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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Game (12/06/12)

TITLE: The Hunter and His Game
By Mary Annthipie Bane


The Hunter and the Game

Each fall he sets out, says goodbye to his family and walks with long strides into the woods. With a rifle in his hands and a hope in his heart that this season he will be successful, he is on the hunt. It is deer season and there have been several large bucks spotted nearby his rural home. While he walked through the woods to his tree stand he noticed that most of the leaves had already fallen. Although he walked quietly, the fallen foliage crushed beneath his feet, an alert to any nearby animal.

He arrived to his hunting ground and climbed the ladder to the platform that would serve as his vantage point. The sun was beginning to rise as the dark sky began to swirl with traces of purple and pink. He breathed in the earthy scents of moss, pine needles and morning dew. The lines from a favorite hymn began to drift into his mind, “like the fragrance after the rain.”

He was appreciating the freshness and the possibilities that the new day would bring. His breath formed into tiny clouds as he exhaled, the biting cold bringing his eyes to tear. Overhead a flock of geese were in formation to fly south for the winter. It looks like we’re in for a long, cold winter he thought to himself and settled into his place. He looked on as small animals were scurrying about. The squirrels were gathering acorns. A fox was digging into its den. In a nearby tree an owl returned home from a night of hunting as well with a rodent in his beak. Contemplating the beauty that contrasts with the drama being played out before him he considered his part in the game of life. Man or beast, from the greatest down to the least, all were here to prepare themselves and to provide for the cold winter months ahead.

The hunter, a kind and hard working man was the sole support for his family. Not a killer by nature but a provider, he thought about the ways that God had provided for these woodland animals and how God provides continuously for him. It is good for a man to get alone in the woods, feel the Lord’s presence in His creation he thought; otherwise he might forget who the true provider is and begin to think too highly of himself.

The hunter closed his eyes and sent up a silent prayer for a successful hunt, not to inflict harm or to destroy but to participate in the circle of life that had begun with Adam and Eve since the fall of man. He didn’t know how long he had been praying. His mind moved from conscious prayer which brought his requests to a serene mindset focused solely on God. One thought permeated his mind as he focused on favorite verses from scripture—gratitude. He felt a deep and sincere gratitude for the life he had been given, the blessings of a family and the beauty of the woods. Most importantly he was grateful for the gift of a Savior.

He opened his eyes and was brought back to the present by a soft and breathy sound and a pawing at the ground. Standing before him was a magnificent buck displaying his antlers with pride and dignity. Their eyes met and for a moment in silent commune they gazed at each other. With a raised rifle the hunter deliberately and cautiously took aim and his shot was fired. The deer ran a few steps, fell down to the ground and offered his life to the eternal. The hunter knelt alongside the deer and said a prayer of thanksgiving to God and blessed the animal's spirit for its sacrifice. “If it is pleasing to you Lord I offer thanks and praise” he whispered, acknowledging the deer as one of God’s creations. He rose and carefully lifted the game up in his arms.

Relief filled his heart and his thoughts turned towards home. As he walked he remembered how God had provided the ram for Abraham. He thought about the way that God had instructed His people on how to prepare their burnt offerings until the time when God provided His sacrificial Lamb, Jesus Christ, that our sins may be forgiven. With the blessings of God’s physical and spiritual provisions, the hunter and his game turned towards home.

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This article has been read 603 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Carolyn Ancell12/13/12
I enjoyed this story even more because I have just returned from staying with a family of hunters and trappers in Missorui, during deer hunting season no less. It rings true in so many ways; and is a wonderful image when your MC kneels to thank the deer for its life. The only thing I found startling was that the beginning of the story painted for me, a day that was beautiful but not biting cold; so when you all of a sudden said it was biting cold, I tripped over that and had to go back to read what came before to see if I had missed something. Might you consider leaving out just that one sentence? Might it still be a powerful piece without that sentence? If the biting cold is Important, could mention of it come at the outset? But a wonderful piece of writing.
C D Swanson 12/15/12
Powerful and moving entry...silent yet spoke volumes in the meaning.
God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/23/12
This is such a lovely story. I like the way you interpreted the topic. I haven't read all of the challenges but there are only a handful so far that took the topic in this definition. It was an interesting peek into the mind of the MC.

I noticed you did have some excellent showing lines, but you also did quite a bit of telling. Of course, there has to be telling, but the more you can show the more you can pull your reader in. Take this line for example:
While he walked through the woods to his tree stand he noticed that most of the leaves had already fallen
It's mostly telling but in the very next line you show the crunch of the leaves and that pulls me right into the woods where I can picture the bare trees, the leaf-littered ground and even the earthy smells.

Another way to do more showing would be to put his thoughts in italics or use it as a dialog with God. That would not only let the reader know what he was thinking, but it would also show a lot of his character. Later on, as he knelt over the deer and did pray I was once again drawn into the scene and could almost smelly the coppery-whiffs of blood. I also like that you showed the reader how to pray. Many people don't know how and your words really emphasized the relationship between God and the MC.

Overall, you did a fantastic job on this piece. Congratulations on your HC and for ranking 12 overall!