In Control by Randy Rowley 2/26/17 ©


Often when my family, friends, and I go on a duck hunt at the Texas coast, we hunt on an island between Corpus Christi and Port Aransas, off Wilson’s Cut.  We have had many successful hunts there, easily bagging our limits of million or so redheads that spend the winter along the Texas coast.  However, as the daily limit of redheads is two ducks and well over 95% of the ducks that we see and shoot are redheads, it can also lead to some frustration.  Several times as the first flock or one of the first comes into our dekes, my shotgun has gone “bang, bang,” and two redheads have gone “splash, splash,” and my hunt was over.

So when a guy told me on Facebook that seven of his friends and him had bagged pintails, widgeons, and scaup, in addition to redheads near Port O’Connor, I decided that FCS needed to give it a try.  I planned a late January trip.

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 and especially true for places I’ve never hunted or fished.  I’d fished at Port O’Connor three times before this trip but had never hunted near it, so I planned carefully.

We implemented Plan A on Friday afternoon.  We launched my bass boat at Charlie’s Bait Camp, about halfway between Seadrift and Port O’Connor, and tried to take the small cut near there out to Espiritu Santo Bay.  Each of the three times I tried, all I succeeded in doing was running aground.  We gave up and went to Plan B.

We trailered my boat, drove to Port O’Connor, and launched at Froggie’s Bait Dock.  We headed southwest and took the cut east of Dewberry Island, which was much deeper and wider than the one near Charlie’s Bait Camp.  Getting through it was no problem.  But that soon changed.  We went a couple of hundred yards and then turned towards the 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 of our stuff.  Plus, Binh Chu had to carry his son, Harley, because he wasn’t able to find waders that fit him.

After getting everything 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 cripple when it dove, but no birds were interested in our decoys.  We packed up and loaded my boat, but the strong wind had pushed my boat further into the mud, and it took 45 minutes to free it from the bottom.  We decided not to hunt there again and to try Plan C in the morning.

Early the following 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 channel, which is marked.  The markers are easy to see in the daylight but not easy to spot in the dark.  I decided that the best thing to do was to follow a bay boat but quickly learned that they could get into a lot skinnier water than I could.  Every time that I’d try it, I’d run aground.  So we backtracked to Little Mary’s Cut and hunted a hundred or so yards west from it.

We were able to get my boat a little closer to shore before grounding, but not much.  We set out the deke spread.  A few ducks flew by, and three came into the decoys.  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 a couple of hundred yards further west.  Burl Fulenwider bagged a limit of two redheads, and Binh bagged one.

When the alarm went off at 4:00 AM on Sunday, we were too tired to hunt from our excursions, so we slept in.

We felt that we were never really in control despite meticulous planning, mainly because of the abundant shallow areas, and my boat wasn’t built for such skinny water.  Shallow areas weren’t an issue on Wilson’s Cut, as that cut is around four feet deep.

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

Throughout the Bible are stories of people who God did not control.  He didn’t influence the decisions Adam, Cain, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and a host of others made.  He didn’t handle the storm that the disciples found themselves in, and Jesus calmed.  Nor did he control the sicknesses of the many people who Jesus healed or the people who died that Jesus raised from the dead.  If he was controlling them, then Jesus was thwarting God’s control and undoing his will.

Free will includes allowing us to choose light or darkness and eternal life or eternal punishment.  Examples of God’s gift of free will 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.”

No, God chooses not to control all things because he gave us the gift of choice.

When it comes to planning hunting and fishing trips, simply saying ‘God is in control’ while doing no due diligence on our parts is akin to laziness at a minimum and possibly foolishness.  It exonerates us from blame and nullifies free will by ascribing all responsibility to God.  It passes the baton to him and, if things don’t work out right, expects him also to clean up the mess that our inaction made.

What it boils down to is, when we say, ‘God is in control’ while doing no planning on our part, we’re, in essence, 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.

I’ve seen:

  • guys show up for hog and duck hunts without tents, cookware, and adequate or correct clothes;
  • a guy show up for a guided fishing trip without a fishing license (who expected the rest of us to find a place for him to buy one); and
  • a guy show up for a 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 and then sight it in).

I’ve also seen guys show up for trips who had no clue where they’re going or what they’re going to do when they get there.  Even when spoon-fed detailed information on what to bring, where to meet, costs, etc., they often refuse to read the info and wing it instead.

Some people think that having a Plan B signifies a lack of faith, and the minute we decide that a plan might fail it ultimately will fail.  But none of us can predict the future.  We all hope that things will go the way we want them to, but they often don’t for various reasons.  For example, if you’re planning to retire at age 50 but chose to get a degree in social work, you’re probably not going to be able to 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.”  From the beginning, God planned to have fellowship with man.  When Adam and Eve broke that fellowship, God’s plan included a means for us to come back into fellowship with him through Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins.

To plan is to be responsible and follows our heavenly father’s example.  It’s not a lack of faith.  So, especially when confronted with hunting or fishing somewhere you’ve never been, do like I did for that duck hunt – plan and plan some more.

Categories : Devotionals

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Bible verse of the day

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

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

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