Technically, we weren't impatient, just out of time. And, technically, we were in Canada to hunt geese, not coyotes. But we had limited out on geese early in the morning and decided to squeeze in some coyote calling before an evening commitment.
At the first stand, Brent Stewart - whose prowess on a goose call contributed to our quick filling of our eight-goose limits that morning - coasted his pickup to a stop behind a swath of poplars that jutted into a stubblefield dotted with large bales of hay. Brent, L.P. Brezny and I slipped quietly around the trees and took up positions, L.P. watching the back door; Brent and I tucked tight against bales about 100 yards apart. At the first note from my call, a coyote cut loose a warning bark - about 25 yards behind L.P. But it might as well had been a mile because L.P. couldn't maneuver to get a visual on the critter.
I worked the Circe call, mixing in a little Critter Caller howling, for about 20 minutes but as we knew when we first heard the bark, we'd been busted and nothing was going to convince that coyote to show his face. Walking back to the pickup we discussed the stand. Nothing we could do, said L.P., an outdoor writer from Minneapolis. The coyote had probably been watching when we drove up and had paralleled us, staying hidden in the woods, then sat down to watch as we set up. Once the calling started, he decided to warn any other coyotes in the neighborhood to beware.
On the second stand, which was delayed by some deer scouting and Brent's stalk (no shots fired) on a beautiful high-antlered mule deer, we were again triangulated around a baled hay field. I was watching the back door with a Browning Gold semi- auto stoked with Winchester's 3 1/2" bismuth BBs (We were on a goose hunt, remember); L.P. played the distressed rabbit tune on a Burnham Brothers call. About 15 minutes into the set, with the evening commitment deadline nearing, L.P. called it and stood up, surprising the bejeebers out of a coyote that was trotting in across the cut hayfield. Brent leveled his .270 at the retreating coyote but held fire. Another "another-five-minutes-and-we-would've-had-him" story.
These back-to-back incidents illustrate two aspects of the old adage "patience pays off." Certainly, if we'd been patient (or had more time), we'd have gotten a crack at that big, silvery coyote. On the other hand, we couldn't have been any more patient or careful on the first stand and were done dealing before we had even started, though we didn't know until the coyote sounded the alarm.
Thinking maybe Brent thought we were expecting the kind of results he and his partners in Goose Master, their Peace River, Alberta-based goose hunting business, had provided us in the goose blinds the past three mornings I mentioned that I considered the hunt a success. Especially considering that where I come from we feel pretty good, downright successful, if we get positive confirmation - a visual or audio will do - at every other stand or so.
On the other side of the patience coin - the successful side, consider the patience of Gayle Verbeck, who took Nebraska's No. 4 non-typical whitetail with a bow - after 54 trips to his stand.
Patience paid off for Gayle Verbeck who took this monster non-typical whitetail on the 54th trip to his tree stand. The deer which has 18 points on its rack, plus two long drop tines, scored 201 2/8 Pope and Young.
Verbeck, of Ogallala, Nebraska, had seen the deer during a pre-season scouting trip and decided right then and there that was the deer he would hunt. Though there were a lot of days when he didn't see a deer, there were others when he saw plenty, including some tempting mature bucks, like the heavy-beamed typical that he guessed would score about 160 Pope and Young. He passed, maintaining his focus and patience.Every morning but four from September 15 opening day to October 24 - plus 15 evenings - he was in the tree stand. "To me, there is a lot of difference between hunting and killing," he said. "And I enjoy hunting."
The payoff came on day 54, the tail end of Day 54 with the light fading, when the deer stepped out of the cattails and worked closer and closer to his stand. The shot came at 23 yards. The total score was 201 2/8 Pope and Young, making the buck No. 4 among Nebraska bow-killed non-typicals and No. 62 in the overall P&Y listings. Of course, for every story you hear of patience paying off you hear another about some lucky sap who stumbled into the deer of a lifetime or who happened to show up at the right place at the right time to take a dream animal in the first five minutes of the season.
There's a thought among old-timers, and some new-timers with the right attitude, that if you do things the way you know they should be done - and that includes being patient, you're likely to be rewarded.
You've got to believe that Verbeck has it right. There's a difference between hunting and killing. And if you don't enjoy the hunting, maybe you should take up another hobby.