Always a Coyote Hunter

Posted by: HPW

Always a Coyote Hunter - 10/02/13 03:59 AM

Last week I was out doing some scouting for elk season. I'd woke up early around 4am and figured it was a good way to spend the morning. We had family in town visiting, so I didn't have all day, but I was itching to get into the mountains and this was likely going to be my only chance for a few days. It was one of the first really cool mornings of the fall and the sage was still frosty as I parked the truck. All the recent rain had swollen the small trickles of streams into fast flowing rivers and the beaver ponds stretched well beyond their normal banks. A fog was rising off them that in the headlights gave an eerie effect and punctuated the stillness. The moon lit up everything well enough to hike without a light, but not well enough to spot a real nice muley buck that busted us as we hiked in. The air was so still I could hear the thumps of his hooves as he bounced over the ridge.

As always I had my hunting buddy Duke with me. He's not much for spotting deer or elk but he likes to get out in the hills just the same. Household duties have kept me at home more than I like this summer, and he was just as excited as me to be out in the field again. We spent a good morning hiking and glassing; saw a bunch of deer, but no elk and little sign. A few more honey holes may be hiding them yet but not this one this year. We hiked some more down a fence line, running into some more does. As the sun was just clearing the tops of the trees I paused and looked around. All of a sudden I just got that feeling, the one that screams "call coyotes here!"

Even though I was scouting for elk I had my rifle and calls in my pack as always. The sun was cresting over a small ridge top lined with pines that overlooked a wide open sage flat. a few trees dotted the view out over several rises in the terrain. A couple small pines and some tall sage made an island of cover in front of the ridge. The wind was blowing straight in my face and the sun shining bright over my back. I set the call up about 40 yards to my left in some brush in case a dog tried to come in from the downwind side at my back and hustled back to my island.

As I settled into my stand, Duke started roaming the sage out in front. I fired up the call and set the remote down next to me. As I looked up I saw a coyote coming in off the far ridge fast. I had to do a double take, as it had only been a few seconds since the call started, but sure enough it was ole Wiley.

I brought the rifle up, but the coyote dropped down out of view in a small depression. It had been moving slightly right to left on a beeline for the call. As I searched for another glimpse of fur I realized that the hill I was on dropped away from me just enough that the tall sage would hide most of the approach if the coyote stayed on line. I came up on a knee to get a better vantage point and started scanning to the left hoping the yote would come in close enough to get a good line of sight. Most times I run a decoy at the call to keep them interested a few seconds longer, but today wasn't a full fledged coyote hunt so I just had to hope that sound alone would bring em in.

I spotted it again momentarily behind a small ponderosa about 200 yards out, but it was no longer heading for the call. It again dropped out of view and as I tried to find it in the scope I kept getting Duke in my view. He was on top of the closest rise in the sage, but now I could tell he spotted the visitor. His hair stood up and he took off down the rise. I tried to listen for any barking or yipping exchanges between the two canines, but couldn't hear anything.

Even though everything was happening so fast, in my mind it seemed like the stand was taking too long and was going to be a bust with the coyote getting away. I couldn't get a clear view and was cussing myself for not setting up a little higher on the ridge. Suddenly I spotted a flash of orange as Duke came back over the rise crossing from left to right. He kept circling clear to my right and back around my right shoulder. It was a wide looping path that wasn't headed right at me, but I couldn't see anything in tow. Just about the time he crossed behind me I saw the face of a coyote pop out in a clear lane between the sage in front of me. It was only about 50 yards away and stopped perfectly in the lane broadside to me.

I was still up on one knee and wasn't wearing any camo or concealment, so as the eyes of our furry friend locked on me I figured the game was up. Instead it looked away at Duke as he continued to circle. I don't know if the sun made it hard to pick me out, or it was just really that interested in Duke but that was all the time I needed to swing the rifle around and snap off a shot. Before the boom of the round had stopped echoing off the far ridges I could see the coyote was down and out. The bullet went right through the vitals and exited cleanly, dropping her instantly.

I quickly glanced around for a bit to make sure there weren't any others coming in and tried to contain a yell of excitement before walking out to check out the fur. She wasn't real big, about average for around here, but the coat was perfect. It wasn't quite a full winter fluff yet, but it was the cleanest dog I'd shot in probably a year. There was a lot of color on her legs and the tips of the guard hairs. She had a nice black tip on her tail.

