When people in Craig County and the surrounding counties hear “Wildlife Dinner,” many know exactly what that means.
On Saturday, March 3, over 300 people came through the doors of Camp Tuk-a-Way to enjoy a smorgasbord of wildlife meats, home-cooked side dishes and lip-smacking desserts.
“This is our tenth year and we are happy that so many came to join us. It seems like an annual family reunion,” Pastor Jay Law said to attendees. Pastor Jay’s church, Craig Valley Gospel Fellowship, initially started the gathering as a fundraiser.
“We are so thankful for the rental of Camp Tuk-a-Way,” church member Dana Law said. “We want to thank our Pastor who is the leader of our congregation. A special thanks to our dad, Roy, the eldest member of our church, who diligently prayed over his children with my mother to have all of his family in the church.”
Pastor Law added, “I want to thank all these people for the hard work they have put into this. I love and appreciate you all for coming out and working for days to get this ready.”
Several beautiful hand-crafted items were auctioned: two unique designed tables made by church members, which sold for only $100 each, and a handmade knife.
Raffle winners took home a Stihl Chainsaw, a 308 rifle and a 12-gauge pump shot and the 50/50 drawing gave one person $418.
There was no charge for the meals, only for attendees to “donate whatever one can.” Everyone received a ticket for the drawings of over 50 door prizes which consisted of camo shirts, handmade décor signs, outdoor gear, Sportsman Warehouse and restaurant gift cards. “We are very grateful to all the vendors who helped us raise funds for our church,” Law said.
The laughter, hugs and handshakes made for an atmosphere of friendly fun. “We don’t know many people here, as we’re from Blacksburg,” one couple shared. “But we feel like we are so welcomed. We have to come back next year.”
As attendees ate their food, gospel music saturated the atmosphere with joy. The Blacksburg band, Heavenbound, played and sang, and other church members joined in as well.
Squirrel, rabbit, rabbit stew, BBQ bear, venison and turkey along with pork chops and ham were the meats served. Most were killed and cooked by the men and the ladies who made the side dishes and desserts.
After everyone ate, Jeremiah Law played and sang a song about wildlife called “On God’s Front Porch.” Among the song lyrics include: “The great outdoors is the church and nature is the choir, so spend some time outside today and it will lift you higher.”
Pastor Kevin Altizer of First Baptist Church shared a story from the Bible about a shepherd boy named David who went to the battlefield where his brothers and the army were fighting against Goliath, the giant and the Philistines.
David was just a skinny youth and King Saul and his brothers claimed he couldn’t fight. But, David took his stand and stated, “Is there not a cause? Let no man’s heart fail, as I will go and fight with that Philistine.”
“There is a cause today,” Altizer said. “I’m crying out that families come together and fight to be strengthened by God and his word.”
“David took up five stones for his slingshot, though there was only one Goliath because he was willing to fight, and fight and fight,” Altizer explained. “He was a man in a boy’s body who was willing to take a stand.”
Altizer shared a story as he grew up deer hunting with his competitive uncle. His first gun was a semi-automatic. On one snowy cold day, Altizer was determined to get that buck he had seen. The footsteps he made echoed in the mountains due to the night’s cold snow.
“I had five shots in my gun and I was ready,” he shared. “I heard these light echoes getting louder and closer to me and that big buck stepped out.”
Altizer was excited, poised his rifle and shot all five. “I couldn’t eat it because it had so many holes in it,” Altizer said while laughing. Pastor Law added, “You had a hole-y buck!” All joined in the laughter.
“I’ve learned that in life I had better have some ammo shots ready because we all have to face giants, whether to be a good husband or wife, a parent or just living a Christian life can be a giant at times,” Altizer shared.
There were five ammo stones Altizer said was important in life: the word of God, heart and prayer, witnessing, fellowship and worship.
He asked if there were any ‘houndsmen’ around. “Don’t you like a dog with some heart? God likes it when we have the heart to serve Him and give it everything we got too.”
He added, “America can only be great again when we get back to God! Quit shootings by getting God back in the schools again. We have a cause.”
Pastor Law concluded, “Think about what Pastor Kevin shared and don’t be like water on a duck’s back thinking ‘I’m all right and we hope to see you next year.’”