The key to running an affective stake out operation is the intelligence and patterns of criminal activity you can develop and then utilize in predicting when your suspects will most likely show up. This involves field observations, collection of evidence, interviewing victims, and gathering information from informants. The better you can forecast specific time periods or days that the criminal activity is occurring the higher the probability that you will be successful in making an apprehension and putting a stop to the threat to persons or resources. Of course even though we would spend hours planning and adjusting schedules and writing up operational plans, the bad guys were not governed by any such constraints and operated more on their own whims. The weather did not suit, they did not have any cash that night for gas, their spouse or girl friend would not let them go out, their hunting dog was sick, they did not drink enough or they drank too much, or any other of a myriad of factors could determine whether your suspects will be where you want them that particular night.
There were many mornings during thirty two years when I had sat in the woods or in a car all night in unproductive efforts to save the world. After fighting fatigue for hours at the first peaking of the false dawn I would shake my body in a last attempt to stay alert and my psyche would tell me that it is just not natural for a human to witness such a spectacle and power of nature. The sun was once again arriving quietly into the world to warm it to wakefulness. We are not meant to stay stirring all night fighting boredom and sleep only to be surprised when we have made it to another new day. On those mornings I would then chase those thoughts from my mind, swat away the bugs again or pull my coat tighter around me to ward off the morning frost and try to decide how much longer I needed to stay out there.