This is a testimony of how God answers prayer, but not always in the exact same you expect it!
I had a deer and antelope tag this year. And because of trying to juggle my hunting schedule with my work and BSF volunteering schedule I couldn’t seem to really be able to have the ambition to try to bother taking a lot of time off work for hunting. Especially since I’d been taking a lot of extra days here and there off the last while. So, I decided on getting off work one day, and ONLY have that day for hunting my deer. We had plenty of meat already, so I didn’t want to get something terribly small just to butcher when we didn’t really need it, but I didn’t necessarily have time to go hunting every day and wait for a big one either. So, in my mind I picked out about the size of deer that I would shoot. And if a bigger one happened to come along…great! Haha
So, remembering how much work I put Joe through last year when I shot my elk in the foot and had to track it on foot for 10+ miles and ended up shooting the wrong deer, plus the fact that I only had one day to hunt, and that I since it would be the first time Duane was going to take me out by himself and I wanted it to be easy on him. I prayed that I would get a deer right away if possible, or at least that day…and that I wouldn’t miss it and it would drop on the first shot so we wouldn’t have to worry about it. (Sounds like a selfish prayer doesn't it?)
I prayed and prayed that it would be the perfect, quick hunt. (It was--as far as the hunting part was concerned)
So, we got up early that morning and drove the truck back to where we were going to go in a foot so we wouldn’t spook the deer. We had to hike in about a mile. So I follow Duane in. We got there a little early and it was still extremely dark and I got a little bored walking in so I practiced my ‘Indian walk’ being as quiet as I could. Then I’d realize that I was getting behind so then I’d do a few big really loud pounding steps to catch up on, and then continue on bragging to myself how much quieter I could walk than Duane when I got back to my ‘Indian walk’ :p
I realized how extremely out of shape I was when we had to climb a little bitty hill and I started sounding like a big steam engine almost imediently after we started to climb. No wonder all my younger sisters win me when we wrestle!
When we got to the top of the hill we pretty much had to wait till it was light enough to legally shoot. It was cool though because we seen deer right away, and right close there was the Antler Ranch that had a bunch of buffalo grazing. I kind of enjoyed watching them! I didn’t realized they ran a round so much just for the fun of it. Most of the time I see them I don’t watch them long enough for anything. They’re pretty much always eating. It was cool to see them move like a big ol’ cloud all over the hillside straight towards us.
Anyway, as soon as it started getting light we could see that some of them were bucks! And, the good Lord answered my prayer. It was the most perfect hunt you could ask for. As soon as it was light enough we snuck up on them pretty close --175 yards. I shot and he dropped =) Wasn't that an answer to prayer! I quartered him out and drug him to the road while Duane went back to get the truck…now that we didn’t have to be quiet anymore :p
As soon as he got there we loaded up and I started driving home. It was perfect! I was like amazed at how He answered my selfish prayer! It was still early enough that we could’ve gotten home, butchered and I could went to my night job at 8:00. Did you notice that I wrote could’ve? It didn’t quite happen that way!
Apparently God decided to show me that He can and does answer prayers, but I didn’t build up a reputation of being accident prone for nothing! Driving back the road came to a Y in the road. I asked Duane what road he came on. He said to take a right…then as soon as I passed he said “Oh, I guess it was a left, but keep on going this road will probably meet up.” So I went a little farther and noticed that the road just kinda ended. I was still trying to decided if I should stop and back up, or just go a little further and meet up with the road when I noticed I hit mud. Me, being the intelligent person that I am decided to keep my speed so I wouldn’t get stuck. Yeah right! After about two feet all of a sudden the whole front of the truck sank down the axles in mud!
We tried EVERYTHING to get that truck out. We gathered all kinds of rocks, and stuck wood blocks. Pretty much anything we could think of. Finally Duane decided he had to hike back down to the road to get cell phone service and call Joe to come and get us out of our predicament. I sure felt bad for him! I could tell he was regretting ever agreeing to take me!
Joe was busy mounting a deer, so he called our ‘adopted’ brother Bryan and asked him to take his (Joe’s) truck and come pull us out. It really was sweet of Bryan to agree to do it, since we were hunting like 2 hours away…
Anyway, to make a long story short. After waiting a couple hours and gathering a bunch of rocks Bryan comes along to the rescue…bringing Karissa who was laughing her head off at me and making fun of me because I was the one driving and its just to typical of me to get into those kind of fixes.
The main thing Bryan didn’t want to do was get Joe’s truck stuck. So once we realized there was no way we were going to be able to get Duane’s truck unstuck we decided to all pile in Joe’s truck and go back and get help or something. But, we HAD to try one more time- and guess what? Yup! We got Joe’s truck stuck too! Clear down the the axles! Oh no!
We tried everything we could do to get that unstuck! They even tried my dumb idea of jacking up the truck and sticking rocks under the tires…which didn’t work cause the rocks just sunk. By this time we’re pretty sure that both Dad and Joe would kill us!
After a couple of hours trying we decided that all we could do was pretty much go back to the road and call a tow truck or something. We weren’t even sure a tow truck could get up there on them roads!
