Throughout much of the southern United States, Labor Day weekend is the opener for mourning doves. Dove hunting in the south represents the beginning of fall and another hunting season, the start of the harvest, a chance to be afield again and to renew old acquaintances.SOUTHERN DOVES, A LEGACY OF TRADITION
As much as I love Star Wars and Pirates, the outdoors truly hold a most secure place in my heart and life where I go for renewal. Those who I count as my best friends are those who I have spent time with either in the woods or the fields both camping and hunting. Since my first hunt 3 years ago, I have tried to take advantage of every opportunity to be out in the field.
This weekend, I finally get the chance to experience my first dove hunt. Needless to say, I'm pumped! Though I grew up in the south, hunting was obviously foreign to my experiences. But as I've learned, there is a way of surrounding the outdoors and our southern culture I had missed. And I have found, it is a way of life worth knowing.
Contrary to most thinking, the culture of the hunting sports is neither racist nor backwards. I have found it to be richly diverse where I have hunted and in who I have met. The majority of those who hunt are more concerned about the environment and have spent as much to preserve and care for animals as any "environmentalist" group (and I have been a member of the Sierra Club).
I have also found many unchurched and dechurched hunters in my days out. From the highly affluent sportsmen with their high dollar upland guns to the guys in their pickup and their "beater single shots," a relationship with God is NOT on their list of trophies to obtain.
As I look forward to this weekend with some good friends and another season in fields, duck blinds and WMA's, it is worth remembering the souls who are not yet aware of what prize they are truly after. And pray for those of us who have a heart for them.
May I Ask? When was the last time you had a stereotype you held blow up? How did you feel? How did it change you?
May I Suggest? Consider reading a magazine, blog or website of a group or tribe you know nothing about but think you do. As you read, consider the common ground you have. I'd love to hear what you learned!