We had been talking about it for months. When the day finally came, I was armed and ready. I would be joining my sons, father-in-law and several other older men on my first quail hunt. I was the rookie of the bunch. My boys had been on hunting adventures with their grandfather before, but this was my first expedition with the “Quail Hunters Club.”
These are seasoned and serious hunters. When it comes to hunting, they aren’t messing around. My wife loves shoes, but when it comes to gear, she has nothing on these guys. They have more gadgets and outfits than a Boy Scout has knots. Orange is the color of choice and camouflage is always in season.
We slept in a bunkhouse complete with real bunk beds, a wood-burning stove and plenty of mounted wildlife. No matter where I went in the room, it seemed some dead animal always had his eye on me.
As the lights went out, it was a race to see who would be first to sleep. The loser would live to regret it. Failing to find sweet dreams early meant tossing and turning as you fought to drown out the snoring from your fellow grizzly bears. I lost. I didn’t sleep a wink.
Morning came early. Guys in their 60s live on a different time schedule. The alarm clock went off at four in the morning. “Are the birds up this early,” I thought to myself as I wrestled with my sleeping bag. What is it about a sleeping bag? How is it possible for something so soft and cuddly to get so twisted around your leg? At one point, I was certain I had been captured by a boa constrictor!
Like soldiers preparing for battle, each hunter covered his body with armor. One hunter slid on a pair of snake boots that hit him at his knees. Did I get the wrong memo? I thought we were hunting quail, not rattlesnakes!
After breakfast, we unleashed the dogs and marched into the prairie grass in search of unfortunate fowl. The birds may have stood a chance if we had been left to ourselves, but with the highly trained dogs, they would have been smart to just raise a white flag and surrender. I soon discovered the beauty of a dog on point. It is nothing short of fascinating. What is obvious to them remains hidden from us.
The experience reminded me of I Corinthians 2:9, “. . . no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” I learned to trust the dogs. They saw things differently than I did. In my Christian walk, I have learned to rest in the One who knows everything. While I may have no idea what He is up to, like hunting with a dog who shakes a covey of quail loose, it all becomes clearer when I wait patiently to see what He has prepared for me.