Kelly Holliday | California

FTR-Lady's First It was 32 degrees out and I'm layered up as if I'm going hunting in the snow. However, I'm not. I'm in southern California's high desert. I am with my friend from 3rd grade and my husband on the hunt for coyotes. We snuck through some tall weeds, which were smacking me in the face as my husband walked through first. This will be my first hunt for predators and I'm super excited. These guys have scouted, researched and put way more effort than I'll know to get on these 'yotes and I'm lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. We said nothing during our 25-minute hike in. I'm nestled in a grease wood bush and facing west (i'm a rookie, so they explain that the sun will come up behind me making it difficult for an incoming coyote to see me). We set up our Foxfire call and rabbit decoy and I can feel my heart beating faster and faster. I'm controlling my breathing to slow the steam rolling out of my facemask each time I exhale.

We started with the rabbit-distress call and it was loud and persistent. We were into the call for 1 minute and 45 seconds when I see two ears and head pop up from a dirt mound about 40 yards in front of me. I propped up my Benelli Vinci, pointed and blasted! He dropped like a sack of potatoes. I sat there for a few seconds saying holy smokes … I just got one! My husband screams she got it! My friend Brian comes around the corner, "What?" "What did you shoot at? I thought you missed it. I saw it take off."

Apparently there was two. I got one and the other sped away. We hugged and I sat there for a second almost wanting to cry, but I figured don't — I might not get asked to go again if I cry like a girl! So I just waited until I put my facemask on and we walked back to our truck carrying my first coyote. It's an experience I'll never forget.

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