Scouting For Coyotes And Making Memories

First things first, we are married! That’s why we took such a long break in April. We needed to get things done for the wedding and honeymoon and honestly, that was more important at the moment. Our wedding went great and the honeymoon in Jamaica was awesome. We already booked our return trip since we loved it so much. Now that the dust has settled we are getting back into the hunts and the blog. Luckily we had a few days after Jamaica where we got back going outdoors. We started with a Zoo trip with our nephews in Omaha and that Zoo was huge. We went through the aviary and looked at the ducks, geese and even pheasants. Of course, that got us wishing bird season was back. Once we got home, we had a couple more days off before going back to work. We decided to go do some scouting for coyotes.

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We decided to go to some mountains out west of us. We got ready like usual and got our camo on and loaded up the rifle and Kaela’s shotgun. We only brought the guns in case we found something good or saw a coyote in the open where we could take a shot. We took off driving and soon enough, Kaela was asleep. I love how she always falls asleep when we go hunting, no matter what time we leave. I had been in this area once and I was hoping we could see something. Antelope are always around and there’s enough water around that seeing wild game is expected. I pulled up my OnXmaps app and looked for public land. There was plenty of it on this mountain range but access is always the issue here in Utah. The locked up public land is my biggest frustration hunting in Utah. Coming from Nevada where 90% of the state is public land, Utah is full of private land.

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I picked a dirt road on the map and decided to start heading down to see where it goes. The landscape was very green with all the fresh moisture we’ve had. I love seeing the desert in the spring. It’s a whole different world from what you normally see. Once we pulled off the paved road, we put in our earplugs. Decibullz really has a great product, we were still able to talk to each other while driving around and we knew if a coyote came across us, we could shoot without worrying about our hearing. Check out the link to see what Decibullz has come up with. You’d be amazed too. This trail we were on wasn’t bad, but it didn’t look very promising. I used the OnXmap app and found some more public land to go hunt. We decided to go hopping from public land to public land. This is what scouting is all about, just learning the land and finding animals.

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Eventually, I decided to turn down this other road and see what kind of access it gave us up the mountain. As we were heading down this road, Kaela spotted a vulture flying. I couldn’t see him from my side of the truck so I asked her if it was hanging out or moving on. She said it was hanging out. I decided to pull over and watch the vulture for a bit. While she did that I pulled up my map again and saw that there was a strip of BLM land that this vulture was hanging out over. By now a few minutes had gone by and the vulture was still there. I pulled up a dirt road just enough to be within legal shooting land. We got out of the truck hoping to find what the vulture was hanging out over. We could smell a foul smell in the air which explained the vulture. I decided that we should try and find this carcass and see if it would be worth setting up there later in the evening. As we hiked in, I decided to do a quick coyote howl with a hand caller. No sooner was I done making the howl then Kaela hit me and said ‘There’s a Coyote!” She was sure that she saw a coyote running into the bushes behind us about 30 yards. I was facing the wrong way so I asked her what she saw and she described seeing this gray thing about the size of a dog just charging behind this big sagebrush and then disappearing. She had seen her first coyote and her excitement was through the roof. I love seeing her get so excited over hunting like that. We walked over to where she saw the coyote and the ground was packed hard so it was hard to find any tracks but I still believe she saw that coyote, just as I have numerous times when coyote hunting. We decided to keep that area in mind for when we came back. After all, this was just a scouting trip.

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Once we got back to the truck, I looked on the map again for somewhere else to go scout. On the map, a few springs were marked out. I decided to go see if those springs were active or not. We drove in and got into some forestry land. The drive in on Helga (my truck) was a little tight but it’s always fun to get the truck into the mountains. Once we got close to the springs, we started hiking. We found a couple of spots that had no water that looked like at one point they held water. There were deer and elk tracks everywhere. I knew that the tracks are a good sign of life in the area and with that, there are coyotes around. We continued to another spot that looked promising. We weren’t able to get right into the spring but it was full of vegetation that looked very alive. To me, that’s a good sign, but none of the tracks continued into it. I think that thick vegetation is the only thing getting any water from that spring. When we got close to the spring, we saw some small cat tracks. I think we decided that the track was bobcat tracks. We decided to hike back to the truck. We weren’t very far so it was going to be a short hike. As we hiked back, Kaela looks down and points out these fresh tracks on the ground next to our boot prints. She pointed out her first coyote tracks. This coyote must have come around wondering what we were doing in the mountains in the middle of nowhere and come around to take a look at us. We tried to follow the tracks for a second but they went into some hard ground and we lost the track. We decided that it was worth doing a quick set up there.

Our original plan was to go back to where we saw the coyote earlier and hope to call him in. The weather was turning and doing this set on these fresh tracks was the way for us to go. We found a tree to sit under that would help us blend in a little while still letting us see some of the open ground in front of us. We were set up in some thick vegetation so this small opening would be our shooting lane. Kaela had her shotgun and I told her she’d have the best shot if the coyote decided to show up. I took my rifle. I knew that getting a rifle on a hard-charging coyote would be hard but it was better than nothing. This was a short set so only 30 minutes would do. The other thing was that I couldn’t find the remote to my Foxpro. My daughter had been playing with it so I hid it in my truck and couldn’t find it. Luckily I still had my hand calls and still practice with them every once in a while. Once we sat down and get settled in, I started calling with my howler. I tried doing a higher pitch howl and bark pattern hoping to get a response from a coyote thinking a pup was in distress. Nothing happened from that so I switched to a jackrabbit distress call. At this point, I knew that the coyote in the area was most likely skeptical and wouldn’t come in but it was still fun to give it a try. 30 minutes went by and no coyote popped out. We went back to the truck and saw the same tracks had gone right next to the truck. Crazy how things like that happen.

All in all, this scouting trip was successful in lots of ways. We saw a coyote, we saw fresh tracks, Kaela got a good nap in, and most importantly Kaela is who spotted all the right signs to get us in the right spots. We couldn’t have had a successful scouting trip without using our OnXmaps app and seeing how we could get into some public land. The more we use that app, the more useful it becomes. The other thing was our earplugs. I know I already mentioned it but here’s the link again. If you want to check them out and get some free shipping on any order over $50 dollars, here’s that link. While we were set up, we still had our earplugs in and they didn’t bother us and still allowed us to whisper to each other during our small set. To me, the best part still is seeing how Kaela has learned so much and is starting to notice signs of what to look for and saw her first coyote. Not counting the roadkill coyote I had her pick up, that’s a different story. There’s no going wrong when I go hunting with my wife. That way it’s always successful.

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