Friday, 23 March 2018

C Columns

Outdoors With Dougherty: Mighty Hunters Like Nimrod, or not?


By Dan Dougherty

The Bible does not make much reference to hunters. However, in Genesis it actually names one of the greatest. Genesis 10: 8­9 (NIV) states, “Cush was the father of Nimrod, who becamea mighty warrior on the earth. He became a mighty hunter before the LORD; that is why it is said, 'Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the LORD.'”

I wonder if he was a deer hunter?

Another deer season has come and gone. It is always one of my favorite seasons of the year. It is a time to be out in God's great outdoors with friends and family. The beauty of fall is displayed by the changing colors of the aspen leaves and tamarack trees. It is all framed by the many shades of green of firs and pines, backdropped by snowcapped mountains and a beautiful sky.

My first hunt this year was with my friend Dave La Roche, like me another retired school teacher. We took my trailer up and camped at McComas Meadows above the South Fork of the Clearwater River near Harpster. We were there the end of October. We wanted to get Dave a whitetail. Not having a whitetail tag, his general deer tag was only good for a couple more days.

We hunted a couple days but did not see much. The early season deer were all now hiding, the weather has not yet changed, and still a couple weeks yet to the rut. We did see a bunch of big wolf tracks, but no wolves. On our last day, I had my scope on several large, fawn­less does but didn't shoot. I was hoping in a couple weeks during the rut to connect on a large buck. Dave did not have the opportunity to shoot one. Next year he is going to get a whitetail tag to hunt the late season. We left my trailer in storage in Harpster before heading home.

Ten days later my wife Peggy and I were taking our 15­-year-­old granddaughter Emma up to hunt with us. She had shot her first deer at 13 but did not hunt last year. She had shot a mule deer and now wanted a whitetail. We headed up on a day after school to hunt for four days. Emma is a sophomore at Boise High. She is a good student taking several advanced classes. Both her parents and teachers had no problem with her missing two days of school.

As we passed through Ontario on our way to Weiser and Highway 95, Emma got quite excited. It was her first time out of the state of Idaho. Peggy and I decided since their parents work so hard, we should take the kids on some trips and broaden their horizons. Reaching Grangeville that evening we spent the night at a Super 8 Motel. We greatly appreciated their free breakfast for us and several other hunters at 5:15 in the morning.

We hunted that morning near the city of Clearwater. We saw several groups of deer at close range. They were all moving and never presented a good shot. Later in the morning Emma spotted a doe and buck walking through the trees. The buck kept going but the doe stopped. Emma had about a 40­-yard downhill, broadside shot. When she finally shot, the deer jumped and ran off. We checked for blood but there was none — a clean miss! We saw the deer running uphill in the distance. 

That afternoon Emma had another nice doe standing broadside at about 45 yards. As she was pointing her gun at it I kept thinking, “Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!” The deer walked off but stopped about 10 yards farther, presenting another shot. Emma fired, another miss. I asked her why it took her so long to shoot. She said, “Grandpa I have never shot with a scope. I can't find them. I've just been pointing my barrel at them and firing.” I should have taken her out shooting. Her father said she was a better shot then her brothers. I did not know she never used a scope. I can remember my frustrating experience with my first scoped gun, hunting with little pre­hunt preparation. We had her start practicing using the scope and getting the right eye relief.

Instead of taking the trailer out of storage and camping, we stayed in one of the Lytle cabins on the river. They had a cancellation so we jumped at the chance. We have stayed in them several times before with our sons and their friends. The cabin provided a beautiful view of the river and was perfectly located in the middle of our hunting area.

The next day as we were traveling the Peasley Creek road, we came across a white pickup parked off the road. The occupants were skinning a hanging deer. It was Gary Tuttle, his son Luke and Luke's girlfriend. Peggy had grown up with Gary. We spent many of our hunting years staying at the South Fork campground with the Tuttles and the Valley Pentecostal crew.

Gary had just shot the nice doe. Luke had a nice 6 x 5 rutting buck with its swollen neck, skinned and covered in the back of the pickup. They were heading back to Caldwell shortly. Gary was bringing back his 98­year­-old father, Leo, the next week to try for his deer. Leo shot his deer last year at 97. I could not help but think I would not still be hunting in 30 years. I would probably be on a Heavenly excursion with my father to the constellation Eridanus to fish the Celestial River.  

The next day I missed several shots at a very large doe at about 150 yards. Peggy was standing by me with her gun. I asked her why she did not shoot? She answered that it was my deer and she had never seen me miss. In the last 12 years I hadn't. In the next two days several more deer were missed. We all had our chance.

In talking to a friend he said we should have prayed harder. Peggy and I agreed that we do not pray for success, but for the opportunity, and keeping us all safe. What we do with the opportunity is up to us and our preparation. The reward of the hunt is not the kill but the good time spent with friends and family in God's beautiful outdoors. The evening Yahtzee games, good conversation, and physical exercise also make for a good hunt.

In a conversation with Cliff of Cliff's Gun Shop after church one Sunday, he asked if I had sighted in my guns this year. That is a ritual we do every year, but for various reasons we did not get it done. I also should have taken Emma out and made her familiar with a gun she had never shot before. I guess it best can be said, “Nimrodian hunters, we weren't!”

Christian Living Magazine


Phone: 208-703-7860