Hunting: Time again to get rid of coyotes
That is what my local dairy farmer said when I picked up the phone. I knew exactly what he was talking about because I got a similar call from him a few months ago about coyotes. This time, they were raiding the hen house and had even grabbed a couple of the kittens in the barn. He told me he got a few shots off with his 12-gauge side-by-side. He didn’t kill any, but he thought he might have put a few pellets in them.
I told him I’d be over that afternoon and we’d set up my chair blind, and if he had any type of bait, we could use that, too.
When I arrived, he already had a big barrel in the back of his pickup that I could smell as soon as I got out of my truck. The bait consisted of several of the mangled hens, a recently butchered pig and some spoiled meat. I was sure they’d be able to smell it. The set-up area I picked was in a small, bushy island in the middle of the field, and we put the bait about 50-60 yards away.
In addition to the bait, I was going to use the Johnny Stewart Gallows digital caller, which worked for me last time. I knew it would get their attention, as would the smell of the bait, and I set the wireless speaker about 10 feet from the bait pile in the tall grass.
Besides loving the excitement of coyote hunting, especially at night, I knew I was going to get another chance to shoot my dependable .223 Serbian mauser and light up the night, and hopefully coyotes, with the Laser Genetic light mounted on top of my scope.
At 4 p.m. I slipped into my blind, and everything was perfect, especially the wind. And as it got dark, I heard coyotes calling quite a way off. I immediately replied, and they responded. They seemed to be getting closer, but then, although they kept answering, they did not seem to be getting any closer.
It was time to try my favorite call, the distressed kitten, and it worked. I really didn’t hear much more howling, but when I did, I knew they were coming. Periodically, I scanned the woodline about 150 yards from me with the bright green beam of the light. Then, all of a sudden, I lit a coyote while it was moving along the wood edge, and then saw a bigger one right behind it. I assumed it was a female and male.
But this duo was very cautious. Rather than come down the field, they stayed in a hedgerow that would take them to the bait, and as they got closer, I turned off the caller. It wasn’t long before I saw them inside the hedgerow, perhaps 10 yards from the bait, but I really couldn’t get a clear shot.
Finally, one came out, grabbed a piece of meat and retreated to the safety of the hedgerow. I was ready, and when one came out the second time, I quickly put one right in its shoulder, dropping him immediately. As soon as I shot, the other started to run, but made the mistake of stopping about 50 yards from me, just enough time to put the crosshairs on her, then she also hit the ground.
Quickly, I retrieved them and dragged them back to my blind. The farmer, who heard the shot, called me and was happy with my success, and I told him I was going to stay for another hour, and if nothing happened, I would go home.
I sat there quietly for about 45 minutes, and then heard howling perhaps 200 yards or less away. It was close enough for me to do some calling, and I cranked up the distressed kitten call. The howls were getting closer, and they responded for about a half-hour, then went silent.
This is when you start to wonder: Have I lost their attention or are they coming in silently? This, for me, is the exciting part of these hunts.
As I sat there waiting try to decide to stay or leave, I heard snow crunching off to my right. To be breaking through the snow crust like that, it had to be either a deer or a coyote, both of which I have had come in silently before, but I had to find out which it was. Slowly, I slid my rifle out the right side of the blind, clicked on the Laser Lite and moved it slowly. You never know what to expect.
Out no more than 40 yards from me was a coyote with only its head out from behind a bush. I can still see the crosshairs between its eyes in the green light when I squeezed the trigger on my third “yote” of the night that ended the hunt.
Both the farmer and I were happy about ridding him of some of these predators. We also found out that the first two I shot were carrying some lead pellets that were shot at them the night they raided the hen house.
If you’ve never tried coyote hunting, I highly recommend it. They’re beginning to mate now, and you’ll find it quite exciting. If you go, drop me an email of your coyote hunting experience.