The Rewards of Patience
By Jerry C. Hayduk
I’m sure every hunter has dreams of circumstances they would like to encounter at least once in their hunting life time. Two of my own dreams were to be part of the hunt when my son, Jordan, shot his first buck, and to take a trophy whitetail “Buckmaster Style” – having your hunting partner within talking distance to witness the successful hunt.
The fall hunting season of 1997 started with a bit more enthusiasm than normal – this would be my son Jordan’s first deer hunting season. He had fired a few rounds out of my Remington .50 calibre muzzleloader, and was eager to try his luck with it.
The winter of 1996 was pretty hard on the local deer population in the Narcisse area (where we usually hunt), so my hunting partner Terrance Dziadek and I decided we’d go west to try our luck in the Neepawa area for the first week of the black powder season. The plan was to scout the area and find a suitable spot to set Jordan up for his first hunt.
The weather was balmy, with temperatures on the warm side, limiting deer activity. It was the third week in October, so the rut activity was still a couple of weeks away.
After the first day in the field, Terrance found a nice ridge with plenty of deer activity. The second morning proved successful for him, bagging a young 4-point buck.
I accompanied him and found a couple of excellent hunting spots after some more intense scouting. Things were looking good for Jordan’s first hunt – until Friday came around. A low pressure weather system moved in, causing misty drizzle and foggy conditions – the deer activity had dropped right off, and hunting conditions kept deteriorating. I was supposed to pick Jordan up Friday afternoon in time for that evening’s and Saturday’s hunt, but with the heavy fog setting in, that plan was quickly quashed.
We returned home just before noon on Saturday. It was obvious by the look on Jordan’s face that he was disappointed about the turn of events. After a quick lunch, I asked Jordan if he still wanted to go hunting that afternoon. He was eager but reluctant, seeing we really didn’t have a spot to go to.
A quick call to Jordan’s uncle, Jim Swaykoski, in Komarno immediately solved that problem. Jim owns some property in the Inwood area and deer activity out there was pretty good. Seeing that my gear was still packed, we were off on the 45-minute drive to Komarno in no time at all. Arriving at about 3:30 p.m., we stopped at Auntie Gracie’s license vendor and purchased Jordan his first deer license. By 4:30 p.m., we were walking the trail to the location where we would set up for the evening hunt. Jim cautioned us that from what he had seen earlier in the week, the deer would come out to the edge of the field and practically run west to the adjoining alfalfa field. With the wind in our favour, the plan was to set up just inside the bush line hoping to get a shot at a buck as he passed along the edge to the alfalfa field further west.
We settled in at about 4:45 p.m., giving us about 2 hours of legal shooting time. Now all we’d have to do is hope for an opportunity. We waited patiently – Jordan settled himself along a small oak tree on his hunting chair about 20 yards into the tree line. The time slowly ticked away with no sign of any deer movement. As we entered the final 10 minutes of the hunt, I decided to scan the edge of the tree line for any last-minute movement. I had just arrived at the edge when I noticed a lone animal moving quickly our way from the east. I stepped back quickly, taking my spot behind Jordan and alerting him to be ready.
Within seconds, a young buck appeared directly in front of us. His sixth sense stopped him in his tracks as he quartered slightly and peered directly at us about 50 yards away. Jordan was ready and before the buck could react, a cloud of smoke filled the air as his shot made a solid hit. The buck reeled sideways and dashed further into the field before looping back toward the bush line. Within 60 yards of the bush, he collapsed in the open field.
Jordan was elated. He had just bagged his first ever whitetail buck on his first ever deer hunt. Though it was only a 2-pointer, it was a most memorable hunt as we shared the experience together. It was a dream come true.