend Oreille and the Cabinet Mountains. I had just started to mow , straight up and straight down as it was very steep when I noticed a large doe in the meadow below. She was sleek and beautiful in the morning sun and I was sure there was a fawn close by as she nibbled on the lush plants. Suddenly a large dog came bounding down the far hill barking at her and closing in fast. The doe spun around and headed toward the road but when she got there stop and turned and faced the dog. At first the dog just kept coming closer to her until it was only a few yards away . I don't know if it was her motherly instincts that kicked in or the fact the road had elevated her much higher than the barking dog. She started to stomp her front hooves on the road and then slowly proceeded toward the dog. It took a few moments for the dog to realize what was happening ; when it did it quit barking . The doe continued forward raising each foot high and bringing them down inching closer to the dog. The dog soon turn tail and started running but stopped to look back like this should not be happening. The doe sensed she was in control and chased him back up the hill. She soon came back to the meadow and continued eating like nothing had happened. Later she laid down under a tree and I suspect her fawn was not too far from her.

The doe became fearless and took command of the situation even though her opponent weighed about 90 pounds and intended to inflict physical suffering on her. She was ready to risk everything for her fawn. The doe reminded me of David and Goliath. A small young shepherd boy against a raging giant. He had the whole army of Israel scared to death. David trusted in God to help him slay the giant. Jesus was often confronted by the pharisees who welded extreme power over the people but he never backed down.

We need to be fearless to overcome the obstacles in our lives. All of us have fears but we can call on God in the name of Jesus to take charge and fight our fears. He will not forsake us. Hebrew 6:6 say " The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Off The Map

I received a GPS unit for Father's Day ; now that is pretty high tech for an old hunter like me. I can actually turn it on ! The program for best hunting and fishing times has been my favorite so far. I hope it is more accurate at the best hunting times than it has been for fishing. I will use the sunrise and sunset tables and the elevation the most. I must learn to mark my truck during elk and deer hunting in case I travel farther than I plan and it gets dark.

I am blessed with a good built in compass and usually remember all the turns I make in the mountains. But I can get totally lost in a shopping mall. I once was lost for a half hour in a Sears store. No trees ! I kept going in circles.

One year we were elk hunting in the Clearwater Region of Idaho and decided to build a camp fire as it was a nice October evening with millions of stars that seemed to be just above the tree tops. We were recounting the day's hunt when across the river a truck slowly made it's way down winding steep mountain road. A few mintutes later it pulled into our camp and two men got out ; one holding a Forest Service map said "We are off the map". Their map was of the St. Joe region about 50 miles away. They were definitely off the map. Compounding that problem was they were low on gas and we didn't have any to spare. I told them Superior, Montana was about 45 miles away and most of that was downhill. Then I showed them on our map how to go to St. Regis and connect with a road that would take them back to their camp. The driver didn't like my idea but the other guy thought they should take the road to the gas station. They got back into their truck and disappeared into the night. Several minutes later we saw the truck's tail lights as they headed back up the same steep old road. We have often wondered about how far they got and how long it took them to find their camp.

We often get off the map spiritually too. In John 14:6 Jesus tells us He is the only way. That means we need to keep our eyes and thoughts on Him to get through this life . There is no other way; no other savior of this world. He is our peace of mind , our strength, and our refuge. He is not a religion, He is a relationship. We can talk to Him any time and He will be there to listen . I believe in John 14:6; there is no other way to obtain eternal life except by His grace and love for us. The religions of this world can't get us eternal life.

