The air was sticky with humidity from the thunderstorm that had just passed over. We eased over the rocky rise that provided the western boundary to the southern pasture. The walk in was just over 250 yards but, in the swampy Alabama summer heat, it seemed longer. We moved through a small stand of pines and set up on the edge of the field. As I scanned the grass there were no signs of movement. Everything was still and silent.
Brady eased about fifty yards out into the thigh-high grass and set up the call box. We were on the hunt for coyotes. This particular cattle farm was covered up with them. They wreak havoc on young calves and young deer. Our goal was to help reduce the number of predators and help protect the herd.
As Brady settled back down into our position we got ready. We mounted our rifles and dialed in the scopes. From our vantage point we could see roughly 1000 feet across the pasture, side to side. If there was a coyote coming to this field we had it covered.
“Ready?” Asked Brady.
“Ready!” I replied.
He hit the remote on the call box and it roared to life with the sounds of a howling coyote. What happened next was incredible.
After only three seconds of howling, the field and surrounding woods erupted. The eerie sounds of a coyote howl echoed back at us from all directions. There was a chorus of multiple howls around us. Adrenaline surged as the sounds came from every side. Coyotes came running into the field. Two to my left at 200 yards. Another stood straight up out of the tall grass only fifteen yards from where Brady had put out the call box. Two more from the far end, and another from the right.
Suddenly I froze. The sound of young pups yelped just yards behind me. I dropped my rifle and grabbed the shotgun unsure of how close the coyotes behind us were.
We were surrounded… literally. On every side there were coyotes. We were paralyzed momentarily while we tried to rationalize what was happening. We counted thirteen in total, including the pups, just yards behind us.
Something hit me after it was over. We had walked into the setup and didn’t even notice. We had sat down in the middle of this pack of coyotes and were not even aware of it. We were surrounded and we didn’t even know it. It was crazy. We were steps away from these animals and never realized it. They had been watching us the whole time and we were oblivious.
The incident with the coyotes that day got to me. It had my mind spinning. A few days later I was riding with my son and something clicked. I was being watched. I was surrounded and didn’t even know it. Every day people are watching me and how I live out my life. Not only my children but my friends, family, and coworkers. They are always watching to see if I really live what I say I believe. That’s the critical issue. The world is full of people who say they believe something but often times their actions don’t reflect that same set of values. I believe we are drawn to people who are authentic and who actually live what they say. This is the kind of man I want to be. The truth is, however, people will always be watching to see if what they see on the surface is indeed the man I am inside. Figuring out “who” is watching you is not as important as simply understanding that someone is watching. When I remember that someone is watching me it reminds me to live out what I believe.
Whether you want to admit it or not - you are a man who matters. You are influencing someone. We all are. We are either influencing them towards something or away from something. This is how God designed us. We were made to influence the world around us, no matter how big or small that world is.
When we realized we were surrounded that day in the south pasture, it changed the game. We had to respond and make decisions. When you realize you’re being watched by your kids, your family or your friends it should change the game for you.
Who is watching you? What choices do you need to make to be authentic? What do you need to do differently so that how you live is reflecting what you claim to believe? You are influencing someone. Don’t miss your opportunity today. You are a man who matters… live like it!