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Lessons From a Deer Stand

with Steve and Annie Chapman | October 14, 2011

Contemporary recording artists Steve and Annie Chapman tell husbands how they can help their wives not hate the hobbies they love and enjoy.

Contemporary recording artists Steve and Annie Chapman tell husbands how they can help their wives not hate the hobbies they love and enjoy.

Lessons From a Deer Stand

With Steve and Annie Chapman
|
October 14, 2011
| Download Transcript PDF

Bob:  Every hunter loves the deer woods, but as Steve Chapman reminds us, a wise hunter remembers his priorities.

Steve:  What is it that drives us out there?  Well, so few things are left to be conquered, and to outsmart a white-tail deer, a deer has got his eyes and his ears and his nose that you've got to defeat, and you buy all the little things to help you, but you get so involved in this distraction, trying to outsmart him, that you forget that there is another dear at home that wants also to talk to you.

Bob:  This is FamilyLife Today® for Friday, October 14th.  Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine.  There are lots of lessons about God, about life, about marriage, that you can learn while sitting in a deer stand.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today.  Thanks for joining us.  I've got some sad news to report.  You know, over the weekend thousands of young deer lost their lives in the woods all across America, and it's because of hunters …

Dennis:  Hold it, hold it, my cell phone's ringing.  I think PETA – PETA – they have a spot for you to be their …

Bob:  … their national spokesman?

Dennis:  Their national spokesperson.

Bob:  Actually, if many of these deer had not lost their lives, they'd be out in the middle of the highway getting run over by cars.

Dennis:  Well done, Bob.  Well done.

Bob:  Yes. Did I come back around on that one?

Dennis:  That was excellent.

Bob: We must manage the deer population in America, and so let me start again, if I can.  Folks, I've got great news to report to you.  This past weekend, thousands of responsible citizens took to the woods to make sure that our country stays well managed and that the deer population is appropriate, and they did it by putting some deer, that would likely be hit by a car later, putting that deer gently out of its misery.

(laughter)

Dennis:  Bob, I just want to prove something to you.  I believe we have more hunters who listen to FamilyLife Today than more non-hunters.

Bob: You think?

Dennis:   I do.

Bob: Now, I just have to tell you, the study showed that more women listen to FamilyLife Today than men.

Dennis:  Well, can we make this a men's poll?  It's a men's poll only, okay?  Can we do that?

Bob: You want just the men who are – no, I don't think we should – here's what I think we should do.  I think all of the women hunters can vote as well, okay?

Dennis:  Okay, and the non-hunters for women?

Bob:  Yeah, they can vote, too.

(laughter)

Dennis:  Okay, go to FamilyLife.com.  We're running a little poll to see what percentage of the listeners to FamilyLife Today are opposed to hunting and those who do hunt.

Bob: All right.  Those of you who like hunting …

Dennis:  … and those of you who are opposed to hunting …

Bob:  … who are opposed to hunting.  It's not whether you like it or not, it's whether you're opposed to it, is that right?

Dennis:  Yeah, right.

Bob: You know, if you get – to get the results you want, all you have to do is word the question appropriately.

Dennis:  That's exactly what I was doing.  Well, we have a guest in the studio who is a deer hunter, and he's a lot of fun, and he and his wife have traveled the country singing to literally hundreds of thousands of folks across our nation.  They have over 15 recorded projects.  They have won a Dove for their music.  They are, really, I think kindred spirit with FamilyLife through their music.

Bob: And one of them is certainly kindred spirit with our host when it comes to the deer woods, isn't he?

Dennis:  That's exactly right.  Steve and Annie Chapman join us on FamilyLife Today.  Steve, Annie, welcome back to the program.

Steve:  Arrr, arrr, arr.

(laughter)

Annie:  Thank you.  It’s good to be back.

Dennis:  Steve has written a number of books to hunters, Bob, and it would do you well to read one of these – A Look at Life From a Deer Stand, Reel, that's spelled r-e-e-l …

Bob:  . . . as in a fishing reel.