Where does your spiritual compass point? Is your GPS unit set on Christ as the home way point? Are you like the two hunters and completely off the map? Jesus is waiting for you to program Him into your everyday life. There is nothing you have done that He won't forgive.
Trust Him!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Stand Firm- Resist the Lion

I have never been face to face with an African lion but I have been nose to toe with a mountain lion. His nose , my toe. One weekend Ardella and I went camping and took our three llamas along. We were in mountain lion country so that night I tied the llamas close to the tent so we would hear them if something came in camp. The night passed quietly. The next morning I took them about 100 feet away so they could eat grass along an old logging road. While we were fixing breakfast, one of the llamas gave an alarm call and continued to tell me he was upset. I walked down to see what the noise was all about thinking a moose may have wandered by and frightened them. I remember walking right past my 12 gauge shotgun that stood against a big hemlock tree. I could see the black llama was very upset and looking into the small creek that flowed by our camp. I had one llama tied up close to the creek so I went over to Jeffrey and looked around to see what was wrong. There was a steep bank covered with alder brush just 10 feet from Jeffrey and I walked over to the edge and looked down. At first I wasn't sure what I was seeing- a long tail flicking back and forth. Then a body started to take shape and I was looking into the big yellow eyes of a cougar just inches away from my feet. I looked again in disbelief and glanced at the shotgun under the tree. I knew better than turn and run as either Jeffrey or me would be attacked. I started to remove my hunting knife from the sheath when my son-in-law yelled down and asked what was wrong. I said "Cougar" very loud and it slowly turn and walked away. Now that will get your blood pumping ! I knew that I had to stand firm and resist the lion.
1 Peter 5:8 say be alert, our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking to devour someone. Resist him by standing firm in the faith. That isn't easy unless we have already put our faith in Jesus Christ. We can stand firm knowing that Jesus paid the price for us , for everyone, on the cross. Christians today must realize that we are in a spiritual warfare and the devil is alive and devouring people at an astonishing rate. We need more Warriors! God hates luke warm and that is where most of the church is today.

We can stop the lion in its tracks with the name of Jesus. He will flee as he has no power under the name of Christ. Where are you at ? Will you be ripped apart piece by piece or will you call on the name of Jesus and resist. Stand firm.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

If it sounds like an elk and smells like an elk- it must be an elk

Last fall, after not elk hunting much for a few years I anxiously waited for September to archery hunt elk. The season started with a bang. On opening evening Ardella and I left home in sunny 70 degree weather only to arrive at the gate of the tower our son-in-law had rented in a snow storm with thunder and lightning. They were not there yet so we waited a few feet from the gate with a blizzard swirling around us. Suddenly lightning struck the tower and we we were thankful that we were inside the truck. A few minutes later lightning struck the gate post and danced acrossed the gate and into a clump of small trees. We turned the truck around and drove back down the mountain about two miles until the storm passed.

Two weeks later found me leaving home on nice sunny afternoon to go hunting with my son-in-law Vance. I decided that camo cotton pants would be warm enough even though I rarely wear cotton when I hunt in the fall, knowing if it gets wet hypothermia can result. We drove high up into a favorite hunting spot , only to arrive with dark clouds and thunder engulfing the hunt area. Other nearby mountains basked in fall sunshine. When we were half way up the mountain we split up to each hunt a water hole. The thunder intensified so I took cover in the bottom of a small ravine while the sky opened up to a heavy pelting of sleet. It sleeted for a half hour and every thing turned a winter wonderland. As I trudged up the mountain I got soaked from the waist down and soon water was running down the cotton pants into my hunting boots. At one point I stopped and drained the water out of my boots as each step was producing a loud squishing sound.

Arriving at the spring torn up by fresh elk tracks, I proceded to spray elk urine on every bush in the area. I then back off a few yards below the spring into a clump of small spruce. Over the next few hours I meowed like a herd of love crazed cow elk. At one time a bull answwered from the dark timber to the right and later one bugled from the ridge top. I just knew this was the night. Did I notice the cold creeping into my body? Not at first, but soon the north slope I was hunting turned into a refrigerator. My feet were freezing in the wet insulated boots and my legs tingled against the wet cotton pants. I realized that I needed to watch my body and maybe leave early for the warmth of the truck. But I stuck it out.

