Two journeys, one journey, or none?

  • Two journeys, one journey, or none?
    by Greg Dykstra
    © 2016 Primal Rights, Inc

    In all the time I've been coyote hunting, I've gone with very few people. It was usually a solo activity. I appreciated that. There was always something about being out there alone that generally allowed me a peaceful hunt. Perhaps it was selfish. Though if I take that thought past step one, I've always been selfish when I am learning things. It's extremely stressful for me to be responsible for someone else's experiences when I myself do not yet have something figured out. I take a tremendous amount of pride in being someone that others can count on. If I give an answer, the person asking can be assured it’s correct, otherwise no answer is given. That’s been part of me as long as I can remember. This is not without effort, and certainly not without ill effect. It turns out that the truth of things, is very often unpopular. Etiquette dictates that people are to be allowed to be wrong in social situations. Whether one-on-one interaction or gatherings of people, most are more concerned about being accepted than adhering to the truth. It is a harsh reality to face the fact that the truth as I so plainly see it, is not necessarily seen that way by others, nor do they want it explained to them in any way. To put succinctly toward the topic at hand; the way I want to hunt, isn’t necessarily the way they want to hunt.

    This was a fact I learned extremely quickly after going hunting with a few predator hunters from my area over 10 years ago. Turns out I do not have any patience for fellow predator hunters that take 400yd shots at coyotes, and miss, instead of letting the dog come. Hunters that want to go to YOUR spots, but have none of their own. Hunters that drive around chain smoking all day long rather than get out and put in sets. Hunters that think a 300 Win Mag Remington 700 with tupperware stock is the best coyote calling rifle there is. After spending the day with my head out the window trying to escape the choking cloud of stupidity and smoke, it was the first day of calling in my life where I couldn’t wait for it to be over. Thankfully they “had some things to do” and dropped me off early in the afternoon. I went out and smacked 3 coyotes later that day, alone. A short time later I took a local 19-20yr old kid calling. He thought it would be a great idea to use FMJ’s on coyotes, and blast away with his AR as soon as the dog showed up anywhere, instead of letting it come. After tracking a dog for almost a mile, we lost sign and lost the dog. There were others I went with that winter as well. Turns out that everyone wants to go calling with someone that has spots to go and knows how to do it. It was the worst winter of calling I can recall. After that, I vowed to never go hunting with unknown entities again. I learned very early on in my life that I take everything very seriously. I go all the way, or I don’t go at all. Compounding this personality trait is the inability to respect people that aren’t like that. I spend countless hours proofing my coyote hunting rifle and ammo before going calling. Tens of thousands of dollars of reloading equipment and support equipment, all to ensure that when I finally get a coyote to come take a look at me, it’s the last time he looks at anything on this earth. I’m a shooter. I’m a hunter. By the very definition of those things, my life is structured entirely around them. These people I hunted with are cut from a different cloth all together. They drag their rifle out of the closet, go to the store and buy a box of 20 of the cheapest ammo they can discover, and if they can hit a milk jug with it at 100yds they’re good to go hunting. Yet if you ask them, they’re shooters and hunters too. They consider themselves the same as I. The only reason they are really going anyway is to escape their torturous wives and broken lives. These people, right then during that short period of my life, showed me the path I did not ever want to be on. I bet there are people reading this right now that are just like me. Serious shooters. Serious hunters. Serious people. Like me, you can be serious about what you love and also have fun. The more prepared and trained you are, the more fun you have. No doubt you also know, just as I do, that we are exceedingly rare. So rare, that also like me, you’ve likely stopped searching for others. That gaggle of fools I went hunting with one winter over a decade ago, nearly destroyed any desire I had to communicate with any other hunters, whole and entire.

    The author, in 2003.

