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Coyotes are an elusive quest

The news about coyote attacks in Chicago is very disturbing, but when you also read about Chicago’s murder rate four-legged coyotes might be the least of your worries.

Crime is always a concern, but since we live in Morning Journal Country I’ll just concentrate on the problems we might face when dealing with Wile E. Coyote; at least the problems as I see them. I am definitely not an expert on coyotes, but I have tried to learn as much as I can about this elusive predator.

Fortunately there is a lot of information available online and you can spend hours checking it out. How much help this will be depends on you, and I must warn you that information about western coyotes does not always relate to our eastern variety.

I think you will find hunting eastern coyotes is more difficult than calling them in on the plains. I can attest to that as my coyote hunting success has been zilch. I have called one within range, missed the first shot and never got a second shot.

In my quest to learn more about the elusive yodel dog, I have attended several coyote seminars. I have learned a lot, but even with knowledge there is still no coyote pelt hanging on my office wall. Am I just a bad hunter? Well, I’m no Davy Crockett, but I’m not alone in my frustration. A couple years ago Leetonia Sportsman’s Association sponsored a coyote hunting contest. Several experienced hunters entered and hunted for three days. Their total take? None.

My closest contact to a coyote was right here in my backyard. I have a fridge in my workshop where I keep my nightcrawlers. I stepped out the back door of my shop armed only with a container of worms and there was a coyote no more than 10 yards away.

It would have been an easy bow shot, or maybe even with use a rock. The coyote was as much surprised as me and for a couple seconds neither of us knew what to do. I felt a little like the Road Runner must feel. I was glad when the coyote retreated before I had to sic my worms on it.

As far as I know we have had no attacks on humans in our area, but I saw an internet photo of a local dog that was hurt. I was also told by a couple of farmers that their cows had been threatened. One was harassed while defending her calf and another was injured and had to be put down. Those are expensive losses.

Deer can also be coyote victims, especially when does are giving birth. Fawns can be easily taken by a couple coyotes. To counteract this I have decided to hunt during the birthing time. I’ll use a fawn in distress call, and maybe even a plastic fawn decoy. Maybe then I can lure a coyote into rifle range.

Maybe what I’ve learned about this sneaky critter will finally pay off, but it won’t be easy. Remember that we are dealing with a canine, and canines are smart. They also have olfactory senses that put ours to shame.

If you have a dog in your life you know what I mean. My dog, Scooter, always outsmarts me, and there is no sense trying to hide food from her. She can tell you which grocery sack holds the meat and not the laundry soap. Why do you think they use dogs to sniff out drugs?

We will never be rid of coyotes and the problems they can cause, but I feel it is a good idea to try to keep their population down as best we can.

The coyote I encountered in my backyard feared my human scent enough for it to skedaddle and I hope to keep it that way. Although if we meet again maybe I’ll be holding something more lethal than a dozen nightcrawlers.