One day, in a 35 mile per hour gale, I was hanging on by my toenails in a rickety tree stand that overlooked a small valley. A pack of coyotes opened up and it wasn’t long before a buck and doe came blasting through. The doe continued on down the valley but the buck veered off and passed right under my stand. Needless to say, I didn’t get a shot. Hot on his heels came two young pups who sat on their haunches under my tree and then stood up on their hind legs to peer over the ridge in the direction the buck had fled. There was a lot of yipping back and forth between the pups and the rest of the pack, which resulted in the two youngsters tearing off to join the senior pack members. The message had been clear, “Let the buck go, we’re going to concentrate on the doe.”
Two days later, I arrowed a large muley buck just before dark. We didn’t find him until the next morning. “Wiley coyote” and friends had beat us to the deer. The only thing left was the head, neck and one front quarter. The rest had been neatly boned out. The viscera was shoved off to the side-I always thought they ate those parts first.
I’ve had a number of encounters with coyotes while turkey hunting. One time, a number of years ago, I was calling from a brush blind, with a decoy out, when I spotted a coyote coming from quite a ways off. It was obvious he was homing in on my calls. He was about twenty yards out when he dropped on his belly and started a stalking crawl. He had to be thinking, “This is the dumbest turkey I’ve ever seen!” I leaned out of the blind and waved at him and he swapped ends so fast his nose was sticking out under his tail!
Another time, I was calling for a friend when a little blond coyote (female?) suddenly appeared a few yards from our decoy. “She sees us,” I thought, even with camo on we were just sitting by a big tree. Sure enough, she turned and trotted around a big brush pile on our left. Then, in a blur, she streaked around the brush pile grabbed the decoy off the stake, spit it out, did a 180 in mid-air and was gone!
Just this past season, I was calling from a stump and brush blind, when I heard something moving and looked to my right just as a coyote was about to jump in the blind with me! “You crazy coyote!” I shouted and he trotted off fifty yards and stood there looking back. I’d taped a pair of turkey wings together and hung them over my decoy. It was very life like. He must have been wondering if he could dart over and grab the turkey before I could shoot him. Apparently he didn’t like the odds and left back the way he’d come.
What’s the answer to the coyote problem? I’m not sure there is one. Persons who live in rural or even semi-rural areas should keep a close watch on their pets. Small dogs are at risk, but even my little female lab does not go out alone at night. A couple of coyotes would slice and dice her before she could blink!