Line 'Em Up!

Any experienced hunter will tell you that success often boils down to being in the right place at the right time.

Like anything else, the more we work at being in that spot at the magic moment, the more likely it is to happen. I have to remind myself of that regularly when the temperature dives into the basement, as it often does in Alberta in January.

At -30 degrees, it can be tough to convince yourself to get out of bed and go hunting, but when you’ve been chasing winter coyotes as long as I have, an effective motivational technique is to recall those times when everything clicked. One of my favorite memories is the time I killed two coyotes with one shot.

That afternoon I set up on a hillside that had been good to me in the past, and I gave it my best calling effort. The view from my perch was great and I watched cattle and birds for 20 minutes, but no coyotes.

As I was thinking of shutting it down, a coyote appeared about half-a-mile away on the other side of the cattle, but with no interest in my tunes. It moved out of sight and got me to wondering if there was something already dead out there that had the coyotes monopolized. There was a little more bird activity where that one came from, but not enough to entice me to make the walk through knee deep snow. That is, until the unmistakable ki-yi of one coyote getting thrashed by another came drifting across the cattle to me.

That did it—I made the walk and quickly spotted two coyotes gathered near the far treeline. Getting there without being scented required an approach across a bare field and a lot of crawling, but it got me into a stable sitting position 114 yards from where the two were nosing around in the remains of a straw bale. I watched them for a few minutes trying to develop a plan. They were only a few steps from the treeline, so I knew I'd only get one shot and had pretty much resigned myself to getting only one fur.

One ‘yote looked healthy and blond, the other dark and scrawny. So, I lined up on the pretty one, but he kept moving. And then the scrawny one found something interesting in the straw and Pretty-Boy ran over to have a look. They were side- by-side, almost touching, and broadside to me; with the closest a little further back. I recognized it as a chance for a double, put the crosshairs on the neck of the closest dog and squeezed the trigger.

The shot was good and Pretty-Boy dropped into the straw and stayed there. Scrawny went down, but then bounced back up and made it into the trees where I found him a few minutes later. Two coyotes with one shot—you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face with a chainsaw. It’s a memory that gets me out of bed on the most frigid mornings.

North American Hunter Top Stories