After Thanksgiving dinner, someone suggested a Black Friday coyote contest. My younger brother, Todd, and I challenged my son, Ben, and my nephew, Gus, to a contest. Todd had some things to do Friday so we decided on a 1:00 pm check-in. Each team took a direction from the ranch.
The first stand before the sun came up had three coyotes running in to Adult Cottontail. I shot the male, Todd shot the female. Todd saw another leave over the ridge before he could get a shot on him. Two down before the sun came up! Good start. We hiked around the hill and set up in the horse pasture which was a mistake. The horses carried on and messed up the stand.
Stand three had one coyote skirting the rim above Todd but it was 325 yards out and wouldn't stop. No shot. A big coyote came in in front of me at three minutes and I dumped her at 35 yards. I saw a third coyote going around behind me that I thought we might pull in but it had winded me and left.
The fourth stand had a hard charger coming from over a quarter mile away. I asked Todd if he was on him as he broke the brush line at 70 yards. He confirmed, I barked and the coyote just swung and left! It stopped about 300 yards out. I guessed him at 350 to 400 and shot over him. (This was the first miss with my new rifle but I honestly hadn't been challenged much with it. "If you haven't missed with your favorite coyote rifle, just shoot at some more coyotes...!") I told my brother he must have sissy coyotes around here.
The next stand was beautiful but I made the mistake of telling my brother that if we couldn't call a coyote on this stand, we should turn in our Man Cards. Well, it's gone.
The coyotes were supposed to come from out of the valley on the following stand but she didn't read the play book and came off the ridge behind us instead. A soon as she got even with me, she turned and started to leave. I stood and redeemed myself with a 125 yard running shot. I sat back down and told Todd, "I'll be darned. I hit it!"
We bumped a coyote moving to the next stand but the sun was behind us and it wasn't too scared so we dropped and made a stand. Again, the next coyote came off the ridge on my side rather than out of the basin before us. This one also turned as it got to my level on the ridge. I stood and it ran off about 65 yards and stopped. I was able to get the offhand shot on it as well.
We had been dropping the coyotes off to pick up but now we were in an inaccessible area so I put the coyote in the TBO Coyote Carrier and had to carry it with us. We're now several miles from the ranch and time is getting short so we are hiking pretty hard between sets. The next set has about sixteen mule deer does and a nice three point buck unhappy about the squealing but no coyotes. Our final stand has a coyote coming but it is obvious it's swinging downwind. Again, I bark and it just swings to leave. (Sissy coyotes!) The moving 240 yard shot didn't connect.
Now we know we're getting late and the hiking turns into a forced march. We don't even take enough time to shed the layers so we are sweating hard by the time we come off the hill towards the ranch. Todd takes the last coyote and heads for the house and check-in. We've heard the "kids" shoot a few times so I know we don't have enough coyotes to win this thing. So, I drop my stuff and go to get the first two coyotes and...I didn't make check-in! Our kids win by default with one measly coyote. They won technically but everyone knows the Old Guys kicked their butts.
Friday was my birthday. We called ten coyotes a saw eleven killing five by just after noon. If OSU had beaten the U of O in the Civil War game, it would have been the end to a perfect birthday!