“They got one of my cats again!”
That’s what the email from a gentleman in northern Saratoga County that I helped with a coyote problem several years ago, said.
He isn’t really a farmer, but he has a few chickens and ducks that have also been subjected to coyote attacks. That time, it took me four evenings to get rid of two coyotes for him, and it was also right around the end of January, the beginning of the coyote breeding season and one of the better times to hunt them.
Actually, the Department of Environmental Conservation estimates that there are 30,000 coyote hunters in New York state. Coyotes are scavengers, and will prey on whitetail deer, small game, dogs, cats and smaller farm animals.
I have to admit I was a bit anxious about the hunt, and just a few days earlier had put my coyote gear together.
The gun, which already had taken its share of small game and a coyote, is a Henry lever-action .22 magnum I topped off with a CenterPoint 2-7x32 scope.
Just in time, I received my Bass Pro Shops new water-resistant Pursuit X1 Predator light that I attached to the top of the scope. With 600 lumens, the X1 will light them up out to 300 meters, and it comes with both a green and a red lens cap.
Also getting its first field test was the Johnny Stewart’s Attractor Max battery-operated caller. It comes with 10 recorded predator calls, one of which was a distressed kitten. The unit also has a remote-controlled caller, easy to carry and has a detachable microphone.
When I visited the area to set up, the owner said there had been quite a bit of howling the night before that began around dusk coming from the north side of the woods behind his house.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t a good concealed ambush spot, but my camo chair blind took care of that.
I set up the call’s speaker about 40 steps from my blind in some high grass and sprayed a generous amount of Primetime Pure Rabbit Urine all around.
After spraying a scent, put the bottle in a zip-lock bag. You don’t want the coyote coming directly to you.
Wind direction is always important, and fortunately, the crosswind was in my favor. I was going to wait just a few minutes after sundown before calling, but the coyote beat me to it.
The howl came right from where the land owner had said he heard it the night before. A push of the button, and I answered with a distressed kitten call. A couple more calls, and I stopped.
It was completely dark now, and after about five minutes, I made one more call, turned on the red light and slowly scanned the tree line, which was about 100 yards from me. I didn’t see anything and made another call, and then out stepped two coyotes, and they were definitely coming.
Stopping every 10-15 yards, the lead coyote sniffed the air. My last low-volume kitten distress call sent them into a trot, and Henry and I were ready.
I put the crosshairs on the following coyote, cocked the hammer, placed the crosshair on its right front shoulder and squeezed the trigger. It folded immediately, and the other stopped just long enough for me to get off an on-target shot. The duo, as I expected, was a male and female.
If you’re a hunter and haven’t hunted coyotes at night, you don’t know what you’re missing. Be sure to read the New York state coyote hunting regulations before hunting them. http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/45559.-