Ramblings and Such From Hunting Coyote

I didn't think that you were making anyone sound bad. Every place that you go has its own rules and regulations on how you can or can't do things. Last week I was visiting a guy from up north he was working with a couple of other crews that were hunting coyote on snow cover. They had some pretty good results one day was a 100-coyote day. When you are flying, and you get good soft deep snow, a good pilot and gunner that work well together and a good guy or two on the ground you can cover a lot of ground that is pretty flat. I truly enjoyed doing ground crew work for the plane and helicopter getting the ones located that didn't want to talk or that would run when they heard the plane or helicopter then you had the ones that would just lay down in a cow trail or small spot with taller grass or sage brush. I have had a few experiences with those types of coyotes. I was calling one morning for an older coyote that was killing lambs and had evaded others, didn't talk, and hadn't been gotten by the helicopter. I sat up to howl did my howls and waited for him, no sounds from him, I had done my tracking and knew where he lived, and that he was a single male no mate or pups that he was probably older and had been around the block more than once. I finished up with my calling then just sat to wait on him, it took him over 30 minutes to show himself after I had stopped calling, he stayed out well over 400 yards, but the chopper was setting at the airport waiting for my call. They got airborne and it didn't take long for it to cover the ten to fifteen miles to my area from the airport, as soon as he heard the chopper, he ran a short distance and laid down in a slight depression. They came in and I was trying to give then directions as to where he was after several pass's they came in and picked me up, I got them right on top of him they finally saw him he was laying down flat even with his head laying on his paws, the gunner made a shot, he jumped up and ran, we got on him as he dropped into a draw with some sandstone rocks in its bottom then just disappeared. We sat down and I told them I know where he is. I had taken a den from this draw before, there was a large chunk of rock split off of an even larger rock and only a small space between the two but under the larger one was a hole that went back around 10 feet. Only the tracks had told me where it was after a day of walking and searching for the den. The pilot said let me have the gun I want to shoot him I've been after him for over a month now. he crawled in and we heard him shoot then he crawled out backwards dragging the old coyote with him. We stood around and did the congratulation thing then all of a sudden, the pilot got quiet and looked at me and said how the hell did you ever find this hole I've hunted this place a lot and lost a few coyotes here. Groundwork and a good dog a lot of footsteps and knowing what the tracks in the sand were telling me. That place is now marked on a satellite map for the guy that replaced me. I won't take that type of information with me to my grave there will be others doing that type of work and other ranchers in the future trying to raise sheep in that same area. For the younger people that want to do that type of work it's out there you just have to look for it and it helps to know where to look. The government has a few web sites to look at and a few opportunities to do that type of work, plus there are chances to get to know others and work with them to learn more about doing it from others that have a ton of experiences to share, the USDA is a good starting place for those people.
The western part of the United States is experiencing colder than normal temperatures at this time. Anyone that needs to be out in it please take the appropriate precautions. Go prepared with the proper clothing on and be layered with your dressing and have the equipment in your vehicle for the unexpected. Keep your vehicle full of fuel if you have the need to be out in this weather. If the local DOT closes the roads, they have done it for a reason think long and hard before you travel on a closed road it's better to get there tomorrow then in a box not breathing in a couple of days. If the roads are open but slick and icy drive at the appropriate speeds an 80 MPH speed limit is for the maximum speed on an ideal road surface in good conditions. With ideal conditions at 65MPH it still takes you the distance of three deliner posts to react and get stopped, 4-wheel drive helps you keep your vehicle going straight it doesn't help you get stopped. You don't have to act foolishly and hurt yourself or others but if you are the type that does that sort of thing it probably won't bother you if you cause someone else's death and another family to mourn. The truck driver that was drinking and under the influence of meth running on the wrong side of interstate hitting head on with 4 students killing them most likely has no problem with what he did but will be upset at the amount of time he will spend in prison because of his lost freedom not the fact that he killed some young people. Please take the time to think about what your actions could cause for yourself, your family and others.
