It has been a gorgeous spring in Georgia this year. The weather has stayed cool and not jumped from winter straight into summer and the blossoms have been spectacular. I love the colors of spring. However, there has been one hardship of the spring this year, my turkey hunting! This has been one of the most frustrating years I’ve had in a long time.
I do admit the season has been filled with plenty of gobbling birds heard. I am yet to go out and not hear birds gobbling. They are out there teasing me and obviously having the time of their lives with real hens. So far I’ve had the usual hardships of Tom’s henned up and not interested in this lonesome hen who refuses to come to them. I had one morning when the Tom was getting closer and closer until a pack of coyotes started howling and all the woods went suddenly quiet. And there was that morning when I took a youngster hunting, had a bird within 50 yards but the boy’s idea of being still and the keen eyesight of the bird did not result in the outcome I desired. So goes the joys of hunting with a youngster. We both still had fun.
However, the most frustrating circumstance of the spring has been birds gobbling across property lines. Our Legacy Hunting Property is long and narrow in places and many times this spring I’ve carried people hunting, set up and had birds gobble their heads off at us across those property lines. It was so tempting to slip across those lines, set up and shoot a bird and quickly retreat to my side of the property. But, I knew I couldn’t. Yes, I have the kind of luck that I would get caught. But more importantly, I knew the hunt was more than killing a bird and killing a bird is not worth ruining the reputation of God’s ministry through me. Sometimes success is actually in failure when God’s greater good is concerned.
Proverbs 22:28 says “Don’t move an ancient boundary marker that your fathers set up.” And Proverbs 23:10-11 says “Don’t move and ancient boundary marker, and don’t encroach on the fields of the fatherless, for their Redeemer is strong, and He will champion their cause against you.” God’s word warns us not to move property lines and to respect the property of others, especially those less fortunate than us. Why?
Job 24:2 says “The wicked displace boundary markers. They steal a flock and provide pasture for it.” Crossing a boundary line in order take game is stealing! God’s word is pretty clear on it. As ethical hunters we must respect one another’s property even in the woods when no one is looking.
For me there is another issue at stake. So often I’m not hunting alone. I enjoy taking others to the woods and especially youngsters. I realize they are watching my every move and I am teaching them not only how to hunt but how to live as a man. If I teach them to cheat and steal in the woods they will take that same lesson to other parts of their lives. If I teach them to be men of integrity they will take that lesson with them into other parts of their lives. Sometimes success is actually in failure when teaching a youngster how to live.