by Mark Walters
I have this pal, who lives down in Prairie du Chien, his name is Gary Howe. Gary and I generally partake in one outdoor experience in the winter and one in the warm season.
Gary and I used to either ice fish or fish out of boat for walleye and sauger on the Mississippi River.
A few years back, I talked Gary into giving coyote hunting a try, my buddy would rather fish, but he is a faithful pal so until we whack a coyote, we must hunt.
Friday, February 15th
High 30, low 3
We will be hunting for two days and using both electronic and mouth calls that imitate a dying rabbit. Gary’s electronic call is a Fox Pro 50 FX3 valued at 2.5 times more cash than my ‘96 Chevy pickup. Gary will be using a Savage 243 with a tri-pod as well as a 12-gauge. I will be using a 12-gauge as well as a 30:06.
Coyote hunting in Crawford County can require much walking up and down super, steep mountains that pulls all energy from one’s body. Deep snow adds to the energy drain.
Set up number one is where Gary and I called in huge coyote last year in a solid snowstorm. Due to gun freeze ups and faulty bullets, that coyote got away. Today we hid in the bushes four times and though we saw lots of tracks, no coyotes.
Our next setup was in some Mississippi River lowlands, last year I called in a pair of coyotes and due to faulty buckshot, they both got away. On another set up on some highlands above the river, we had a pack bark at us “or so Gary thought”, I think it was a siren” but they would not come into Gary’s super fancy call. Don’t tell Gary this, but he needs to kill a coyote with his super fancy call so that he feels better about the monthly payment that he will be making on it for the next five years.
On our last set up we may have made a mistake, we were supposed to be hunting on a buddy of Gary’s land. When we got out of the truck after driving through several fields we loaded all four guns, it was very windy and once we started walking we were a little confused as to where we were.
As I mentioned earlier, this is a very physical sport as we do a lot of walking and when we find a spot that we like we try to play the wind, separate by about 50-yards and then start trying to call in a “brush wolf”. We give each set about 15 minutes and then move on to the next. No dogs today but we were confidant that the next day, we would make enough fur for me to buy a brand new Chevy pickup.
Saturday, February 16th
High 21, low 3
At first light this morning it was close to zero and windy, Gary Howe and I were walking through a field on top of a Crawford County mountain preparing for our first set up. Coyote tracks were numerous and we were confident that we would be slinging lead soon. Our first setup “number 9” in two days was for the fun of it. Our next set up I had kind of a brain lapse. I forgot my 12-guage at the road and after a long walk in; I noticed my buddy was carrying three guns. On that particular hike I became so tired that I felt like I was a sleep while walking.
On all of the land that we traversed, Gary had stories about hunting as a boy or hunting with his son Justin. There are big bucks in this country and my pal has a monster in his office to prove it.
Our next set up required a long walk and once again we did not call in a dog, at least not that we knew of. To shake the cobwebs out from between our ears we headed over to Eastman for a quality break at Captains Daughter, which appears to be a very fun tavern with good food.
Our next setup was guaranteed fur; as usual we would be hunting over deep ravines that fed in from several directions, once again no takers.
As is always the case we worked hard and on our 17th setup, low and behold I saw a coyote sneaking through a dense forest towards Gary’ call. It was out of buckshot range and too brushy for the rifle. Moments later I knew it had gotten by me and I was waiting for the barking of my pal’s gun. Instead of a gunshot I saw a coyote come barreling through the woods at 67-yards. Due to extremely faulty buckshot, the coyote lived to kill another rabbit, Gary Howe was no longer bummed about having a larger insurance policy on his call than I have on my house and all was perfect in our world.
Until a coyote goes to heaven, we must hunt instead of fish! Sunset.
ThIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: Hiawatha National Bank