Monday, June 1, 2020

The Way You Say It

The fishing itch has been creeping in on me again. So we planned our trip where I knew we could also do some fishing if the hunting would allow it. Hunting does allow for downtime if you let it, but usually, I can only focus on one thing and during the limited hunting season my focus has to be there. I've often said that I can't even have fishing gear with me because I might get distracted. 

The first canyon that we ventured up seemed to be overrun with OHV's to the point where the trees on either side of the main road were dusty. We tried a few spots and had a great tailgate hot dog roast (forgot the pan to cook in...) but it became obvious that this area was too crowded for what we wanted to do. So we made a late-night drive to another area where we've seen turkeys before and settled down to sleep for a couple of hours in the truck. The downside to the new canyon is that it isn't exactly a great one for fishing, but fishing can wait a little while longer.

Morning came quick and cold! Once we had our hunting clothes on and were mostly packed up we walked a few yards and made a call. We heard a faint gobble, so we moved toward a ridge to set up. Before we had walked the 80 yards to the ridge two hens fed their way towards us. Too bad they didn't have a tom (or jake) with them! This has been the story of Caden's hunt, all hens. 

The hens continued to feed past us so we moved towards the nearest cover to call and hope that our luck would change. Just before the sun crests the ridge is the coldest part of the day and I was sure feeling it! Or not feeling it in the case of my fingers... Caden seemed fine, so we toughed it out for a little while, watching deer feeding below us, when I caught a glimpse of something gray a couple hundred yards out. Immediately, I told Caden to pass me the gun and called one more time. The coyote came in a straight line right towards us and only stopped when it was about 15 yards away from us and 5 or so yards away from the decoy. I had a clear shot at its head so I took it and bagged my first coyote!

Coyote's get a bad rap and I'm not sure where I stand with it all. On the one hand, research says that you can't eliminate them, or even reduce their numbers through hunting or trapping. On the other, they kill turkeys and fawns and if we can knock their numbers down, even for the short term, at the right time of year we could help recruitment for these species. As far as I'm concerned right now, any hunt becomes a coyote hunt once you see one. Steven Rinella of MeatEater fame has said that if you pronounce it KIH-OAT-EE then you never shot one, but if you have you say KIH-OAT. So I guess I need to adjust the way I talk now. 

Hope you're as lucky,


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