Dennis:  That's right –Reel Time with God.  Another book, With God on a Deer Hunt.  I've had a lot of those hunts where I wished He'd have been with me.

Bob: At least as the guide, right?

Dennis:  That's exactly right.  What a Hunter Brings Home,  A Look at Life From God's Great Outdoors, and The Hunter.  Is that what you do, Steve, on the stand, is you have your portable computer out there, and you're writing?

Steve:  I'd like to let you think that's what I do. 

(laughter)

But most of the writing that I do about hunting comes, you know, when I come home and reflect about it.  I do take a pen and paper with me, but these books are my attempt to – Annie says I have a burden for Bubba. 

(laughter)

There are a bunch of us in the nation who love the great outdoors.

Dennis:  And Bubba needs help.  Bubba needs help in knowing how to participate in his hobby in a way that doesn’t discourage his wife.

Steve:  The word "balance" needs to come into play with hunters.  It's so easy to get obsessed with it.  You know as well as I because you enjoy being out there, you love the challenge.  But you mentioned PETA a while ago, and these radical environmentalists, a lot of them really hate hunting but, I tell you, there's people who hate it a lot more than they do, and that's people we call "deer widows,” women whose husbands basically disappear from late September to January.

Dennis:  Now, let me stop you there for a second.  It wouldn't necessarily always be tied to a hobby that's in the deer woods.

Steve:  That's right, that's right.  It could be anything – golf, fishing, you name it – it's whatever consumes a man's attention.  I wrote these books – the first book, A Look at Life From a Deer Stand, was written to help women understand what takes a man out there; what he sees; what he learns; the emotions that he feels.  And the women that have read this book, many of them have come and said, "You know, I didn't know that he had these thoughts; that this is something that interested him so much, and now I understand why."

I followed up with What a Hunter Brings Home, and sometimes nothing. 

(laughter)

But all of them have what I call "the harvest of truths."  You know, deer hunting is hours and hours of waiting interrupted by moments of incredible excitement, unlike flying, which is hours of boredom interrupted by moments of stark fear. 

If you don't hunt, you wouldn't understand what I'm saying, but what do you do in those hours and hours of waiting?  And a lot of the things that are in these books are principles from the Scriptures that I've managed to glean from being an outdoorsman and observing the animals.  There are character traits that you can draw from that are very important for men.

Bob:  Annie, let me ask you – when you married Steve, did you know you were marrying a man who would want to be in the deer woods as often as he wants to be in the deer woods?

Annie:  Well, when we got married, I thought that he would just be so enraptured with my beauty that he would never leave my side.

Bob:  Yes.

Dennis:  And the answer, Steve, is?

Steve:  There's two ways to spell deer.

(laughter)

Annie:  I really didn't think about it.  I didn't think about his hobbies.  You know, when you're engaged, and you're trying to join your lives together, that's how you think – is unity.  You don't think individual interest.  I've had times when I've had a struggle with the amount of time that it takes away from the house, especially when the kids were little, but Steve did some things that really helped me not hate what he loves to do.

And men who live with wives who hate their hobbies – I have to say, I put the majority of the blame on the man.  I think if he does it right, she won't hate what he loves to do.  Steve really has done it right, and I admire him for that and commend him for it.

There are times when he gets out of balance that I don't like it.  Even now that the kids are raised, you know, usually women are being protective of their young, and when the man comes home, and he works all week, and he comes home Friday night, and he's gone for the weekend, and she's left with those kids, not only is she left to do all the work, they're left without a relationship with their father, and she kind of gets that she-bear thing going, where she gets mad about it.

Now that our kids are raised, even now, with the kids gone, there are times when Steve – when he hunts morning and night, it gets a little much, to be honest.  And the problem is, when he gets up early in the morning to leave for the deer, he wakes me up.  I sleep lightly.  I don't go back to sleep.  So by the end of deer season I'm exhausted, because I haven't slept past 4:00 in a long time.

