Real Stories

TROPHIES OR TREASURES? - A hunter is one who seeks out or pursues prey. Man has always had a primitive instinct to experience the outdoors at it's fullest...to explore and discover new territory, to survive in the wild, to hunt to satisfy hunger. Even to this day, the instinct still resides in every man. Many hunters harvest animals to provide meat for their families. We also spend time and energy to pursue the ultimate prize, to bag that trophy buck or net a 10 lb. bass. We desire to put trophy mount on the wall for all to admire. The question that all hunters must answer is this...are you a trophy hunter or a treasure hunter? What is the difference? A "trophy" is defined as an item desired such as a plaque, award, or mount. Webster's dictionary defines a "treasure" as something of great value, to set aside for future use. Jesus spoke of trophies and treasures in the gospel of Matthew. He says to us, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures or "trophies" on earth where moth and rust can destroy, and thieves can break in and steal...but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust cannot destroy, and thieves cannot break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

As Jesus exclaims, a trophy such as a plaque, award, or mount can destroyed by moth or rust. Your B&C buck can be stolen in a New York minute. We seek trophies not only in the woods, but in recognition at work, our net worth, a bigger house, or faster car. It is that instinct in us that desires more, to succeed, to prosper. These are all characteristics of the "trophy" hunter.

The sad truth is all of the above trophies are temporary in life...destroyed and stolen in due time. When our life here on earth is over, these trophies will be left behind. What are the characteristics of a "treasure" hunter? This hunter pursues a prize that will not be destroyed by moth or rust. His prey is something that cannot be stolen. The treasure that is desired is something that cannot be seen or touched. The treasures that Jesus commands us to hunt are eternal. The searetreasures to be "set aside for future use"! They will be taken with us when we are called. What are the treasures that Jesus Christ is referring to? They are simply the relationships in our life here on earth...a loving relationship with your wife, the Godly teaching and nurturing of your children or grandchildren. How about the kindness and encouragement extended to your coworkers, friends, strangers on the street? The fruits of seeds you have sown may not be seen in this life; but will been joyed for eternity in heaven. I ask again, hunter?? While there is nothing wrong with seeking an earthly trophy...we must strive to be the treasure hunter that God calls us to be!

Written by Thomas E. Naumann of EATSLEEPHUNT.com


HUNTING - PASSION OR OBSESSION? - Would you say that hunting is a "passion" or an "obsession" to you? Or maybe both?? Mossy Oak camo has a slogan that says, "Hunting is not a passion, it's an obession!" Webster's Dictionary defines passion as a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept. When passion becomes an obsession, we have taken our desire to a totally different level. Webster defines obsession as a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling. Do you see the obvious difference?

A serious and dedicated hunter knows the difficult challenge of pursuing wild game. It takes commitment and preparation. The challenge of the hunt and pursuit of the prize drives us to succeed, at all costs. Our time, energy, and money is devoted to harvesting a Boone & Crockett buck or gobbler with a 12-inch beard. Season after season, we hunt for game that is bigger and better than ever. At least 50% or more of the hunters that come to my hunting lodge base their experience soley on killing an animal. As many hunters know, you come home empty-handed a whole lot more than not. These hunters always leave the lodge depressed, dissatisfied, and defeated. They arrived with more than a passion for hunting, they were afflicted with an obsession for the sport.

Some of you are thinking, there is nothing wrong with being obsessed. The words of this website...EAT, SLEEP, HUNT could even describe an obsession. It seems so innocent and harmless. It actually couldn't be farther from the truth.

What is the truth? The truth is that hunting may have become more of an obsession than a true passion. Answer some important questions...what gives you more joy and excitement? Hunting or God? Hunting or wife? Hunting or children? Hunting or church? If you answered hunting to any of those, you may be obsessed or disturbingly preoccupied with hunting. I know many guys than spend more time in the treestand than they do with their family. They work all day and hunt the rest of the time. Could it be that we have our priorities reversed. The legendary football coach, Vince Lombardi, said his loyalty was to God, family, and the Green Bay Packers. He had it right. For many, their priority list is hunting, work, family, and God. We spend so much time in search of earthly trophies rather than eternal treasures. All the mounts on the wall cannot be taken with you. It is only the relationships with God, family, and friends that will produce everlasting fruit. Invest in these things, it will pay big dividends in your life. There is nothing wrong with having a strong passion for hunting, it fires me up! Nevertheless, it is my hope and prayer that we enter this deer season with a new passion for hunting, not an obsession.

Written by Tom Naumann, owner of EATSLEEPHUNT.com and Cherokee Run Hunting Lodge LLC.


CREATION VS. EVOLUTION - What is it about hunting that draws calls a man into the great outdoors? Is it the thrill of the hunt? Provide food for your family? Put a trophy on the wall? The answer for many is "d", all of the above. Could there be any other reasons that would lure a man to the woods?

