The Miracle Buck

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The Miracle Buck

Postby Mike Brooks » Fri Sep 21, 2007 12:03 pm

The Miracle Buck
By Michael Brooks
How many of us hunters have prayed this prayer from our hunting stand at one point of time, “Oh, Lord please let me get a nice buck today…and God maybe an 8 or 10 pointer, that would be great, oh…and if his weight could be over 200 pounds, I sure would appreciate it God, thanks!” Sounds corny, but I have to be honest with you; I have prayed that prayer, several times. I even added that I would go to Wednesday night prayer meeting if God could make that happen. I believe that prayer was never answered because God knew my heart and the motives were wrong, but I sure tried.

This story begins the Friday before deer season in central Wisconsin in 1989. I picked up my best friend from Colorado who flew into Billy Mitchell Field in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We drove up to the Braman’s Farm from the airport two and half hours north near Tomah. George and I were eager to head up; we talked about hunting during that trip up north; this was George’s first whitetail deer hunt. He hunted elk, mule deer and antelope in Colorado, and this whitetail hunting was a new experience for him.

The drive from the airport to Tomah was spent catching up on old times, teachers, old girlfriends, family and friends. As we headed north on I-94, we exited off of the highway to Mill Bluff State Park. I noticed that the clouds were thickening and getting extremely dark to the north, and it was only 2:30 in the afternoon. I knew something was brewing in the air.

We finally reached the Braman’s Farm and pulled up into the gravel driveway, parked and got out of the car. I remember turning to George and saying, “Man, the air is heavy and look how dark it’s getting!” We both knew that the weather was going to change soon. We walked across the county road to a large grove of oak trees. As we walked into the grove, it was as if we had gone from day to night. We were looking for a good spot to place George into a tree stand. I could hear noise on the leaves about me, and then saw the specks of snow falling to the forest floor. “Hey, buddy, let’s find you a place to hunt and get outta here; the sky is about to fall.” So, we hurried and found him a place to stand and marked the spot. As we walked out of the oak grove to the road, there was already accumulation of snow on open areas in the woods and on the side of the county road.

I love a good snowstorm for hunting; it provides good tracking and which game trails the deer are using. It lifts my spirits as well. I can’t explain it, but I get excited as a kid on Christmas morn when it snows while I’m hunting. As we drove to Tomah, I knew we were in for a big storm; I could feel it in my bones. As we drove the 8 miles to town, the roads were getting wet and icy. We were coming up to a McDonalds and decided to get a quick meal. I kept looking out the windows as we talked and watched the large flakes fall. Our discussion turned to how blessed we have been through the years, with our children and family. I have trusted in the Lord to watch over me and keep me on course in life. I turned and looked out the window as I sat in the booth, and watched the flakes dance in the parking lot lights as they fell gently to the ground. I was deep in thought - just enjoying life at the moment even though my personal life was falling apart around me: going through a divorce and losing my parents to cancer. Even as I pen these words, tranquility comes over me, knowing that God has me in His hands, no matter what I am going through, and you know what? He has you in His hands as well, no matter what you’re going through. Stop reading for a moment and just thank God for his love for you. Talk to Him and tell Him what’s on your heart!

As I sat and watched out the window, a thought came to me and that is the word trust. The word struck me in a very unusual way. I am reminded of Proverbs 3:5, 6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not into your own understanding, in every thing you do acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” So, what these verses are saying is give your problems to the Lord and He will look after you and keep you out of trouble. Hmmm, I like that thought! Do we trust in the Lord when difficult times come our way? Or do we just try to fix it, and give things to the Lord when they are impossible for us to fix or figure out? I have tried to fix things on my own and I make things much worse. Haven’t we all done that at one time or another?

I heard George say, “Mike look at the snow, it really is coming down!” We headed out to the car and I was very excited.

