Alex Wiggs | Missouri
My timing was perfect. There was just a hint of light in the eastern sky as I pulled my pickup truck to a new private property I gained access to only the day before. “This is going to be my best property to hunt coyotes on yet,” I said confidently to myself. “Rolling pastures, a huge valley rather than a hilltop, and low, sparse broom grass. This is going to be great!”
These kind of areas are not easy to find and harder to get permission to hunt in the heartland of Missouri and I had high expectations for this spot. I eased to door shut on my truck and started the 10-minute hike to my ‘new frontier.’ At the end of the walk I closed the last gate behind me and rounded a huge grove of cedar trees. Out if front of me was my new spot and … a sea of what I call the coyote hunter’s worst nightmare — zombie cattle. You know what I mean, those pesky feeder cows that tag along side you like puppy dogs waiting to be fed and petted. The next thing I know I am surrounded by a sea of calves that all came running up to me expecting me to have something for them to eat. If they only knew why they were being pampered and fed like kings, they wouldn’t be so friendly. I tried shewing them off as quietly as possible, but if you have ever been faced with this dilemma you know that it is an exercise in futility.
Time to go home, right? Wrong! I have had this happen to me on more than one occasion in the past and when it did I usually left the area disgusted and just went home for the day. However, as fate would have it, last winter I had stumbled across a method of dealing with these zombie cattle while coyote hunting in a very similar situation. What happened was the cattle were evenly spread out in a large field, making it a dicey proposition to take a shot at an unsuspecting coyote should it present itself. What led to this discovery was me deciding to try a calf distress call on my FOXPRO call to see if maybe the coyotes would respond since there were so many calves out in the field. When I started the calf distress call, to my surprise all the calves started immediately running toward the FOXPRO call. They were concerned and curious enough to gather around the sound, and it dawned on me that the field now was clear of cattle. I then switched to some howls and in a few minutes that stroke of luck allowed me to kill a nice coyote double with one of the coyotes being a beautiful red color, its hide ending up draped over the railing in my great room.
Back to this morning’s hunt. Armed with that knowledge and my prior experience, I waded through the sea of calves, dragging a small tree limb to hang the FOXPRO call on so the cattle wouldn’t trample it and to keep it up off the ground. Again, my first call was the calf distress and, just like on cue, the sea of calves that were staring at me from 20 feet away turned around and headed for my FOXPRO call 50 yards out in the field. They stayed there for about 10 minutes then started drifting back toward me until my view of the field was, again, totally blocked by a wall of calves. Again, I repeated the calf distress on my FOXPRO call and they all performed the same maneuver and headed for the FOXPRO call. I repeated this calf gathering routine three times and then to my amazement they all lost interest in my presence and wandered off to the far end of the field.
Although I didn’t score another coyote double or even see a coyote on this hunt, had a shot opportunity presented itself my field of view was wide open. Many obstacles can interrupt a hunter’s time in the field, but the next time a field full of pesky calves form an impenetrable wall of cowhide around you, remember to give this technique a try and you might just be rewarded with a coyote or two, and do the farmer and the cattle a big favor in the process.
The author is a retired electronics technician whose passion is predator hunting and getting his hunts on video. He is the inventor of the Video ‘No-Shok’ Xtreme 3D weapon-mounted videoing system.