(laughter)

But, again, I go back – if it's done right – and the same thing with women who have hobbies.  Women have things to distract them as well.  We've got to do this right.  You've got to take into consideration each other's feelings.

Dennis:  Okay, if it's the man's responsibility to make his hobby a win-win situation, then, Steve, here's the question, and I know this resonates with you – you have some principles that you want to build into men's lives.  How do you help your wife not hate what you like to do?

Steve:  Well, there are four of them, and the first is I encourage men to be fair with their expenditure, with the money situation in their family.  And this is the way I've tried to do it:  If I spend "x" number of dollars on a piece of hunting equipment, I give Annie the same amount in cash.  And you literally go to the bank and get the cash out and give it to her.  And, now, I'm not talking about – this doesn't work for Ranger boats. 

(laughter)

Dennis:  So you believe there's a limit to this principle.

Steve:  Yeah, I'm talking about, like tens and maybe few hundreds of dollars.

Dennis:  Because a Ranger boat is $20,000 to $25,000.

Steve:  It costs more than our first house did.  I don't have one, but that's a decision that the two need to make together, but I'm talking about going out and spending $65, $70 on a dozen arrows.  I came home one time with another dozen, and Annie said very sweetly, when I came in the house, she saw them, and she's seen my big bucket of arrows that I use and practice with.  She said, "Do you need those?"  "Oh, yes, ma'am, I've got to have new sticks every year."  “Oh.”  She was very nice about it.

Well, moving ahead a few weeks, and the season's in and also the Christmas ornaments are showing up on the shelves, and we were at a restaurant that has a craft store next door, and I pay the bill, and I go over, and Annie's taking ornaments, one by one, off the shelf.  And I asked that question – "What are you doing?"  It had that air about it, "Do you need those?"  And she said, as she was taking them off, she said, "I'm buying arrows."

Dennis:  I wish our listeners could see the grin of your wife right now. 

Steve:  And I did what any smart man would do – I went on to the truck and kept my mouth shut.  But, as I said on another visit, if you'll do this, it will do two things.  It will curb your spending, and it will win you points.  She will not resent if you will be fair with her.  And points, by the way, if you are a deer hunter are important.  I've said that before. 

But, secondly, strive not to be so distracted with the obsession of hunting.  You know, what is it that drives us out there?  Well, so few things are left to be conquered, and to outsmart a white-tail deer or an old gobbler whose eyesight, they say, is magnified, what, 80 times or something?  And a deer's got his eyes and his ears and his nose that you've got to defeat, and you buy all the little things to help you – but you get involved in this distraction, trying to outsmart him, that you forget that there is another "dear" at home that wants also to talk to you.

I'm one of the guys who might be listening.  I'm one of them who – you start pursuing that 10- or 12-point that you saw while you were scouting, and your mind is focused on him, and these are the guys that sit in church and the pastor is up there pouring his heart out, he's poured his heart into a sermon.  He's worked on it all week, and he's just pouring it out, and the serious deer hunter, the big-rack hunter is sitting there, nodding his head, looking right at the pastor – that's outwardly what's going on. 

Inside his head, this is what's happening – "If I move that stand over to the east side of that thicket and work the wind, I bet I could get in on that ol' boy."  And he's thinking about that, he's distracted.  It will show up, too, when you're going down the highway and your wife is sitting over there, and it's about 4 or 5:00 in the evening, and you're out highway hunting, right? 

I'm dangerous to ride with because I'm always looking at field edges, and you look over to the right and out there in the field is a group of deer.  And you're looking right over your wife's nose, and she's been talking, and you haven't heard a word she's saying, and all of a sudden she asks a question like, "Sweetheart, were you ever seriously involved with anyone before you asked me to marry you?"  And you say, "Oh, there's nine or 10 of them – pretty ones, too."  You know, you're in trouble.  That's distracted.

