I'd just walked into the house after taking my wife out for dinner when the phone rang. "Where have you been, Al?" asked a farmer friend. "The coyotes are taking over at my place. There were seven in with the cows this afternoon."
"I've been working for a month on a renovation project at my daughter's house," I explained. "But it's done. I actually have the truck loaded to go hunting tomorrow morning." After promising to stop at his place, I went to bed early.
The next morning it was minus 20 degrees when I parked the truck. Walking through his yard, I entered a dense growth of trees that leads to the back horse pasture. I was just about to break out of those trees when I saw one in the pasture, trotting my way. Hunkering down to wait, I plugged that dog when it walked within 20 yards of where I crouched. Coyote's don't come much easier.
Staying just inside the trees, I maneuvered to where I could see the horses, one of my favorite early warning systems. They were intently interested in something to the east. Changing position to get a view in that direction, I could see a coyote sitting on a distant hill. I shuffled over to a spruce that had branches I could use for a shooting rest, put the crosshairs on the coyote's white chest, then dropped it into the snow. I wonder what would happen if I started calling, I thought.
I moved to the edge of the trees and made a couple of tentative rabbit squalls. Almost immediately one coyote showed up on my right at about 25 yards. But before I could swing around for a shot, it scented me and ran back into the cover. When I looked back left, there was another coming at me through the horses. And then another, further left. I had a clear shot at that one and put it face first in the snow. A minute later another showed up, and I tagged that one, too. Four on the ground and the sun wasn't even up yet! While I was dragging bodies into a pile, I caught sight of three more, but no shots. This farmer has more coyotes than cattle.
After warming up, I moved to another farm, where I saw two coyotes crossing an open field before I even got out of the truck. I sprinted down a brush-lined fencerow to get into position, and they were charging me as soon as rabbit sounds reached their ears. I killed the back one first, but the lead dog took off and disappeared over a ridge to the north before I could throw bullets. No worries, there was another one coming from the south, so it got the bullet.
I dragged those two together and was snapping photos when I saw still another coyote crossing the field in the distance. I traded my camera for a rifle and called that one to 162 yards, adding it to the pile—a triple. Seven by noon. Crazy! I don't know what's going on this year, but these farmers are in trouble, and hunters are the only ones standing between them and too many dead calves.
This was my first morning with a new coyote killing tool that obviously works just fine. It's a Remington 700 set into an MDT chassis system using the same firm's buttstock and magazine. The photo below shows it with my take at the first stop. It's worthy of lot more ink, so I'll give more details in my next posting. Stay tuned.