Exploring God’s Great Outdoors – It’s Fall Now, But Summer’s Been Great 

Z-Exploring God's Great Outdoors-Tom Claycomb III (1)

By Tom Claycomb III 

As I’m writing this article, summer is just dashing over the horizon. When I first signed up to write for Christian Living Magazine, I thought, “This is going to be a blast.” It’ll be fun and low-key since I only have an article due every two months. I have weekly newspapers, bi-weekly newspapers, a weekly website, other websites, monthly magazine, etc., etc. Once a website ran six of my articles in one week, which drained the bank I’d built up for them. It can get hectic writing for multiple weekly, bi-weekly and monthly publications all at once. 

So, you can see why I thought writing for Christian Living would be relaxing. But it’s not! It’s more stressful than a weekly publication. Think about it. We live in Idaho, which is a sportsman’s paradise. Let me give you an example. Monday, a few weeks ago, I drove over to Swan Valley to check out River Retreat Lodge. Tuesday, we hiked up into the mountains and fly fished on a small river for cutthroats. 

Then Tuesday night, buddies Ron and Betsy Spomer drove up, and Wednesday we drifted the South Fork of the Snake River. Then Thursday morning we hit some ponds, and afterwards drove home. 

I got up Friday morning and thought, “You know, this is the last chance I’ll have to go crappie fishing for the year.” So I whipped out some items and took out for my crappie hole. Didn’t do as good as normal. We only kept 48 but nearly all were 10-11 inches. 

The next morning I got up and cleaned the crappie and thought, “Uh-oh, I better go dove hunting this afternoon because the rest of the month I’ll be archery elk and deer hunting.” I threw in my shotgun, but I also threw in my Umarex airgun so I could clean up on the Eurasian doves. 

See what I mean? I could’ve gotten 6-8 articles off of that one week alone – and there are four or five weeks in a month. At this rate in my two-month period I could write 64 articles for Christian Living every issue! How am I going to narrow it down to one topic every two months? And what about all of the other things in season? Scouting, backpacking/fly fishing, sighting in your rifles etc. 

By the time you’re reading this article you’re probably already elk and deer hunting. So, let’s cover a few fast tips to help you be successful. If you got lucky and drew a tag(s), focus on that hunt first. I remember when I drew a bull moose tag and tried to elk and deer hunt on the western side of the state and moose hunt on the eastern side. I got too strung out. Your tag is a big deal so knock it out first. 

I’m convinced that hunters that are consistently successful do two things religiously: 

  1. They preseason scout.
  2. They hunt for 10 days.

If you don’t scout then you’ll use the first 2-3 days of your hunt scouting. But therein lies the dilemma. Most dads only have two weeks’ vacation. If they spend one week scouting and one week hunting that leaves zero time for family vacation. Next year incorporate some family camping trips as scouting trips. Get up before daylight and go scout and then come back to camp when everyone is waking up and cook breakfast and spend the rest of the day with them. 

Another big deal is learning how to glass properly. That in and of itself is a whole article. I’ll try to write an article on that topic sometime, or you can hit one of my Glassing for Big Game seminars. 

Before big game season next year, hopefully I can do a Processing Your Big Game article. Processing your own game extends the hunt. If you drop your deer off at the processor, your hunt’s over; but if you process it, that extends the experience, especially if you make your own sausage. And there’s a couple of obscure cuts that most people don’t even save that make great hors d’oeuvres. 

Sight-in your rifle. Shoot it at 100, 200 and 300 yards so you know where it hits. Shoot it enough to be comfortable with it. If you’re having trouble getting a good group, try different brands and grains of ammo. I had a rifle that was shooting 2½-inch groups, but after experimenting with many other flavors of ammo, I got down to a 7/8-inch group. 

Make sure you play the wind and if you can’t, use scent covers, etc. I always clip a couple of Hunter’s Specialties Elk Wafers on my backpack to mask my odor. 

As we come to a close, I’ve been thinking the last few weeks of something I wanted to do. Periodically in an article I’ll jokingly include a PRO-TIP #21 clip and give some random tip. I thought it might be cool to put a tip at the end of every article to sharpen your Christian life. I’ll try this for a while. So we’ll name this one Christian Tip #1. Here goes . . . 

You might try this and see if it works for you. I’ve tried it a few times lately and saw some cool stuff happen. The other day I told God I didn’t want to see anyone hurting and just walk by fat, dumb and happy. 

Like the other day I’d been out of state for two weeks and after deboarding the plane saw a girl setting by the wall crying. So I said, “What do you want me to do, God?” A throng of people were hurriedly deboarding and walking by. I asked her if she was okay. She said, “No, I’ve been stuck here for five days.” I asked her if I could pray for her. She said yes. 

When I first started this deal I was in Vegas at the big SHOT Show. I passed this security girl setting at the doorway. Her eyes were watering. I asked her if she was okay. She said no and started crying. I asked her if I could pray for her. She threw her arms around me and said, “Please do” and laid her head on my shoulder. I prayed for her a minute and then told her, “Look, I don’t know what’s wrong, but I’d advise you to call out to Jesus. I’m on top of the world right now, but it hasn’t always been like that.” Then I tried to find her a church to go to. 

Or, you can be a real Christian like my daughter and just live it. She was helping me work the big iCAST fishing show in Orlando in July. One night we were tied up until after 9 p.m. and dead tired. I asked her if it was okay if we just ate at the IHOP that was attached to our motel. 

There weren’t that many diners in there, but I bet we waited a good 20 minutes to place our order. I’m whining to Kolby about the service. Kolby looked around and said, “Daddy, I think she is taking the orders and doing the cooking too.” 

“No way!” I thought. Sure enough the poor girl was taking orders, running the cash register and doing the cooking. 

Sweet Kolby got up and started cleaning tables for the poor girl. So you can sit and whine like me, or get up and help people like Kolby does. Who do you think was a good witness in that situation? Oh, and Kolby was 7-months pregnant at the time. I want to be more like Kolby. 


For more information, contact Tom at [email protected]. 

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