George Bowers Sr.: Hazards of being too heavily invested

George Bowers Sr.

What a glorious gift God gave us in the form of springtime! The flowers are blooming, the birds are singing, and a thousand shades of green adorn God’s Earth. It’s really hard to pinpoint my favorite aspect of this amazing season, but hunting for spring gobblers is either at or near the top of my list. There’s something mighty invigorating about hearing an old tom sound off just before dawn. Even if you never see him, just being privileged to listen to this early morning chorus nourishes the soul.

For the uninitiated, spring turkey hunting requires locating a tom from his gobbles either the night before or at sunrise. The next objective is to get within one hundred yards or so of the roosting site and attempt to call the tom down in your direction. Unlike whitetail hunting, turkey hunters usually know if a bird is approaching by his gobbles and calls. To make matters even more challenging, the hunter’s camo, calls, and setup have to be convincing enough to lure this wise old bird with impeccable vision to within 30 yards or so to be taken with a shotgun. Everything has to come together flawlessly in order to take something home for the roaster.

One recent morning, I found the perfect location in Fort Valley. I set up at the base of a beautiful tulip poplar with just the right stump angle to support my back. The sun would rise behind me, eliminating glare and minimizing the risk of being spotted. As I faced the southwest, I had a perfect shooting arrangement that overlooked a wooded shelf just to my left. My decoy could be seen from every direction to ease the hesitation of any approaching bird. There was even an extension of the tree trunk for an armrest. It was the perfect setup!

Unfortunately, there weren’t any turkeys. The only gobbler I heard was across the road and his reports abruptly concluded with a shotgun blast about 6:30. Although I still called occasionally, no customers arrived and I eventually had to pack up and move on. Because I was limited in the acreage I could hunt, I couldn’t roam endlessly to find another gobbler as would be ideal.

One strong temptation turkey hunters must avoid is getting too heavily invested in a poor location. This is compounded when one has erected a blind on the spot. In fact, the more gear one sets up reduces the likelihood of moving at all, even to the detriment of the hunt. It may not be a good spot, but it becomes the most comfortable and least difficult, even if it is fruitless.

Too often we approach life the same way. We get pretty heavily invested in certain behaviors that we sometimes refer to as being “set in our ways.” We get so comfortable and content that we may neglect or even forget our entire purpose in living. We may not enjoy all we had hoped, but we’ve become too settled and established to make the moves needed to become all that God has created us for. Our habits may be bad ones, but we’ve done them so long, we do them very well.

Whether turkey hunting or living, it’s important to periodically assess our setup and determine if a change is needed. Most importantly, we must listen for the gobbler while hunting and for God’s call while living, and then move in that direction regardless of the effort. Sometimes it’s best to leave the blind, the decoy, and even the coffee behind to pursue the tom, and in life, we must occasionally do the same. We must guard against becoming too heavily invested that we hesitate to move at God’s prompting.

If you’re hunting turkeys this spring, good luck and be careful and be willing to move toward the bird. And if you’re living life, be sure to move ever closer to God’s calls. You’ll be glad you did.

Spring blessings, George

George Bowers Sr. is the senior pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren and has authored eight books, including his latest, “Celebration Time, A Collection of Brethren Love Feasts.” He can be reached through www.georgebowersministries.com or at gabowers@shentel.net.