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20151211_074724Today was my fourth day hunting this deer season – it was also my last. The season officially ends tomorrow, but tomorrow is too full to get back out into the woods for me with our Children’s Christmas Musical dress rehearsal and a staff Christmas dinner in the evening. Today was my “last shot”.

Yesterday I hunted all day with about 10-guys – most of them from our church. No deer for any of us. The first week of the season I was out on opening day and had a couple deer within sight, but wasn’t able to squeeze off a shot. Last Thursday I hunted all day with about 15-guys – only one 7-point buck fell to the youngest among us (way to go, Kenton!).

Today I was invited to join a 50-year hunting veteran, Denny, in the woods for my last chance at a deer this season. He offered to pick me up and would even secure me a tree stand to borrow! I was pumped to get into the woods this morning. The tree stand I was given to use was a Tree Lounge model – if you don’t know what a Tree Lounge tree stand is, please enjoy this old-school commercial:

I’ve never before used a “climbing” tree stand, so this was a new adventure for me this morning. I’m thankful that both Jason and Denny gave me lessons before just throwing me out into the woods on my own. After Denny got me setup to start climbing the tree this morning I climbed to about 12-feet before I cinched everything down and got in position. (I wondered all day if my body would survive a 12-foot fall versus a 30-foot fall). The view from my perch was fantastic!


At about 10:30, two doe ran up on my right-side startling me from my perch. I quickly grabbed my borrowed Savage model 99 (.300) rifle and put the scope on the first doe. They both continued to run and I lost my opportunity on the first, but took the shot on doe #2 and she ran about 10-yards and dropped! I was super excited.

From his perch about 300-yards away, Denny radioed me telling me I scared the liver out of him – it had been a wonderfully peaceful morning up in our trees. We sat for another hour before heading over to where my doe was.

20151211_113307I was pumped. I was pumped to have shot a deer which meant meat in the freezer for our family AND was pumped knowing that I had a 50-year hunting veteran standing over my shoulder to walk me through gutting this little lady.

20151211_113334Denny was patient with me as I butchered my way through the field dressing process. When we finished we walked down to a nearby stream to wash up before enjoying our lunch together.

We spent the remainder of the day back up in our stands – unfortunately we didn’t see any more deer. I’m so thankful for the day, for the deer, and for the memories!

I am already looking forward to next year’s deer season. Definitely looking forward to a chance at a buck. I’m also definitely keeping my eyes open during this off-season for a great deal on a Tree Lounge tree stand!

If you’re interested, my first two deer-harvesting experiences are chronicled here on my blog – Deer Diary Entry 1 and Deer Diary Entry 2

I love stumbling on stuff like this. It reminds me how much fun the Internet is.

Every church tech closet I’ve ever been in could use a little Bob Marley . . .

cord wrap

I decided to set up my GoPro for my latest pen-turning adventure. This was the first time I’ve tried to film one of these ‘makes’, so there is much more to be desired in the future.

This pen is from an authentic Olive wood blank from Bethlehem and is absolutely gorgeous. Olive wood continues to be my favorite wood for turning because if it’s incredible deep grain patterns.

Watch this time lapse of last night’s pen-turning:

Here’s the finished-product all set up for her first photoshoot:

Want one of your own? Contact me by leaving a comment, find me on Facebook, or check to see if I have any pens available in my Etsy store!

2660795085f911e3a5dd1267b18550af_8For the past two years I’ve had the privilege of joining my father and the Men’s Ministry at Port Ann Wesleyan Church (where my dad pastors) for their annual rabbit hunt. This year nearly 30-men split up in teams of 4, 5, and 6 and took off to various locations around Snyder County, PA for a day of fellowship and hunting. We all reconvened back at the church by 2PM to share our stories and crown the team with the most bagged game.

Last year our team of four got skunked without even a shot fired to our team. This year thankfully, we fared a bit better with three rabbits and a squirrel among our team of six. That amount, however, pales in comparison to the winning-team this year who brought home 11-rabbits and 2-squirrels to win for the second year in a row. I’m still not convinced that one of their team members doesn’t have a well-stocked rabbit pen that they visit each year. :)

I carried my chest-mounted GoPro this year and captured a couple hours of crawling-through-the-brush footage with only a few highlights to account for the almost 6-hours we were in the woods. Here is an almost 3-minute video from the hunt:

Thanks, Port Ann Wesleyan for inviting this out-of-county-er to come and join in the hunt! I’m already looking forward to next year!
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Gary Varvel

Gary Varvel