Coyotes Are Cannibals

Animals killing and eating their own species is nothing new in nature. I suspect most meat-eating predators are cannibalistic to some extent. Coyotes certainly are.

Last spring I had the chance to watch a three-on-one coyote confrontation that I'm sure would have ended in a killing if the lone coyote hadn't seen the light and hightailed it out of Dodge as fast as possible. After it fled, I dealt myself into the fight by throwing lead at the gang of three, and that's where this week's tip comes in.

If you're killing coyotes in the spring, it's not for the fur. By that time of year the hides are worthless. However, coyote control still needs to be done, and that leaves coyote carcasses out in the fields. What do you do with a dead coyote when the fur is no good?

The answer is to drag the carcass into a spot where it will help you kill another one. A dead coyote is 30 pounds of protein, and if you leave it in the woods, something will show up to eat it. Around here it's likely to be magpies, crows, ravens—and other coyotes—all of which my landowners want me to shoot, and the carcasses of which will attract more of the same. If that sounds like a self-perpetuating bait pile to you, you're right. The trick is to get that pile started at a spot that suits the hunter.

Personally, I like these kinds of piles between 150-200 yards away from a spot I can sneak up to for a quick look and a clean shot. Killing anything that's scrounging on the pile will add to it and keep eligible critters coming in. Give yourself some open country to shoot across and if possible, start the pile near some bush or trees that will give other coyotes a feeling of security, encouraging them to visit it during daylight hours. You certainly won't always find another coyote on the pile, but they could very well be nearby, and a little calling will make them appear. If you kill another, add it to the pile as well.

If you're doing this on private land, it's important to consider the landowner's needs, too. In an open pasture I don't mind dropping the dead coyotes anywhere that suits me. However, if it's a cultivated field, I'll always drag the carcass to a fence row or some other location where it won't interfere with farm implements. And never, ever leave a carcass on top of a straw bale or on a hay stack.

I once saw a book titled, "101 Uses for a Dead Cat." While a dead coyote might not have that many uses, it does have several, and attracting other scavengers is one of them. Don't overlook the possibilities.