    Since that time, I can count the number of people I’ve gone coyote hunting with on one hand. In 10 years, despite putting in well over a hundred to several hundred sets each year, I’ve gone with five people. Of those five, I no longer call with two of them. One due to him moving away, and one because we parted ways. The other three people I still call with. Two of those guys I’ve gone with a few times, and would go again… but we just haven’t hunted together much at all. A few sets only, but it was fun. Most hunts I go on these days, I have my good friend and cameraman with me. He has hunted with me more than any other person in my life. We’ve spent unimaginable hours in the field in the last 4 years. While most people are working jobs they hate, we’re out there. I’m in charge of where and how we hunt. He’s in charge of capturing it all. It’s like hunting alone, except better! I’ve asked him if he wants to trade off and have me hop on the camera, but each time he tells me that he gets every bit the same rush behind the camera as he does behind a rifle. This suits me fine, as he now has more experience than I with the camera anyhow. For me on the other hand, nothing, and I mean nothing on this earth feels like what I feel behind the rifle, watching that dog work its way in on us. The dynamic works marvelously well. There’s no competition. We don’t need to take turns. We don’t need to hunt different spots. We both get to do what we do at the same time, every time. After years of this we’ve formed a bond not easily broken. Our communication on set is boiled down to instinct. He walks where I walk. He moves how I move. We do not need to talk. My time in the military was the last time I can recall having that kind of symbiotic instinctive capability with others while engaged in relatively complex maneuvers afield. It’s a very unique and fulfilling experience when you can be in out afoot for that long with someone else and not be tripping over each other’s behavior. Experience is the only thing that can create those kinds of choreographed movements set after set.

    Time. I can frequently be heard saying that time is the most valuable commodity we have. Once it’s passed, there is nothing that can draw it back. Money, power, nor desire can bring those moments back to be written again. Every moment spent upset, is a moment that was not spent elated. Our perception of time is linear, despite the knowledge that time is infinite. How little we know of our existence. How feeble our understanding of what we are here for. Yet how content people are to spend their time as they do with no thought of it. Whether you waste your time, or someone else wastes it for you, the result is the same. Just as the result is the same, so too is the inescapable fact that you can control both. Time is like a pocket with money inside, only you don’t know how much is in there to begin with. Each person in your life, requires you to reach into that pocket and hand a quantity over to them. Are they worth it? Are you worth it? As I age I find myself being very selective about who I reach into that pocket for. Coyote hunting the way I hunt coyotes pulls a lot of weight from that pocket. I hand it over happily and willingly. I structure my life so there is an abundant budget for it. As I journey through time, extremely selective am I indeed when it pertains to who spends that budget with me. Only the most important people are allowed to enter that timeline.

    It has been more than 8 years since my wife and I joined hands. In that time I have never taken her coyote hunting. Not because she is less important than other people whom have been hunting with me, but because we simply have different roles to fulfill along our journey together. In a time where seemingly every man complains about his wife and every wife complains about her man, we stand apart. We were born into the wrong century, her and me. Our lifestyle, our choices, usually come as a supreme shock to all we tell. When I tell other men, what starts as disbelief often turns to jealousy. When she tells other women, what starts as disbelief often turns to pity and anger. Since our first child was born nearly seven years ago, my wife and I have not had anyone watch our children other than two times so that we could go to a movie together. There were about 3 other times in there during medical emergencies where others watched them, but they were always the closest people to us. Never a “babysitter” in the traditional sense of the word. Who can possibly care more about children than their parents? It would seem that in the modern world, most parents have other considerations. I’ve seen women whom had given birth, and not 2 weeks later hired a babysitter and were out partying. With children growing up with the instinctive knowledge that their parents really don’t care about them, it’s no wonder they turn out with a warped perspective on life and love. They are raised by babysitters, the school system, and television. It goes without saying that we have other plans for our family. Our children’s mental health and physical wellbeing are the most important things in our lives. It was a major decision for us to both go on a trip without our children. We both decided, it was time.

    We’d like to take you along with us, out there, for just a while.

    Our hunt starts like every other, with a trip to Coyote Cabin. We arrive late afternoon and get everything setup and ready for our stay. Checking in with some neighbors is always a priority. We enjoy visiting with good, like-minded, folk. After that, we head out for some evening scouting. Mother Nature obliged us by producing nearly all of the creatures in the local wildlife directory. Mule deer, whitetail, and pronghorn were in steady supply. As the night’s setting sun was consumed by the horizon, they poured forth. The pace of the light’s retreat, seemed matched by the pace at which every terrain feature and piece of foliage produced an animal. Far removed from the square sections where every possible inch of dirt is farmed right to the road and horsepower-hunting puts carnal fear into all of God’s creatures, the wildlife here are largely at ease with our vehicle as it passes. A mule deer doe and two new additions from this spring fought their flight instinct valiantly as I parked not 25 feet from them. A proud animal indeed. Defiant, as their namesake.


