Whitesburg KY

Struttin’ Time

We’d all be better off by hunting

What a great big, wonderful, beautiful world we live in.

I just returned from a black bear hunt in North Carolina. I arrived there on a Sunday and met with my outfitter and guide. I was also introduced to what is almost always the most important part to any pack-in-hunt, my mule. He was a grey, 17 years old (not old for a good pack mule), and his name is Ike.

I liked Ike right away, because he looked at me as if to say, “This ain’t no city slicker out for a weekend ride.” He rode as though I was in a La-Z-Boy in my living room. As we started toward what would be my home for the next few days — a tent city perched at 4,300 feet, according to my GPS — I marveled at the nature God had made. The mountains so steep, yet so accessible, the leaves turning colors with fall here, and the crystal clear mountain streams.

As I rode at peace with myself and my God I couldn’t help but feel sad — sad because just a few thousand feet below me lies a nation in crisis, a nation who for whatever reason is worried about paying a tax, or letting everyone have healthcare, or turning into a Socialist nation. I have the same healthcare plan the President of the United States has. I was taught to give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which God’s, and to follow the one commandment that was left for us to follow, by Jesus himself, to love one another as He loved us. I don’t worry about things I can’t change. I am a hunter. I stay at peace.

We rode the better part of the day, then came into an open clearing I could tell had seen its share of hunters. As we made camp, in my mind’s eye I could see the old hunters that had past this way before, drinking coff ee so black that it will walk with your cup, whittling around the camp fire, and of course, telling tells.

Up here there are no ill words, no name-calling, no hateful words, no worries. If only we could learn how to get along in the valleys as well as we do on the mountains, wouldn’t we be better off ? Next week the hunt.

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