I heard something to my right a few times so thought a bull might be on his way to the cow calls that I was still sending out as love signals. I had about ten minutes left to hunt when I saw a black blur charge out of the brush and through the water hole. It was a nice black bear! I had never taken a bear with a bow but I could see this one was looking for an elk for supper. He came in so fast I couldn't get a shot. Now the bear was behind a large spruce tree that was just a few feet in front of me. He never appeared so I started edging around the tree for a shot . I had to straddle a large log and suudenly was looking into the black eyes of a hungry bear at about five feet. We both jumped back in panic. I don't carry a sidearm but do have a big canister of bear spray on my belt. I went back to my clump of spruce thinking I had scared him off and there he was at forty five yards staring me down. He never moved a muscle. I cow called and slowly walked toward him . As I did confidence built up that I knew he was my bear! He never moved- 40 yards, 30 yards, 25 yards. He was quartered to me so the shot wasn't what I wanted. I started to pull the 70 pound compound but discovered my body was so cold that the bow would not budge. Problems! I remember asking God to help and slowly brought the bow up. The pull was so easy that it required little effort from my cold body. The limbs rocked back and the 20 yard pin looked like a laser light on a spot just behind his front leg. The release was smooth and the bear spun around and jumped over a big log only to stop and cast a glance back at me. I was looking for an arrow on either side but could not see it. He tried to walk uphill but started to sway back and forth ; then he turned left and entered a small brush patch. I heard him quietly expire a few minutes later. I discovered later that the arrow had taken lung and liver as it went through him diagonal and stuck in the log behind him.

Why did God answer my call for help? Because He cares about even the smallest of things in our lives. He is a Father of relationships and cares about each one of us. I firmly believe that I did not pull that bow under my own power. It will always be one of the most memorable hunts I will ever experience.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Was Jesus An Outdoorsman

Jesus was an outdoorsman of the highest quality. He not only enjoyed the beauty of the earth; He help create all of it. Imagine taking the dark formless earth and creating the sea, rivers, and mountains. Then filling the earth with animals , birds and fish. It would have been awesome to see the herds of bison created in an instant. Animals thundering suddenly across the African plains! He put the wild song into the bull elk.

Most of the diciples were fishermen and he knew they had what it took to spread the gospel of good news. He could relate to them and they could relate to him. It doesn't take me long to find someone in a crowd that likes the outdoors. It did not take Him long to find twelve guys who liked to cook fish over the fire beside the sea.

Some of His best teaching was done outdoors. The hills and shoreline along the sea of Galilee were favorite spots to teach people of God's kingdom. Thousands often gathered to hear Him.
When Jesus needed rest and a talk with his Father , He went into the mountains. There is a lesson in that for father - son relationships. He always came back energized.

It is important that we worship the Creator not the creation. Thank God for the wonderful and beautiful earth He created. Enjoy the birds, animals, and fish. Go bird watching, gather up the family and go fishing, take a kid hunting. Teach them to appreciate God's creation.

So the next time you are in the woods or on a lake; take time to talk to the Father. Jesus Did.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Freedom Requires Sacrifice

Our country seems to forget the blood that has been shed to keep us free.Wars need to be run by generals not politicians. We are in a battle against an satanic evil force. The apostle Paul said it very clearly in Epesians 6:12. Our country has strayed away from God and he will not bless us until we ask forgiveness and seek to follow Him.

This weekend , I remember two uncles I had that fought in World War II. One was Donald Book who spent the war fighting in the Philippine jungles. He never said much about the war but after his death I received his bayonet. Recently I took it out of the original leather sheath and studied it. The knife blade had black pockets in the metal. They didn't have stainles steel knives then. I realized that the marks were made from blood that will eat small pockets in metal if it isn't cleaned immediately. I suddenly was aware that I was holding a piece of history. History hidden in the knife that I will never know. The other uncle was Donald Swartz who was in the navy in the north Atlantic. He was lost overboard and his body never recovered. I have some dark blue navy issued pants that were his. Again a part of history.

I thank my uncles for their sacrifices so I was allowed to grow up in a free country. I thank all our military for the job they are trying to do.


