Beach-Bum Coyotes

Do you catch yourself daydreaming about warmer days? If so, you might have more in common with coyotes than you think.

Cold and snow are still the reality for many of us, but spring is on the horizon—and that means the sun's golden rays are starting to pump out some heat. Coyotes recognize the change and, just like people drawn to a sunny beach, coyotes start looking for a place to bask in the yellow warmth of a winter sun.

At this time of year, the combination of a cold day and a cloudless sky make coyotes completely predictable. They'll find a south-facing vantage point where they can curl up and watch the world go by. Throw in a stiff breeze and you can narrow things down even further by looking only in sunny locations that are also sheltered from the breeze.

A friend who works for a local cattleman has been hauling round bales out of the field and into the feedlot during the past week. He tells me just about every bale has coyote poop on it. Round bales are cozy vantage points for a little coyote sun tanning. Never drive by a field of these big bales without looking for 'yote-shaped lumps.

But bales aren't the only place to find sun tanning coyotes. Brush piles are effective too, although coyotes are almost impossible to spot on those jagged mounds. To hunt those spots effectively, I find it's usually best to sneak close and do some calling.

I did just that the other day, but as I worked my way into a position downwind from a cluster of brush piles, I walked around the side of a southwest-facing hill. Because it was about 3 p.m., that hillside was getting a full dose of winter sun. Turned out my theory was solid but the application was short-sighted, because in response to my arrival, a coyote popped out of its comfy bed on the hillside. Fortunately, I was able to recover from the surprise and the dog only made it about 70 yards before meeting Mr. Nosler and taking a permanent nap.

Dragging it back to its bed, I took the accompanying photo to illustrate my point about beach-bum coyotes. Remember, if it's the kind of day where you'd like to curl up in the sunshine for a nap, coyotes are actually doing it. Find those sunny spots and be ready.

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