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The Gift

PorterBy John Porter

-- Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

October 1, 2006 — Opening day for bowhunting in Maine dawned warm and sunny — not the best weather to harvest venison or a trophy. Being a dedicated archery hunter, I was perched in a tree overlooking a grown-up apple orchard, hoping and praying the deer weren’t as warm as I was and that they’d be moving.

Just before sunset, I caught movement coming along a trail. It was a buck, so I prepared myself for the shot. When he approached my shooting lane, I grunted on a tube. The deer stopped, offing a great shot. Aiming carefully, I released my arrow. The deer ducked. It was a complete miss.

Fast forward to October 2006. It was my second chance to bowhunt. I spent the previous 17 days in the hospital with my teenage son, who almost lost his life to an illness. With his health improving, he told me to get out a harvest a deer. Not one to argue, I prepared myself for an afternoon hunt

I had previously set up a ground blind that overlooked a soybean field that I knew the deer were visiting daily. The time I spent in the blind that afternoon was very exciting. In the first three hours, I saw numerous does, fawns and a few basket-racked young bucks. I passed on all because I knew the spot was a dinner table for five shooter bucks: a 12-pointer, a 9-pointer, two 8-pointers and a tall-tined 6-pointer.

Being a man of faith, I set my bow down, removed my hat and started to pray. I thanked the Good Lord for my son’s speedy recovery, the opportunity to hunt and for the great time I was having. Just before I closed my prayer, I asked the Mighty Man Above for the opportunity to shoot a deer I would never forget.

Ten minutes later, I looked out the blind window and saw a 9-pointer entering a field corner. Like a dog being led on a leash, the buck walked straight to the front of my blind and stopped at about 40 yards. When the deer dropped his head to feed, I drew back and took a shot of a lifetime. Seeing the arrow hit its mark, I knew it was my day to be blessed.

After a 30-minute wait and a 50-yard tracking job, there lay my dream buck. I knelt down, placed a hand upon the deer, looked to the heavens and thanked God once again for His blessings.

After registering and weighing the buck, I was pleased to learn the 210-pound 9-point made the Maine Big Bucks Club.

— Matthew: 7:7-8 (New American Standard Bible)

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