Hunting and Fishing – Until Death do us Part? by Randy Rowley


There is a popular belief that “You cant’ get too much of a good thing.” In reality, we know this is not true.

The sun is a good thing, but it we get too much sun our skin will be burned. Food is a good thing, but if we eat too much we get fat. Water is a good thing, but too much rain results in devastating floods. Hunting and fishing are good things, but if we hunt and/or fish too often our families suffer. Of course, the same statement could be made about football, computers, television, and the myriad of other hobbies, and activities that we men tend to become obsessed with. However, such activities are not within he scope of this club and, therefore, will not be addressed.

How can hunting and fishing cause our families to suffer? Consider the following scenario (fictional): John Doe is an avid hunter and fisherman. John also has a job in which he has many demands and responsibilities placed upon him. He works hard and has been promoted twice in three years. John also has a wife (Jane) of ten years and two small children (Jack and Jill). John works a lot of overtime, so most of the child rearing is conducted by his wife. When John does see his children, he often converses with them in a loud voice. He is usually too tired to assist with the housework. He relies on Jane to pay the bills, balance the checkbook and feed the dog (Spot).

John goes out into the woods quite often on weekends. In nature he finds that he can escape the pressures of his job for a few hours. He hunts quail in January and February. He fishes for catfish in March and April and stripped Bass in May and June. He finds time for an occasional trip to the coast for Kingfish and Redfish in June and July. By August he has begun to visit his deer lease. He fills his feeders, repairs his stands and scouts for deer. In September, he fills the sky with lead and occasionally downs a dove. September also includes several more trips to the deer lease. In October, he continues his pursuit of the elusive mourning dove and begins to stalk deer Indian style with bow and arrow. November and December are spent almost entirely on the lease in pursuit of Muy Grande. John was invited by an acquaintance to go to a local Christian hunting club meeting. John embraced the club and soon had several buddies to go hunting and fishing with. John loved these times of fellowship.

Meanwhile, Jane begins to notice that all men are not like John. She is involved in her church outreach and Women’s ministries and has developed several friendships with other women in her church. She and her friends, as women often do, spend portions of their meetings sharing about their lives, needs and burdens. Through these sharing times Jane learns that John’s behavior is the exception rather than the rule. Most of her friends husbands, she learns, want to spend time with their children and wives. They help with the housework, pay the bills and even tuck the kids in at night. Soon, Jane begins to turn bitter towards John. She confronts him one night and is appalled when he denies that he has a problem. He refuses to listen to his wife or seek help. His only response is to compare himself with other men that are “worse” than him. When John arrives home from his latest “trip to provide for the family” (at 2:00 AM) he notices that Jane’s car is not in the garage. Further investigation reveals that several household belongings are also missing. He starts to dial the police but notices a note by the phone. As the tears start to roll down his face, he ponders on what life will be like without his wife and children. He silently wonders where he went wrong.

Although this scenario is in the extreme (and is not intended to represent the current or past lifestyle of any club member), it should make us stop and ask ourselves some serious questions. How much of “John” is in me? Would I ever lie to my wife concerning a hunting or fishing trip? Would I ever let my passion for hunting and/or fishing ruin my marriage?

John suffered from one major problem: selfishness. John was so self centered that he did not consider what the consequences of his behavior would be. True, Jane erred by not expressing her needs and by not continuing to challenge John’s behavior; but the major villain of this story is John.

As followers of Christ we must die to self. We are new creatures. The old self has passed away and all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). Jesus was often heard to demand that his followers come and follow him. They left jobs, wives, children, parents, their homes and followed Christ. While it is true that Jesus only gave this special call to a chosen few, it is also true that we are to be imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1). We as Jesus’ followers should strive to be like him. That means that the needs of others should come before our own. Unlike John, we are too selfless (instead of selfish).

The first institution that our Heavenly Father established was not the church or a place of employment; instead it was the family. The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). It was not until after the fall that man begin to toil. The church did not come into being until many years later. Too often we men seem to reverse the order of God’s institutions. We worship our jobs, love our churches, and work our families to death. We rarely seem to have the time for our first and foremost responsibilities of nurturing our wives and raising up our children in the way they should go. Ephesians 5:25 states, “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”

For those of us fortunate enough to be blessed with a helpmate; our usually response is “Sure, I would die for my wife and my kids also”. However, Jesus in loving the church did much more than die for it, he lived for it. He put it first, set the example, nurtured it, reproved it, fed it, healed it, prayed for it, and spent time with it. We as Christ’s followers should put our wives first. We should set the example, nurture her, affirm her, pray for her, and spend time with her. We should do everything possible to meet her needs; even if that means to stay at home with her instead of going hunting or fishing.

What I charge us with is not easy. It is often very easy to say honey, I’m going to the lease this weekend, and not even think to ask her if she had anything planned. We should first make sure that our wives needs are met. She may have been planning something for weeks and needs you to baby sit the kids. You may have done every honey-do project on her list and she still might need you to be home with her. She may just simply need to be in your company.

In raising up our children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6), we must be careful to not provoke them to anger (Ephesians 6:4). One of the best ways to ensure resentful and angry children is to not spend any time with them. Children will not respect a father who is never around. As with our wives, the problems that we usually encounter result not from a lack of toys but from a lack of dad. As with our wives we should do everything possible to meet the needs of our children; even if that means staying at home with them or taking them to a park instead of going hunting and fishing.

Another result of John’s selfishness was his dishonesty to his wife. It is perfectly fine to say “Honey, I would like to go hunt deer with my friends this weekend.” Don’t make up a story that this is your chance to witness to a lost club member like John did. Fellowshipping with Christian men (whether it is in a Sunday School room, at a Men’s Meeting, or at a deer camp is one of the most spiritual things that a man can do. To behold the beauty and serenity of God’s creation and to spend time talking to Him in the stillness of a deer blind is often as beneficial to a man as a revival meeting.

One thing that John never considered was getting his wife (and children) involved in his hobbies. There are few women and children who do not enjoy going camping or out on a boat. Many would even tolerate freezing temperatures in order to be with their husbands or fathers. Many women and children love photography and most of our hunting and fishing sites offer photographic opportunities galore. Even if your wife could never bring herself to shoot “Bambi”, there probably is at least one outdoor sport that she will participate in. You might have to take the fish off your children’s hooks or pull the heads off your wives wounded doves, but the benefits of your family going afield with you are enormous. You might even find that they can out shoot and out fish you! Furthermore, it wouldn’t hurt you to get involved in some of her hobbies or find other hobbies that you enjoy together. A wife who knows that she can count on you to go to the opera with her will be much more willing to participate in her man’s hobbies than the wife with a husband who is too embarrassed to be seen doing “girl things”.

No one ever said that it was easy being a husband and father. We have to wear many hats. We must be provider, priest, friend, lover, groundskeeper, mechanic, bookkeeper, teacher and more. It’s very easy to turn selfish with our free time and forget the needs of our families. However, with the Lord’s help we will overcome. Remember the words of Paul, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13.

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A little that a righteous man has Is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, But the LORD upholds the righteous.