Duck Hunting with Mr. Murphy by Randy Rowley 8/1/15 ©


At around 7:15 AM on a Friday in mid-January, seven friends and I hit the road to Port Aransas for a weekend FCS duck hunt.  The fun began right after we stopped for breakfast at the McDonald’s on RR 620 near Hwy 183 in Austin.  I led our caravan of two, driving my truck, which was pulling my boat.  After getting breakfast in the drive-through, I pulled over as far as I could get to the right by their parking lot entrance/exit and waited for the guys in the truck that was following us to get their food.

I had made this particular right turn many times, as McDonald’s was a frequent stop on my way to hunt ducks on local lakes, so I thought nothing of it.  But my previous right turns had been made around 3:00 AM, when there was no one on 620.  Now Austin Friday morning rush hour traffic confronted me.

I spotted an opening big enough to fit my truck and boat in and went for it.  I made the turn and then gunned it.  But I didn’t account for my boat being so close to the curb.  At the same time that I gunned my engine, my boat trailer’s right tire hit the curb, causing the trailer tire to jump up, and centripetal force caused the trailer to roll to the left.  I saw movement in my rear-view mirror, and much to my surprise, witnessed my boat and trailer rolling over onto their left side.

Fortunately, we had strapped our 100+ decoys into my boat well, but several items fell onto 620, including blind bags and buckets.  Miraculously my boat stayed on its trailer, the trailer remained on my truck’s ball, and none of the several cars behind and beside us hit any of our stuff.  We, with the help of a kind motorist, soon had my trailer back on both wheels.  The only damage to my boat was some scrapes on the left side, which were hardly noticeable with its camo pattern.

We made it to Port A without further incident, set up camp at the I.B. Magee campground, and went off for our first hunt on our usual island off Wilson’s Cut.  We launched my boat, and it ran perfectly down the around one-mile jaunt to the island that we decided to hunt.  I beached my boat and turned the motor off, and Alex Denison, Jake Denison, and I unloaded our group’s guns, blind bags, buckets, Mojos, and dekes.  I then fired the motor back up so I could get a load of hunters.  The motor sounded fine, but it died when I put it in forward gear – several other attempts to get it to go achieved the same results.

I got out of my boat, checked the prop, and discovered a rope had wrapped around it.  I cut it off and fired the motor back up.  Putting it in forward gear no longer killed it, but now it only ran at idle speed.  That was not a huge problem as I only had around 100 yards to go to pick up a load of our hunters on the other side of the cut.

I picked up the first load and ferried them over to the island.  After they offloaded, I went and picked up our remaining hunters.  We put out the dekes and got hidden.  It didn’t take long before ducks started to come in.  Ducks began to fall in short order.  We bagged a limit of 16 redheads (two per hunter) well before sunset.  The hunt proved to be our best for the weekend.

After we got back to our campsite, Allen Gann worked on my boat’s motor while the rest of our crew either cleaned ducks or guns, and I cooked dinner.  Allen discovered that the throttle arm had become dislodged.  He put it back into place and secured it with a zip tie.

But, when I fired my boat’s motor up the following morning, it only ran at full power.  It would die when I put it into reverse, so we trailered my boat and drove down to where I usually pick up our hunters on Wilson’s Cut.  After launching my boat, I used its trolling motor to ferry the hunters to and from our island.

The redheads were scarcer.  We only bagged 11.  We had not launched my boat from that spot before, but we didn’t have any problems trailering it.

After we got back to camp, Allen adjusted my boat’s motor again.  It ran at about two-thirds power during the evening hunt but died several times (it was later determined to be a bad fuel pump).  We had three hunters that we met at Wilson’s Cut join us.  The combined group bagged five redheads.   We again didn’t have any problem trailering my boat.

But, Sunday morning was a different story.  I didn’t trust my boat’s motor, so we launched at the pick-up point again.  After bagging five birds, we went to trailer my boat, but the tide had gone out, and we had to back my truck much further into Wilson’s Cut.  My truck couldn’t pull my boat trailer out of the mud, even in four-wheel-drive low.  After numerous attempts, all we succeeded in doing was getting it further stuck.  Ron Denison hooked his truck up to mine with a tow strap and pulled it, my boat, and the front half of its trailer out.  Yes, the trailer had broken in two, and the rear half was still stuck in the mud!

We pushed my boat back into Wilson’s Cut, got the rear half of the trailer out of the mud, and put it back together with rope and wire.  Ron and Binh Chu then went to Corpus Christi and looked at two used trailers that they found on Craig’s List, while Burl Fulenwider, Alex, Jake, and I went to break camp.  Ken Miller stayed with my boat (which I had driven to the end of Wilson’s Cut).

Neither of the trailers that Ron and Binh looked at were suitable for my boat, so Ron bought two steel bars, large bolts, nuts, and lock washers, drilled holes through the bars and wheel and center yokes, and connected the bars to the yokes.  In a few minutes, he made my boat’s trailer stronger than new.

We finally arrived at my house 5 1/4 hours later than we usually did.  Although we had more than a few trials on this trip and were worn out and disappointed from only seeing about 5% of the ducks we usually saw, we conducted ourselves like Christ and worked the problems as a team.

Did you know that Jesus spoke about Murphy’s Law?  He said in John 16:33, “‘I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.  Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.  But take heart, because I have overcome the world.’”

Notice that Jesus didn’t say, “What can go wrong might go wrong.”  Instead, He promised that meeting Mr. Murphy is inevitable.  All of us are going to meet Mr. Murphy throughout our lives.  No matter if we’re rich or poor; well-educated or a middle school dropout; raised by the best family or none at all; white, black, or some other color – we’re all going to experience trials from our births to our deaths.  But, we can have victory if we belong to Jesus!

1 Corinthians 15:56-57 says, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Psalm 20:6 says, “Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed.  He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand.”  Psalm 60:12 says, “With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.”

Imagine that there is a Christian encyclopedia.  If you looked up trials, you’d find the Apostle Paul’s picture there.  When Paul wrote Galatians 6:17b, “…for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus,” he meant it!  He wrote in 2 Corinthians 11:24-28 that he had to endure beatings, whippings, jailings, accusations, shipwrecks, and a stoning.  He lived in constant danger.  He went without food, water, and shelter.  He also apparently had a medical issue, likely with his eyes.  Galatians 4:15b says, “I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.”

If anyone had a right to complain about Mr. Murphy, it was Paul!  Instead of complaining, he reacted to Mr. Murphy with joy.  Colossians 1:24a (NASB) says, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake.”  Paul rejoiced that Christians considered him worthy to suffer for the name of the Lord.  Paul didn’t experience victory just because he belonged to Jesus.  He experienced victory because of how he responded to Mr. Murphy.

Likewise, we didn’t experience victory on that trip because the trip ended, and Mr. Murphy finally left us alone.  We experienced victory because of how we responded.

A certainty in life is we are going to meet Mr. Murphy – probably many times.  Do you complain when you meet him, or do you rejoice when you encounter trials (see James 1:2-4)?  If you don’t do the latter, I encourage you to pray that the Lord will give you a new attitude.

The hunters

Categories : Devotionals

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