Outdoors speaker tracks the timeless

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 28, 2013

Steve Chapman is an outdoorsman. He’s the author of over a dozen books about the outdoors including “A Look at Life From a Deer Stand” and “A Hunter Sets His Sights.”

He’s spent most of his life hunting, fishing, hiking (a good bit of it on the Appalachian Trail), kayaking, and riding his motorcycle.

But you may not know him as a hunter. You may remember him more as a singer and family life speaker. And no, he’s not that Steven (Curtis) Chapman. Neither is he that Gary Chapman, the one who spent some time in this area and author of the popular Five Love Language series. This Steve Chapman is a singer, and for almost four decades he and his wife, Annie, have shared insights on marriage, parenting and character development through speaking, books, music and videos. They have been associated with Focus on the Family and the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove.

These days, however, Steve spends a great deal of time outdoors, and when he’s not in the wild, he’s talking about it. Drawing from his experience as a hunter and fisher, he addresses various aspects of the hunter’s life using stories, songs, video clips, music videos, and a steady dose of scripture.

Steve talks about the benefits of being a hunter — the “therapeutisc” value of solitude, forming friendships and how being a hunter contributes to wildlife management and conservation efforts.

But he also talks about how being an outdoorsman provides a dad (or granddad) with opportunities to be with his children. He can tell you how being a hunter can actually make you a better husband. (Wives, take note.). He talks about using time in the outdoors as times of legacy leaving and building bonds.

He tells of such experiences in a recent blog: “There are these guys (mature hunters) that showed up at deer camp who would bring their weapons but brought with them no intention of firing a shot. They wanted the living part of the experience, not the killing part. I noticed that given the opportunity, they’d much rather sit on a stand with a kid and enjoy watching their eyes light up, hear their heavy breathing, and be there at their first opportunity to shoot. That kind of “heritage passing” gave these elders much more joy than actually pulling the trigger themselves.”

Steve talks about other life lessons that can come from watching small unique features of animal behavior and seeing the larger implications for viewing nature and creation. “Even a simple question like “See anything?” that all hunters ask each other, like Chapman says, can spark a conversation as well as life altering insights.

But it’s when he talks about one of the primary most common experience of every hunter, that he is at his best and most distinctive – the experience of shedding blood. “Without exception, the most emotionally charged moment for me as a deer hunter is not when the animal is spotted or walks into range of any bow or gun; not even when I take the shot – it’s when I find the first drop of blood on the ground.

After the first sighting of the red proof my shot connected, I feel my pulse rate climb and my breath quicken. And as I slowly move along and find another drop, the words I whisper cannot be contained ‘Oh right there … and … there … and more there…’. “Finding and following a blood trail is an exciting thing indeed, but not just because it means there is a hard-earned deer waiting to be recovered.”

“In the tracking process,” this outdoorsman/speaker/singer/minister says, “is a very compelling illustration of the only hope any of us have in this life for being reconciled to God.”

  • Steve Chapman will be speaking at the 9th Annual Sportsman’s Banquet, sponsored by First Baptist Church of Salisbury. The banquet will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 14, in the First Ministry Center Gym at 220 N. Fulton St., Salisbury.

Tickets are $75 for a table of 8; $55 for a table of 6; and $10 per individual ticket. Dinner is included in your ticket price. Contact Rod Kerr or Lisa Kluttz at 704-633-0431 to reserve your tickets. Deadline for reservations is noon Monday, March 11.

  Rod Kerr is a staff minister at First Baptist Church – Salisbury.