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A DEER TRACKER'S JOURNEY

R.G. Bernier, legendary buck hunter from the Northeast, tells of his greatest pursuit.

Following the twisting, turning track of a giant wilderness buck is often filled with unexpected surprises and adventurous encounters. R.G. Bernier's life has been much the same. He has successfully tracked down and harvested some of the heaviest bucks to walk the forests of New England. R.G. has appeared in several major outdoor publications in America including Deer & Deer Hunting, North American Whitetail, Field & Stream and Petersons Hunting. He has written and self-published two very popular and well-received books, The Deer Trackers & On The Track.

R.G.Bernier lectures to packed audiences across the country, runs a unique consulting business for deer hunters, Big Whitetail Consultants, and founded an annual deer hunting school to better today's huntsmen.

In his own words, here is where R.G. Bernier's track has led him.


THE START OF THE TRACK
It's difficult to believe I've reached the point in life where I now find myself. It's even harder for me to imagine the fortuitous opportunities that I have been granted.

Growing up my aspirations were to play major league baseball and hunt whitetails. Both endeavors consumed all of my thoughts and energies. Early on I was diagnosed with a birth defect, a hole in my lower mitral valve within the heart.

As a nine-year old lad, little did I realize the magnitude or seriousness of the situation. Back in 1968, open-heart surgery was certainly not a common operation, and great risk was undertaken to repair the hole.

Lots of thoughts ran through my young mind as I lay immobile for long durations following the operation. What happens if I die? Where will I go? What if I eventually live to be 100. Then what? I rationalized that there had to be something more after death than lying in a box buried beneath the earth.

After a complete recovery and a clean bill of health given by the doctors, I went on to play three sports in high school: baseball, football and wrestling; as well as make my mark as a deer hunter. No matter what I attempted I always felt the need to be the best. This possibly came as a result of my dad expecting great things from his son, and I surely didn't want to disappoint him.

THE TRACKER'S PRIZE
Little did I know what God had in store for me. I became best friends with two athletes whose fathers happened to be preachers. By observing their lives, it became apparent they possessed something I didn't. During this time of my life I met and began dating a Christian girl, Sharon Swendsen, who also magnified a definite difference in her lifestyle.

Finally, curiosity got the better of me and I invited myself to church with Scott (who later would be my best man). After several successive visits and attending a youth church camp, I realized what was missing in my life.

It didn't matter how good I tried to be. All of my efforts- when stacked up against God's requirements- fell far short as exemplified in - Romans 3:10 "There is none righteous, no, not one." I came to the conclusion that I, as all before me, was a sinner: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23). The penalty for my sin, according to God, was death: "For the wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23). The good news was that Christ had already paid for my sin by His death on the cross: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

To me, this was an easy track to figure out. All I need do is accept His free gift of salvation to be assured of eternity in heaven. - Romans 9:13 says, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

On August 25, 1977 I knelt before God and accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. This essentially became the greatest decision I have ever made in my life.

THE TRACK NEARLY ENDS
After high school, along with my new found faith, my buddy Scott and I headed off to Liberty University in Virginia. As part of a touring evangelistic team I traveled extensively. One cold, March night, as our van hit ice on the highway, we went into a tailspin and were hit broadside by an oncoming 18-wheeler. Closing my eyes upon impact I felt great peace as I thought, "this was it for me." A fractured cheekbone, a collapsed lung and several broken ribs were the result- but fortunately - I was alive. God obviously had further plans for my life.

THE SECOND GREATEST DECISION IN MY LIFE
Once I recovered from the near fatal accident, I became engaged to, and then married, my high school sweetheart, Sharon, and we began our Christian home together. God blessed Sharon and I with two wonderful children who have grown up within a happy, harmonious, stable and loving environment.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES
Placing my trust in Christ dealt not only with the question about where I would spend eternity; it also provided great peace and purpose to my life. As I follow the track laid out before me, with Christ as my Master Guide, it's one of total fulfillment.

Yes, whitetails have become a huge pursuit in my life, be it hunting, photographing, painting, speaking or writing about them. However, the focal point of my life is not whitetail deer, but rather my God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13 states it well: "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ." I echo the passion of the Psalmist, David, who wrote "As the deer panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God" (Psalms 42:1).

If you're searching for a hunt that will guarantee satisfaction, significance and security, the track to follow is the one leading to Jesus.

My hope is that the track you pursue each fall leads to a giant whitetail. It is my prayer, however, that along this journey you make the decision to accept His free gift of salvation.
 


R.G. Bernier presents his multi-media whitetail deer programs to churches, public schools, civic clubs and sportsman's shows throughout the country. To secure him as a speaker, he can be contacted at:

Big Whitetail Consultants
77 Whites Bridge Road
Standish, Maine 04084
Telephone: (207) 892-3682
www.bigwhitetail.com/seminars.htm

 

Last Updated: 05/21/2011