COYOTE WITH A DEATH WISH

Finally it looks like we are faced with some excellent conditions for chasing coyotes as the snow from the past number of weeks have provided a great white base for actually spotting and stalking. Conditions vary as I have covered some vast areas lately finding better snow conditions closer to the cities than farther away. The southwest and west have decent conditions but not perfect as closer in counties such as Meeker, Wright and Carver have perfect snow conditions. After a recent hunt to western Minnesota where I logged 668 miles in two days I never spotted a coyote during that trip but settled for some pheasants along the way. That's coyote hunting....all over the place one day and nothing the next.

I have been spending a great deal of time and effort keeping my corn feeders filled recently at my western Hennepin County home and have attracted scores of pheasants, rabbits and cardinals. I am also blessed with having an adjoining property that is owned by a neighbor that has 40 acres filled with mature evergreen trees. This sanctuary has provided great habitat for the critters but along with these animals it also attracts packs of coyotes from time to time. The coyotes seem to hang out along my fenceline for a couple of weeks and then vanish for a month or so and then returning again. Must be a foodsource issue I would guess.

Just last week I spotted this one particular bold coyote making mad dashes at my pheasants during middays trying in vain to snatch one out of the air as he did his best to pull off a sneak attack. This 'yote is going down ! I picked a nice, clear evening and set up in camouflage along my fenceline along with my .22 caliber rimfire and layed out a series of calls on my turkey mouthcall at sunset. I knew I had a good chance at this coyote because I figured he was bedded somewhere within calling distance of my fenceline. After my first series, I saw the telltale flicker of his ears as he approached me within 80 yards moving along the evergreens.

Most of the time these aggressive coyotes come running hellbent to a call but this dude was cautious. I just managed to make out his upper body as he stayed within the cover and I squeezed off a shot at the exposed chest. It took a second followup shot to drop him and now it's a trip to coyote heaven. He was a nice specimen with a perfect coat and looked well fed. Hennepin County is continuing to be a perfect area for the coyote explosion. The cover is more diverse with lots of swamps and woodlots to bed and hunt and I have been seeing a trend of more coyotes in close to the cities than farther out.

It has been especially evident this year as most of my sightings have been within Hennepin and Wright counties than elsewhere. Because we are in rimfire country, the .223's, 22-250's and the like are made for the prairies but being close in we are relegated to the .22 caliber rimfires. Next week I will touch on what to look for when setting up closer to town in our populated areas and how to tailor your coyote call sessions when dealing with these limitations. You can still be effective if you make some changes to your normal strategies. As we await better ice conditions a guy might as well concentrate on the best thing going right now...perfect coyote hunting conditions with snow cover that looks like it will be around for quite some time.

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