Thursday, January 24, 2008

First Coyote!

It was a tough decision last night, of whether to go out for a night coyote hunt or to stay in where it was warm and dry. When I arrived at home from work at midnight, there was a thin cover of clouds overhead and it was about 10 degrees with little wind. I got the rifle out to check to see if there was enough moon light to see through the scope. I could see, but not well enough. I left my things out, knowing that the next night was going to be clear and almost a full moon. I was woke up by my wife this morning just at daybreak as she was getting the kids ready for school. "Get up the coyotes are OUT!!" I bolted from the bed and grabbed the gun and loaded it, as I sprang to action. As I got ready, I grabbed my distress call and checked outside. I could see that the yote had taken off across the back pond and was heading for the woodlot behind the house. I hit the call to try to turn him around. Then I noticed that there was a pair of them! They took off across the field from my right to left at about 250 yards out. As they approached the side tree line along the field I hit the call again and they stopped on a dime! Then I got ready, thinking I might get a shot afterall. They headed back across the field towards me, but about 150 yards out. They were running the near fence line, but started to turn away. I knew that it was now or never if I was going to get a shot off. I could see a small opening between some brush and trees. I had my Winchester 94 22 mag up and ready, looking through the scope, as soon as the yote stepped into the opening, Crack! The yote snapped around at its rear end as if someone had bitten it. It was then I knew that my shot connected! I watched as it danced around and ran about 50 yards. Finally one last leap and over it fell. YES! All the while the second yote was at a distance watching. Then it began to circle and come back near as if to say come on lets get out of here. I thought man I'm going to double up this morning! I steadied up for another shot. It was a long poke though, about 200 - 250 yards. I aimed at the top of the dogs back, Crack! It jumped and ran a couple of feet and stopped as if it were waiting on the other one still on the ground. I racked another shell into the chamber and let another shot fly. It turned and trotted off into the woodlot behind the field. I could see the other yote still on the ground, so I made my way back to the dog on the ground. As I walked back to it, I followed it's trail from when it was near our fence where my wife had seen it. It was only about 5 feet away from a grapevine on the fence where my brittanys roam to flush birds out of it. That is too close for comfort! I walked up to the spot where the yote stood when I shot, and I could see where it jumped when it was hit. Then I followed the trail in the fresh 3 inches of new fallen snow from the night before. All the while looking for a blood trail, but I found not one drop of blood on the snow. As I approached the downed dog, I could see that it was lifeless, but I poked it with my rifle to make sure. The 22 mag had penetrated through both lungs a perfect shot. I was thrilled at the thought of finally taking one of these great predators, but somewhere deep inside I acknowledged the fact that I had taken it's life. I think that is where we as hunters are seperated from people who just kill to kill. I was thankful for being able to take the animal and know that my actions help in keeping the population of predators in check, so the great howlers of the night will be around for years to come.

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