Not your typical lesson on patience


Outdoors writers often cover the same topics over and over, and over again.

Am I guilty of this myself as a writer? Absolutely, but I’m trying to kick the habit — starting after this article. I mean, is anybody else tired of beating that dead horse about patience in the woods? Absolutely patience leads to more success. Do you know what else patience can lead to? Being a better parent, a better student, more retention of what you read, and being an overall better human being in general.

A saying, however, doesn’t actually teach us anything.

Is the saying “patience leads to success in the woods” a good philosophy? Of course it is. It even comes genetically engrained in some individuals, but for the rest of us not born with stone cold poker faces and the natural patience of a saint, the struggle is real.

The fact of the matter is, the great “p-word” often comes as a result of failure. At least in my case, I am a more patient hunter because of my prior shortcomings. It’s easy to say that patience will lead to success, but at the end of the day, solid philosophy won’t pull the trigger for you.

Take turkey hunting for instance, my most favorite endeavor. Until you stand up after sitting as still as you possibly can for three-plus hours and watch a gobbler take to the air that you didn’t know was there, you haven’t had patience in the woods beaten into you.

Unless you’ve pressed on, “just a little farther” and bumped a turkey off the roost because you should have sat down, how do you know when enough is enough?

The truth is, failure in the woods burns lessons into our brains as if they were painfully put there with a branding iron. Lessons we won’t soon forget nor ignore when we step back into the woods whether it’s been a day or a year that has passed.

I simply cannot count the times that convincing myself to sit just a little while longer resulted in success. I say this not to brag, but to share the fact that even with 20-plus years of hunting under my belt, I still have to convince myself to have patience and not to constantly go chasing success. The constant inner struggle to remember that eventually success will make its way to me.

So remember, the next time you step into the woods that patience isn’t something that is deadly on its own, but a foundation to be built upon with lessons learned and to be pieced together with woodsmanship. Carry that knowledge into the woods with you, and you’ll be way ahead of the curve the next time you set foot on nature’s playground.

Hunt hard, hunt safe and shoot straight, friends.


John Knouse writes about the outdoors for The Sentinel.