This was the first coyote this year, shot June, 2002.

I'd spent hours out back trying to get lucky. I was in my stand in the field, 7:45 AM, when finally this mature female popped out of the tree line 150 yd. away. She seemed to be relishing the morning, scanning the field, and making up her mind about where to take off to. In all honesty, she made it easy.

One bullet from the Remington 742 .30-06 semi-auto that had been John's dad's, and had been in the family for years, took care of her promptly.
Got another one! July 9, 2002.

My early morning coyote hunts were becoming lengthy exercises in meditation as I put in my time, hoping to be in the right place at the right time.

Then, one morning as I was walking out the gate and into the dim preserve, I spotted a distant silhouette--two pointy ears that whirled around and then blended into the woods floor.

I thought it was a coyote, but when I later told the guys, they kidded me that I had coyote fever and was seeing them where they weren't. I ended up agreeing that it could have been a nervous shoat.

But the second sighting was an unmistakable, flat, coyote-type blur across the dim road a ways ahead of me, and then I was sure.
We figured that this coyote was unusually motivated to hang around human territory like he was--especially after some close human encounters. We thought he was after the chickens that ran around there, so I let out more chickens and began sitting in the hay in the horse barn where I could watch the hog barn, a road intersection, and a tree line along the woods.

When four 1 to 2 year old axis bucks (that we'd released from our breeding pens a few weeks before) came prancing uneasily toward the woods 75 yards from me, I noticed, but, these young deer were new to the woods, and it could have been anything making them skittish.

The deer had come from the left, but after they'd settled in the woods, in a while I saw something to their right. You could only see into the woods in puzzle pieces, but my jolt of adrenaline came when I saw a belly-leg shadow that looked odd, then I got a glimpse of coarse textured fur, and then I saw that mean, intense little coyote face framed by a triangle of branches. I couldn't see his body so I popped him in the neck,

I kept the scope on him to follow his condition and location, and was glad to see a foot in the air that told me he was on his back. He was a younger male, on the thin side, but in good overall condition.

So the justice part of this hunt was that I not only got him, but I got him in the act.

Then, I guess John couldn't bear my getting all the glory, so he had to get one himself (see below).
When you look at the scimitar shape of this young coyote's new fangs, you can see the edge it gives them as a predator.

With teeth like fish hooks, they can get away with just snagging their prey.

It must be especially helpful for small or squirmy prey like mice and rabbits.

Not to be outdone, John that very same evening was 4 wheeling out back with guests when over a shoulder he saw a small coyote flying low 50 yd. into the woods. He jumped off the quad, grabbed his gun off the rack, scanned with his left eye, ready to spot with his right, waited until he saw a flick in an opening, and POW. Another dead coyote. This one was a very young female. We didn't have the heart to take a trophy picture as she was only about 12 pounds and the .30-06 that had made all three of the recent coyote kills had done a lot of damage. One less. And good that it was another female.

I'm telling John that if he can do that again, I'll believe he's good.

August 8, 2002. Score another for the humans.

Our head guide, Bobby Harrison, was out back taking care of some scouting and feeding, when this young female coyote started to make a run for it.

She made the mistake though of pausing to look back, and it gave Bobby the split second he needed to grab a gun and "take her picture". He used a Remington Seven 7mm-08 iron sight.

This is likely a littermate to John's female and the offspring of the mature female.

August 18, 2002. Honors go to John's brother, Jimmy Kruszeski, this time for coyote # 5, a young male.

His coyote we guess is from the same litter as the last two coyotes shot--this year's litter. And it was shot at 3:30 PM with temperatures running 96 degrees.

Most likely these young, inexperienced coyotes have to work harder and longer to fill their stomachs. So while a better hunter would be cooling it this time of day, curled up under the palmettos, this one was out trying to eek out it's living.

We know this coyote was struggling...besides being thin, he was loaded with tics and fleas.
Jimmy was in his truck when he saw this young male. As a coyote will often do, it spotted him and paused. But pausing for that split second was the last thing it ever did. Jimmy's weapon of choice was an H&R .22 mag semi-auto.

September 8, 2002. It was an unexpected opportunity that escaped then rematerialized.

It had gotten dark and John came to pick me up from the stand where I'd been calling coytes with a caller.

When I'd first played my cottontail tape, it took only seconds for a red-shouldered hawk to scream and fly to 20 ft of me in the tree high stand--so I knew the tape was a good one.

The second round of calling set off a bunch of crows who are even better than vultures at scavenging a meal. Calls after that brought nothing, and it had gotten too dark to shoot.

I saw John's truck lights coming down the road, then noticed a streak and heard a light footed sound running with it. So, a coyote had been hiding quietly in the area trying to figure out the situation and where that injured rabbit was.

We drove around the area spotting with a red light and found nothing. Since we knew that they were up and moving, we went on to tour the ranch--head lights off and red Q beam on.

Turning a corner into the field, we saw one--it seemed to be tracking something closely, but stepped into the woods and melted into the brush. We circled the block a few times, then cruised some other roads, and finished by following the same route that produced the last sighting.

There he was again--whatever prey he was tracking had irresistably lured him back inspite of our disturbance. In the dim, red light I first thought it was a hog because his head was down, and tail was down and so his sillouhette was hump-like.

John saw through the scope what it really was, and got it with the .30-30 at 90 yd.

It was a male from this year, but was in extremely good shape and was a lot heavier than expected--like a brick. He could be from a litter born earlier than the other, or he could just have been the most successful sibling from the same litter as the other three.
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