Another Chance by Randy Rowley 11/13/09 ©


I was cautiously optimistic when I pulled up to Daryl Shipper’s house on a Saturday in early October for a bow deer hunt on his new deer lease near Evant.  I was only cautiously optimistic, as although I’d seen several trail cam pictures of big bucks on the lease, I knew how hard it was to see such deer during shooting hours and, harder still, to get a shot at one within bow range.

We arrived at the ranch, met Mike (Daryl’s brother), got our bows and gear ready, and headed to the stands.  I climbed the 20-foot-tall tripod I was gifted to hunt, put my shooting glove on, nocked an arrow, and got my binoculars and rangefinder out of my backpack.

Soon the magical 30 minutes before sunrise arrived, but it came and went with no deer or other creatures in eyesight.  Then the sun rose, and it immediately began to warm the cool air.  It was a clear day, so I expected to see many creatures moving about, but nothing of the furry kind presented itself, even after the feeder went off at 8:30 AM.

The evening hunt was much warmer than the morning, but it wasn’t unpleasant.  The breeze had also picked up, and it was blowing in my face.  I settled in the tripod’s chair with renewed hopes, but I once again didn’t see anything furry for the first couple of hours.  Eventually, the daylight started to fade, as did my hopes of seeing any deer.  Then suddenly, a nice-sized buck stepped out of the tree line to my left!

He had a big body and the side of his rack I could see was large with heavy mass, but at 219 yards, he was way out of bow range.  He took off at a fast trot, but stopped 140 yards away and looked in my direction.  He appeared to be either an 8 or 10 pointer, and his rack was symmetrical.

After a minute, he resumed his mission.  I soon lost sight of him in the opposite tree line 155 yards away, heading in Mike’s direction.  He was the largest buck I’d seen on properties where the landowners allowed me to shoot bucks.  I’d seen larger bucks, but those sightings were always on properties where the landowners hadn’t allowed me to shoot bucks.

With renewed optimism, I resumed my vigil.  About five minutes later, much to my surprise, I saw movement and realized what was walking through the gap between the two cedar trees to the left of the feeder wasn’t just a buck – it was the same bruiser I thought was long gone!  He had walked to the feeder without me detecting him.

I had ten minutes of shooting time left, which was more than enough time if things went my way.  The buck went straight to the feeder, which was 24 yards from me.  Better still, I was presented with a quartering away shot.  When he put his head down and started to eat, I stood up and came to full draw.

I lined my Browning Midas’s peep sight up with my sight’s pins and placed my fingers at the corner of my mouth.   I’d only once before hunted with a bow from a tripod, so I was far from experienced.  An article I read years before indicated to aim high when hunting from tripods and tree stands.   So, I put my 30-yard pin on his upper back above his chest and released the bowstring.

I couldn’t tell if I’d hit him, but he didn’t appear to be from his reaction.  He looked around and then slowly walked away from the feeder.  I lost sight of him as he went behind the larger cedar tree.

As I sat there with my heart beating a mile a minute, the unexpected happened – the buck returned to the feeder exactly how he came to it the first time, except he was two yards closer this time!  God had given me another chance!

I slowly nocked another arrow.  Once again, I was presented with a quartering away shot.  Once again, he put his head down and started to eat.  Once again, I stood up, came to full draw, lined up my sights, placed my fingers at the corner of my lips, aimed at the same spot, and released the bowstring.

As before, I couldn’t tell if I’d hit him.  Again, he didn’t appear to be.  He looked around and strolled away from the feeder.  Unlike the first time, he didn’t circle the larger cedar tree but instead kept on walking.  I watched him for a couple of minutes and then lost sight of him about 100 yards away.

At the end of legal shooting time, I went to look for my arrows.  I found one buried about two-thirds of its length into the dirt.  The other one was lying on its side, facing 90 degrees from its twin.  Neither had a speck of blood.

God gave me a chance at a big buck, and I blew it.  Then he gave me a miraculous second chance at the same buck a couple of minutes later, and I blew it again!  Looking back, I realized I’d violated a cardinal rule of shooting – when you miss and are presented with the same shot – do something different!

I don’t know for sure what I did wrong, but my gut told me I’d aimed too high.  A few weeks after the hunt, I spoke to two highly experienced bowhunting friends.  They both confirmed my gut feeling – I shot over him.  I shouldn’t have adjusted my aim for the angle I was presented with.

The Bible is so full of stories of second chances it could easily be called ‘The Book of Second Chances.’  Some of the many people God gave another chance include:

  • Joseph – who arrogantly told his brothers’ of two dreams he had about them bowing down to him and rubbed that he was their father’s favorite by wearing an ornate robe that his father made for him in their faces. (See Genesis 37:3-23.)  Yet God gave him another chance, and he saved thousands of people during a seven-year-long famine, including his family.
  • Moses – who murdered an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew. (See Exodus 2:11-12.)  Yet, God gave him another chance, and he witnessed the burning bush, talked to God, delivered the Hebrews out of bondage in Egypt, gave the Ten Commandments and the law to the Hebrews, and wrote the first five books of the Old Testament.
  • David – who seduced Bathsheba, committed adultery with her, and had her husband, Uriah, murdered. (See 2 Samuel chapter 11.)  Yet God gave him another chance, and he wrote most of the book of Psalms, his reign established a dynasty, and Jesus descended from his bloodline.
  • Peter – who denied Jesus three times after Jesus’s arrest. (See Matthew 26:69–75.)  Yet God gave Peter another chance, and he became the pastor of the church in Jerusalem and wrote First and Second Peter.

God’s offer for other chances applies to all of his children who have sinned and taken back at least partial control of their lives.  He said in Jeremiah 31:34b, “‘For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.’”  Psalm 103:12 (NLT) says, “He has removed our rebellious acts as far away from us as the east is from the west.”  (“He” in this passage is God.)  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.”  (“He” in this passage is God.)  Jesus’s voluntary sacrificial death enabled God to forgive us, no longer remember our confessed sins, and put them away from us as far as they can be!

Do you need God to give you another chance?  He is willing and waiting to forgive you.  He doesn’t keep score and has forgotten how many times you’ve asked for another chance.  You may think you’ve reached the end of your chances, but he’s never had such a thought.  If you need another chance, I implore you to get back into right standing with God by confessing your sins to him and turning from them.

Categories : Devotionals

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