We headed to Paul’s house in Tomah to get settled in. His dad owned the farm where we were hunting and Paul was excited to see us. Paul is another deer hunter who loved being in the woods. He loved snow as much as I did. We turned on the television and heard all about the winter storm warnings for our area. The weatherman said this was going to be a big snow maker. I wondered how we would get to the farm in my car; it was a small Cutlass Seria Classic. Paul said that they plow the roads often and not to worry about it. I was fine with that. I went to the kitchen window and looked outside. The snow was accumulating quickly.

I didn’t sleep very well that night; I could hear the snowplows off in the distance plowing the highway and streets. I kept looking at the clock across the room, checking my wristwatch. Most hunters hardly sleep the night before opening day. Hunters are keyed up and afraid that he or she will over sleep. It’s an exciting time; you think about your equipment, how to dress, and the walk to your stand. You wonder if you will forget anything. You can picture yourself holding your rifle in your lap. All of these thoughts are racing through your mind….

The alarm went off. I quickly got dressed and looked out the window. Wow! The snow was still falling and I wondered if the county highway was plowed. It didn’t matter; I was still going to be driving to the farm. George and I loaded up all of our gear into the back of the car. I scraped off the windows and had the heat turned on high as the car warmed up. Paul did the same in his car. After about 10 minutes, we headed out to the highway. It was slow going, but my car managed to do ok as the roads were pretty clear. It was about 4:45 when we headed out. The snow was pretty high on the side of the road and thank goodness they had just run a plow through the area.

The sound of the wipers, the fan from the heater, and the static from the radio in the early morning made me think about my walk to my tree stand. How deep was the snow going to be? Lots of thoughts raced through my mind. George asked me how hard it would be to find his stand in the snow. I said I was not sure because I had never head this happen to me on opening day. As we drove up to the farm, I floored it to get through the deep snow in order to get up the gravel driveway and we did just fine. I turned off the car and noticed that the trailer home was dark. I wondered if Earl was up. Paul went in and checked and returned, stating that Pa said we should go ahead and head to our stands. I got my rifle out of the case, placed it against the tire, put on my orange hunting coat, and put on my daypack. George and Paul did the same. We talked and said good luck and headed to our areas to hunt. The snow was still falling and it was dark. Paul and I walked towards our stand together as we had done for several years. We whispered as we spoke about where the deer would be during this storm. We passed the standing corn and the ditch bank. That’s where we separated; Paul went along the ditch bank as I headed to the woods. I looked at the trees and it looked as if someone had put a white sheet over all of the trees. The closer I got, the more nervous I became. I didn’t recognize where I was to go in my stand. All of the saplings were bent over from the heavy wet snow; nothing looked the same. I have been hunting from this tree stand for years and scored from it every year.

I looked at my watch. It was now 6:15 and I wondered where the time had gone. My walk was about 30 minutes from the farm and slowed down by the deep snow. I figured that the depth of the snow was about 16 inches. I looked for land markers that I used every year to find my stand in the dark trees. Everything was unrecognizable. Every sapling was bent over as all the trees were full of snow. If this was a winter wonderland, I wanted no part of it. I went into the forest looking for anything I could get my bearings from. My tree stand was a stand that I had built for comfort. It had a roof, side railings, and a comfortable seat, considering it was a 2 by 10 piece of wood. I sat on my army scarf to make it doable for several hours of sitting. Anyway, I thought I could find my stand silhouetted against the rest of the other trees. There was not a sign of my tree stand anywhere and it was getting later by the minute. I was sweating, worried, and angry at myself for not finding my stand. I have hunted from this tree for over 8 years. I wandered in the general area of my invisible tree stand and still no luck! Finally, after about 45 minutes, I saw some horizontal shapes 18 feet up in a tree, about 15 yards away. Lo and behold, there was my home in the woods: my tree stand. I had walked by this area several times and I didn’t realize how camouflaged my stand was. I was told by other friends who hunted on the farm that I had a great spot and it was hard to see the tree stand because it blended in so well.

