By the time we get everything all back in order it's near noon and the wind has picked up. We head back out with spirits a little low due to the wind, but decide to forge ahead anyway. We make a couple stands in the wind and get no takers. The wind is getting worse and our spirits even lower. Cory makes the comment that if I weren't visiting he'd probably just head home. I knew how he felt as I would have done the same thing if I were home, but I wasn't, so we kept going.
Troy with nicely furred female coyote that has a white tipped tail.
Cory takes me to a neat stand overlooking a beautiful little brushy ravine that has a pond right in the bottom of it. I start calling and right away we have a big coyote headed our way. We can see that he has mange because of his hairless rat tail. He checks up at around 75 yards and Cory puts a 55 grain Ballistic Tip through him. The coyote takes off at the shot and over the rise where I can't see him. I stand up, find him in my binoculars and see him flop over on his side. His tail is giving the last wag or two before he dies.
About this time Cory says get down, there's two more. I drop and we call for a while, but they decide they don't want to play the game and eventually leave. My partner gets up to go collect his coyote. I watch him go and expect him to pick it up any second where I last saw it. He can't find it. I join him, and we look for 20 minutes. No sign of it anywhere. We still don't know what happened to it. All we can figure is it may have crawled off. The grass was really tall as well, making it very difficult to search. We sure could have used Tony Tebbe's dog Gunner on that search. In fact there are times every year I wish I had a dog to help track down wounded coyotes. We are disappointed we didn't find it, but what can you do? We decide to press on and go make a few more dry stands.
The day is starting to wind down and we have time for maybe one or two more stands. We set up overlooking a large area of river break/bad lands looking stuff. The wind has settled just a little, but still blowing harder than I like. Just minutes after I start calling, Cory spots a coyote waaaaaaaaay out there. Eventually it commits and starts heading our way. The majority of the time it is out of sight. Fifteen minutes have passed and I'm starting to worry that maybe it has circled down wind and blown out. I decide to try a little pup in distress and suddenly there she is just 50 yards away, but behind some heavy brush. She drops into a deep ravine and disappears. She's close, but I can't see her. Cory makes a few kissing sounds and I see ears 25 to 30 yards away above the grass. One more kiss and she pokes up high enough for me to see her chest facing me straight on. I drop the hammer on her. It felt darn good to pick her up for a picture or two. She was a beautifully furred female. She was unique in that she had a white tipped tail. This might be common in some areas, but pretty rare most places I hunt. In fact, I can only remember killing this one and one other that had a white tipped tail.
We head back to the pickup. I'm actually feeling pretty good considering the conditions and the setbacks from the day. I guess I shouldn't have let me guard down because less than a hundred yards from the truck I step in a badger hole. I couldn't see it because of the tall grass. I go down hard and twist my ankle pretty good. I get up and hobble to the truck. We make one more dry stand and call it a day. In the back of my mind I'm thinking, "Stupid black cat, why did you have to run under my truck and curse this hunt?Ē
The night before we called Mitch (a young coyote caller neither of us had ever hunted with before), and told him to meet us at 6:00 am the next morning. At 4:57 am the next morning my phone goes off with a text. I'm like "what-the", who is texting me at this time of the morning? Itís Mitch. He's waiting for us on the highway. Apparently he forgot about the time difference between where he lives and where we were, or maybe he just can't tell time. I don't know, but I do know I wasn't completely awake. I tell him to take a nap and call Cory in a half hour. At 6:00 am Cory and Mitch show up to pick me up. I had to ask Mitch if they taught him how to count on more than one hand where he's from. He mumbled something about not wanting to hold us up or be late. I will give him this, he was NOT late. However, if given a choice between a partner being really early or late, I will take early every time. So it's all good.
Cory and Mitch with Coryís big male coyote.
We head to my favorite ranch to hunt coyotes. It has always produced. In fact normally there are so many coyotes coming to the call one is almost shooting out of self defense. The wind is calm, sky has a few clouds. Everything is perfect. Shortly after arriving I howl to get a location on where to set up for our first stand. No response. Hmmm, that's odd, usually there are so many coyotes howling back you can't have a conversation with your partner. We decide to go make a stand anyway.
On the way in Cory and I are debating back and forth where we should set up. Mitch chimes in where he thinks we should go, but I finally argue enough and get my way. After all I've been hunting this ranch for 15 years and I knew where the coyotes had come from in the past. Besides what could this youngster know? We set up, Mitch calls this stand. I figure let him call the first stand and get humbled right away. However shortly after he begins calling he spots coyotes. They head our way until they see the pickup and leave. Why wasn't the truck hid better? Wel,l because where they normally come from they didn't. However Mitch had expressed some concern before setting up that the coyotes would see the truck. I wasn't worried about it because they never come from the direction he was concerned about...never until that morning. They came right were Mitch said they would and not where I thought they would. Chalk one up for the youngster.
Meanwhile, I'm over there trying to clean egg off my face. We make a couple more stands in primo places and can't even get a coyote to take a peek at us. I'm starting to worry about that cat curse again. Then, finally, on the fourth stand one comes charging in from way out. He's packing the mail, and then suddenly, he pulls up at 600 yards and sits on his butt. We have the sun low and behind us; it is right in his eyes. The wind is in our favor. I have no idea why he checked up. He eventually turns to leave and I hit him with pup in distress to try and shake him loose and get him to come our way. Instead he blows out of there like a scalded cat running dead way. Man, I can't win!
We call a little longer and nothing shows. We make a long dejected walk back to the truck. We head down the trail and make another stand overlooking some hills. This time we get lucky and I call in a nice male that Cory slams to the ground with his 22-250 (the AR is retired for now). I keep calling and spot another coyote 400 yards away sitting on its rear. I hit it with some pup squeals and it comes charging down the hill headed right for me. It has to cross a little valley and disappears. It should pop up any second about 200 yards away. I'm ready and I'm going to let it have it as soon as it shows itself. Plus I know neither Cory nor Mitch has seen this coyote yet. They are both quick on the trigger so I figure I might just get this one if spot it first. In my mind, I'm thinking "double baby". Nope, for whatever reason it never shows up. I have no idea where it went. Very strange to have one charge like that and not close the deal. Sucks actually! At this point Iím starting to hate cats even more than I originally did, and I don't like them at all to begin with. Really hating black cats in particular.