Mildred Bean, an amazing Bible teacher and dear friend grew up in the Bayou Country of Louisiana. Recently she called and, tongue in cheek, told me she was developing some new teachings called Bayou Bible School, because she realized that some of her foundational lessons of life came from the Bayous of Louisiana. I have asked her if I could blog some of her tales.
Bayou Bible School Lesson: The Deer Hunt
As I reflect on my early hunting experience with my dad, I learned by observing and mimicking. My dad was my hero and role model. When he stopped, I stopped. When he looked into the trees, I looked into the trees. We did not chatter as we walked, but were as quiet as possible as we trudged through the forest floors laden with tree limbs and dry crunchy leaves. We would walk a short distance, then stop and remain very still, always looking and listening. Was this early training for me to be a watchman for the Lord? Even then God was preparing me to walk by His Spirit, to do what I see him do. Not only were we alert for our prey, but also for sounds that might signal danger. More than once we heard the shaking of a rattlesnake’s tail. But regardless of the danger, I felt perfectly confident that I was safe. I was close to my dad.(Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. Prov. 22:6 KJV)
Not only did I squirrel hunt with my dad, we also went deer hunting. The strategy for deer hunting was quite different than squirrel hunting. On these hunts we went out very early in the morning while it was still dark. Again I walked step by step with my dad because he knew where he was going, even though I did not have a clue. He would make sure that I had what I needed for the long hours I would be left alone on a deer stand. This was before the days of modern deer stands high up in the trees. In the early morning darkness I was positioned on a tree stump. Dad assured me he would return at some point later, but that he would also always know if I needed him. With no cell phones back then, how would he know? I’m not really sure, but I do know this: he knew where the other hunters were positioned. Our strategy was that anyone could shoot in any direction and not harm another person, yet if a deer tried to slip through between the different stands, someone would see it and have a chance to make a kill. My dad was a wise hunter.
Sitting on that stump in the pitch black dark, my imagination ran wild. I would sit intently still and wait. And wait! And wait! Turning my head sharply at every sound, peering through the slight break between trees and seeing movement, it was difficult not to jump or run at these shadowy forms. But as daylight crept through the trees, most of my fantasized objects of dread turned out to be only big, dry bushes or hollowed out trees and the movements came from birds or squirrels foraging for food. After much ‘on the job training’ I learned to discern whether this noise was something, someone, or just a noisy armadillo trying to cause a distraction.
“For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:13-14 NKJV)
Proverb 4:18 declares, “Yet the way of those who do right is like the early morning sun that shines brighter and brighter until noon“. (The Voice)
Many mornings I would become very restless after a few hours, but I knew that to leave my position would be dangerous. I could get lost or too close to another’s firing range. But most importantly I needed to remain right where my dad could find me.
He seemed to always know when I was too cold or too tired, and showed up earlier to take me back to the warm, crackling fire of the camp house. Looking back I realize that I never doubted that he would come back for me. He was there when I needed him, and I was secure in my father’s love.