I have to admit I can’t stand going too long without checking my trial cameras. This is true especially this time of year. Even though the experts tell me to leave them alone until hunting season, I know I’m probably not even going to hunt some of these spots until the November rut anyway. So, I check away. I figure any buck that has gotten spooked by my presence now, will undoubtedly be dumbstruck early in the rut by a hot doe, forgetting all traces of human activity that I left in August. So, I’ll wait a few weeks and make my way back to the camera to see if there are any surprises that might cause me to set up a stand early. This is especially helpful for me on my Kentucky property since only one buck is allowed for the whole year. I have two good eight pointers showing up right now but I’m not about to waste my only tag on one of these. They need one and maybe even two more years before they become a Kentucky trophy. For now, I will keep waiting and watching to see if a bigger deer shows up consistently or to see if I’ll just need to take my chances that a stray happens to make a visit during November or December. There have been several years when the tag I bought in September was still in my pocket in January – when the season ended. For some it was considered wasted. For me, it was not. That tag didn’t represent a deer but an opportunity for a deer. That’s all a hunting license is. It’s an opportunity to hunt within certain parameters. If I stay within those guidelines, I can harvest anything I want. But there are also other parameters that are self-imposed. We each have them. They involve anything from the size of deer to the time of year. For instance, I won’t shoot a doe if it has a fawn with it, or I’m not going to shoot a doe if it’s too late in the afternoon. I’m just not interested in being out at 10:00 processing deer. I prefer to be home and even in bed by then.
I find this a great picture of the Christian life and how we are meant to interact with each other. There are some things that are parameters for everyone and then there are some self-imposed convictions that others may not hold. These self-imposed ones are the grey areas where we sometimes disagree. Paul, the writer of most of the New Testament, dealt with how we are to live with fellow Christians who may not see things the same way we do. His overall admonition is to make every effort to live in harmony with each other. (Romans 14) And there is no doubt these words still ring true. In a world where there is so much disunity, Christians must strive to be the answer to Jesus’ last prayer. “May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” (John 17:23 NLT)