The perfect ending to the tale would include the buck feeding within bow range, a well-executed shot, and a crimson blood trail leading to a last-minute trophy. The coyotes spoiled it. They appeared just as the sun touched the western treetops, three blond-phase animals whose long legs carried them into the feeding herd in an explosion of powder. I cursed them at first, but as they chased a small fawn into the woods, I felt a begrudging kinship. Like me, they knew where the deer hunting was good come winter. first whitetails hit the field soon after: two does and five fawns that waltzed right past the tree, then a small buck that entered opposite me, then a half-racked 2-year-old that was just, suddenly, there. While I watched him, the big dog appeared right behind a doe that entered the field 50 yards away, a full hour before sunset. When the mammoth 10-point shouldered into the herd, other deer skittered off. Once the buck settled into the alfalfa, he barely moved his feet for 30 minutes.