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 . 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.