Be Ready by Randy Rowley 11/25/08 ©


On a windy and chilly Friday in December, Allen Neumann and I headed to the Siller Ranch near Derby for an FCS weekend deer and hog hunt.

On the first afternoon, we hunted in a heavily wooded area.  Allen had quite a few dove and quail come to the feeder his stand overlooked, but he didn’t see any game.  I also had several dove and quail come to the feeder my stand overlooked; however, at dusk, I was blessed to see an approximately 200 lb. boar from the neighboring ranch charging straight at my corn and Pig Out Wild Beast Bait piles.  Unfortunately, he couldn’t get through the hog-proof fence, or I’d have introduced him to a Federal Nosler Partition.

The following morning I decided to hunt a stand on the edge of a 200-acre open field.  The stand I chose overlooked two feeders around 80 yards away on opposite sides of the stand and another feeder around 200 yards away.  At around 7:25 AM, a doe came to the far feeder.  I put my scope on her but was presented with her rear.   She suddenly bolted and ran around two-thirds of the way across the field.  She was now at least 300 yards away.

She stopped and presented a broadside shot.  I lined my crosshairs on her chest and squeezed my Browning A-Bolt’s trigger.  I know I hit her because she started to limp away slowly.  She stopped twice more, and I shot both times, but there was no evidence I hit her again.  I lost sight of her as she entered some green mesquites.

A sickening feeling sprang up from my gut and enveloped me as I realized I’d failed to compensate for my bullet’s drop!  At 300 yards, a 180 grain Federal Nosler Partition .30-06 bullet from a rifle sighted in at 100 yards (which mine was) drops 14.7”.  Instead of hitting her in the chest, I probably hit her leg below her vitals.

I’d wounded an animal due to my stupidity and probably wouldn’t find her.  She would likely suffer and eventually be taken down by coyotes unless another hunter mercifully killed her first.

I decided to wait 30 minutes before looking for her.  I hoped I’d hit her further up, and she’d lie down and die.  Around ten minutes later, I saw another doe walking along a fence on the opposite side of the field from the first doe.  She was around 350 yards away.  She walked around 100 yards toward me and came to a stop.  I aimed at the top of her back and gently squeezed the trigger, resulting in her immediately kicking her back legs high over her head.  She ran a few yards and stopped.  I shot again.  I lost sight of her in the tall grass but marked where I thought she was.  I waited 30 minutes and then went looking for the does.  I couldn’t find either.

Giving up my search, I picked up Allen at our agreed-upon time.  We looked for the second doe first, and after a long search, Allen found her.  She was further away than I’d thought.  The first bullet had grazed her lower torso, doing no damage – I’d miscalculated the range and aimed too low.  The second bullet hit her neck and appeared to have killed her instantly.  I wouldn’t have needed another shot if I’d aimed my first one three inches higher.  After a long search, we gave up on finding the first doe.

I learned some valuable lessons that day.  The furthest shot at a deer I’d taken and made before that hunt was around 150 yards away, and I’d never shot at rifle range targets further than 200 yards away.  I also didn’t have a tool to measure the distance to my quarry accurately.  I wasn’t ready to shoot at those does and shouldn’t have.  After the hunt, I invested in a Bushnell Yardage Pro 800 laser rangefinder that accurately measures targets to 800 yards and beyond.  I also fired several rounds at targets 300 yards away at a rifle range.

The Bible has a lot to say about being ready, including:

  • God told Moses to get his people ready to meet him. Exodus 19:10-11 says, “And the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow.  Make them wash their clothes and be ready by the third day, because on that day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.’”
  • God told Jeremiah when he called him as a prophet to get ready to be his messenger.  Jeremiah 1:17a says, “‘Get yourself ready!  Stand up and say to them whatever I command you.’”
  • Titus 3:1 says, “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good.”
  • 2 Timothy 4:2 (NASB) says, “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.”
  • 1 Peter 3:15 (NASB) says, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

But, by far, the most important thing we must be ready for is where we’ll spend eternity.

Jesus said in Matthew 24:37-44, “‘As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.  That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.  Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.  Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.  But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.  So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.’”

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 says, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And so we will be with the Lord forever.”

Are you ready to meet Jesus in the air and spend eternity with him?  We can and should prepare for hunting and fishing eventualities, but if we don’t prepare for where we’ll spend eternity, we’ll fail as I did when I shot that first doe and almost failed when I shot the second one on that cold December day.

1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  Acts 3:19 (NLT) says, “Now turn from your sins and turn to God, so you can be cleansed of your sins.”  Romans 10:9 (NLT) says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

God has a simple plan for us to spend eternity with him in heaven – thank him for sending Jesus to take the punishment for your sins, confess your sins to him and ask him to forgive you, repent (turn from the direction you were heading and turn to God), and ask Jesus to be our Savior.  To grow as a Christian, you much also surrender your will to him.

Randy (note the doe’s grazed torso)

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