FOXPRO’s Al Morris and Garvin Young are fresh off of their unprecedented fourth win at the 2016 World Championship Coyote Calling Contest (WCCCC). After two days of hardcore daytime coyote hunting, the dynamic duo’s haul of 18 coyotes was enough to claim first place honors. I spoke with Al right after the big weekend and asked him to share some insight about the contest.
How and when did you hook up with Garvin Young?
“We both grew up in Utah and actually went to high school together. Back then, we knew each other, but didn’t hunt together. In 1997, Garvin’s cousin suggested that Garvin and I hook up to enter the WCCCC because Garvin needed a partner. Well, we entered… and won! We thought it was easy, but it took us another 11 years to win it again! We’ve hunted in the WCCCC for the past 20 years – always together! We have, and do, hunt in other contests, but the WCCCC is our favorite.”
What is the appeal of the Worlds compared to other contests?
“This contest is our main focus throughout the year. I believe that this contest features the best of the best coyote callers. The contest is unique in that the location rotates between states every two years (this year it was held in Arizona). Because of this, no hunter has a true home-field advantage year after year. In a sense, the contest makes you leave your comfort zone, and makes you a better hunter in the long run.”
Can you explain your scouting tactics?
“We started two weeks before the contest. We did go back to our families for Thanksgiving, but then it was right back to scouting. The land we hunted was a mixture of private and public land, but most was public land. For a nominal fee, we gained access to the Navaho Indian Reservation. Anyone can do it and it is awesome land.
While scouting, we drove around and looked for coyotes. Surely scat and tracks were taken into account, but we honed in on areas where we physically saw coyotes on the move. We put 8,000 miles on our truck for this event!”
Can you share your standard setup for each stand?
“On day one (Friday) we completed 27 stands. Our motto is that every minute counts while competing, so we calculated our stands accordingly. Our stand times were 8, 10 or 12 minutes in length. If coyotes were showing up in the first three minutes, we would break the stand at the 8-minute mark when none showed up. If coyotes showed up at 8 to 10 minutes, we would break the stand at the 10-minute mark. Finally, if coyotes were showing up at the 10-minute mark, we would break an empty stand at 12 minutes.”
How do you and Garvin share the hunting tactics? Calling, shooting, etc?
“We have been hunting so long together that everything has become second nature. I believe that is a large part of our success. Many partnerships break up after 5 or 6 years, we stay together… It’s like a marriage, in a way. We are both good callers and shooters and share the responsibilities when on stand. We designate specific areas that we will each watch for incoming coyotes. They only time we concentrate on the other hunter’s area is when multiple coyotes are coming to the call.”
How does contest hunting differ from coyote hunting for fun or filming for TV?
“Time is so important. Quick and effective stands are important. We like to make stands that are within 150 yards from the truck so that we are not wasting time. We actually jog to set-up positions. It must be something to see a big guy like me hustling to a stand. A full day coyote hunting with Garvin is like running a marathon!”
Did you experience issues that caused you to stray from your game plan?
“We say ‘Have a plan, stick to plan, but don’t marry the plan.’ This means you have to modify if things go wrong. Wind and adverse weather are the main things that cause us to make changes. Also, we often drive to a new area when we see other hunters in the area.”
Did coyotes respond the same over the course of the hunt or did you have to alter tactics?
“We did great the first morning with five coyotes down by 8:30 a.m. Then, the wind came up and we had to alter our volume. We also realized that the coyotes were feeding on cottontail rabbits. Our Jack Rabbit sounds were not productive, but we “matched the hatch” and did great with cottontail sounds and prairie dog distress because they were also in the area. We finished with 12 coyotes on the first day.”
How important was your gear in achieving success?
“Gear is everything! All hunters have a choice and our choice, and advice, is to stick to American-made products. We used a combination of a FOXPRO CS-24 and a Shockwave on every stand. We also had hand calls with us and, of course, a diaphragm in my cheek. I use a Bog Pod tripod with a shooter shelf which holds my Ruger Precision in .243. It’s a lethal combination!”
Have you found that coyote hunting contests have changed over the years?
“Oh, yeah. Twenty years ago, it was easy to find unpressured coyotes. Now, they are pressured all over because of the popularity of the sport. It makes you become a better hunter in the long run.”
What are your top three tips for guys wanting to get involved in a coyote hunting contest?
“Number one, you have to do your homework. You have to hunt where the coyotes are. For every day hunting, we scout three days. You need to be prepared. Secondly, take your scouting to the next level. You have to know where they are at each point during the day. Figure out where they are moving in the morning, where they are during mid-day and where they want to move in the afternoon. Third, know your firearm well. Learn its limits and know where to hold at a variety of distances.”
What do you consider to be the biggest thrill about competing in the WCCCC?
“For me, it’s knowing that are 60-plus teams out there doing the same thing and I came out on top. Whether or not it is skill or luck, I did it! The championship can’t be taken away and doing it four times just makes it all the better.”
Look for an upcoming article in a future issue of Predator Xtreme magazine that will take a closer look at the World Championship Coyote Calling Contest and how Morris’ and Young’s tactics can be used by all hunters who wish to join the many coyote hunting contests that are held around the country.