    In the morning, we get an intentionally late start. I wanted to make sure we weren’t rushed and had good enough light to drink the whole experience in. A stark contrast to the military-esque operations I launch when accompanied by my usual hunting companion. I wasn’t too sure what kind of pace she could absorb, so I thought it best to keep things pretty low key. Time together afield was the only real goal. We had gone shopping for some camo a few days prior. Everything was fitting nicely and with comfort achieved, we were out the door. On the way to the first set, a coyote ran across the road. I could have easily hit the skids and pulled the 22-250 across the roof to end his run right there. In years past, I would have. These last few years, I find myself refraining. Killing them with my shear capability as a rifleman doesn’t hold the sway it once did. I still crank a deserving dog out the window once in a while, but it’s rare anymore. If I kill them there, I can’t call them later, and calling is what it’s all about for me. The coyote doesn’t slow. He looks over his shoulder every few strides, but is otherwise flat out. She was amazed at how fast it was.

    We arrive at our first set to find the morning still crisp at 35 degrees. The forecast says it’s going to be hot today, but we don’t dare leave our warm gear behind. Packs on, truck hidden, we move out toward our first coyote set together. Won’t it be something if I can lay one down for us here? I had chosen a spot with immense cover and large draws folding down toward us. Prairie dog towns, water, and intense brush and tree cover. A coyote paradise if one existed. It’s a good as set as I could come up with. First set, or last set, it has the capability of producing no matter the event. We settle into a great spot overlooking a great valley with a clear view of the downwind for several hundred yards. A requisite on sets I design. It’s quiet. I start in on some low volume distress on our very own String call. A few sequences, and I ratchet up the volume. No takers. I change out to the Rope call to broadcast a bit better. A few sequences and still no fuzzy ears moving in on us. My eyes catch movement. It’s far. It’s very far. I pull the Swarovski EL Range binoculars from my Alaska guide creations chest rig and raise them to my eyes. Coyotes. Two of them. Over 1500yds away they are as the laser pings the hillside they stand upon. I chuckle. Technology. Expensive, but grand. They are moving away. I’ve called coyotes in from farther. I take the Cable from the left side of my chest rig and send some pup distress at the speed of sound right into those coyote’s ears. They hear me. I see them stop and look back over their shoulders through the Swaro’s. They continue leisurely moving away. I turn to my wife and say, “They are doing it again. Whatever they were doing last weekend, they’re still doing this weekend. They just don’t care. If we want them, we have to go after them. They are a long ways away. It is nasty terrain. We can go back to the truck and find more easy sets, or we can go after them. Your call.” She looks dead at me with excitement in her eyes, “Let’s go get them!” You got it woman! Pick up that pack and let’s go! I’m 6’1” 220lbs, and despite my appearance, I’m pretty well accustomed to long treks like this through the backside of beyond. She’s 5’6” and hasn’t been on a true hike for almost a decade. I’m skeptical, but even if I need to haul her out on my back, we’re doing it. Some things you just can’t see until you’re in there deep.

    We cover the first 800yds pretty quick. It’s largely flat and concealed behind hills. No way the dogs could spot us, so the pace is brisk. I wanted to close the distance quickly before they had too long to move out of the country. We stop in a large bottom to shed some clothing. The sun is up full force and we’re soaking it up whether we want it or not. Packs on again, I crest the hill top with the bino’s pressed to my eyes. There they are. They’ve moved in deeper. 1200yds away, and with the wind up, I’m not comfortable with a shot from here. They are milling around a large thicket. With the sun moving ever higher, and the temperatures pushing 70 degrees, I figured they would find a nice shady spot there and lay down. We roll back down into the big bottom and work our way down it, quartering away from the coyotes, still completely concealed by the terrain. We finally reach the bottom and turn up a cut that heads up toward the last location we saw them. It gets tight in there. Some of the bends expose us completely. Our pace slows to that of a snail as we low crawl and crawl our way through thickets and washouts. Finally we get to a place where we’re concealed from where I think the coyotes are. We drop the packs there, and I take off solo on a crawl to an opening in the weeds providing a view of their last known location. I scan for upwards of 15 minutes, and see nothing. The thicket is 750yds away to the center, 850 to the far edge. That’s kill zone for my 22 Creedmoor. If I can lay eyes on them, I can kill one. Nothing. I decide to get into a firing position. I slither my way back to the packs and my woman. She’s doing great. I let her know that I’m going to take my rifle and rear bag up through the wash into a firing position and see if I can find them. My hopes is that the 15x Tangent Theta will peer into those shadows a bit easier than my 10x handhelds will allow. It’s been a while since I’ve done a proper skull drag. It was only 30yds, but it seems like it takes forever. Not even a low-crawl. Skull. Drag. I was thankful that my TS Customs hat was holding up to the abuse. Once in position, I laid behind the rifle for a minute, letting my eyes catch up to the lack of oxygen in my blood. Then I scanned, and scanned some more. The TT315M optic showed me things the Swarovski’s couldn’t. Though none of those things were a coyote. I scanned for 20+ minutes, peering into the dark heart of the shadows as I waited optimistically expecting to be greeted by an ear twitch, head turn, or paw scratch at any moment. An 80gr hybrid lay in wait beneath turrets already graced by a rough firing solution. As time passed, I was confident they would reveal themselves. They are just dogs. They can’t remain motionless forever. I on the other hand, can. Through the world class optic I worked my way through the thicket, bush by bush, weed by weed. I could count every twig. And nothing. I squeaked on a call, just a bit. Hoping to trigger movement. A head lifting from slumber. A flight response. Something. I bark slightly on the Cable. Nothing. I creep back to my companion to find her happily chewing on pumpkin seeds. I give her my report, and tell her we’re going to move up on this clearing and make a set. We do. Nothing shows. The coyotes are either not there, or they are simply sitting there watching us. Either way, I choose to leave without molesting them further. Clearly, they aren’t looking to play today.