For a real hunter, there is a an undeniable peace and solace found in a deerstand. As the sun begins to peak above the horizon, the world comes to life. The forest is filled with the chorus of birds singing, owls hooting, squirrels chattering, and even mosquitoes buzzing. The experience is exhilarating and awe-inspiring to say the least. Your heart and soul become one with Creation. No sirens, no redlights, sounds of heaving equipment and cars on the highway...only the natural sounds of the wild.

We live in a society today that questions the Creation of the world. Who is responsible for the beginning of life and how did it come into existence? The majority of Americans would say that God or a supreme being is responsible. Many also believe that evolution is the answer. Evolution supporters believe that all living creatures evolved from tadpoles or primates. However the evolutionist must answer the question...how did life in any form begin? There must be a starting point. It is only logical that an almighty power created life as we know it. God Almighty is fully capable of speaking life into existence. He spoke and it was, in only six days according to the Bible.

The finite mind of man desires proof and logic to justify all things. The fact is God's ways are higher than man's ways. We can't comprehend His power and might. We can only accept it through faith, believing in the unseen. It is a difficult proposition for many seeking scientific evidence. With mankind being created in God's image, it is within the heart of man, the belief in the Creator of the universe. You can deny, argue, and debate till the cows come home, but you know in your soul that God created you. Why? To have a loving relationship with you, to be your friend. He knows you by name. Even the hairs on your head are numbered, if you have any left! As far the wildlife and environment, He blessed us with unspeakable beauty and serenity. Seek Him in the deerstand. He is evident through His Creation. On every hunt, He speaks to you in a still, small voice. Answer the call as you enjoy God's great outdoors.

Written by Tom Naumann of EATSLEEPHUNT.com


African-KuduAFRICAN ADVENTURE - A few years ago, I was fortunate to go on a 10-day hunt in Africa. The journey to the Dark Continent was life changing and memorable. The experience tested my faith, strength, and endurance like never before. I finally understand the definition of the word "adventure".

The adventure started before we ever stepped off the plane. International security was hightened as a result of 9/11 and there had been a terrorist bombing in Kenya a few weeks prior to our departure. After flying for 20 hours, almost half way around the world, this Carolina boy was a long way from the house. I step off the plane in Durban, South Africa, along the Indian Ocean, into a whole new world. The Discovery Channel didn't prepare me for what would lie ahead! We drove 2 hours inland to the land of the Zulus. The history of their heroic fight against the British military was incredible. You must understand that where we were going there was no Walmart to pick up a few last-minute items, no McDonald's for a Big Mac combo, or Urgent Care for stitches and snakebites.

It would take an Ernest Hemingway type book to come close to retelling the play-by-play action in the 10 days I was there, but I'll give you a few Sportscenter highlights. My body was pushed to the limit by covering enough ground in the bush to run a couple marathons, gasping for breath and thirsting for water on a 1 mile stalk for a trophy Kudu. I contracted some unknown virus and layed up for a day with a high fever, nausea, and diarrhea, fearful that I might not make it home. As I slowly regained some energy, I pressed on. The encounters with wildlife are numerous...standing face-to-face with a Warthog, sitting alone in tall grass with Leopards around, having a Spitting Cobra raise up and flare it's hood at me, looking a wounded baboon in the eye as he breathed his last breath. Stalking, running, crawling through bush with 2 inch thorns left the body bruised and bloody. The adventure was a test of will, mind, body, and soul.

Why you ask? Why would a man travel that far from home to an environment filled with risk and pending danger?? The answer seems so complex, yet so simple...a hunter yearns for a challenge, to experience the thrill of the hunt. God created man with a heart that desires more out of life...to climb mountains, to explore new territory, to discover everything life has to offer. We were created by God with a mind, body, and spirit that can accomplish great things. The Bible say in Phillipians..."I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" The adventure in Africa humbled me to understand that I am not as strong as I think I am. It is only by putting our faith and trust in God that a man can be all that He created us to be, to find His purpose for our lives. Like hunting, life is full of adventures, trials, and tribulations. Look to God for the strength to endure all things. Remember the words of the prophet Isaiah as you move forward..."But they they wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they will run and not grow weary, walk and not faint." Enjoy the adventure!

Written by Thomas E. Naumann of EATSLEEPHUNT.com


SURROUNDED BY WILD BOAR - As a hunting guide, I have the wonderful challenge of leading or "guiding" a hunter to a successful hunt and harvest. Instant gratification comes when a client smiles, hollers, and shakes your hand in victory. The harvest of game is the fruit of our labor, our reward for scouting, managing, and tracking game day after day. While the life of a guide can be rewarding, it is not void of risk.

swampFor years, I have guided hunters in search of deer, turkey, and wild boar in the swamps of South Carolina. In addition to the big game animals, the swamp is a home to cougars, coyotes, bobcats, and venomous snakes. Rattlesnakes and cottonmouths are found in abundance. Mosquitoes swarmed about in squadrons. It was just a few months ago that a monster cottonmouth struck my boot with fury. Maybe I should consider hosting a show on the Discovery Channel or Animal Planet!