At this point Karissa is still laughing her head off and telling me to cheer up and think of it all as an adventure…which would’ve been fine if it was for the fact that I knew I was going to get killed when I got home, along with the fact that I knew Duane felt bad and Bryan convinced me it was going to cost 2 k to get it out. IF we could get it out all all before winter! “Just be happy it’s not worse!” Karissa said. “Karissa, it CAN’T get worse” Bryan said “Both trucks are STUCK! There’s no way it could get any worse.” Yeah, right…we had to remind him he said that….after it got worse…
Walking down the road we came upon a ranch hand from Antler Ranch. We knew he probably had seen our strange sight and was checking up to see what in the world was going on. He told us that driving up we crossed like 35 feet of private property, and that his boss was really mad! Yup, things can ALWAYS get worse! Believe me! So he was going to go back to his boss and tell him a little bit on what was up, and told us to keep walking down to the highway. So, we walked to the highway and still couldn't really get cell phone service--much to Bryan's annoyance because he was supposed to take his girlfriend on a date at noon and had no way of calling her and telling her he wasn't going to make it :/
When the ranch hand came back he said that his boss was hopping mad and that he called the sheriff and said that if we had a tow truck or anyone else drive up that road they were going to charge a trespassing fee. Now what? We didn't know what else to do he recommended us to wait along the road for the sheriff and try to explain things to him before the boss did, and asked Duane if he felt good about that... Duane just told him he didn't feel good at all. haha
Poor Bryan! The whole sheriff idea scared the living daylights out of him! We were trying to convince him that the rest of our family would come and sing to us while we sat in prison but it didn't seem to console him one bit. I tried to tell him that when he's 80 it'll give him something to tell his grandkids about, but he wouldn't believe me :p (Karissa's not laughing anymore either)
I'm sure we were quite the sight! Here Karissa, Bryan and I are all like super short and look way younger than our age. So there are 4 little kids out there with two trucks stuck to the axles in mud and the wind was blowing, so at least my hair looked quite the sight!
After awhile the game and fish guy came along with the ranch owner. He seemed super mad at first. We tried to tell him we thought the highway right of way covered the 35 feet, and so we didn't realized we were trespassing, along with the fact that we were driving on a road up until the time the road ended. Which we had no proof of, since it ended like right where we sunk. The two men conversed for awhile after they left us and the ranch owner decided he would pull us out with his track hoe for the fee of a normal 3 hour rental. It only took him about 20 minutes but I was tickled pink with that deal! It was a lot cheaper than trying to get some tow truck from Cody to come up! The game warden had decided to give Duane a ticket for driving off the road because he said obviously if a road leads to a swamp, and its not as used as the other one its not a road anymore! (He later told me the ranch owner confirmed that the place we were driving had been a road last year) I'm assuming he had to stick us with something just to show the ranch owner that we couldn't get by with nothing. The funny thing was that I was the one driving when we went of the road. He just thought it was Duane because he asked Duane who was driving when we (Supposedly) trespassed, and at that time it was Duane. So, poor Duane got my ticket! He never told the guy a word about it. They decided to let Bryan off since he was just trying to be a good buddy and help us out. When we first started talking to the G'&F he asked us if we were all siblings. I told him we all were except Bryan, and he didn't WANT to be related to us :p He was sure quick to agree with that!
All in all they were all very good to us. The sheriff arrived and the first words he said were "I know you all-- you sang at my church." Wow, that was kind of embarrassing for this group of outlaws! The ranch hand told him that we just made a stupid mistake and he wouldn't press charges. Then, while Karissa and I were trying to shovel the ruts back in the G&F guy start asking us all about our 'religion' since we were in skirts and such. Yeah, I'm starting to feel kinda like a hypocrite by now. :-p
They all chewed us out a bit, but I suppose we deserved it. I kinda liked them all. I could see they were all a little tickled at the strange situation. I could just see them trying not to outright laugh. When they gave us our 'talking to' we were like scared little 5 year old kids, nodding our heads saying 'yes sir' I don't think they quite knew what to do with us! Bryan had already admitted by then that it pretty much sucked being a good buddy to us! Ha ha
Anyway, it all ended up getting worked out. Duane and I were still pretty scared of Dad and Joe's wrath though. We had gotten a little heads up that Joe was pretty upset, along with the fact that we got like 15 text messages saying "Get service and call me now" The only problem was that we didn't get service to get the messages, and even if we got the messages we couldn't get good enough service to call! It wasn't like we could drive down the road a few miles....
What a huge relief it was to find out that Dad and Joe both thought that it was a public road too. Dad actually went to the courthouse and (Thinks) he found out that it was legal access. He went to the ranch owners place and told him that he was the one who told us to go there, and showed him the maps and GPS boundaries and all. The ranch owner never did admit that it was public access, but he did tell dad that there was a certain guy that had been poaching on his private land, and he thought we were that guy, so called the sheriff cause he wanted to 'get' this notorious guy. After he found out it was just a bunch of stupid kids he wasn't quite so mad! He was a very nice guy, and told dad that we were welcome to come back to that area anytime we wanted. I think dad kinda like him :p
Apparently what made Joe so mad was that mom got the message all mixed up and told everybody that I shot a deer on private property and decided to sneak and use the road so it would be easier to get out, and then got stuck in the mud. She sent all these texts out telling all these people that. They were all praying that we wouldn't go to jail and the trucks and guns wouldn't get confiscated. Yeah, I would be really mad if I was Joe and heard all that too! (In fact, I did get mad when I heard that!)
So, that was pretty much the most expensive deer hunt I've ever been on. I just couldn't help but wonder..."Didn't I decide last year that I was never going to make my brothers take me on a hunt again?