Written by Megan Burns. Media by Kyle Spriggs.
“We pray our sights be straight, and our aim be true.
We pray for no pain to the game we pursue.
We thank you, Lord for this land.
We thank you for the sights from our stands.
We pray for safety one and all.
We pray we may return next fall.”
–A Hunter’s Prayer by S. Elliot
As I walked through dark woods before the break of dawn and climbed up a tree, I whispered this prayer. I sat by my dad, and I listened intently as he explained how to shoot a deer for the cleanest kill. He talked me through the importance of public land that we get to hunt on to supply food for our family. Most importantly, he taught me to appreciate what God has created: hunters.
God made a hunter to…
- Appreciate His work
There is no better place to appreciate all that God has created than from a tree stand. I picture the way the sun peeks through the cracks in the trees, how leaves sound like falling rain as the morning frost melts and falls to the ground, how the woods come to life as the sun comes up, and most notably, how He created the plants and animals to be food for us. Genesis 9:3 says, “Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.”
- Preserve His work
A lot goes into the sport of hunting. A hunter must purchase licenses, tags, and permits. These purchases make up one of the largest contributions to conservation efforts worldwide. They work to protect us from overpopulation and the problems that come alongside it. A hunter preserves all that God has created. Genesis 2:15 says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”
A hunter provides food to support his family. No matter how long it takes, a hunter will sit in the freezing cold to bring home meat for his family, filling the fridges and freezers until next year. Genesis 27:2-3 voices, “Isaac said, ‘I am now an old man and don’t know the day of my death. Now then, get your equipment—your quiver and bow—and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me.'” Isaac is sending out his family members to provide for him as he once provided for them.
Hunting is a tradition passed down from generation to generation. A hunter teaches how to appreciate God’s work. They teach the importance of public lands and conservation. They show through actions how to provide for others. They teach about the importance of gun safety and the second amendment.
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
When I consider all the things God made a hunter to do, I often reflect on my own life and my personal experience with the sport:
It was a cold morning as I walked through the dark woods. I tried to be quiet as I stumbled down the makeshift path. My hands froze as I climbed the metal ladder. With no concept of time besides the rising sun, hours passed like minutes. My stomach growled and my butt hurt from the metal seat. Just then, time stopped. I heard the crunch of leaves. As I slowly turned my head, I saw it. No more than fifteen yards from my stand, a buck approached me. I lifted my gun, said a prayer that God would give me a steady hand. My finger pulled the trigger, and just like that, I got my first kill. I brought it home, butchered it, and filled my family’s freezer. On that day, I learned the importance of hunting and why God made a hunter.