(laughter)

But the third thing I want to encourage men to do to bless their wives, to help their wives appreciate what they love to do, and that is to involve the children.  You know, not every dad is a Daniel Boone dad who loves the outdoors.  Some dads are Daniel Webster dads – what rings their bell might not be the outdoors; it might be technology.  But what I encourage men to do is whatever their interest is – involve your children in it. 

And, for me, it was the great outdoors, and I included the kids in it and a side result was that Annie got a lot of breaks.  I encourage men to take their kids into the great outdoors, one, to give their wife a break from the busyness of being a mom.  Annie has spent a lot of nights looking at the ceiling in the darkness wondering if her husband and children are going to come back from a trip to the Gulf of Mexico, not eaten by sharks or maybe on the Appalachian Trail – I've been on it several times with the kids, and, you know, they're going to be eaten by bears.  She sits and worries about these things. 

But what I'm doing out there – she knows what I'm doing.  I'm putting into action Romans 1:20 and taking the kids to show God's invisible attributes.  “His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen being understood through what has been made.”  If you want to teach them about the Creator, the best way to do it is right out there in creation, and I involve the kids in it, and it gave her the needed break – those hours that she needed by herself.

Dennis:  I stumbled onto this principle as a dad and began to take my boys, and I began to find that Barbara would say, "Hey, why don't you take the boys, and why don't you guys go to the deer woods?"

Bob:  Why don't you get out of the house?

Dennis:  Yeah, and she recognized it for what it was – a great opportunity for me to spend a huge quantity of time from a Friday night through Sunday, and we'd go to a little church down where our hunting occurred, but my sons and I – and my daughters – have spent a lot of quantity of time in the woods.

Steve:  Quantity leads to quality.

Annie:  I love what I heard somebody say that if you hunt with your kids when they're young, you won't have to hunt for them when they get older.

Steve:  Finally, if your wife can see that your outdoor experience, your hunting experience, or whatever it is you do out there is adding to your character and not taking away from it, she's going to appreciate that.  And the best way to accomplish that is to take your Scriptures with you.  If you're a believer or not, take the Scriptures with you.  The Scriptures will change you.  If you come home a different man, if she sees a change for the better, she's going to say, "Maybe this is not such a bad deal."

You know, Zaccheus, he got up in a tree, he was trying to see Jesus, heard about him – he was a man of short stature, but he got up in a tree and guess who walked under the tree – Jesus.  He said, "Come down from there.  I want to go home and eat with you."  And this encounter with Christ changed Zaccheus.  All of a sudden, all the people he'd ripped off, stealing their money by gathering taxes for his profit, he's willing to pay back.  He went home a different man. 

If you meet Christ out there, learn about Him, consume His Scriptures, let it change you, when you come home, and you're different, she's going to say, "This is great."  And bringing home those trophies of truth and that trophy of grace, you know, women love change.  I've lived with Annie almost 28 years, and she's always changing things.  If she could, she could change me, but she knows that's God's job, and one of the best ways to do that is spend that solitude and let Him speak to you. 

Watch the animals and learn from them, learn how they act.  I saw a deer one time, chasing a doe, I shot at him twice, he ran by me, and I missed him, but it was mating season for the deer.  He ran by me; I took a couple of shots, man, I missed him.  A few minutes later, here he come again – same deer, same doe – I shot at him two more times, and he didn't know I was in the world – didn't know I was there.

Bob: Kind of focused on that doe?

Steve:  That's right, and I think that doe knew I was there.  I think she brought him back by me – "Shoot him, shoot him."  But as I reflected, as I reflected on that deer, you see, if you understand the white tail, and this is the stuff that men can bring home – if you understand the white-tail deer, it will help you to see a picture in there of yourself.  The white-tail deer, by nature, is very cautious.  He's got that long nose, better to smell you with; those big eyes to see you; those ears to hear you, yet – and for most of the year, he's really smart. 

