Californian Coyote Calling
You might think California is all about roller blading, margaritas and reconstructive surgery, but no! There is normal stuff too, such as heading out on a cold morning with a rifle, a fox pro and some new friends.
I’m joining Jason Bruce. He is a well known face on the USA’s ‘Sportsman’s Channel’, with his Headhunter Chronicles, but more about him later. American coyotes are bigger than British foxes, and the American response is proportionate. We will be flooding the area with men and machines. Also out today are Jason’s hunting buddy Jerad and his 11 year old son Kodee. Kodee has a micro sized .17HMR with him.
I have been promised the chance of finally seeing an animal I’ve heard many times, the coyote.
Watch the film
Our first port of call is land behind Jason’s house. The large mounds of earth where we are taking cover are excavation scars from the gold prospectors, the Forty-niners of the American gold rush. The mining tailings make great cover for coyote hunters. Jason hopes that we will get a quick win, but after 10 minutes we cash our chips and move on.
The ground we are hunting has been a lot colder in recent days. The frost has settled and puddles are frozen. Jason and his mates are not having any luck yet. But we are going to keep sitting and try a few more spots.
Our next piece of ground is more inviting, even though the ‘No Hunting’ sign suggests otherwise. There is 400 acres of pasture land that Jason’s friend has just bought. By all accounts it is virgin territory, and the frozen footprints are a good sign. A coyote cub distress call comes into play and it does not take long until Jason spots movement to our left. Whatever the movement is it is spooking the cattle. I get ready anticipating a coyote to come from the left. Darn the varmint pops up straight in front of us. It is about 100 yards away. I hit it and it drops on the spot.
They consider it a varmint here, but Jason considers it a lot of fun. The coyote population has exploded throughout the United States. Perhaps we could bring some to the UK.
Kitted out for a frosty morning
“It is just fine art when you call them in. A lot of it…” starts to explain Jason.
“here comes another one…” he interrupts himself. Jason quickly ducks down as he spots another coyote straight ahead but far off.
Jerad adds a few calls of his own to the coyote cub distress call to try and keep this second coyote in play and it curls round to us. This one is about 80 yards and I hit it hard but low. It runs 20 yards and holes up under a bush. Our young sportsman is keen to get after it and make sure it’s not suffering. Kodee follows the blood trail and we work though the rough stuff. This youngster keeps his head and makes the shot.
Time for the debrief.
“They were both together, they came in the once just standing there, the first one you shot was just standing there looking at you, looking at the call and when you shot the other one went away. Then Jerad hit his call button and changed it to the pup in distress and it brought that one back. It is good” explains Jason.
“These things are not hunted at all. We don’t hunt this property much. All the places we went this morning we keep just for fun. We don’t hammer them too hard. So these dogs weren’t really familiar with the gun shots. It went in right where you shot him.” says Jason motioning towards the wound in the dead coyote.
“And you hit him, it went right in and went right out. It did its job. They are tough.” continues Jason.
Wile E Coyote
The other coyote is a real beauty. In the UK we mostly throw our foxes away, unless there is a demand for the skin. Here people either take the coyote to the taxidermist and get it mounted. Or they only keep the pelts and the take them to a taxidermist who will tube it and tan it. Many people collect these. FURthermore, the fur market is pretty big in the US. It came back in the last few years. You see a lot of movie stars and celebrities wearing coyote, lynx, bobcat. The coyote is an iconic American animal and it is a real treat to come out and be involved with an animal that appears so much in American media.
Jason explains the uses of coyote fur
The round I used was a .257 and it certainly had plenty of put down power.
“It is a really good deer round. It is a little bit big for these coyote here. But it does the job” says Jerad.
It obviously does the job very well. If hunters are particular in saving the coyote hides, they would want to shoot a smaller gun, .22/50’s .57’s are good for long distance as long as there are not any bog winds.
One rifle with a little less power but nonetheless used with great skill is Kodee’s .17HMR.
“My most exciting hunting experience was when I shot my first coyote” reminisces Kodee.
“Well, we went to call and then the coyote came in with another one and then I shot it” describes Kodee.
There are plenty of excuses to visit California and this is just another one.