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June 26, 2012 by saltdogsducttape
“Good things come to those who wait.” “Patience is a virtue.” “All things in time.” Everyone has heard these simple reminders, said consolingly by a loved one in a time of stress. Parents tell their children, teachers tell their students, mentors tell their mentees, and we all seem to need these little reminders to wait. That is because waiting is incredibly hard to do.
Surprisingly, even with all these mantras and catch phrases we are very bad at waiting. This may be a product of our modern consumer society. For nearly anything we want, there is no reason to wait. We don’t wait for food; we go to the store or a restaurant twenty-four hours a day. We don’t wait for TV shows; we watch the shows we want on demand or on our computers. Now that we have smart phones with Angry Birds, we don’t wait every when we are waiting. When was the last time you simple stood in line? Not on your phone, checking your email, or using an app? Personally I have trouble remembering.
Many hunters will tell you that it’s not just a season; it’s a life style. We spend all year looking at gear, tuning equipment, practicing our shot, doing everything to make a clean efficient kill. Like with everything else in life, practice and education make us better.
I woke up a couple months ago about an hour before sunrise. I got dressed, wool long johns, spring turkey season in Vermont means below freezing mornings and sweltering afternoons. I said goodbye to the dogs, Hudson gets angry when I don’t take him hunting, and left the house. A short walk down the road, through a field, across the creek, into another field and I was at spot I had scouted earlier.
Before taking that walk, I had scouted, called, patterned, and walked. All active, all fun, all things that tend to build anticipation. Then comes the hard part, sitting with my back to a tree at the edge of a frost-covered field, straining my eyes and ears, waiting.
Watching the sun rise that morning, the frost moving back in retreat, birds singing, hearing a Tom gobble from his roost far away, I knew all I could do was sit and wait. Moving toward his call would only spoil the hunt, cause him to move far away. The only things to do were sit quietly, and call softly. Patience may be one of the most important skills of hunting and it is the only one we don’t practice. In fact it may be the most difficult skill to practice.
Unlike target practice or woodsmanship, it is a skill we can practice anytime. Standing in line at the store, leave the phone in your pocket.