How to make a Coyote Laugh
By Jim See
I thought I would approach Len’s request for a coyote article a little differently this time. Rather than talk about what works and why, I thought I would dig deep in the mass of mush to come up with my first and biggest fail in the coyote fields.
Here’s how it all began. The calls had arrived! I opened the little plastic box to find 3 fresh smelling wooden calls in the box, shipped from the Gander Mountain Catalog. I donned my musty smelling woodland coveralls, grabbed the only rifle I owned, a Marlin bolt action 22 magnum, and headed out the door…
This quest had started the previous winter while I was ice fishing in the Okee Bay near Lodi Wisconsin. It was 1984 and I was as smart as any 14 year old, maybe even smarter, I thought. As I trolled the ice holes and eavesdropped on the old timers, I can distinctly remember the two old farts arguing about the dog that had been eating the undersized fish left on the ice the previous afternoon. Old Bill was very adamant that it was a coyote, while the other was insistent that it was a local farm dog. I walked over to Bill and asked him if he had ever seen a coyote before. I don’t remember his response, but do recall him giving me an education on the then mysterious canine.
I had seen plenty of red fox growing up, even shot one before. But a coyote? Never in my life had I seen a wild dog the size of my dad’s recliner, with teeth longer than my pinky fingers, and an appetite for warm flesh that would rival Rosie O’Donnell’s. Bill’s last words held with me to this day, “I haven’t seen a coyote in these parts for over 20 years, but I will guarantee one thing Jimmy. If there is one here now, there is more to come.”
“Holy crap! The hills are going to be overrun with them! Sheep are going to be slaughtered! My sister’s cat will be kibbles! I had to do something. I had to… to… to be a COYOTE HUNTER!”
The chill was in full force that first December day when I vowed to kill my first coyote. I trudged across the snow covered fields to an overgrown cow pasture that connected to a series of wooded bluffs, the perfect spot, I thought, for a rabbit marauding coyote the size of my dad’s Oldsmobile.
I had set up like the single page of instructions included with the calls, had stated. Looking downwind, gun at the ready, a series of shrill screams blasted through the still air. I would wait 15 minutes and voila! I would be skinning out my first devil dog.
“What the Sam hell am I doing wrong?”
“Am I blowing on the right end?”
“Crap, I’m out of crackers already.”
“Darn it, I should have put on 2 pairs of socks.”
“Well there is always tomorrow, what could I really expect the first day? Hell, I think I’m the most bestest coyote caller in all of Wisconsin.”
“Wait. I can’t leave yet. If I could just get one of them overexcited crows to land as I blow the call, I could really see the damage this 22 magnum is capable of.”
And so I continued to blow as I stood between two shoulder high red cedar trees as the defining sound of 25 crows belted out their desire to clean up the scraps of a rabbit that was never there.
As I waited for one of those black sky rats to land, I caught some movement off to my right. I could hardly believe what my two little peepers were tellin’ me. As sure as the snow was white, on a steady trot, approached the most menacing and destructive wild creature my virgin eyes had ever seen.
I brought the gun to my shoulder, looked thru the 3/4” scope, fresh off my daisy 880 pellet gun. Behold in that scope did I find the shoulders of a walking coyote. A mere thirty yards off he moved, as if seemingly ignoring my presence. A strong gait, muscular stature, a streamlined appearance, he was an animal built to kill. A warm feeling came over me. It seemed as if a fog in my brain was blocking my vision. I began to tremble. I may have even peed a little.
I thought to myself; “Focus, focus. He’s huge. Better make it a head shot. No, wait for him to stop. Don’t blow it. Wait… Wait…”
Then with a lift of his nose and a seemingly effortless movement, the coyote was gone off in the direction he came from. My heart raced as I took my first breath in what seemed like days. He was gone. I had seen my first coyote ever. From that day on I was hooked, like a baby on the bottle, a toddler on tootsie rolls, a teenage boy on his uncle’s Playboys. You get the picture….
“He ain’t so dang tuff.”
“Wait til next Saturday.”
“This dang scope is no good, time to upgrade.”
I kicked dirt clods and manure patties as I headed for home.
Now you just wait one minute before you crucify a stupid little 15 year old who thought the sun set on his ass. Those dang coyote call instructions never said anything about the song dog being afraid of people and high tailing it out of the country the minute he caught wind of me. We didn’t have the internet back then. Hell if I had known the desert wolf was half chicken, I would have plugged him the minute the crosswire caught fur.