In Control by Randy Rowley 2/26/17 ©


When my family, friends, and I duck hunt near Corpus Christi, we often hunt on islands off Wilson’s Cut between Corpus Christi and Port Aransas. We’ve had many successful hunts there, easily bagging our limits of the one million or so redheads that winter along the Texas coast.

However, as the daily limit of redheads is two, and well over 95% of the ducks we see and shoot are redheads, it can also lead to some frustration.  Several times as the first flock, or one of the first, would come into our decoys (dekes), my shotgun would go “bang, bang,” and two redheads would go “splash, splash,” and my hunt would be over.

So when a guy told me on Facebook that he and seven of his friends had bagged pintails, widgeons, and scaup, in addition to redheads near Port O’Connor, the possibility of hunting additional species spurred me to plan an FCS self-guided duck hunting trip for late January.

Two of my favorite sayings are, “If you fail to plan, then plan to fail” and “Always have a Plan B.” Both sayings are true for hunting and fishing, especially for places I’ve never hunted or fished.  Although I’d fished at Port O’Connor three times before this trip, I’d never hunted near it, so I planned carefully.

We implemented Plan A on Friday afternoon.  We launched at Charlie’s Bait Camp, about halfway between Seadrift and Port O’Connor, and tried to take the small cut across from Charlie’s out to Espiritu Santo Bay.  We ran aground each of the three times we tried, so we gave up and went to Plan B.

We trailered my bass boat, drove to Port O’Connor, and launched at Froggie’s Bait Dock.  We headed southwest and took the cut east of Dewberry Island.  It was much deeper and wider than the cut near Charlie’s, so getting through it was no problem, but that soon changed.

We went around 200 yards and then turned towards Dewberry Island but quickly ran aground.  We tried again in a few more yards, but the closest we could get my boat to shore before running aground was about 75 yards, which was a long way to carry all our hunting stuff.  Binh Chu also had to carry Harley (his pre-teenage son) on his back because Binh couldn’t find waders that fit Harley.

After getting all our hunting stuff out, Binh and I moved my boat about 75 yards west of our deke spread.  A few ducks flew by in the 24 MPH north wind, and Ken Miller bagged a redhead and lost a crippled one after it dove, but no birds were interested in our dekes.  We packed up and loaded my boat, but the strong wind had pushed it further into the mud, and it took 45 minutes to free it by rocking it side to side.  We decided we’d try Plan C in the morning.

Early Saturday morning, we headed east from Froggie’s, took Fisherman’s Cut into Barroom Bay, and then took Little Mary’s Cut.  The area is very shallow, except for the marked channel.  The markers are easy to see in the daylight but not as easy to spot in the dark.  I decided to follow a couple of bay boats but quickly learned they could get into much skinnier water than I could.  When I’d try it, I’d run aground.  So we backtracked to Little Mary’s Cut and hunted around 100 hundred yards west of it.

We got my boat closer to shore before grounding than the previous afternoon, but not much.  After setting out the dekes, a few ducks flew by.  Three came into the dekes, and I bagged a limit of two redheads, and Ken bagged one.

We concluded it was a decent spot, so we tried it again that afternoon, except we set up around 200 yards further west.  Burl Fulenwider bagged a limit of two redheads, and Binh bagged one.

When the alarm went off on Sunday morning, we were too tired to hunt due to our excursions, so we slept in.

Despite meticulous planning, we felt we were never in control during that trip, mainly because of the many shallow areas, and my boat wasn’t built for them.  However, I should’ve asked a few questions about how skinny the water was in the bay in hindsight.  (Shallow areas weren’t an issue on Wilson’s Cut, as it’s around four feet deep.)

‘God’s in control’ is a popular saying and Christian song.  It champions ‘God’s got this,’ which is true – he’s Omnipotent (all-powerful) and can choose to be in control of anything he pleases.  However, God gave us free will – the ability to make choices.

Throughout the Bible are stories of people whom God didn’t control.  He didn’t control the decisions made by Adam and Eve, Cain, Abraham, Moses, and many others.  Nor did he control the storm the disciples were caught in (and Jesus later calmed), the sicknesses of the many people Jesus healed, or the people who died that Jesus raised from the dead.  If God controlled them, then Jesus was thwarting God’s control and undoing God’s will.

God’s gift of free will allows us to choose light or darkness and eternal life or punishment.  Examples of free will/choice include:

  • Deuteronomy 30:19 – “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”
  • Joshua 24:14-15 – “‘Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness.  Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.  But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.  But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.’”
  • Proverbs 8:10 (NLT) – “Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold.”

When planning hunting and fishing trips, simply saying ‘God is in control’ while doing no due diligence on our part is akin to laziness at a minimum and possibly foolishness.  It exonerates us from blame and nullifies free will by assigning all responsibility to God, passes the baton to him, and, if things don’t work out how we think they should, expects him to clean up the mess our choice of inaction made.

It boils down to, when we say, ‘God is in control’ while doing no planning, we’re rebelling by choosing not to plan.  And with over 40 years of hunting and fishing experience, I’ve seen many guys rebel by either poor or no planning, including:

  • A guy who showed up for a self-guided hog hunt with his scope not mounted on his rifle (who expected the rest of us to wait for him while he went to a rifle range to have it mounted, bore-sighted, and sighted in).
  • A guy who showed up for a chartered fishing trip without a fishing license (who expected the rest of us to find a place for him to buy one).
  • Guys who showed up for weekend events involving camping without tents, stoves, or cookware.
  • Guys who showed up for fishing trips without any beverages.

I’ve also seen guys show up for trips who had no clue where they were heading or what would happen when they arrived.  Even when spoon-fed detailed information on what to bring, where to meet, costs, etc., they often refused to read it and just winged it instead.

Some people think having a Plan B signifies a lack of faith, and if we decide a plan might fail, it will fail.  But none of us can predict the future.  We all hope things will go how we want them to, but they often don’t for various reasons.  For example, if you would like to retire at age 50 but choose to get a degree in social work, you’ll probably not see that goal realized, as most people in that field don’t bring in big bucks.

God is a planner.  Ephesians 1:9-11 (NLT) says, “God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure.  And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.  Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.” Jesus said in Luke 22:26 (NLT), “‘But now,” he said, “take your money and a traveler’s bag.  And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one!’” Jesus certainly didn’t show a lack of faith – instead, he planned for his disciples’ protection in his absence.

From the beginning, God planned to have fellowship with mankind (see Genesis 2:7 – 3:8).  When Adam and Eve sinned, breaking that fellowship, God’s plan included a means for us to come back into fellowship with him through Jesus’ sacrificial death/taking the punishment for our sins (see John 3:16-17, 1 John 1:9, and Romans 10:9).

Planning follows God’s example and is being responsible – it’s not a lack of faith.  So, especially when confronted with hunting or fishing someplace you’ve never been, do as I did for that January duck hunting trip – plan and plan some more.

Categories : Devotionals

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Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

Kent Crockett’s blog – www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Mark Dillow’s blog – http://noclearline.blogspot.com/

Bible Verse of the Day

He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.