Thinking Outside the Box for Coyotes

Sometimes it takes an unconventional approach to get the job done on educated coyotes.

Thinking Outside the Box for Coyotes

Sometimes predator hunters need to dig deep into their bag of tricks to get the drop on Wile E. Coyote. Photo: Morrison

The minute my pickup appeared over the ridge, some 300 yards from the road-killed elk a pair of coyotes were feeding on, the cautious canines were on the move. By the time my truck stopped at the gate opening, they had added a couple hundred yards and were still on the run. They were obviously headed for the ridgetop that bisects the open pasture, a half-mile away across the open park. They were following the same route I had glassed them using on several previous occasions over the past two weeks.           

Two weeks earlier, I had driven from my southern Colorado home to the New Mexico state line shortly after first light, checking several coyote baits I had placed, and spotted a trio of coyotes feeding on a fresh cow elk that had been clobbered by a vehicle. She had made it 300 yards into an opening aptly called Coyote Park before expiring. When I spotted the scavenging canines, I kept on driving without changing speed to avoid spooking them. I’d noticed a gateway in direct line with the dead elk, which meant I could pull off the highway right-of-way and when I got out of the vehicle, I would be mostly out of sight behind the open truck door that would provide a solid rest — my standard tactic where feasible.         

The maneuver worked like a charm and my trusty .22-250 Rem. Kimber Pro Varmint flattened the first canine that was standing 350 yards out. The second coyote, which had been busy feeding on the carcass, ran about the same distance. The third already had a couple hundred yards head start and kept on trucking till it reached the top of the distance ridge 800 yards or so out where it stopped to survey its escape route.         

Over the next week, I spotted several coyotes feeding on the carcass, but so had several local coyote shooters and ranchers who had made them wary and skittish. The canines would take off the minute a vehicle, especially a pickup, topped the ridges that crossed the highway 500 yards either side of the carcass, which meant getting a decent shot was all but impossible.       

One morning I glassed a pair of coyotes on the carcass from the gravel road and circled the back side of the park almost a mile away. From there, I watched as two passenger cars drove past the feeding coyotes without spooking them, so I drove around the 3-mile-long section and approached from the same direction on the highway. Shortly after I passed over the ridge the coyotes were on the run and well out of shooting range by the time I pulled over.            

Later that day, I went to feed my horses that were calmly loafing at the far end of their pasture 300 yards from the highway. I watched the neighboring rancher drive the same model and color pickup as my Ford drive past the distant horses a half-mile ahead of me on the highway. The horses never moved a muscle as he drove past, but by the time I had pulled up to the fence all three had galloped the length of the field and were waiting to be fed. Obviously, they’d recognized the sound of my truck. And, I figured, so do the astute coyotes feeding on that elk carcass. 

Several mornings later, I drove my wife’s station wagon past the carcass and the two coyotes nervously feeding on it, without slowing down. The coyotes watched the vehicle but were back to feeding before I cleared the ridge. I then drove a half-mile down the highway, turned around drove back to the carcass where I smoothly pulled into the gateway. I killed the smaller coyote at 325 yards when it stopped for a curious look back. The big male ran almost all the way to the distant ridge before even slowing. 

Four or five days later, my hunting partner drove my pickup off the highway and parked adjacent to the elk carcass, after circling completely back around the section where he had dropped me off. Hunkered down, I watched as two coyotes trotted right toward my ridgetop ambush concerned only about the suspicious pickup. With no shots fired at them, they slowed after reaching the base of the slope and proceeded toward the ridgetop. The big male that had survived numerous attempts by me trying to get the drop on him stopped nonchalantly 100 yards from my immobile form and sat down to observe the countryside below. That was his last stop! 

The second coyote had bedded down in direct line a dozen yards past where the big male sat. When the 52-grain hollow point snapped through the air right over top of the bedded coyote, it bolted right at me. The thoroughly discombobulated and confused coyote bounced to a stop at 25 yards where it had a fatal collision with a second hollow point. I just love it when an “out -of-the-box” predator hunting ploy works to perfection!     


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