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Stare Down

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Coyotes have the gift of seldom being seen; they keep to the edge of vision and beyond, loping in and out of cover...And at night, when the whole world belongs to them, they parley at the river...their higher, sharper voices full of authority and rebuke.” - N. Scott Momaday

There’s one thing to know when you go to do something outdoors: expect the unexpected.  One fall, I was out hunting white tails at my in-laws property.  Our family has hunted there for years, and I know the property like the back of my hand.  I can walk in and out of the property down the trails through the darkness and never need to turn a  flashlight on.

   One evening though, I had been using my doe bleat call up in my tree stand right before dark during bow season.  I had given one last call but to no avail…just another quiet night in the woods.  

     At that point, I lowered my bow and backpack down the tree on the rope, so that I could climb down.  When I got to the bottom and unclipped my bow from the rope, I started to hear running off in the distance.  It was about 150 yards away from where I was.  Unfortunately, there are times in entering or exiting the woods that the animals just bust you, and apparently, this was one of those times.  The noise I was hearing made it sound like there were a few animals crunching though along on the leaves - it wasn’t just a solitary animal.

   As I headed down the trail in the dark, I thought I heard running, but it seemed to be headed at me.  I stopped to take inventory of what was happening, but when I stopped…so did the noise.  I waited a few minutes, but the noise was gone. I decided that I was imagining things and started down the trail again.  As soon as I did that, the running noises started up, and I was positive it was now headed towards me…. Questioning my sanity, I took a few more steps and stopped to get an exact lay on the direction from which the noise was coming from.  As I stopped to get my bearings - the running stopped – again!  My mind started to race.  I’ve already seen a mountain lion, but there wouldn’t be multiple cougars running around here.  We have lots of bear, but again, there wouldn’t be a group running together.  Would there be?

   This was awfully odd.  I decided to venture down the trail, and the noise picked up again as I headed on down the trail.   Whatever it was was closing in on me at a rapid pace.  I had taken about fifteen steps forward when I finally saw a group of eyes staring at me - coyotes!

    I had stopped one more time, and so had they. We were now twenty yards apart from each other – both of us staring at the other.  My dilemma was that this was bow season, and it was dark.  I was in a hurry to get into the woods when I arrived, so I had forgotten my flashlight in the Yukon….there was no  light to turn on, and I didn’t have a gun.  Before I had gotten out of the blind, I had attached my quiver to my backpack that was now on my back.  The only thing I had was my bow.  To say that this was not a good situation would be a complete understatement. 

  I’m not sure the reality of how long we stood there looking at each other, but it felt like an eternity.  I decided to go back to my backpacking training in how to deal with bears.  I raised my arms, waved them around, and yelled at the animals….but they did absolutely - NOTHING!  

    They didn’t budge…didn’t take a step…didn’t flinch a bit. We stared at each other.

     I can’t believe they didn’t budge!  Are you kidding me?  This IS a problem!

       I decided to try again.  I waved my arms, trying to make myself look big, hollering as loud as I could….nothing! 

  Normally, I would have had someone with me on my hunting trips. It would almost have been a guarantee that one of the kids would have been  by my side.  This particular night though, everyone else had activities of their own going on, and I was alone.  I don’t believe the coyotes ever would’ve come towards me if I would’ve had someone with me, but I didn’t.  As I stood there trying to think of what to do, I remembered the doe calls right before dark.  

       Did they come after me thinking I was a fawn or small doe?  Hmmm.   

           Something had to be done…I could see six sets of eyes staring at me like I was their next meal.  Dominance is the key issue when it comes to the animal kingdom, so I figured it was time to show dominance.  In a  rush of adrenaline and complete insanity, I feverishly walked briskly right at the coyotes screaming and waving my arms. 

     It’s going to be me or them.

     After about three or four steps forward, the coyotes split and ran in opposing directions. Trust me,  I didn’t stop to check anything else out, I kept right on moving until I got to the front of the property, not once looking back to see if they had circled back around. 

      It was a hair-raising experience to be sure!  Instead of the casual evening hunt I thought I was headed towards, I walked out of the woods that night feeling like my life had been endangered.

 

  Well, as a believer, we do have an enemy that will seek to kill and destroy you.  The Bible is clear on this.  There is evil in this world!  However, God equipped us with his authority and has given us power over the evil one.  Satan will do whatever it takes to keep you from serving the Lord.  Too many believers cut bait and run.  A staredown with evil isn’t something to trifle with, but with the Lord’s strength, there’s no need to run and hide either.  He has overcome, and we can too.  In the midst of evil, we need to stand our ground.  Let me repeat that. There are times as believers when we need to stand our ground! God is in control of this world and Satan has no power over him. Through his power and the blood of Jesus, claim his promises and stand your ground.  Retreating is not an option.

 

“Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms…”                                                                     Ephesians 6 11-12 (NIV)

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