Shantel Wittstruck (Koby’s mom) | South Dakota

We’ve never set out to “just” coyote hunt. However, we recently ventured out to the hills, bluffs and open fields along the Missouri River in South Dakota to do just that. Now, please keep in mind we are rookies when it comes to coyote hunting…and we still have a lot to learn.

Just days before heading out to the river in central South Dakota we received our very first electronic caller — an ICOtec GC500 and PD200 decoy. After opening the boxes and placing the batteries in the units it didn’t take long to end up in the hands of our 10-year-old, Koby. He was pressing the buttons on the remote going through the different calls, while our dogs had no idea what was going on! I have to admit, it was pretty fun watching our dogs go crazy trying to “get it”! You can program up to 200 sounds on the GC500. The dogs were most certainly confused looking at the game call making all those different sounds.

So, where do you start? I mean, how exactly do you hunt coyotes? We’ve seen them plenty of times while spot-and-stalk hunting big game, so we had a pretty good idea of where to find them. But how do we call them? Where do we set up? Which calls do we use? With all of the videos and information available via the internet, we did some research. Like most hunting videos online, it looked pretty easy, but we knew better.

With our backpacks packed, we loaded up the truck and headed West to the South Dakota Missouri River. Our mission for the day was for Koby to shoot a coyote. For those of you who don’t know our family, we are always on the go and always looking for the next adventure! We have always looked for and provided new opportunities for our children when it comes to the outdoors, allowing them to decide what they like and don’t like.

Having arrived at a piece of public ground, we grabbed our gear and headed out on foot. We set the decoy out in the open field, turned on the call and blended ourselves in with a pine tree just up the hill. Using the elevation to our sight advantage, we waited patiently, changing up the calls, periodically. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. After a half hour we moved.

We headed towards a small watering hole for cattle, which was fed by a natural spring. There were cattails in front of us and a large field to our right, with bluffs behind us. We were within yards of the cattails. We placed the decoy directly across from us just across the drainage and the call just south on a tree stump. We perched ourselves up along a fenceline and kept completely still.

The scenario could not have been more perfect. The sun was shining, a slight breeze, a coyote howl, rabbit in distress, followed by coyote pup in distress. Nearby coyotes howled back in the distance! They were close! This was SO COOL! We looked at each other in excitement.

Koby whispered, “There’s a coyote! In the cattails! Right there! He’s coming!” We watched a coyote appear out of the cattails and trot towards the decoy directly across from us at 50 yards. Making a barking sound with our voice, the coyote stopped. Koby’s hands gripped the .243, peering through the scope, his breathing steadied, slowly squeezing the trigger with his finger …”BAM!” The coyote flips around and runs toward the cattails. “I shot him! Right behind his front leg! … HE’S DOWN!!!!” Koby runs across the drainage, crawls under the fence and grabs hold of “his” coyote. The smile on our 10-year-old’s face and the excitement in his voice was amazing. He looks at us, smiling from ear to ear and says, “That was AWESOME! I’m still shaking! Let’s do it again!” This was an adventure he will forever remember! Koby shot his very first coyote…mission accomplished!

We skinned and tanned his first coyote to proudly display. Congratulations on your first coyote kill, Koby! Here’s to many, many more coyote adventures!