Field Notes


A coyote hunting trip to remember


Late in February is usually a good time for coyotes unless the weather feels more like late March. As was the case on a recent trip I made.


Not feeling very positive about it, I went anyway. The temperature was in the mid thirties and the breeze was mild. The forecast was for temps to reach upper 40’s. The entire week had been mild and the coyotes surely would not be hungry.


In route to a sheep farm that I frequent, I stopped and made a single stand on a 40 acre clover field with a brushy draw through the middle of it and some brush at the north edge.


I sneaked away from my pickup toward the draw. Hoping to spot a tree that would conceal me in the shadows, I found a suitable place on the far side of the draw where I could watch the rest of the field to the north. I sat quietly for a couple of minutes and then dug out the raccoon urine, sprayed a little on a nearby branch and reached for my call.


Glancing one last time around the field in front of me, I spotted 2 nice fat does running across the northwest corner of the field. Of course being the avid coyote hunter that I am, I was certain that it was probably a pair of coyotes that spooked the deer.


My pulse quickened a little and I puffed some low volume squeals through the call. A few more low volume squeals and then I raised the volume a little. Seven or eight minutes had passed and I had spotted nothing.


Finally got a few crows to respond to me and they proceeded to light in the trees just over my left shoulder. Impossible for me to turn that far without making noise, I just kept pretending to be a rabbit with a major problem. Crows are one of the few creatures that know how far you can look up and how far you can rotate your shoulders.


I have had a few coyotes pretend that they know my limits of rotation, but they thought wrong. Maybe it is the value I place on the target that limbers me up. Never can seem to get turned for a crow. Anyway, these few crows got away unscathed.


Never got a glimpse of a coyote at that stand so I headed back to the truck.


The sheep farm was only another quarter mile east on the gravel road so I backed out from behind some big hay bales where I had hidden it and headed east.


The breeze was picking up as I exited the truck and headed south. My hopes were fading quickly, I hate hunting in a strong breeze. I kept a low profile and trod on to the south. The farther I got from the truck, the stronger the wind got. You know those kinda days.


The piece of ground I was now on was about 160 acres. The sheep were kept at the north end of the property during the winter months, closer to the farmhouse. So I pretty much had the south half to myself. Three or four brushy draws and some more big hay bales. The property to the east held a little more timber, and earlier scouting had indicated some travel east and west, to and from the timber.


My intention was to hit the biggest draw and head east along the edge of it. I planned to make a stand where I could watch part of the east fence. By now the wind was hurricane force as I neared a quarter mile from the truck.


Feeling beaten before I started, I swung northeast and hit a smaller draw where I could see the fence. Found another big old tree to hide by and sat down.


Again, spraying a little raccoon urine on a branch or two, I pulled the call from my pocket.


Like I always do, I squealed a few squeals at low volume, just in case a coyote is nearby.


Immediately, I heard movement to my left. I turned slowly to see a big fat raccoon coming down the side of an old hollow tree about 40 feet away. Coincidence?  Maybe; he was not looking my direction.


I kept the volume low, and squealed a few more times. The raccoon hit the bottom of the tree and headed my way. I was keeping one eye on him and the other on lookout for Mr. Coyote.


When the raccoon didn’t change direction, I had no option but to keep both eyes on him. Surely he would stop soon and look my way. As I expected, he put on the brakes and looked right at me. Then he looked around for the easiest path to me and took it.


Ok, he’ll stop anytime now, right?  Nope, not that yo-yo. I puffed another small squeal into the call and he was at my feet.


Now here I am, sitting flat on the ground with my feet out in front of me, my rifle across my lap and a raccoon that thinks I am a snack, standing at my feet.


He paused here briefly, looked at my face, of course he knew the noise was not coming from ground level, he would have to climb. As he raised up to get on my boot, I gently kicked him in the chin.


Those little suckers are fast. He covered the distance back to the tree in under 2 seconds, but he did not stop there. I saw him cross the next ridge north at full gallop.


Yes siree, that coon urine as a cover scent sure does work. If he had got onto my boot, he’d have smelled a different urine.


Now don’t get me wrong, they are an interesting animal. Not bad eating and a beautiful pelt on a stretcher. But season was closed, and I did not want a live coon climbing me like a tree. I figured I best call it a morning and let the wind have its way.


Stopped and visited with the landowner a few minutes told him about his psycho raccoon. Of course he got a chuckle out of that. He informed me that the coyotes had taken a ewe a couple weeks back. He went on to say, that about day break every day, “there’s one comes across that ridge to the north and down along here east of the house.” “If you want

to try sitting over cross the road on that piece of ground, and catch him coming through, help yourself, next time you’re up.”


I had been watching that chunk of ground for a couple of years. Aware that he owned it but he had not offered to let me hunt on it. The man has been overly kind to me and I did not want to put him on the spot by asking about it.


Was the morning a success?


Sure it was. How many people do you know who get to kick a live raccoon and gain access to another couple hundred acres of coyote ground all in the same day?  Sometimes you can succeed and not have to skin anything.


As for the raccoon urine as a cover scent, the verdict is still out. I have read that it works on coyotes.



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Last Modified: January 3, 2012