But about five weeks out of the year he becomes a complete idiot, absolute, complete idiot, where he drops all of his caution and goes and chases those women.  I came home.  I said, "Annie, I saw myself.  I don't want to be like this guy.  He was totally distracted.  He had forsaken his cautious nature, and I took shots at him," and I said, "I don't want to be like that.  I don't want to be without caution, because when Satan shoots, he doesn't miss." 

You bring home those kinds of analogies, those kinds of truths that you find in the Scripture – the Scripture will confirm the truth through creation, and creation will confirm the Scripture.  And look for it out there – don't just hunt, but find those trophies of truth and bring them home.  She'll make you go.

Dennis:  Annie, what I hear Steve saying is that if a man is becoming God's man, it really isn't going to matter whether he's in the deer woods or at home, because when he's home, he's going to be all there, he's going to be God's man, and he's not going to be sending mixed signals to his wife.

Annie:  That's right, and when she sees God at work in his life, she'll want him to be wherever he is receptive to God's Word.  And I just want to say to any woman who is finding herself resenting that time away, and yet he really is trying to do it right – I want to encourage that woman to open her eyes and see the bigger picture, that the important thing is for him to get in a position where God can speak to him.  And God can speak to her at the same time.  You know, we all need solitude and time away.  Maybe God wants to speak to her about some things, too.

Dennis:  I would encourage perhaps that wife to pick up a copy of Steve's book, A Look at Life From a Deer Stand, because she might be able to flip through these pages and better understand this madness that occurs throughout the year and then pass it on to her husband and say, "You know, sweetheart, why don't you read this while you're sitting on the stand this morning or this afternoon," and then pray for him.  Pray that God will get his attention in the woods.

Bob:  The subtitle of the book is Steve's Book for Bubbas, A Look at Life From a Deer Stand.  We have it available in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center.  You can go online at FamilyLifeToday.com for more information on how to get a copy of the book.  Again, A Look at Life From a Deer Stand, by Steve Chapman. 

Go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information on how to get a copy of the book, or give us a call at 1-800- “F” as in Family, “L” as in Life, and then the word “Today,” and we can let you know how to get a copy of the book sent to you.

And I’d also recommend that you get a copy of Dennis Rainey’s book, Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood.  In fact, today and tomorrow are the last two days that the book is going to be available at a special price in the eBook format.  You can go online at FamilyLifeToday.com and find out how you can download the eBook of Stepping Up for the Kindle, for the Nook, for the iBook, or in the new Verso format.  Again it’s available at a special price.  Today and tomorrow are the last two days for that.

You can also order the book in hardback, and you’ll find the information you need at FamilyLifeToday.com, or give us a call at 1-800-“F” as in Family, “L” as in Life, and then the word “Today.”

Quickly I want to say thanks to those of you who help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today.  We couldn’t do what we do if it weren’t for you, and we appreciate so many of you getting in touch with us and letting us know how much the program means to you.  Because we’re listener-supported, we need to let you know about our financial needs. 

About 65% of the funds that we need to be able to produce and syndicate this radio program, along with keeping the website up and doing all the other stuff we do here at FamilyLife, those funds come from folks like you who donate from time to time, or those of you who make monthly donations as Legacy partners. 

We appreciate your financial support.  This week we’d love to send you as a thank you gift the brand-new devotional from Barbara Rainey called Growing Together in Truth.  It’s a devotional book for families with seven stories designed to be read aloud as a part of your family devotions.  It’s our way of saying thanks this week when you support the ministry.

If you make your gift online, type the word “TRUTH” in the key code box on the online donation form, and we’ll know to send you a copy of Barbara’s book.  Or, if you make your donation over the phone just ask for a copy of Barbara’s new devotional book when you donate.  And again, thanks so much for your financial support.

And we hope you have a great weekend.  Hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend, and I hope you can join us back on Monday when we’re going to talk about having a vision for your marriage.  I think there are a lot of people who get married and they don’t really have God’s vision for how He wants to use your marriage to advance the kingdom.  So we’re going to talk about that on Monday.  I hope you can be here.

 I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team.  On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine.  We'll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

 FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas. 

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