Outdoors Column: The Coyote Hunters

There are a group of guys in the area that hunt coyotes as a hobby. I am not one to judge others, but this can be an expensive and frustrating activity. There are many hobbies I do not partake in, but can understand why others would. Boating looks like a lot of fun. I understand why a person would buy a boat and run around on a lake. It seems like a lot of fun, but I think it would be more fun to have a friend with a boat and go with them once in a while. Boats are high maintenance as well as expensive in the initial investment. The same applies to coyote hunting. I can see the enjoyment they have from the sport but I would rather watch and receive the benefits of their labor than invest in it myself.


Friday, one of the coyote hunters called to ask if they could hunt our section. We will say his name was Kelly for ease of identification. I was gone but my wife assured him it would be fine, and she would have the dogs locked up. It is not that Louie and Jag would not have a good time hunting with the big dogs, but they would probably not benefit the process.  Kelly went in on the south end of the farm, past Damon’s house, while his friend turned the dogs loose at the north end of the farm, about a quarter mile from our house. Kelly drove north about a mile and stopped to listen for the his dogs. It was then he noticed Damon’s dogs had followed him. With Damons’s two terriers and Toes, his coyote hound, Kelly was sure to be able to block the south exit. Kelly’s dogs hit a track and Toes took off to join the pack. The route the coyote was easy to follow as the pack of dogs bayed as they ran up the valley and through the timber. Suddenly, the coyote broke out of the timber at the bottom of the hill where Kelly was waiting with the two terriers. Before Kelly could raise a rifle, the two dogs were off to help in the chase. This turned the coyote back into the woods, away from anyone that could get a shot.


It did not take long for the little dogs to return to Kelly, sure he would again need help keeping coyotes away and knowing they could not catch one. Toes, on the other hand, knew he could catch, kill, and eat a coyote. He wanted to run with the big dogs. When he was a pup, his right front foot was crushed when a horse stepped on it. He can walk and run well but after a mile or two, his foot hurts and he can not keep up. The chase after a coyote can last for five, ten, or even twenty mile. Toes does not have what it takes for the long race. We forgot to tell Toes he could not do it. After the terriers turned the coyote, he ran several miles north before circling back south toward Lake Wapello. By the time the guys got the coyote, all the dogs were ready for a ride home. Kelly dropped a very happy and tired Toes dog back at Damon’s place. He was greeted by the terriers who were resting in the yard proud after their part of the coyote hunt.