Friday, May 25, 2007


As a young boy my heros were Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and Davy Crockett. As I grew older, I realized heros were ordinary people doing extra ordinary things. My Dad was my hero. He only had an eighth grade education yet people from our community sought his advice and counsel. His flower gardens were award winning quality. Another hero was my Grandpa Swartz who was a large framed man of quiet demeanor. He played a mean game of checkers and the first time I beat him at checkers, I knew I won fair and square. He still remains large in my life. My father-in-law was my hero. His body was inflicted with arthritic pain yet he had a smile and never complained. Heros are made not born.

Some of my more recent heros are men like Clebe Mc Clary, a Vietnam Marine whose body was shattered by a grenade and was never supposed to walk but who has not only walked but is a runner! He is a patriot and a warrior for Jesus. The five men I meet with each week that are my band of brothers are my heros. Without them I would not be growing and changing.

Anyone in the military is a hero. They put it on the line for us daily. One of them is Marine Terry Dunn who was injured in Iraq and is back serving his country. Another hero is Sgt. Brandon Adam who lost both legs in an explosion in Iraq. He is a fighter and God will raise him up to be a great man. HE WILL WALK AGAIN.

Heros live by Phillipians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Caterpillars and butterflies

The other day I saw my first swallowtail butterfly of the year. It was enjoying the sunny day and came by fluttering and seemed to say "Hello" and then went on its way. Our grand daughters love butterflies and scream in delight when they see one.

It is interesting how God takes a lowly caterpillar and turns it into a beautiful butterfly. The caterpillar has to crawl everywhere eating vegetation and butterfly gets to fly around drinking sweet nectar from colorful flowers. People are like that too. Many people never leave the caterpillar stage of life. They are content to keep crawling around ; their life is dull, boring and unfruitful. Others are like the butterfly; free flying, joyous and on a miision. They drink from the nectar of life. Their strength comes from knowing Jesus as their Friend, Lord , and Savior. When the winds of life try to blow them backwards; they receive the power through Christ to fly onward. They use Phillipians 4:13 to remind them where the strength comes from.

If you are a caterpillar let God change you through the power of Jesus into a butterfly so He can use you to do wonderous works. He will give you a new mind and you will see things differently by flying instead of crawling through life.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Lessons learned from canada geese

This morning I was working at a property along the shores of Lake Pend Oreille. The snow covered peaks of the Cabinet Mountains stood like sentinels over the valleys . Emerald green waves lapped quietly at the shore. Peaceful! Suddenly I was visited by the transient neighbors. I sometimes envy them as they make their summer home on this beautiful lake. God provides food for them and they often go south for the winter. They are canada geese; several pairs showed up with about 50 goslings.

As I watched them I thought about what they can teach us on marriage and raising a family. Canada geese mate for life. They don't fight or get divorced and always watch out for each other. As parents, they are very protective of their young. Females often take care of other goslings in the area. I noticed the young dutifully followed the adults. There was dicipline amoung the younsters.

Wouldn't it be nice if people could do the same. God put the same love those geese have for each other in humans too. God formed us to be loving and devoted to our spouses and to raise up children of character.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Listen for the Lord

Monday evening, Ardella and I went bear hunting. We stopped to look over a clearcut where bears like to hang out on a green strip of old road. The woods were quiet except for the distant calling of a great grey owl. The snow covered peaks of the Selkirk Range were magnificent and reminded me of the majesty of God. What an awesome Creator! We were greeted by a female mountain bluebird as she perched in a small cedar tree. Suddenly she flew to the top of a dead cedar snag and was joined by her mate. They were busy inspecting a nest cavity for their coming family. The bluebirds picked a tree with a tremendous view. They continued to fly around close to us and the colors of blue were spectacular. We also noticed a pair of robins busy feeding their little ones in a nest low to the ground in a small hemlock tree. It was tempting to go closer but we respected their privacy.

Psalm 46:10 says " Be still and know that I am God." Sometimes we need to slow down so we can listen to God . Take some time to to listen . Even Jesus went into the hills and wilderness to hear what his Father wanted to tell him. So go to the mountains , a lake shore , or a quiet place and listen for God. He will tell you some amazing things.

Larry Book