Sow To Good Soil

Reader Contributed | January 2, 2023

Hoke Hamby, 6, with his first deer. He used a crossbow in Bartow County.

By Blake Hamby

My wife and I bought 26.5 acres of raw, grown-up, old hunting club land to eventually build our house on. With mostly planted pines with tons of undergrowth, we began cleaning and clearing with the dream of one day living there and having a place my boys could grow up on. 

Fast forward a year and a half and me and my boys, ages 6 and 2, had tilled a small, 1/2-acre food plot and planted some rye and chicory. While working, we talked about our Lord Jesus Christ and how like tilling the ground, we must renew our mind in God’s word, sowing His word in our heart like we did with the seeds in the ground. The boys listened as I told the story. I told them that God would send the rain, and for us, if we’ll sow God’s word to our hearts (to good ground), it would begin to grow. 

A week or so went by and the boys were so excited to see all the green sprouts coming out of the ground and got the reward for their hard work they’d put into the preparation. A month later, on Sunday, Nov. 27, Hoke decided he wanted to try to hunt with his pawpaw’s crossbow. We came home after church and practiced a while. He was on and ready to hunt. 

That evening my wife and I, and Hoke, slipped into a blind overlooking the food plot we had planted. As dusky dark closed in, two does made their way out to 30 yards but quartered away and didn’t present us the shot we wanted, so we elected to wait. As darkness fell, we were forced to go back to the house without a trigger pull. 

I was off Tuesday and told Hoke that I’d come get him out of school an hour early and that me, him and his mama were going to try it again. 

On Tuesday, Nov. 29, I spent most of the day working at the land cleaning up brush to burn, but all I had on my mind was the evening ahead. The time had come and I went to check Hoke out of school. I could hear him telling his teacher with excitement as they came down the hallway that he was going deer hunting. We got back home and quickly changed into our hunting clothes and out the door we went. 

We slipped in the blind around 3:30, and to our surprise a doe and two yearlings came out about 30 minutes in. We watched them feed out of range in the food plot, and they went up the hill and out of sight.

As the sun began to dip behind the treetops, I looked down in my lap and noticed my son with his eyes closed, his hands folded and praying that God would let some deer come out into the field. Only minutes had passed and I could see two does coming up the trail to the food plot. He was able to watch them come in, and so we again prayed that God would allow us to be successful and we would get a shot opportunity. 

Shortly after, both does walked our direction to 20 yards and turned broadside. He shouldered the crossbow, I flipped the safety off and he took aim. I watched as he pulled the trigger and the bolt zipped straight through right behind the front shoulder with a whap! 

The flood of excitement and adrenaline unleashed as we watched her dart back toward the woods. We hugged and cried and high-fived! His first deer was only laying 50 yards away. I had been waiting for this moment my whole life, and it didn’t disappoint. I was thankful my wife was able to experience it with us and get it on film.

I love my family, the woods, and the one who created it all. I’m thankful that He speaks to us in the simple things and that my child at 6 years old can understand the importance of preparation. Not just in the deer woods but in his own heart.


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