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The Most Conscientious Hunter I Ever Met: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
6/24/2020 4:00:00 AM by: Glen A. Hinshaw

The most conscientious hunter I ever met during my years working as a Colorado wildlife officer was a man who called me at home and asked to meet with me. He introduced himself and said, “I want you to give me a ticket. I killed a calf elk.”

He explained that he shot and killed a cow elk for which he had a license. He dressed the animal and went back to get help to pack it out. When they returned, they found a calf elk dead lying next to the cow. The calf was already spoiled. He said that his wife had a cow license, but that putting her tag on it wouldn’t make it right. There was no one else around.

A drive to make right what he did wrong

I had never seen anyone so distraught. Having had a similar experience with a hunter years earlier, I probed a little deeper. I told him that the fine for killing an elk was $400. He responded, “That is a cheap price to clear one’s conscience.”

I asked him if he had proof that he killed the elk, and he said no, but he would plead guilty. I knew Judge Wardell would probably throw me out of his courtroom if I brought this man before him.

I sensed a special connection with the man and asked him, “Are you a Christian?” and he answered “Yes.”

How can I make this right?

I asked him if he had prayed about his decision and he answered that he did. I asked, “Do you think God has forgiven you?” and he answered, “Yes.”

I said, “If God has forgiven you then the State of Colorado has nothing against you.”

I told him that if his conscience was still bothering him that he could make a donation to Operation Game Thief, the Division’s poacher hotline. I found out later that he indeed sent a $400 donation.

Resolution requires doing what you can to right the wrong

Moses taught the Israelite people that when you wrong someone God wants you to make restitution (Numbers 5:5-6 NIV) . As much as possible, you must make up for what you did. You must try to right the wrong done.

In this case, when the man accidentally killed the calf elk, he wronged the citizens of the State of Colorado. This hunter's conscience was so sensitive to his relationship with God that he couldn't ignore the fact that his carelessness led to the killing of an animal by accident. He could have put his wife's tag on the carcass and even that wasn't right not only by law, but by his conscience. Rather than cover up his misdeed, he chose to face the music and pay a fine. 

I met a lot of wonderful people in my career, but never such a display of integrity and honesty. His hunting party and I are the only ones to know this story. He didn't do it to show off and bring attention to his contrite heart, but he came quietly to me. He didn't know me or anything about me or how I would handle the case. Some officers would have cited him into court, but I think the Holy Spirit intervened for me to handle the case the way I did.

What Jesus said

This man was an example of the kind of person Jesus described in the Sermon on the Mount when He said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6 NIV).

Today’s prayer

Heavenly Father, I pray that You will search me and bring to my awareness anything that is getting in the way of our fellowship. If there is anything that I need to make right, please show me what it is and help me to know what I must do. Amen.

Resource

This story is excerpted from Echoes From the Mountains: The Life and Adventures of a Colorado Wildlife Officer, by Glen A. Hinshaw

https://www.amazon.com/Echoes-Mountains-Adventures-Colorado-Wildlife/dp/1502768119/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Glen+A+Hinshaw+Echoes+from+the+Mountains&qid=1556837086&s=gateway&sr=8-1-spell


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