By April Rose Barton
For the past several years, deer hunting has consumed my mind. When I would think about going hunting, visions of a hot thermos of French Vanilla coffee, a bag full of Hot Hands, a beautiful sunrise over the frosty Kentucky ground, and a fantasy of the giant buck I’ve had on my trail cams would shoot through my mind like lightning. However, the past several years, I’ve noticed more and more of another animal on my property. Suddenly, there was an entirely new way to challenge my skills, have fun, and assist in restoring nature’s balance in my area.
Coyote hunting instantly became a favorite pastime for my husband and I. I would describe coyotes as being similar to a wild turkey with a nose! They are very cunning and intelligent. The hunter must be able to stay one step ahead of them at all times, or go home empty handed. Wind direction, the proper camouflage and series of calls for the time of year you are hunting, scent control, and a lot of patience are all factors required to be successful. In Kentucky, coyotes are not considered a game animal. Here there is no bag limit, E-callers are permitted, and for a couple of months they can be hunted at night with lights or even night vision equipment.
The last successful hunt is one I will not soon forget. I was tired that day and discouraged from a series of recent trips in the field with no luck. Like the past couple times, our first set was unsuccessful. We picked up and moved to a farm that we had a couple of close encounters previously, but couldn’t get the dogs to commit to where I could get a shot. We set up on a pad of round bales of hay that is in the middle of a very large field that provided us with nearly a 360 degree view. The wind was perfect. The Primos Turbo Dogg was set up about 25 yards away. The first call we used was a “Rabbit in Distress” which ran for about 3 minutes. Nothing. After a bit of silence, we switched to the “Coyote in Distress”. In no time, a single coyote come out of the woods into a small drain into the field about 100 yards away. My Sako .243 put him down instantly. We hit the same call once more after my shot, and was able to bring in another coyote just seconds later! My husband took the shot and we had ourselves a double!
Not only is coyote hunting enjoyable, it plays a very important part in conservation. The coyote is the apex predator in our area and a female can have 4 to 7 pups a year. If the numbers are not managed, the many issues of overpopulation will set in. These problems include disease, the overhunting of it’s prey species which include rabbit, squirrel, turkey, and deer, and the increasing chance of them attacking pets and livestock. We know several farmers who have dealt with the loss of calves and unfortunately have a few friends that have lost their pets to a coyote attacks. So if you’ve found yourself in a “rut” in-between deer season and turkey season, grab a good call and get out there and test your skills against an intelligent animal that is used to being the one doing the hunting! You’ll do your area a great service and will have a great time doing it!