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Spend some time in God's great outdoors.




If ever a group of hunters could be classified as prime candidates to land leading roles in a remake of the old Western comedy show "F Troop", it would be our group of four middle-aged Nimrods from North Central Pennsylvania. Afflictions from gallstones and degenerative arthritis to knee and foot ailments had severely limited our ability to attempt any serious pre-hunt physical conditioning. In discussing this concern with our host Will Nelson, he jokingly commented that we'd just, "Walk less and shoot farther." Oh how the latter half of that statement would come to fulfillment. There's an old quote that says, "You eat an elephant one bite at a time." and this philosophy manifested itself throughout the physical demands of our adventure.

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With the closing out of this Spring Turkey season, I thought I would share the story of last year's opening hunt.

Job 12:7b "...or the birds of the air, and they will tell you;"

Time seemed frozen, like I was being removed from the physical involvement to capture fully the mental aspect of the images before me. The PA Spring Turkey season had been ushered in one hour earlier and two of us were experiencing an awesome moment on top of the western ridge.

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The spent 45 caliber round ball rested heavily in my pocket. It had missed its mark and been badly misshapen, almost unidentifiable in the darkness that surrounded me on the ride home from our trip. Although it no longer looked like it had at the start of the day, its true identity was revealed as the weight of the leaden missile was unmistakable when compared to each of the others I carried in my gear. I leaned back in my seat and reflected on the incredible events of the days adventure. It had been one of the most amazing and rewarding outings I ever participated in... But, I am getting ahead of the story!

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"The bigger one's coming up around" whispered Jeremy as I shifted the scope off the second doe. The big doe stopped broadside 60 yards away as she came up out of the shallow basin. As the cross hairs settled into the crease behind the left shoulder, I wondered if this was to be the start in a season of harvest?

It was a crisp October dawn for the opening morning of Pennsylvania's early muzzle loader season and six hunters gathered together to hunt in the DMAP area of Bald Eagle mountain just south of Williamsport. In the pre-dawn darkness, final plans were made and then the hunters bowed their heads for a moment of prayer. Each of the hunters standing there may have had unspoken requests or burdens and I know God heard their heart's longing in that moment of fellowship.

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