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Outdoor Truths

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I spent my last few days hunting deer in Missouri. The temperatures were the most extreme I have ever encountered. My last morning hunting the thermometer read -7 and the wind chill made it -23. Needless to say, I was not in a tree but in the warm confines of a ground blind. The coldest part of the hunt was getting to and from each blind. One of those enclosures was a hand-made wood structure affectionately called The Condo. The walls and ceiling were packed with insulation, insulated board, and wood siding. Inside were two heaters along with comfortable office type chairs. We had to take our coats off to keep from getting too hot. It was also quiet enough to talk with a somewhat normal conversation tone. The Condo sat over more than 20 acres of beans that had been harvested a few weeks earlier. The remnants made for a large dinner table for the deer, even though a fresh four inches of snow had covered it just before I arrived. It didn't matter to the deer, however. They were not afraid to dig. And each evening that's just what they did. They moved to the fields and dug, scraped, and uncovered morsels of food that was crucial to them making it through what is looking like a very tough winter. The day I left, the thermometer read -15 and I imagine sometime that day, they returned to dig for food. The adaptability of these animals is evident for those who hunt. In the spring, food is everywhere. Deer are able to eat without much effort. Each traveled path will contain some tasty morsel they can use as appetizers before they get to their preferred destination. Or they may choose to stay within a few easy steps of the food. I can imagine if water is close, there is no need to exert much effort. During these times the menu has many choices. In the winter, not only are the choices narrowed, the effort must be increased. The demand for life-sustaining nutrients never takes a break. I've noticed in my Christian life, there are times everything speaks to me about God. Sometimes, everything I read shouts some new message I had never thought of. There are periods of time when it seems every sermon I hear is just what I needed. Other times it seems the spiritual food I desperately want is scarce, bland, and hard to reach. It is as these times, I can bemoan and blame my new conditions or I can remember there are still fields of food just under the snow. It's not moved. All I have to do is spend a little more time digging. Not only will I get what I need, the extra effort might keep me a little warmer.

GARY MILLER

gary@outdoortruths.org ~ www.outdoortruths.org

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