Cowpies and Coyotes

Cowpies and Coyotes

Spring turkey season is over and deer season is still a few months off. So what’s a huntress to do to satisfy her need to get outside and maybe shoot something? Well, this past weekend, my husband and I decided to take our bows out to an area where we had done quite a bit of coyote hunting this past winter to see if we could find some ground squirrels to shoot at.

We had seen many squirrel holes during previous excursions and thought that with the warm, spring weather squirrels would be running all over the place.  However, when we got there, all we found were scattered groups of cows. That was alright with us, though, because one of the byproducts of cows is cow pies, which make great targets to shoot at (well, the dry ones are – fresh ones not so much!) and are excellent for perfecting shooting technique, judging distance, and overall improving archery skills. During the off-season, we try to get out often for these types of excursions in preparation for deer season. It is much more fun and challenging than shooting at a standard bull’s-eye target.  We set off across the broken scablands, taking turns calling out targets to shoot at – a cow pie, a flower, a clump of weeds – anywhere from as close as 5 yards to as far away as 75 yards.  And no rangefinders allowed!

As we wandered along, my husband suddenly whispered, “Look! Over there!” I glanced in the direction he was pointing and saw a gaunt coyote watching us curiously about 150 yards away – an easy shot for my .22-250 rifle but certainly not even an option for my bow. I have been eager to try to shoot a coyote with my bow, so I watched to see if there was any way I could sneak up on him to within shooting range. After watching us for a minute or so, the coyote suddenly ran off and disappeared; I knew my chance for a stalk was gone. So we resumed calling out targets and flinging arrows.

I had chosen a hoop of metal to try to shoot through and had just shot my arrow shot when my husband again whispered that the coyote was back.  It was now in a small, grassy bowl – again about 150 yards away – still occasionally watching us but not seeming the least bit concerned that we were there. As we stood and watched it, he started hunting for mice, paying no attention to us standing out there like sore thumbs on the open ground. I decided to see if there was any way I could get close enough to get a shot.

About 50 yards away from me was a small rock bluff. I thought that if I could make it to the rocks undetected, I might be able to call the coyote in with the rabbit-in-distress call I had brought along “just in case.” With the coyote’s attention fixed on the ground looking for a mouse or vole, I started to move slowly toward the rocks. I hadn’t gone 10 yards when he looked my way and sat down on his haunches, eyes fixed on my location. I dropped to the ground and froze, waiting for him to look away. After what seemed an eternity, but in reality was probably a minute or so, he went back to his hunting, so keeping a low profile, I continued my crawl toward the rocks. The coyote would stop and watch me for a moment, I would freeze, then he would resume his hunt, and I would resume my stalk. We played this game several times until he finally decided he had had enough and ran off. I thought the game was over.

About 30 seconds later, just when I was ready to stand up and walk back toward my husband, who had been sitting and watching the whole ordeal unfold, I caught sight of the coyote sitting on a small hill nearby, again watching in my direction. I froze and just watched him. Suddenly he started to yip and bark, much like a neighborhood dog protecting his territory. He continued to bark, never moving from his spot. Then I caught sight of another coyote beyond him, searching through the rocks at the base of a bluff about 300 yards away from me. I decided to continue my crawl to the rocks on the off chance that I might be able to call in one of the coyotes to my location.

While the first coyote continued to bark and yip, I slowly crawled along the ground, keeping as low a profile as I could, pausing every few feet to see what the coyote was doing, until I made it to the rock cover. After getting situated and waiting a couple of minutes, with the coyote still yipping, I started to blow on the rabbit-in-distress call. This silenced the coyote, which just stood on his hill and looked in my direction with great interest. However, my predator calling  also got the attention of a number of cows in the vicinity who proceeded to surround my husband, including a huge bull in the herd that kept making strange guttural growling sounds.  I was afraid I was going to have to abandon my coyote mission to beat cows off of my husband, but they fortunately ran off with the next series of calling.

I continued to call intermittently for several minutes, hoping to draw one of the coyotes in. Unfortunately, the coyote on the hill finally decided something was fishy and ran off. I saw him a minute later on a hill even further away, again watching me. I never did see the second coyote again. With daylight fading and a long walk back to the truck, it was time to concede to the coyotes. They had won – this time.


Jun 28, 2013 | Category: Blog | Comments: none

 

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