I had a certain buck on my trail camera ever since last summer. He was nothing gigantic, but only different. He was a main-frame eight-pointer with an extra main beam growing straight out with another point on it. I determined that if I ever had a chance at that buck, I would take it. For most of the season he would show himself only when it was dark. And then one day, towards the end of the season, he walked up my hill at the same time as I was there. I took that buck. The odd thing about that hunt was how I hesitated to harvest him. I think the uniqueness that drew me to him was also the quality that made me hesitate. It was that I knew the basic backstory of this non-typical. I knew what makes a non-typical deer was not always genetics. Sometimes it was an illness or injury that took place in the early development of that deer. I knew his deformity was actually a scar that proved he made it through a difficult time. I think I identified with that deer. And I knew others who did as well.

Have you ever noticed how hunters are drawn to non-typical bucks?  I think there is a wonderful and easy comparison here. You see, many of you think your tragedy is too big to overcome. You think your past was too bad and your decisions were too debilitating. The truth is (and you know this to be true,) it is your scars that causes others to be drawn to you. It is the proof of your pain that gives you credibility with others who live in, or are going through, that same pain. You know this to be true because it is those same people who you are drawn to.  My friend, the greatest trophy on your wall, when it comes to others, is not your typical successes. But the one everyone sees – the one that stands out among all the others, is the one that has the marks of messes and mistakes. And yet made it and became another trophy of God’s grace. But not one just to be admired, but one whose life is continually harvested by others. Like I did mine. 

Gary Miller

Gary Miller has written Outdoor Truths articles for over 21 years. He has also written five books which include compilations of his articles and a father/son devotional. He also speaks at wild-game dinners and men’s events for churches and associations.