Sunday, March 02, 2008
My daughter, Victoria, has a knack for hearing them. She hears them howling here or there around the farm and draws our attention to them. Always has. When she was younger she'd say "Shhh...listen...Yicotees!"
I was planning to ice fish today, but it got too warm and the ice got to lookin' a bit too rotten for me. As I was looking out over the mighty Cayuga thinkin' how today wasn't a good day for a swim, I chuckled aloud thinkin' about coyote fishin', as was recently described on this blog. And then my friend George showed up, itching for a coyote hunt.
So, we went out for the afternoon, him toting a .222 and me a .223. George's wife Ann enjoys a walk about in the woods as much as anyone, so she joined in. It was about 3:30 pm when we lit out for the gully.
We crunched along in the hardening snow, aware that we were making a hell of a racket. We got to the "hidden field," recently "baited" with unsuccessful lambing efforts. Nothing but red tailed hawks. We discussed it. I ended up deciding to climb up into the cedar tree deer stand overlooking the hidden field while George and Ann took a walk.
I spent about an hour watching flight after flight of geese. More hawks checked out the bait pile. Checked the watch, it was a quarter to five. And then, way across the field to the west, out came a runnin' a coyote... not a flat out run, but kinda lopin' along, yet faster than a trot. I guessed the range to be about 300 meters, so I dialed up the scope to 10, and got on 'im. Movin' left to right, I led him good and let fly. Bang. Wouldn't ya know, I dropped him there. At the shot, another coyote appeared, but as the first still had its head up, I passed the shot, not wanting to expend rounds.
The second coyote approached the one I had hit, and the hit coyote attempted to join the escape, but was clearly badly hit in the back hip. Try as it might, it made slow and difficult progress toward the hedge row and cover. I tried two more shots but didn't seem to connect. I yelled for George and let him know the direction of my downed animal. He was on the trail quickly, as I unloaded and climbed out of the tree. George easily found the blood trail, and as I ran up to the hedgerow, out of breath, we could both see the crippled coyote in the next field, still trying pathetically to get away. George had his gun up, but sportingly asked me if it was ok to give the coup de grace. As I was out of breath and still quite a bit back, and the animal was clearly suffering, I gave George the green light. He ended it cleanly at a range of about 75 meters.
The coyote had a beautiful coat. It turned out to be a female. We went back to the point of impact, where there was a clear break in the tracks in the snow, as well as blood and hair. I paced back to my shooting spot 349 paces. Given that it was snowy, I would say confidently that my shot was plus 300 meters, but not necessarily 349.