The Lake Uno Mas Hog Hunt by Randy Rowley


On a Friday evening in April, 12 friends, four sons, and I left Austin for an FCS hog hunting and work weekend at the 10,000 acre Uno Mas Ranch.  The agreement was to hunt on Saturday in exchange for work on Sunday.  We arrived at Artesia Wells four hours later.  We only had 15 miles of dirt roads to travel to reach the ranch.

Unbeknownst to us, the area had gotten heavy rain, and the dirt roads were now mud.  Paul Wilson’s Ford Ranger hit a big puddle within a mile, drowning it out, followed by several vehicles getting stuck, and missing our turn three times.  Randy Slagle’s four-wheel-drive Chevy Z71 pickup truck with off-road tires pulled the stuck vehicles out, which took a lot of time, as he had to unhitch his trailer, pull a stuck vehicle out, and re-hitch his trailer.

Four hours later, at 3:00 AM, Kevin Font’s Chevy Suburban got stuck to both axles.  Most of the group decided to camp next to Kevin’s SUV, but Paul and I decided to look for the ranch.  We thought we found it but were unsure, so we camped on the side of the road by our vehicles.

The main caravan’s men freed Kevin’s SUV at daybreak and continued their trek, but Steve Watkins’ truck got stuck after a mile.  Meanwhile, Paul and I found the ranch and then went back to the main caravan to lead them to it.  We decided to abandon four of the two-wheel-drive vehicles on the side of the road and shuttle the men and equipment the remaining four miles to the ranch in the two four-wheel-drive vehicles – Randy’s Chevy and my Jeep Cherokee.

We arrived at the ranch around 11:00 AM, unpacked, ate lunch, and rested.  Around 1:00 PM, we began to scout and put out corn.  I took first-time guests Tim and Jesse Price with me in my Jeep.  I left my rifle back at camp because the ranch hand told us we wouldn’t see any hogs until dusk.  Tim and Jesse had the foresight to bring their rifles along.

As we were scouting, we saw several dark animals in an oat field about 200 yards ahead.  Our binoculars revealed a herd of about 30 adult hogs and several piglets!  Tim offered to loan me his 1911 .45, but I had no confidence that I could hit a hog so far away with it, so I declined.

We stalked up to about 100 yards from the pigs, who were happily grazing, and oblivious of our presence.  Tim and Jesse knelt by a wooded sign and used it as a rifle rest.  I ensured they picked out different hogs.  They agreed to fire on the count of three.  I softly counted.  On “Three,” there was a simultaneous Kaaaaabooooooom!  Pandemonium ensued with hogs running in every direction!

Some of the hogs ran in front of Randy Slagle’s Chevy, and a couple of the hunters in its bed got off shots.  We looked for blood but couldn’t find any.

Later, after we took the hunters to their stands, we finally had success.  Keith Miller killed a 210-pound boar 120 yards away with a lung shot.  Kevin Font killed a boar slightly smaller than Keith’s with a 200-yard plus headshot.  He also killed a 100-pound sow with a 198-yard neck shot.  Hunters missed two other hogs.

We ate dinner and began to fall asleep around 11:00 PM.  However, we were awakened around 2:30 AM by an approaching thunderstorm.  We decided to get the heck out of Dodge and quickly packed.

Due to limited seating, some men had to wait at the ranch with some of the equipment for later pick up by Randy’s Chevy.  They didn’t try to bring my Jeep back after they got it out, as with its street tires, it was almost as useless in the slop as a two-wheel-drive vehicle.  At 8:30 AM, Randy’s Chevy made it back to the ranch, and that was only because Larry Dowden had helped by pushing it the last two miles.  We feared that we would be stuck there for a week while the road dried out, so we left much of our equipment at the ranch.  We also left Randy’s trailer on the side of the road, as its wheels stopped turning and it became impossible to pull.

As we headed out on the final trip, Randy’s Chevy started to slip off the muddy dirt road.  Four of us got on the other side of a barbed-wire fence and pushed Randy’s Chevy to keep it from sliding into it.  We finally made it to the highway around 11:00 AM.  The entire journey from the ranch to the highway took over eight hours.

Incredible as that sounds, it was only by God’s protection that all seven vehicles were able to make it out of the slop (although Steve Watkins’ truck would only run in low gear, and my Jeep’s differential went out a few months later).

It’s a good thing that we left when we did because the storm dumped around two inches of rain.  If we hadn’t left, we probably wouldn’t have made it out for a week.  None of the seven vehicles escaped from being stuck during the weekend.  Yet, no one got mad, cursed, displayed a bad attitude, or attacked anyone else throughout this ordeal.  We were all disappointed, but outward sin was absent.

Did you know that the Bible has a lot to say about trials?  For example, James 1:2-4 (NLT) says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”

James did not say that trials were joyful.  Instead, he taught that our perspective of trials and how we respond to them will ultimately result in perfection, completeness, and not needing anything.  What we should consider as joy is the opportunity to develop endurance or patience.  It’s all about our attitude.  Trials can teach us lessons that we would never learn without them and can make us stronger Christians.  If we did not have trials, we would remain weak, baby Christians who cannot take on greater responsibilities from God.

Peter echoed James’ teachings on joy during trials, except for a different reason.  1 Peter 4:12-13 (NASB) says, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial among you, which cometh upon you to prove you, as though a strange thing happened unto you: but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.”  If we share in Jesus’s sufferings, we will also share in his joy.  “To the degree” implies that Christians who have shared more of Jesus’s sufferings will rejoice more at his return in glory.

When trials happen in public, we must never forget that people might be watching to see how we react.  If a car rear-ends your car, what will you say to the other driver?  If someone insults you, will your response be wholesome?  If a peer mistreats you in a team meeting, will you strike back?  How do you react when someone falsely accuses you?

Far too many of us react in the same manner as those who belong to Satan.  We forget Ephesians 4:29 (NLT), which says, “Don’t use foul or abusive language.  Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”  We also forget James 1:19-20, which says, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

When we react in such a manner, it’s because we haven’t entirely yielded every area of our lives to God.  We’re willing to let God guide us, but if things don’t go our way, we want to throw a hissy fit.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, “‘Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.’”  People will either be drawn towards God or move further away from him based on our public reactions when we experience trials.

After the Lake Uno Mas hog hunt, I chatted with Jesse.  He said that he and Tim joined FCS mainly because of the members’ responses to our trials on that hunt – we handled them in a Christ-like manner.

Shortly after that hunt, Tim accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord.  His name is now written in the Lamb’s Book of Life!  Tim possibly wouldn’t have made that decision if he had seen men professing to be Christians react badly to our group trial.  If we hadn’t let our light shine and reacted like those who don’t know Christ, Tim might never have met Jesus.

How do you respond to trials?  Do you react in a way that would make your heavenly Father proud?  If not, I encourage you to surrender your attitude during trials and reactions to them entirely to him.

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