    Here we are, almost two miles from the nearest road and I couldn’t even close escrow on these coyotes we pursued in here. There’s that bitter taste again. Familiar. Unwelcome. It is softened by the bright blue eyes I see when I glance behind me to ensure my traveling partner is still in tow. The look on her face is unmistakable. She’s never been in this part of the country before. Everything is new. Everything is beautiful. Everything is a surprise. We encounter wagon tracks from hundreds of years ago. Beautiful rock formations. Plants and insects she’s never seen. Were it not for the scattered fences, she could believe we were the first ones to ever set foot there. The terrain is vastly enormous. Awestruck, she continues on as I navigate our course back to the vehicle. I see several sets along the way, and we take each opportunity to test them. While no coyotes give way to our efforts, the time seated takes the sting off the hundreds of yards of brutal terrain prior. I can feel my legs tiring. We slowly work our way up a massive incline. Up and up, for hundreds of yards. The thickets are tall, with their periodic shade providing needed relief from the crushing sun. We salvage those opportunities to rest and hydrate where we find them. I’m surprised at how well she’s doing. At long last, I crest the hill and see the entire ground in motion. Hundreds of prairie dogs run for the safety of their burrows. Many perch atop their mounds sounding alarm, but unwilling to drop to the depths just yet. Well, we can’t just allow them to persecute us without some kind of response. I locate a brave little gut sack standing defiant about 200yds out. I line the rifle up on the little sod destructor and my wife crawls in behind the Desert Tech SRS-A1. They are a bear to shoot weak side, but since she is left eye dominant, she manages. Her NPA is set, she’s been instructed where to hold, the rifle is true, and I’ve done all I can do. A gentle press sends the bullet on its way. I witness the carnage through my bino’s as the offender is blasted from atop his mound in a hurricane of flesh and unspeakable gore. Straight from the script of a horror movie, king for a moment, on his throne of destruction, shall be king no more. She targets several other consorts and teaches them a thing or two about respect for one’s surroundings. She’s left her mark upon them. Noticing the complete void of life within the dog town, I too must take my pound of flesh. Wrath such as these devils wrought will not go unpunished. Not today. At a mere 265yds out, I spot the head of an evil-doer as he peers from the perceived safety his devastation has allowed. Safe you are not, as I slide the safety to fire, press, and decorate his abode with gray matter gumbo. Just beyond, I lay eyes upon two more consorts whom falsely believe strength lie in numbers. Not against what I’m sending. They share a silhouette, but failed to understand the difference between cover, and concealment. At 305yds, they feel my resolve. They stood together in the face of righteousness. They are now still together, all over the place. The penalty for stripping the landscape of plant life is death. Swiftly shall the sentence be carried out. The farthest shot I could find, and it will have to suffice. Justice dispensed, local flora avenged, we continue our trek.