I walked over to the base of the tree, took of my daypack and rifle and tied the rope tethered from the railing above to my gear. I brushed the snow off each of the nailed down steps that I had nailed in 8 years earlier. The climb was quick and slippery. I crawled under the rails when I got to the top and then turned around on my hands and knees, leaned over and pulled up my rifle and daypack. Once I had my gear up and lying on the 2 x 10 board, I proceeded to kick the snow off the base of my stand and then shake off the snow from my carpet shag over the side. I laid it back down where I would stand. The last thing I had to do with the snow was shake the snow from the canvas that was my overhead roof. It rested on top of the boards that I had nailed overhead for support of the canvas.

I sat down on the board, opened my daypack, and pulled out shells for my 44 Ruger Mag and loaded 3 shells. I placed my rifle sling on a nail and let it hang. I pulled out the necessary items I needed for my hunt. I placed my hot cocoa, cookies, and extra pair of gloves by my side and hung my binoculars on a broken branch.

Now, here is where my prayer begins. I nestled back against the tree and moved side to side against it to get comfortable. As I sat and looked at my surroundings, the snow was gently falling and I was relaxing. I took a sip of my cocoa and smiled; this was hunting, oh, it was hunting! The fir trees across the way made me think of Christmas only a month away as the snow blanketed all the trees. I looked up and said, “Lord, I sure would like a nice buck today. A nice 8 pointed would be good, and Lord, if he could be over two hundred pounds I would sure appreciate it. Lord, thanks for the snow; it’s awesome!” and that was it. I watched my area and enjoyed every second of it. About ten minutes after this prayer, out of the corner of my left eye, I caught some movement. I looked and about 45 yards away and walking away from me was a huge buck. I quickly got my 44 and as the buck walked through the trees, I scoped the deer, saw the deer and falling snow through the scope, and slowly squeezed the trigger. Kapow! The sound reverberated through the woods. The buck fell between some red elm trees. I sat and started shaking not from the cold, but from the excitement of the hunt.

I waited about 5 minutes because that’s the longest I could stand to wait. Most experts say to wait 30 minutes. Well, I was looking where the deer was last seen. I tied the rope to my sling and lowered my rifle and let it hang about 3 feet from the ground. I climbed down the steps of the ladder to the deep snow and untied my rifle. I tried to determine the best way to find my deer. I started walking and the snow was falling very heavily. The snow was up to my knees. I was looking all around and could not find a trace of the deer, blood, hair, or anything. I went back to the tree stand and tried to get my bearings. I started circling again and located the tracks the deer had made just moments before. I saw tips of horns barely visible in the snow 20 yards away. I walked over to my deer and looked up and said, “Thanks, Lord” with a big smile on my face. I sat down on the hind quarters and admired my trophy buck. It was an 8 pointed and about 200 pounds.

Then the work began. I had to field dress the buck. All the while, I was one happy hunter, thanks to the Lord. “Again, Lord I want to say thanks! Oh, Lord, I will see you in Church this Wednesday evening.”

What does the Word say about praying? How important is it? When do you pray - when you need help or when you feel like it? How often are you talking with the Lord? It needs to be serious talking, not just a few seconds a day.

Michael Brooks is host/Co-producer of RMOA-TV Rocky Mountain Outdoor Adventures Television and DVD video library in Denver, Colorado. Brooks’ latest project was Trigger to Target. He writes outdoor devotionals and conducts hunting seminars on elk hunting in the US. Brooks speaks at wild game dinners and is a motivational speaker and well known photo journalist. He is a regular on "The Great Outdoor Trail Radio Show." He is the CVO of COFA - Christian Outdoor Fellowship of America. Brooks trusted in Christ while in high school through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Brooks lives with his wife Carol on top of Double Header Mountain in Conifer, Colorado and has one daughter, Alissa.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not into your own understanding, Proverbs 3:5
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Mike Brooks
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Postby Mike Brooks » Mon Mar 24, 2008 7:02 am

Anyone ever have a problem with a deer in the woods?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not into your own understanding, Proverbs 3:5
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Mike Brooks
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Posts: 2785
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:53 am
Location: Aspen Park, Colorado


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