To catch a predator: Search for a coyote


Jackson Kleinjans

Throughout history, explorers have set out on quests of greatness to discover wonders in the world. Whether the search is for the a Fountain of Youth, a Unicorn, or a City of Gold, humans have had a desire to find the unknown. A craving for greatness and discovery has been growing within me for months now. I did not sense this for some time, until I felt a strong desire to see something completely unique to my experiences. As I pondered what to seek in this great world, my bank account limited me to what was within West Michigan. Finally, after debating what to go out and discover, I set my sights upon finding a coyote. A coyote, which is different from any other wild animal I have seen in Holland, would be a tough find, seeing as they are smart, creative, and sneaky. This provided a challenge, but no challenge is too great for an explorer.

   Like any Western Explorer, my first stop was to find a native that has already discovered the elusive creature. This search lead me to fellow Sr. Robert Dick. He gave me a set of instructions in drawing out coyotes, and a few locations that would have the best chance of success. A good first place to look would be, “at the Fennville farm unit,” Dick said. The tools needed for success: Two cans of wet cat food to attract a coyote, a pair of binoculars to spot the animal from afar, thick winter clothes for when traveling on foot, and a flashlight for after nightfall. With the equipment ready to go, it was time to head into the field.  

   After all of the planning, I was finally able to begin the search. Sunday, January 17, I traveled through the slick snow, over the steep hills, and into the blustering breath of Mother Nature. As I stepped out of my wheeled ship, my vision was almost completely lost from the horizontal flying sheet of snow that whipped across my face. Everything around me was white. Resembling the heroic stance of George Washington crossing the Deleware, I began trudging through the blizzard that was growing in strength. I set up a makeshift observation post by two trees, set the Nine Lives around the area, and waited.

  With the advice of Dick still at the front of my brain, I could not have had any more confidence in my inevitable success at this quest. I sat with a grin from ear to ear, partially due to excitement, partially because my face was frozen. The sun sank deeper into the horizon, and as night fell, I kept my hopes. However, as time dragged on, that confidence slowly began to crawl back into the pile of snow at my observation post. After 45 minutes of sitting in the snow, slowly being covered by the same snow that buried my confidence, a disappointing conclusion was reached. My quest was a failure. I had no other choice than to pack up, and head back for civilization.

  The voyage home was more cold and lonely than the 45 minutes spent sitting in the snow with frostbitten metal binoculars pressed to my face. My planning, organization, preparation, and research had lead me to a dead end. This failure will stick with me. As I rode back to the Northland, I recalled upon several other great explorers who failed. Knowing that I was in the company of failed explorers such as Sir Walter Raleigh (El Dorado,) Juan Ponce de Leon (Fountain of Youth,) and Christopher Columbus (passage to India,) soothed my icy burns.

  Part of the journey to greatness is to fall down, but have the strength to get back up with a smile. Unfortunately I fell into a pile of snow on a 7 degree day in the middle of a field in Fennville. Nevertheless, great explorers pick themselves up, in the name of discovery. Therefore, expect great discoveries from the efforts of Jack Kleinjans: Soon-to-be International Explorer.