I was ecstatic about how the stand had gone down. It was the first one of the fall and ended just right. Duke was right back into top form as if we had been hunting every week and brought the coyote in for me. Without him I doubt I would have even got a shot off. I was pretty pleased with him and sure wondered where he had learned to decoy from, as it sure wasn't me. I'm not saying he is a perfect decoy dog or could hold a candle to some of the dogs guys on here run, but sometimes things just come together. Each year he gets more confident around the coyotes and is really starting to come on the way I wanted. He seemed pretty proud himself as he posed for a few pictures.

The fur was so nice we hiked all the way back to the truck several miles and worked out a way on the GPS to get closer on some two tracks so I could bring it home. I decided this one would get stretched and hang on the wall. It was just something about the morning, the stand and the decoy that made it special. A month or too later and the fur would have been perfect, but this one will remind me of that morning.

I'm sure glad that I will always be a coyote hunter. Even with big game seasons in full swing, I always have my eye out for some more of those perfect stands.

Good Hunting!

Posted by: Merdit

Re: Always a Coyote Hunter - 10/02/13 07:43 AM

Great write up and pics. Good looking dog, too. Sounded like a blast. Hope you find a good elk.
Posted by: BOBTAILS

Re: Always a Coyote Hunter - 10/02/13 07:58 AM

Very cool story thanks for sharing it.
Posted by: Yote Yoda USMC

Re: Always a Coyote Hunter - 10/02/13 08:00 AM

Long and good. Thanks for sharing.
Posted by: Dewey NY

Re: Always a Coyote Hunter - 10/02/13 09:05 AM

Great write up and pictures.. Sounds like a great day..
Nice looking hunting partner you have there too.. Congrats..
Posted by: SnowmanMo

Re: Always a Coyote Hunter - 10/02/13 09:43 AM

Spectacular scenery and photos!
Posted by: doggin coyotes

Re: Always a Coyote Hunter - 10/02/13 10:41 AM

Enjoyed it.

HOM nomination.
Posted by: possumal

Re: Always a Coyote Hunter - 10/02/13 10:56 AM

Great story, even better pictures. Kudos to you and the dog.

Re: Always a Coyote Hunter - 10/02/13 11:25 AM

Real nice HPW.

I enjoyed that story and the pic's very much.
Thx for taking the time.

Stay after them
Posted by: Colorado Coyotes

Re: Always a Coyote Hunter - 10/02/13 11:41 AM

Thanks for sharing, great story and pics.
Posted by: 5spd

Re: Always a Coyote Hunter - 10/02/13 05:25 PM

HPW we need to get hooked up for some again. All the ones I shot in the last few weeks have been furred up nicely. Drop me a PM I am off all this month starting Friday.
Posted by: tugboater

Re: Always a Coyote Hunter - 10/02/13 05:38 PM

Great pics. And a great story. When I try to do a story like that it turns out lame. We'll done!!!!!!
Posted by: HPW

Re: Always a Coyote Hunter - 10/02/13 08:25 PM

Thanks for the comments guys. Im glad some folks enjoyed the story and pictures.

Jim, ill be antelope hunting this weekend with my son. Good luck getting yours filled. We will do some calling here soon hopefully.
Posted by: Rusty Black

Re: Always a Coyote Hunter - 10/02/13 09:05 PM

Good stuff....thanks for sharing...
Posted by: Dogman223

Re: Always a Coyote Hunter - 10/02/13 09:22 PM

Very nice! Thanks for the share
Posted by: Hawk-eye

Re: Always a Coyote Hunter - 10/02/13 11:41 PM

Enjoyed reading that very much! Thank you!
Posted by: shankbone

Re: Always a Coyote Hunter - 10/03/13 04:59 PM

Great photos and great writing! Good luck on your elk hunt.
Posted by: TaterTot

Re: Always a Coyote Hunter - 10/03/13 07:06 PM

Great write up and good looking country. Congrats on the nice looking coyote and good looking dog too!
Posted by: scottmilk9

Re: Always a Coyote Hunter - 10/03/13 08:29 PM

Great story!
Posted by: bigsky_songdogs

Re: Always a Coyote Hunter - 10/03/13 10:28 PM

Great write up, sounds like a good time thumbup
Posted by: ttedb3

Re: Always a Coyote Hunter - 10/03/13 11:42 PM

Perfect. thumbup1