Dave Hrbacek grew up hunting and fishing. He remembers fishing with his father and four brothers when he was around 5 years old. He then came squirrel hunting and, when he finished college, he hunted wild turkeys. Hrbacek eventually began hunting deer during firearms and archery seasons.
For Hrbacek, a great attraction is being in nature. “God created this wonderful natural world that we live in, and it’s nice to get out of the city … and get out into the fresh air and into the beautiful world that God created,” he said. Hrbacek, a photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit, said a second attraction is “the ultimate challenge” of bowhunting deer.
“I love the whole experience, even the cooking aspect because it’s one of my favorite parts,” said Hrbacek, a parishioner at St. Charles Borromeo in St. Anthony. Hrbacek recently joined “Practicing Catholic” radio show host Patrick Conley to discuss the connection between hunting, fishing, outdoor photography and being a practicing Catholic.
When asked how the hunting experience brings him closer to God, Hrbacek drew a parallel to the concept of waiting, recalling how the Israelites had to wait years, or even decades, for God’s help. “I think we’ve lost a lot of that sense of what I call ‘waiting on the Lord,’” he said. But whether it’s on a boat or at a deer stand, he inevitably spends time waiting, Hrbacek said. “So I think there’s a very strong spiritual connection to waiting on the Lord,” he said, “and I think that might be one of the strongest ways that I experience God.”
Hrbacek has been sitting at a deer stand for 10 or 12 hours straight, and suddenly an animal appears. That happened in 2012 with five minutes left in the gun season, when he saw a large deer walk towards him.
In that kind of situation, he believes that God helps people learn to be patient and wait on him. “I still have to remind myself that waiting is a very important part of spiritual life,” he said.
Hrbacek is also a longtime nature photographer, which pairs well with his desire to explore the great outdoors, including the North Shore, sometimes to see fall colors near Lake Superior. He has taken photos on trips to Glacier National Park in Montana several times, and in Banff, Canada’s oldest national park, in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta.
As with flower photography, “the more you zoom in, the more detail you see… the more you realize, wow, there’s an artist behind all of this,” Hrbacek said, knowing God created it all. “It’s so powerful to see God at work creating all of this, and the sense of wonder and awe is so powerful.”
Look for Hrbacek’s articles and photos in the print edition of The Catholic Spirit and online at TheCatholicSpirit.com.
To hear the full interview, tune in to “Practicing Catholic” on August 5 at 9 pm, repeated August 6 at 1 pm and August 7 at 2 pm on Relevant Radio 1330 AM.
Produced by Relevant Radio and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the latest show also includes an interview with Kenna and Pat Millea, who discuss their new initiative to provide faith-filled mental health services for individuals, couples and organizations, and a repeat interview. September 17 with Bishop Jason Gray of the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois, which describes the process of becoming a canonized saint. monsignor gray had He worked for the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which oversees the canonization process.
Listen to their interviews after they have aired on:
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Category: practicing Catholic