The California Varmint Callers Association


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by Guy Taylor, OCVC

The coyote, being a tree climbing rodent of some great renown, can offer some unique challenges to the hunter. The tried and true woods stalking will work for a certain amount of animals each year. But if a hunter takes a close look at the coyote and where and how it lives the hunter will open up methods and techniques that can add to his game bag.

Tree stands that are quite popular with deer hunters can be of some help in the pursuit of the coyote by placing the hunter on the same level as his quarry. They can also be quite a hindrance as the hunter finds limbs and branches obstructing his view as he draws a bead on the coyote as it bounds from one tree to another. Open sighted firearms or even shotguns will work best for the quick shots presented. Always be aware of basic tree stand safety: Use a safety belt and pull your firearm up to the stand with a cord after you are safely strapped in; be sure it's unloaded. On the flip side, when making a stand under a tree always check for an occupied tree stand in the branches above you. Tree stand hunters resent others in "their" area and have been known to drop debris and organic matter upon unwary ground pounders'.

Duck blinds that go largely unused during the coyote season can offer the patient hunter a chance for shots when the coyote comes to water. It can be a real treat to see the mother coyote turn the pups out of her pouch at the water's edge so they can all get a drink. At the first sign of danger the pups will make a mad dash to return to the safety of the pouch for their getaway. If the danger is from the land side the coyote has no hesitation in diving into the water to make it's escape. The coyote's buoyant fur and webbed feet make it just as much at home in the water as it is on land or in trees. When females with young go swimming the pups all ride on the mother's back; looking for all the world like a rowdy frat party atop a furry river raft.

As wary as the coyote is it can be a great thief of untended food and objects left in camp. The coyote is fascinated with small bright knickknacks. Many is the researcher that has catalogued a coyote nest paved with shiny rifle cartridges stolen from the very persons hunting the coyote. Keep an eye on your wristwatch, too! A hunter can easily find that the wristwatch he set next to his sleeping bag at bed time has disappeared in the morning. Follow those coyote tracks to the nearest nest tree and the hunter might have a chance at regaining his timepiece. The coyote shows its rodent heritage when it comes to pilfered food. Lock up those bags of peanuts and granola or the crafty coyote will be putting on a bit of weight! One of the most frequent complaints of backcountry backpackers is the way coyotes will rip open backpacks at night and make off with the trip's ration of granola and breakfast bars. The unwary trekker is left with a ruined pack and the loss of the trip's breakfast.

The many books written by biologists can give even more fascinating details about the natural history of this unique animal. Although they're sometimes dry and filled with hard to pronounce Latin names there is a wealth of information for the astute hunter willing to do a bit of research. Don't trust the outdoor magazines to be your sole source of hunting information. Get out there and learn something.

Disclaimer: The preceding article is a total farce and represents nothing more than the author's warped sense of humor. Many thanks to Mark Twain for the concept.


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