We set up on another large slough, except this one was right along a state highway. The road was busy at the time as it was a Friday night and there was a big high school basketball game in town three miles away. We stopped the truck on a field approach hidden from view, and we geared up and headed out. We walked two hundred yards across a soybean stubble field, then climbed down to the lake where we sat in front of some large boulders for cover with the wind at our backs. I started out with the same sequence - a lone howl, then quiet for a few minutes, then “lightning Jack”.
At the fifteen minute mark we switched to “pup in distress”. Once the twenty-two minute mark hit, we were thinking of leaving, until Tom whispered “Dogs coming in from the right”, just like before. Four coyotes were on their way in, when all at once they stopped and looked across the lake – lo and behold, here comes another coyote. Five coyotes total were in plain view, again. Once the first four saw the other dog running, they turned on the afterburners as if they were U.S. Navy jets leaving an aircraft carrier on an intercept mission.
When the first of the four slammed on the brakes 20 yards from the call (which was placed about 50 yards out in front of us) my AR15 barked “BANG…WHOP!” followed almost instantly by Tom’s rifle sending another song dog to his appointment with St. Peter. Or, maybe, the other place south of there, where I am told it is much warmer. At least by my Pastor. Oh! And my Mother. The remaining dogs scattered in every direction not giving us any opportunities.
It was the best opening two stands of coyote calling in my many years of hunting predators. At two back to back call stands the FoxPro Shockwave called in at least 11 coyotes that we could see in our scopes when the shooting started, and possibly as many as 13 to 15 total.
We ended up with our best night to date, and as we cannot use artificial light in North Dakota, we were limited to using moonlight. And boy, was the moon smiling down on us that night! I often think how great it might be to hunt in Arizona where the coyotes are plentiful and the weather is much warmer, or calling some heavily wooded forest for grey fox and coyotes where the wind is calm.
However, we live in a place where it can be harsh just to survive. With wind chills reaching the 30 to 50 below zero range, which can cause your eyes to freeze shut when you blink, hunting anything for any period of time becomes a real challenge. Just trying to sit still for up to 30 minutes when its 30 degrees below zero with the snow drifting around, you can suddenly find yourself freezing to the ground.
In conditions like that, an ill-prepared rifle will downright refuse to function due to something as minor as too much of the wrong weight oil. Sometimes just trying to see with the snow blowing around on the ground is near impossible, especially if you forget your goggles. All of these factors made us realize how many things had to come together perfectly on one cold moonlit night in December, on the frozen prairies of North Dakota, to bless us with such a successful hunt.
That particular night is one that Tom and I won’t forget any time soon, and it will keep us awaiting the next time that the moon is full, the wind is low, and the song dogs can’t resist the charms of the FoxPro. And we will be there to replenish heaven (or hell) with some fresh coyote souls.
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