Compassionate Convictions

Compassionate Convictions
(Carlos Gomez photo)

I recently caught a spotlighter who had hidden his rifle and light off in the weeds just before I encountered him. He was a young man about to get married and with his first child on the way. Embarking on a budding career, the young man – I'll call, David – was starting to make decent money and had everything going his way.

I always like to try to understand my adversaries, so while interviewing and writing up citations to someone, I'll often quiz them about peripheral details in their life. It seems to help keep emotions suppressed while allowing us both to realize the humanity within us all, though our sportsman philosophies may differ significantly.

I learned that David came from top-shelf lineage; I had met his grandpa once before, and knew his late, great grandpa. Both men had super outdoor ethics. David commented with a disappointing tone, "They would disown me if they knew about this (getting caught poaching).”

David went on to reveal that he came from an area of the state where poaching was rampant and that his old high school running buddies usually drove around at night just looking for big racks and didn't typically use the meat. The wardens there have confirmed that fact to me on numerous occasions. But, David seemed sincere when stating he thought that behavior was just wrong and that he was only craving some delicious venison back strap.


Work had him tied up and on the go so much, he hadn't hunted much in years and only got to eat deer steaks when he got back to his parents’ home for visits. While texting his dad about his current circumstances (with me), David and I learned that his dad had been related to their local game warden before a divorce removed the connection. We both laughed about how small the world was and briefly discussed my concerns for the future of hunting and the pitfalls of poaching.


Ironically, I had a small road-kill buck in the back of my truck at the time of David's apprehension. I told him, "You know, you don't need to be poaching for venison; we get these car-hit deer all the time."He wanted to take the one I had in my truck, but I explained how it was already promised to a family whose breadwinner was battling cancer. But, I assured him, if he really wanted one, I could fix him up.

That night after David's citations were completed, I took the road-kill deer to the family with a member struggling with cancer. Medical expenses from the fight with the dreaded disease had ravaged the family's financial resources. Most of the family had moved back home to help out, but groceries and the need for healthy protein for the clan, including grandkids, were depleted. I watched how the whole family went to work on the deer … skinning, cutting and separating while kids held onto the legs of the carcass. It was suddenly a festive time among the group with the ailing grandpa giving advice from his nearby leaning place.

It sure made me think about the blessings of the season, how the white-tailed deer had sustained our ancestors to present day, and how this God-given provision could continue on in the lives of future generations, assuming we maintain and practice good wildlife conservation.

I considered how it might not be a coincidence that “deer season” and our “season of thankfulness” was so perfectly synchronized and how we're all so lucky in our own personal ways.


A few days after I caught David violating some wildlife laws, he paid a sizable fine. A while later after all the legal paperwork was clear; I met up with him to release his seized weapon and light.

True to my word, I gave him a road-kill deer.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

MLF Pro Tips: How to Fish a New Lake

MLF Pro Tips: How to Fish a New Lake

Major League Fishing pros Alton Jones, Jeff Sprague, Anthony Gagliardi and James Watson share their thoughts on how to approach fishing a new lake for bass.

Berkley

Berkley's Surge Shad

Major League Fishing pro Scott Suggs has relied on the Berkley Surge Shad lure concept for years, using similar designs to capture MLF titles and a $1 million dollar FLW Forrest Cup win. With new features in the Surge Shad, Suggs tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead that even he can find success out on the water!

Berkley

Berkley's Frittside Crankbaits

World Fishing Network show host Chad LaChance had a chance to visit with legendary crankbait master David Fritts about his new Frittside crankbaits from Berkley. LaChance, host of the Fishful Thinker on WFN, also got a few cranking tips from Fritts, the former Classic and Forrest Wood Cup champion.

Electric Filet Knife from Bubba Blades

Electric Filet Knife from Bubba Blades

As OSG's Lynn Burkhead looks on, Josh Neville shows off the cordless and corded versions of a new electric filet knife from Bubba Blades.

Trending Articles

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies can be profound, even when fishing the same lake or river. Catfish

How to Catch Catfish Day and Night

Terry Madewell - April 04, 2018

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies...

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near anything that fits in their mouths. Catfish

5 Ways To Catch Catfish on Lures

Keith Sutton - September 16, 2015

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near...

Here are the 10 most common reel performance problems and how to fix them. Reels

10 Most Common Reel Performance Problems

Anietra Hamper

Here are the 10 most common reel performance problems and how to fix them.

While wildly popular amongst anglers around the world, the IGFA World Record book shows the biggest pike come from Europe. Records

Top 10 Biggest Pike World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - August 19, 2015

While wildly popular amongst anglers around the world, the IGFA World Record book shows the...

See More Trending Articles

More News

Aaron Lucky is new head of Easton Technical Products. News

Easton Names New President

March 24, 2020

Aaron Lucky is new head of Easton Technical Products.

Brady Ellison is perfect for three days with Easton Eclipse X7 arrows. Bows

Recurve Archer Makes History at 2020 Vegas Shoot

Game & Fish Digital Staff - February 12, 2020

Brady Ellison is perfect for three days with Easton Eclipse X7 arrows.

The hunting gear company continues sponsorship with Drury Outdoors. News

GSM Outdoors Renews with Drury

March 25, 2020

The hunting gear company continues sponsorship with Drury Outdoors.

The massive N.J. animal is the largest bow-harvested black bear in North America. News

P&Y Confirms New Black Bear World Record

Game & Fish Digital Staff - February 13, 2020

The massive N.J. animal is the largest bow-harvested black bear in North America.

See More News

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.