Hunting Licenses – are you HIP? by Mark Dillow, 2008 ©


September in Texas marks the opening of dove season, and the beginning of the new hunting year.  Traditionally, the week before September is the week that most hunters purchase their new hunting licenses in my home state.

In years past, this was a pretty straight forward process.  Not a lot of thought had to go into your purchase of a license.  However in 2002, the US Fish and Wildlife Service instituted the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program also known as “HIP.”  This program assists USFWS and state wildlife personnel in gathering information that helps biologists manage North America’s incredible migratory game bird populations.

I dread the questions I now get every year from the clerks who sell the hunting licenses.  And since I do indeed hunt migratory birds, I get the full set of questions:

“Will you hunt doves, ducks, geese, or other migratory game birds during the coming hunting season?  Which of these types of migratory birds did you harvest last year?  How many of each species did you harvest?”

Now, I can remember how many kids I have, and what my address is, but having to give an account of how many birds I harvested can tax my 46 year old noggin.  Especially when several months have elapsed between my last hunt.  Some years when I tell the truth about how few birds I harvested, it is a little embarrassing…I always expect the clerk to ask if I need a learner’s permit rather than the big boy hunting license.  Often I recall great times and good hunts, but I have a hard time remembering the number of birds harvested a year ago.

Accounting for larger game is a bit easier.  Bag limits are generally smaller, and usually special tags are required.  In some areas you have to check your game at special stations before departing to your home or meat processor.  But there is still some level of accounting that must be done, especially if you take your trophy to the taxidermist.

Today I was reminded of another type of accounting I will be required to do someday.  The Bible explains in the book of Romans 14:12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Hebrews 4:13 “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

1 Peter 4:5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

Think about that for just a minute.  Each of us individually will have to give an account of ourselves.  How we treated our friends, wives, kids, and parents.  How we spent the money and talents God gave us.  How we treated his son.  We will have to do this before the one who created us and knows us down to our innermost being.  There will be no excuses, no do-over’s, and no place to hide.

That thought motivates me to want to be right in the center of God’s will, walking in his love and mercy.  I want to hear God say one day…“Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!’” (Matthew 25:23.)

How would you give an account of yourself today?  Would you be ready?

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If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.