We were in a spot of the season where things could have gone either way. I didn’t expect the day to end up going the way it went. It started a few days before when I got a text message from a friend of mine that a rancher was putting out a call for coyote hunters to come to do a little predator control. The coyotes had been attacking his new calves and it was getting out of control. It’s rare for you to see someone put up a public post hoping to get coyote hunters to come through their property. Usually, you need to know someone to be given that kind of privilege. I was excited and even more excited that Kaela was able to come to hunt with me.
There were lots of issues at play this time. One of them is that the chukar season was about to wrap up and I really wanted to go chase those devil birds. The other was that there was a coyote hunting competition going on that same weekend and this rancher made a very public post about these coyotes. I wanted to do the competition, but Kaela had to work on the first day and there was no way we could call enough coyotes to win the competition, or even win a prize. Since this post was so public, I had a feeling that suddenly, these coyotes were getting a lot of pressure. My plan was to wake up early and head out to this new area and see what would come of it.
The night before the hunt I set the alarm for 5 am since we had an hour and a half drive to this spot. Part of the plan was to get there, see what kind of signs we had and then see if I could tell where the coyotes had been pushed. The other reason I wanted to start early was that Kaela had to work later that day, so we had to be back by a certain time, so we were time limited. I really wanted to hunt with her so that was what we had to do. 5am came around and Kaela could not wake up. I gave it another hour and she was still struggling. Eventually, we managed to get up. Later then I planned but we got up. I already had everything set out the night before, so we were able to just load up in the truck and hit the road. In typical Kaela fashion, she slept the whole way. I’m used to that by now with all the trips we take to go hunt.
As we were getting to the area, I realized we may not have cell phone reception. We stopped to fill up, so we had a full tank of gas in case we got stranded. Being in the mountains you get used to weather changing at the blink of an eye and being prepared is a must. I used my OnXhunt map and downloaded a couple of maps of the areas I was planning on hunting and the area I was expecting the Coyotes to move to if they had been pressured. I sent some GPS coordinates to a friend of mine with times to expect to hear from me so that someone could call for help if something happened to us. With all things in place, we headed out. Kaela fell asleep again.
As we were getting close, I saw some deer cross the road. I really thought about pulling over somewhere near there and setting up hoping that a coyote would be following them. That’s a tactic that has paid off for me more than once, but I decide to just keep my eyes open and keep driving to this guys’ ranch. We get there and I got a little lost, quickly I figured out where we were and got heading the right direction. As we were getting to this canyon, they said the coyotes were coming from, there was a truck with a couple of kids coming down. I wasn’t too surprised and honestly, I wouldn’t have been surprised if they were hunting earlier in the day. At this point, we were in a new country and I had done zero scouting, so it was all a gamble. I chose to take a forestry road that was covered in snow. My plan was to look for animal tracks and start building a plan from there. This first road had…. Nothing.
After going 5 miles down that first road and stopping a couple of times to see if we got any reaction to a locator howl, we decided to turn around and go a different way. We chose to go down the road those kids came out of. It was a good decision since those kids hadn’t gone very far. We went and turned up a different canyon that looked a lot more promising. The country looked perfect for coyotes. It had ditches everywhere and lots of covers for coyotes to hang out in. I got out of the truck at one point to look in this deeper ditch and it was full of tracks, just no coyote tracks. I continued up the canyon anyways hoping that it would pay off if it didn’t then we would move on. As we continued, I pulled over again by this bowl. There, we had tracks and we had coyote tracks. Multiple coyote tracks. I knew this was the place to set up in. I wasn’t planning on setting up, but the time was running out and it looked really promising. We drove on for a while so I could hide the truck and then we made our way to this spot.
We loaded up my Camelbak and started hiking. It wasn’t a long hike, but it was in Chukar country. The way I know is as we were heading up this rocky south-facing slope, I could hear the chukar in the rocks above us. Like they were putting out a warning that we were coming up. I think they felt trapped since there was a golden eagle flying right above them. Lucky for them, they were not on our menu. I had Kaela find a place to hide as I set up my MOJO Critter and my FoxPro. This bowl looked perfect and as I looked at the country around me, I couldn’t help but get excited. I hiked up the hill, checked the wind direction and found a place to hide. I’m always impressed with how our camo pattern works so well. I always have a hard time finding Kaela when she goes and hides first. King’s camo really has their stuff figured out.
We set up and I started my calling pattern. At one point I had switched my FoxPro to some distress sounds and a murder of crows flew in. They were very interested in what was going on. They kept circling and stayed in the area for a while calling after each other. I was hoping that this extra attention would have drawn a coyote in. I think it worked. After the crows left, I started seeing some movement below us. The bad thing is that the cover in this area was perfect for the coyote. I kept seeing it going from cover to cover but never long enough to get it in my scope. The clock was ticking, and I was hoping to change to a call that would make it come in or show its self-enough for me to take a shot.
As we were sitting there waiting, I hear this truck coming up the road. He drives right through the middle of this bowl we were sitting in. This is reason number one of why I hate hunting on weekends. Everyone is out in the hills. There were so many gullies and ditches at the bottom of this bowl that I’m sure the coyote snuck right out of there. I tried changing to a few different calls but had no luck. Our hunt was over at this point. We had to start heading back and this truck had pushed any luck we had, right out of the area.
We hiked out and headed home. The hunt was fun. We hadn’t been out hunting together in a few weeks and we were both really missing it. I really was needing some time in the hills and I made sure to log this place on my map so I could come back to it. I’m sure if I go back there and put a whole day in, we can walk out with a coyote or two. The best part of this hunt was showing Kaela some coyote tracks and the signs I looked for while scouting for a hunt. Now we can’t wait for the next hunt.
- Blind hunts are better then no hunts.
- It can still be cold in the shade.
- Learn to recognize tracks and how old they are
- Enjoy your surroundings.
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