    Not the dogs we had in mind, but dogs were killed none the less. Upon returning to the truck, we were both relieved that it was a solid 20 minute vehicle ride in the air conditioning before we arrived at our next stop. Some food, plenty of water, and a proper restroom was all welcome. We took our time. Took in some sights as well. It’s been a while since we did anything together without the pressure of time. We let plenty slip away before we get back at it. The next set was decidedly easier. Only 600yds or so from the truck and much flatter ground. It was met with no objections as I led her across the grazed grass terrain. A huge expanse of rolling prairie with no cover. Shots out here are typically longer, but it’s nothing I’m not used to.


    Rifle on the RRS tripod, ball head lever locked, caps open on the TT315M, and my companion tucked in behind me, I start in on some distress with the Rope. If there was anything in this vast openness, I was going to need the volume. After about 12 minutes I spot ears and then a familiar silhouette just tearing toward us. I had hoped to get a coyote coming in through the huge bottom in front of us, but that hope is always accompanied by a backup plan. I was positioned to see about 400yds down wind. I prefer more, but in this setup, the land just would not allow. Sure enough, this coyote is heading for the down-wind side as fast as his paws can be planted in front of each other. I have but seconds as I lift the tripod and rifle as one and swing it to my hard left. “WOOOooooooo!” I let out a howl with my mouth as the coyote comes to a broadside stop and presents himself for judgment. The Thunderbeast Ultra-7 .22cal suppressor hides the ferocity unleashed at my command. At a blistering 3525fps the 80gr hybrid screams through the dry air, smashing into the coyote’s shoulder. Driven by instinct, another round is cycled into the chamber as I watch the coyote drop, motionless. A beautiful and completely expected result of years of knowing, teaching, and preaching NPA bolt manipulation techniques. Confirmed down, I pop up out of cheek weld and scan the prairie while yelping pup cries through the Cable. No immediate action, I range the downed coyote. 352yds. I held for 350 instinctively. While only .6 mils up from my 100yd zero and a half a mil required for wind, misses can be made of less. Proud of myself, after a minute or so, I start back in on the distress. Not a minute later, here comes another coyote ripping through the prairie on the same course previously navigated by the other coyote. Whistling, barking, nothing stops him. His head on a swivel as he hunts. He trots right past the carcass of the other dog without a care and then slows, acting confused. He stops, just before he gets straight down wind of us. Before I can get a bullet airborne, he turns around and starts heading back. Neck extended, sniffer on point, as he creeps toward the dead coyote. His apprehension is justified. I let him get about 5ft away before I punch his ticket.


    En-route back to the truck, I get an education on all forms of rocks. Agates, petrified wood, and so on. Some are quite beautiful. Others just look like rocks. I found what I came looking for. She found some things she didn’t know she was looking for. Success comes in many forms. All are welcome.


    The wind had shifted as we were on our way back to the truck from the last set. I was paying attention to the rock hound as she laid down the 411 on her recent find. Interesting as I found it, my mind is always instinctually paying attention to the conditions and is preparing for the next set. There are only so many you can make during the course of a day, and if you plan to be a successful coyote hunter, you better know how to make them count. Even after recent legislation relaxed the night calling regulations, the laws are still archaic enough to make calling after dark extremely difficult. That means you have from sun up to sun down, and the later in the year it gets, the shorter that time becomes. Light was starting to fade fast. Once that sun hits the horizon, whatever set you are on, is your last. We move to a great spot as we sit on the down slope into a valley with three different cuts leading into it. Great terrain. We spot a reminder of what it’s like if you’re on the menu in this world. As good a spot as any.