With the newer smart phones, you have up to date weather, the temperatures, wind speed, barometric pressure ect. are at your fingertips now days. Just be aware of the conditions and prepared for them. Here with the open nature and vicinity to the mountains when a front is moving in or out the wind speeds make it harder to call or hunt the animals will be holed up. You can have a Kestral weather station with you for a small price and a lot of the longer-range guys have them, so they know wind direction, speed, temperature ect. for their shots. Here where I live you may have a nice morning with low temps but no wind then the wind will pick up, so you have wind chills of well below zero, as well as ground blizzards with near zero visibilities blowing and drifting snow, what was a good road now has snow drifts that make it impassable with snow blowing around 5 or 6 feet high in the air. I have seen where in the morning we had around a foot of fresh snow, with dry roads and sunshine the wind picks up so then the snow starts blowing across the roads that the sun has heated and it melts then catches more snow the traffic then packs it and turns it to ice so what was a good road surface in the morning is a hazardous road by noon. Out where you are hunting an open road in the morning, that you need to use to get back home on is drifted closed you now have to be careful and pick your way around deep drifts if you do get stuck in a deep drift with 20 mph winds you can't dig fast enough to keep ahead of the drifting snow. Here a good rule of thumb is if you can see the tops of grass, you will be good to drive there as our grass is short for the most part less than a foot tall. On good warm days without wind when the weather warms up above freezing and you get stuck in a snow drift the snow becomes wet so do you so now you need warm dry clothing, digging wet snow is a lot of work so take your time at it, even you young guys can have a heart attack from shoveling heavy wet snow. I spent enough time hunting, trapping and snaring my area that I knew where the deep drifts normally were going to be, there were times that the wind would shift from the southwest to another direction and make drifts where they normally wouldn't. Several of the ranches that I worked had been around long enough that in the past before four-wheel drives and other things to get around on in the snow that they had made their roads around where the snow would drift them closed. Just put a little thought into it and some common sense take care and stay safe.
What is the average shoulder height of the coyotes in your area? Here we have two the prairie coyote stands at an average of 22 inches and the bigger mountain coyotes stand at 24 inches for their shoulder height. It's not hard to tell the two apart they are a different color at first glance, but the mountain coyotes are a little beefer also. So, what does this have to do with anything? It depends on if you are going to range them with a range finder or with hash marks in your reticle. Years ago, I learned to use a duplex reticle. to do quick ranges. Today there are some pretty busy reticles for sale that can really confuse your eye and mind. But if you are out and don't have a functioning range finder with you, you can use simpler methods to get a close ranging on your coyotes or any other animals if you know what their average size is. The chest of my coyotes is 8 inches for the smaller ones and 11 inches for the larger ones. For an average size of close to 9.5 inches for them both. A bull elk is 26 inches average in the chest, an antelope is around 14 inches average. So, with a trip to the range and setting up targets at the different distances a notebook and looking at the sized targets I now have a way to do quick ranges on my animal that I am hunting at the time, but you guys already knew that. Some of the younger hunters may not have known this or thought of it so it's mostly for them but maybe a memory jog for others that have gotten used to having their range finders, that didn't replace their batteries or find that the snow, or fog scatters their beams return reflection to their unit. We can spend thousands of dollars for the equipment to go shooting coyotes, but we can also go hunting them on a lower budget for some they can use a second hand rifle a hand call or two and have just as much fun hunting and calling coyotes as those of us that have invested more money by just being out there and seeing what is moving. Above all enjoy your time spent with the pursuit of the coyote. Stay safe.
I'm pretty sure there hasn't been much coyote hunting in my area for the last couple of days. Yesterday morning was 28 below zero and got to a high of 8 above with gusts up to 14 mph. This morning was 24 below zero and we did have a high of 24 above but winds up to gusts of 40 mph. not really much sense in going out in that unless you really need to. A lot of I-25 has been closed due to blowing and drifting snow with low visibilities a bunch of ground blizzards but there wasn't a cloud in the sky just a lot of snow blowing up to 6 feet high and the roads getting slick from the drifting snow melting and freezing on them.
Here they used to not eat at bait stations either. If it had any human scent on or around it they would just walk in a circle around it. It was common for me to see where they would walk a circle around my m-44's then a smaller circle around them. Then after a week or so they might come back and pull it if I had just looked at it from a distance. My thought was that they were still used to the poisoned baits from the 50's and 60's they didn't know why but they had been trained through generations not to mess with baits with human scent on or around them. Before 1972 there were so many people that didn't really know what they were doing putting out poison baits in this area that a lot of animals would get sick but not die from it that they would teach other coyotes not to eat at them. Another cause of them not eating from bait stations is that their numbers might be down, so they are just more cautious in the first place. And as you mentioned there may be an abundance of small prey for them. Have any of the USDA Wildlife Services guys or Vet techs, read any reports of the red fox and swift fox dyeing of the avian flu? My wife brought me an article from the Casper Star Tribune where it was thought that a red fox was found dead and that it was thought to have died from the avian flu. I do know that the numbers of European starlings are way down this year. I don't find that a problem as they are an invasive species but do think it is an indicator of the health of the other flocking birds.
Some of I-25 is still closed today and sections of I-80 are also closed due to extreme blow over risks and winter travel conditions not much good for any type of hunting. I really wouldn't want to be out there 60 miles from town on a two-track road although I have in the past maybe I'm older and smarter now or maybe I'm just older and don't want to fight it any longer. You all take care stay safe warm and dry. The predators will still be there when the weather improves.