The heavy male coyote was placed in the windbreak where we could come back and get him later. We began making our way down to the area where we thought we could call the five we had seen earlier. Setting up, I was skeptical. We had just shot twice and I was sure we were pushing our luck. We called for 40 minutes or so before we decided to call it quits and move on to another stand.
Deep snow that fell earlier in the harvest season made it tough for farmers to harvest their crops, and there was corn just about everywhere. I began to think about just how bad the weather was, and how miserable we were despite the clothing. I thought to myself, we had been here for two days, and we hadnít called in a single coyote. But we had one in the bag, one we had let go on purpose that we could have shot if we wanted, and a missed opportunity the day before.
The tracks of the coyotes we had seen earlier in the cattail slough trailed off in different directions, all of which led to a massive corn field that was drifted deeply. The tracks seemed to meander, like they had nowhere special to be. Because of that we surmised that they might be bedded down in between the corn rows. We began walking the corn rows, taking our time so as to not overheat and end up chilled, and to make sure we didnít bump anything out of there. If we found a good area to call further along we would stop and call, sit it out and then begin a spot and stalk routine again.
Nearing the end of the section, I saw Ben raise his rifle slowly as he came to a stop. His feet shifted and it was obvious he was intending to do more than just glass something. I couldnít see what he was looking at, but I could tell it wasnít far away from the angle of the rifle and the slant of the hillside we were quartering against. The rifle barely hit his shoulder when a shot rang out, and coyote number two was in the bag, a small, but great looking female that had a white blotch that ran up her side.
It was now obvious we had made the right choice in skipping the calling and just putting miles on. It was also obvious that we needed to cover more ground and cover it faster than what we could on foot. This was our last full day of coyote hunting before making the drive back to Minnesota, so we really wanted to get one more coyote before then. As fate would have it, we didnít have the opportunity. By the time we busted snow drifts back to get my coyote it was already pushing dark.
Waking the next morning to a warmer weather report of nearly a twenty degree difference in temperatures, we decided to try some stands and call again. We would go to the same area we were in the day before and see if the five we had seen previously would be around and would come to the call. It could really go either wayÖ they may not be as hungry as they were in the colder temps, but then again, after 2 days of brutal cold and wind, they may just come running to the call.
Splitting up and sitting about 40 yards apart would allow us to cover two different areas completely, but it would also mean we couldnít communicate with each other. This would be a mistake that would end up haunting us for certain.
Prior to getting to the stand, Ben had a sling come loose on his rifle, and it fell to the frozen ground, scope first. Snow plugged the barrel and it took some considerable effort to get it unplugged. I had a spare in the truck, but Ben felt more comfortable with his Savage, more so than a heavy barreled Tikka. He was confident that the scope would be unharmed from the fall.
Nearing the end of the grove where we would set up to call, things got worse. Ben had made an electronic box call but it was now laying in pieces in the snow. Though we rarely used it, preferring mouth calls, we intended to use it that day. We would make one last mistake by splitting up, far enough apart that we couldnít even see each other.
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