    You can sit anywhere in this territory and feel tiny. Places like this always get me imagining what it must have been like for the settlers of this area as they came through here for the first time. Folks were hard back then. So very much harder than they are now. Makes me wonder if I could have taken it. If I couldn’t have, I’d only be met with one end. That of the bleached bones we now sit next to. My mind drifts back to the task at hand as I grab the Rope and start my best impression of a rabbit being torn from life and limb. My exploits attract an audience. Low and to my distant right I catch a curious beast resembling that ever familiar shape and moving with intention. I raise my binoculars in that deliberate movement I’m so programmed with and am greeted with the confirmation I awaited. Coyote. Inbound. Cautious, but unable to withstand my continued charms. I squeal just a bit, at just the right times. As the accused and convicted pursuer of sheep made its way ever closer, it would periodically pause and search with all its senses, desperate to locate the injured prey. Only at the perfect moments do I allow its ears to strain to hear the tiniest of squeaks of my lips. The lyncher of lambs cannot resist the temptations as it drops into the ravine below, using gravity to carry it down. Efficient, these most cunning of predators. No movement is wasted. Only for a moment is it in the bottom before it eagerly pops back up on our side, continuing its search. At 120 yards, and in the failing light, it sees. Something. It steps closer. Peering into the shadows against the setting sun, it knows we are out of place. You can run now if you want coyote. Your time has passed. You killed yourself 400+ yards ago. This place, this setup, you do not have a chance. You entered the wrong valley. There’s nowhere you can get to within 800yds of where you are standing that I can’t see. There’s nowhere in here I can’t impose my will. I know it, and you’re about to learn it. The confidence of a thousand sets. The confidence of tens of thousands of rounds. The operational envelope I cast is vast, and you’re deep inside it. Through the scope, I see its eyes, its whiskers, and every move of its mouth as it inches closer, trying to mask itself behind the small rise separating us. The shift. The unmistakable shift in expression upon the face of a coyote that is milliseconds from busting you. You betray yourself my friend. The trigger has been pressed. The bullet is in the air. The last few hundred yards of your life, didn’t even belong to you, and now you know. The hybrid slams into the upper chest of the coyote, just beneath the neck. The deep THUMP of bullet meeting flesh echoes through the valley. Beethoven had his piano. David Lee Roth had his guitar. I have my rifle. I turn to my wife and smile, giving her a little tap on the leg and a thumbs up. I continue to call for a while, hoping another of the earth’s most clever animals is curious enough to enter my domain. None arrive. It was a big dog. Big enough and old enough to tell me I’m doing things right. I tell my wife she can get close, just don’t be cuddling with it or else you’ll be sleeping outside tonight! As the light gives way to the darkness, we head back to coyote cabin, victorious.


    We get a great night's sleep in. The morning comes, and again we let the sun get a good look at us before we crawl out from the covers. We don't sleep the morning away, but we don't ignore the simple pleasures of a leisurely relaxed attitude either. Some breakfast. Some hot tea. As nice a shower as 2.5 gallons of purified hot water can provide. Partly for science, and part curiosity, we share a 5-gallon jug just to see if you can, and still feel human afterward. It works out well, and she even washed her extremely long and beautiful hair. She hasn't cut her hair for years, so it's well past her waist now. The simplest things can define a woman. We secure the camp and Coyote Cabin is left as we found it, just as every time before.

    We have plenty of time to get home, and she hasn't had enough! Neither have I really. We just need to get one more set in. Must do it. I plot a course home that takes us by some prime territory. Along the way we nestle into a hillside with the sun at our backs. I setup a legendary trap. Coyotes can come from anywhere, but in order to see, they are going to have to drop into a bowl out in front of me. It's 600yds wide and about as deep. If they pop up anywhere in there, done like disco. I give a glance at the little lady, and she's sitting with wide-eyed anticipation. She's got that "come on, bring one in here already" look on her face. Clearly enjoying the process, she's ready for me to get to work, and I do. The sequences begin. Rock stars don't have sheet music when they're on stage and I don't run a set the same way every time. Hard earned experience and a great deal of instinct drives my methods. The calls I use, the sounds I make, the volume I produce, all driven by instinct. I haven't had a foxpro on a set in over two years. The cacophony of new predator hunters in the last decade has virtually assured those devices uselessness in high-pressure areas. They are heavy and require batteries, which are heavy. I use our calls. The calls I designed. The calls we manufacture to produce the smoothest sounds imaginable. Sometimes it takes 4 seconds. Sometimes it takes 40 seconds. Sometimes it takes 40 minutes. If coyotes will respond to anything, I can usually get them to respond to me. On this set it takes nearly 30 minutes, but here it comes. I first spot it coming over a hill nearly 1,200 yards away. Not sprinting, but just doing that nice trot they do. On toward the sounds he comes. Just a nice trot, down in the little cuts, up over the hills, a nice steady cadence it keeps. Coming right at us, heading for the best possible entrance to my bowl, and almost directly up wind. You, just killed yourself. The coyote enters the bowl and the game is set as he makes a feeble attempt to skirt us and head for down wind. My whistles stop him at 133yds with a curious look upon him. The curiosity is replaced by involuntary muscle contractions as a grimace consumes its face. A predictable effect of being hit in the chest with the near 2,000 foot pounds of force being handed out by my .22 Creedmoor wildcat at that range. Dead. As. Disco. I was relatively sure we were alone, but I continue to call for a while out of shear habit created by previous hard learned lessons. We were indeed alone.




