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 three-day-long FCS self-guided 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 in my truck, towing my boat, and Burl Fulenwider followed in his truck, towing my pop-up camper.  After getting breakfast in the drive-through, I pulled over as far as I could to the right at their parking lot entrance/exit and waited for Burl and his riders 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 I had made my previous right turns around 3:00 AM when no one was on 620 – now Austin 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.  However, I didn’t account for my boat trailer being so close to the curb.  As 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 (dekes) into my boat well, but several things 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 our stuff.  With the help of a kind motorist, we 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 paint pattern.

We made it to Port A without further incident, set up camp at the I.B. Magee campground, and headed to Wilson’s Cut for our first hunt.  We launched my boat, and it ran perfectly down the around one-mile run to the island we planned to hunt.  I beached my boat, turned the motor off, and Alex Denison, Jake Denison, and I unloaded our group’s guns, blind bags, buckets, Mojos, and dekes.  I then restarted my motor to get a load of hunters.  My motor sounded fine, but it died when I put it in forward gear – several other attempts to get it to work 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 restarted the motor.  Putting it in forward gear no longer killed it, but now it only ran at idle speed.  That wasn’t a huge problem as I only had to go around 100 yards to pick up my friends on the other side of the cut.

I picked up the first load of hunters and ferried them over to the island.  After they offloaded, I went and picked up our remaining hunters.  We put out the dekes and hid.  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 returning to camp, Allen Gann worked on my motor while the rest of our crew cleaned either ducks or guns, and I cooked dinner.  Allen discovered the throttle arm had become dislodged.  He put it back into place and secured it with a zip tie.

However, when I started my motor 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 to where I usually picked up our hunters on Wilson’s Cut.  After launching my boat, I used my trolling motor to ferry everyone to the island.

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

After returning to camp, Allen adjusted my motor’s throttle arm 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 join us that we met at Wilson’s Cut.  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 redheads, we went to trailer my boat, but the tide had gone out, and Ken Miller 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 managed to do was get it further stuck.  Ron Denison hooked his truck up to mine and pulled it, my boat, and the front half of its trailer out.  The rear half was still stuck in the mud – my trailer had broken in two!

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

The trailers Ron and Binh looked at weren’t suitable for my boat, so Ron bought two steel bars, large bolts, nuts, and lock washers. He then drilled holes through the bars and wheel and center yokes and connected the bars to the yokes. He made my trailer stronger than new in a few minutes.

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

Did you know Jesus spoke about meeting Mr. Murphy?  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 Jesus didn’t say, “What can go wrong might go wrong.”  Instead, he promised meeting Mr. Murphy was inevitable.  Whether we’re rich or poor, educated or a middle school dropout, raised by the best family or none at all – we’re all going to meet Mr. Murphy 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.”

Paul probably holds the record for encounters with Mr. Murphy.  He wrote in 2 Corinthians 11:24-28 he had to endure lashings, beatings, shipwrecks, a stoning, being thrown in jail several times, and spending a day and a night in the open sea.  He lived in constant danger from people, the sea, rivers, and deserts.  He went without food, water, shelter, clothing, and sleep, traveled on many long journeys, and constantly moved.  He was literal when he wrote Galatians 6:17b, “…for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus”!  He also apparently had a medical issue, likely with his eyes.  He wrote Galatians 4:15b, “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 Jesus.  Paul didn’t experience victory just because he belonged to Jesus – he had victory because of how he responded to Mr. Murphy.  Likewise, we didn’t experience victory on that hunt because the trip ended – we experienced victory because of how we responded to the trials.

A certainty in life is we’re going to meet Mr. Murphy – probably many times.  Do you rejoice when you meet him or complain?  If you don’t do the former, I encourage you to ask God to give you a new attitude.

The hunters

Categories : Devotionals

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