Last year’s deer season opened my eyes to a new goal — coyote hunting. While leaning against the base of a tree, looking down a hill, I caught slight movement. Suddenly, a red fox trotted past on the trail. Mesmerized by its bright red coat, I was caught me off guard when soon after the fox disappeared, a coyote stalked past on its trail. That is when I decided I wanted to hunt these predators.
As always, I started researching long before heading into the woods. Although not native to Ohio, coyotes were first observed in 1919, and they are now found in all 88 counties. I contacted Stanley D. Gehrt an associate professor and wildlife specialist at Ohio State University, about the number of coyotes in Ohio. “I’m not aware of any population numbers for Ohio, but most indications are that the coyote population is thriving,” said Stanley. D’Arcy Egan, an outdoor writer at The Plain Dealer, quoted Stanley: “Red fox and grey fox have significantly declined. Coyotes have an incredible instinct to remove competitors, such as fox, from their territory.” Rox Demeczyk, a local trapper, also confirmed the decline of the fox. And, did you know coyote are the primary predators of deer fawns?
Luckily for me, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources recently presented a seminar about coyotes. I began my education of how to coyote hunt during that standing-room-only seminar. Below are some of my notes from the presentation.
When to hunt
Where — Paths of least resistance
Decoys – Give the predator a visual so you can maneuver for the shot
Finding a spot
How to call in a coyote
Putting it all into practice
According to the Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations for 2013-2014, there is no closed season and no bag limit on coyote. For my first coyote hunt, I headed back to the spot where I saw that first coyote during deer season. Upon arrival, I sprayed myself with Tink’s B-Tech Odor Eliminator ($10.99). Tink’s has a no-pump spray that I find easier to cover myself, even when holding the can upside down. Gathering my gear, I headed into the woods. With the direction of the wind in mind, I choose a spot on a hill, with the sun at my back, looking over the path where I previously spotted the coyote. After loading my custom AR-15 (that my husband made me) with Hornady 55 grain V-Max ($26.15), I positioned the Harris bipod ($94.20) that extended to 23 inches, making it easy to shoot from a seated position. I peered through the Hawke Endurance 30 SF 4-16×50 scope ($379.99) that I am field testing, and set my distances. Now settled in, I sprayed my Tink’s rabbit urine Hot Shot Predator Mist ($12.99) and began calling, using The Mini Phantom digital call, by Predator Quest ($44.99). I wanted to start with an electronic call, since I felt my mouth-call-technique left something to be desired.
After going through the series of calls for roughly 30 minutes, I made the mistake of moving. DUMB! Once in my new spot, after only 10 more minutes of calling, out of the corner of my right eye, I caught movement. Not sure what I saw, I continued to call, attempted to calm my beating heart, and waited. There, I saw it again, right in the path I had previously been watching. UGHHH! Carefully I turned, trying to position my rifle in the best direction. Scanning the area I had spotted the movement, I watched as the coyote ran, tail down.
Disappointing? Not really. Not only did I watch 4 deer moving through my usual hunting spot, but I also jumped 1 on the way out. Also, I called in my first coyote! Are there things I would do differently next time? Sure. Buying a decoy is one of the first on my list, but I will need to do some research first. Also, I need to learn patience; it’s all a waiting game. And, that? Is why they call it hunting.
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