    We leave the prairie under the watchful eye of the majestic Golden Eagle. On our trip home, we talk of many things together, my wife and I. A sense of relaxation that we've not felt for a long time rests upon us both. There is something about being alone, together, that connects people. The trials, the triumphs, and the space between you, are but choices. Simple choices, clouded by the expectations of socially acceptable norms put in place by a decaying society. The more we ignore that society individually, the more the space between us shrinks, together. Like heat and hammer to iron, our choices each day forge our future. Two journeys become one. One, will become none. ... and time, will continue on.


  • Once again great read.

    The intro was deep.

  • Wow, wow, wow. Awesome trip!!! The last hike I'd been on was just about a decade ago up to the top of Multnomah Falls in Oregon (2 miles round trip), the last hunt I was part of was when I was 8 months pregnant with our first child and I shot my first deer ever! All my deer hunt involved though was walking out our front door about 200 yards, have Greg help me get on top of a giant round bale and sit there until a deer showed up. I had been on numerous pheasant hunts prior but absolutely nothing compares to this hunt! I cannot wait to go again! I am 1000% hooked! Everything about this trip was absolutely breathtakingly awesome! Although I did miss our monsters like mad and really am so very thankful I get to not miss many days of theirs :)

  • I've had some sleep now so hopefully I can properly articulate my thoughts.

    The introduction really spoke to me, it's good to know that I'm not the only one who does the things I do. It's not worth my time anymore.

    The article, was great. I've lived in two states, and they each hAve their own beauty.

    The first was Minnesota, and the trees, lakes, rivers, swaps, and ponds truly awesome I miss all those things. What I don't miss is the people, most of whom destroy those places, whether it's from litter and destructive behavior or bad land management practices.

    The second, and where I currently live, is Nebraska, not to dissimilar to South Dakota in some parts, most people will look at the rolling hills and see nothing to me it's awesome the vast landscape being able to see or go miles without encountering another person. There's a beauty there often lost on most people.

    Seeing some of the old homesteads, it makes a guy wonder how he would have faired. The opportunity of staking a claim of land for pennies on the dollar and trying to turn it into something. That would have been a grand adventure today.

    And unfortunately that beauty is slowly disappearing even in land as desolate as this might seem. The high corn prices really screwed things up here as shelter belts were tore up and land was turned over that had no business being turned over, trees that had no business to be torn out, all to try and take advantage. Only to have those same people bitch when they're land starts to blow away because they tore up the wind breaks.

    I need only to look to the north east and see the hundreds of blinking lights of the wind turbines to remind me, where I was once able to look up and see the stars and beauty of the nighy much of it lost now on the pollution of light.

    It is so wonderful to have seen Pheasants, Partridge, and Quail in numbers I've never seen living here this fall. Hopefully the Prarie Chicken follows suit as well.

    It's good to know all those things are not lost on everyone, that there are still people out there that see what I see.

    When I read the article It brought those images forth. Not every hunting article I read can do that, not every one can put me in a position where I feel I can see and feel what the author did. This one did, more so then the last one, and that one did as well.

    It was a great article to read, the intro really put me in a place to see it how you may have seen it.

    Greg the article may never get published in any magazine, I think the intro will immediately turn the majority of people away, and probably because they fall into that category, the people though that this will reach to are the people like minded to you, and I think they all will enjoy this and appreciate it. It was a fantastic read.

  • I loved reading this story. I wasn't going to write a response until I read Rhyno's.

    I was blessed growing up in a simpler time, the horizons were uncluttered and people seemed to be happier. WW2 and the Korean war were behind us and Americans were producing an example of industry and quality to be emulated. Stores and shops were usually closed on Sundays as this day was recognized as a day of worship and rest, even farmers had a half a day off.
    We would look at guns through the very thick Sears & Roebuck catalog and when ordered the mailman delivered them.
    Reading Orkan's story and the videos, he and his trusted companion share with us brings back memories of happier times. This story in particular reminds me of the shared love and adventures of my beautiful young bride and I.
    The natural beauty of the hunt shared with your life's companion is a cherished memory that can be viewed over and over again in your mind.
    I find myself daydreaming quite often to these very pleasant memories.

  • Awesome! I love reading these.