The role I play in the wild is the "hunter". There are times however that I feel like the "hunted". Early in 2006, I was tracking a wounded wild boar in the thickest, most nasty area of the swamp. It is an area that often requires me to crawl with a pistol in one hand and flashlight in the other. The hunter had shot one of eleven hogs that weighed over 200 lbs. When I picked up the blood trail, the boar were close and would not vacate the area. Despite my presence, they grunted and snorted in defense of their fallen companion. The wild boar is a sympathetic animal, much like an elephant. They are often reluctant to leave one of their own who is wounded or dead.

Reluctantly, I followed the blood trail with the hogs only 30 yards ahead. They stood their ground as moved forward slowly. The herd proceeded to encircle and entrap me as I stood motionless in water and vegetation so dense that I could not see. The darkness heightened my fear as I swung my light to movement only 15 yards away in the brush. I was helpless, out of control. At that moment, it was my prayer that these were Christian boar, not seeking to hurt a "brother". The bone-chilling resonance of their grunts made me think otherwise! They didn't sound too friendly at that time. I was forced to call for backup and holler for the hunters to come to my aid. It was then that hogs gathered together in response to the increased pressure. We found the 300 lb. boar only 20 yards ahead. The rest of the herd didn't go quietly into the night as they thundered away. While the experience was most exhilarating, I still had to change my underwear back at the lodge!!

Written by Thomas E. Naumann of EATSLEEPHUNT.com


hunting-sunsetPREPARATION TO HUNT - How much you prepare and practice for a hunt can determine the success or failure of your endeavors. Many hunters will say that hunting success takes a little "luck". Being at the right place at the right time can certainly be considered as luck. However, I believe that "luck" is defined as "preparation" combined with "opportunity"! Having been involved in athletics my whole life, I believe you "play like you practice" It is unbelievable how much time, money, and energy that we devote to passionate pursuit of an animal. We buy the latest and greatest rifles, bows, scopes, camo pattern, broadheads, bullets, treestands, game cameras, cover scents, lures, and any other gadget that will give us a competitive advantage in the field. We spend countless hours scouting and sitting in treestands, forsaking anything and anyone to head to the woods or water. A hunter will arise at 4:00 AM and hunt til dark. We are obsessed, the reason my web address includes the words EAT...SLEEP...and HUNT!

Is all this prepartion worth it? You bet it is! All the time, money, and energy invested pays off when you track spot a huge 10 pt buck slipping cautiously through the woods. The adrenalin starts to flow as you raise you gun or bow to your target. Your real-huntingshot is pure and precise and finds its mark. You follow a blood trail that leads to the downed buck with it's beautiful rack standing high off the forest floor. The experience encourages a hunter to holler, yell, and even cry. While you may be prepared to hunt, are you equally prepared for life? What do mean by that, Tom? My answer may not make you feel comfortable, but it is the truth...and the truth will set you free! God created the world and all creatures for us to enjoy and even hunt. More importantly, He created us in His image, to having a loving relationshipwith Him. Our sole purpose in life is to commit ourselves to Him. The sin in our lives, however, created a gap between us and God. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world (you and I), that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him, will not perish but have eternal life." It took the loving sacrifice of Jesus Christ on a cruel cross to bridge the gap created by our sin. To live now and for eternity with God takes preparation and dedication. God offers all of us the FREE gift of salvation through His Son Jesus. All we have to do is accept it. What you do with God is a question that every man will have to answer and many of us have run from it long enough. How can you prepare for life on Earth and in Heaven? It is simple, just pray this prayer with every fiber of your being...God, I know that I am a sinner. I understand that I need you in my life. I believe that you died for me. Forgive me of my sins, come into my heart as Savior and Lord. Lead, guide, and direct me all the days of my life. If you prayed this pray my friend, you are now prepared for life and eternity in Heaven. One last thing, as evidence of your commitment to Jesus Christ, profess your decision to your family and friends. I would appreciate it if you would email me personally at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to celebrate with you. We are no longer just fellow hunters, we are brothers in Christ! God loves you and so do I!!!

Written by Thomas E. Naumann of EATSLEEPHUNT.com


Campfire

NEW BOOK RELEASE!!!

Around The Campfire, Devotionals for the Sportsman by Thomas Naumann.

Thomas Naumann is the president and founder of EATSLEEPHUNT.com and Cherokee Run Hunting Lodge LLC. Around The Campfire is a collection of devotionals based on his outdoor experiences from the mountains of Appalachia to the plains of Africa. In the early morning light by the stream, as the sun sets after a day in the field, God's message call us all to reflect on our lives. Read, relax, and enjoy Around The Campfire!