Coyote Of Opportunity During Pike County Deer Hunt
Hunter's Journal: GON readers share their favorite hunt stories.
By Rosanna Beebe
Opening day of the 2014 gun season saw very little activity on the food plot in front of me, except for the large rabbits that came to visit. As I sat there conjuring up possible recipes for their meat, my real hope was that a giant buck would step out at exactly the place I had envisioned as the most favorable target spot.
Our friend, Alan Fizer, had spent a lot of time working on this food plot, along with others at our hunt camp in Pike County. He just knew that this would be a good hunting spot for me to take a deer, as there were many tracks leading in and out of the food-plot area. Back at camp, everyone was very surprised I had seen no deer activity during the morning or evening hunts. Alan suggested I try the “L Field” the next day.
The L Field is shaped like a L, with the hunting stand in the crook of the L.
The morning was slow and crisp until around 9:30 when I noticed activity at the top of the L. Two good-sized does were milling around enjoying a nibble here and there. I pulled up my Rugar .243 rifle and looked through my scope, wanting to pull the trigger, but knowing I had tried before to shoot at that distance and missed. The itch was there to shoot, so we would have some meat for the freezer, but then that little voice in the back of my head said, “Be patient.”
The does fed around for a while, and eventually they worked their way back into the woods.
Approximately 15 minutes later, I saw a doe and a button buck come out. The button buck was nursing on the doe. The doe pulled away, and the button buck came back to nurse again. The mother decided it was time for her son to move on. She reared up and swatted at him, causing him to move away. They were still at the far end of the field but were slowly making their way toward me. I kept chanting to myself, “Keep coming this way.” However, they moved back into the woods.
As I sat there hoping they would come out again, I noticed movement on my left side. Trotting across the field like he owned the place was a coyote. As I turned, I made a noise as I moved my rifle from the right window to the left window. The coyote stopped, turned around and headed back toward the woods.
A debate was going on in my head: “Do I chance messing up the hunt or get rid of a bad predator?” I had to make a quick decision. When he suddenly stopped and looked back to see if he was being followed, I decided to take the coyote out. Down he went right in the spot where I had shot him. That makes one less predator at our hunting camp.
Even shooting a coyote causes a heart rush. I was sitting there waiting for my heart to slow down for about 15 minutes when I noticed movement up the long part of the field. It was the button buck. I was so intent on watching him that I did not notice the doe that had come out of the woods below him. She was starting to cross the field at a slow, leisurely pace. I got my rifle into position on the doe, released the safety and waited for her to stop. But she would not stop, so I grunted and carefully placed a bullet into her lungs. Off into the woods she ran.
Again I am sitting there waiting for my heart to slow down, and I notice the button buck standing on the edge of the field looking toward the woods where his mother had gone as if waiting for her to come back. Thinking to myself “I could take this button buck, too, if I wanted,” but why not let him go until he fully develops into a good-size buck. Eventually, he became curious and took off in a run.
We usually return to camp, leaving our stands at 10, but since I was still enjoying the excitement of the morning hunt and waiting to make sure the doe had enough time to go down, I stayed a little longer.
My husband, Mark, came to check on me since it was now 10:15, and he had heard several shots from my area. I signaled him to come on in from the top of the L Field and first showed him the coyote. He could not believe I had shot a coyote. I then told him about the doe. We began blood trailing and were soon rewarded with a 2-1/2-year-old doe that went about 35 yards into the woods. Mark went to get the truck back at camp while I waited with the doe.
When we went back to camp with the coyote and the doe, the men were all surprised that a woman had shot a coyote. I was the first one in the camp to have ever shot one. Everyone was more interested in the coyote than the doe I had shot. The estimated weight of the male coyote was around 35 pounds. The doe was 120 pounds.
Patience does pay off, and shooting a coyote will not necessarily mess up your hunt.
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