Well I guess calling it Fall is a little generous. It is still well over 100 degrees in the valley so I have been spending my weekends in the tall pines. Either with family at our cabin in Pine or up on Willow Springs Lake with friends. This weekend was spent with the family and, as usual, I couldn’t sleep. At about 4:00am I decided to give up on sleep and go do some calling up on the rim.
Early one morning last fall I had seen a big dark coyote crossing the 260 outside Camp Verde. Back in January I had tried calling that area but in 3 feet of snow nothing was moving. About 2 weeks ago I was able to get in a quick stand in the area between cloudbursts and called in a dark coyote like the one I had seen on the highway. But I didn’t notice it until it had seen me and it was gone before I could get my scope on it.
Today everything was wet, but not raining. The area I was hunting had burned this spring and with the rain it was easier then usual to hike in without making any noise. I set up my first stand just outside of sight from the truck right as the sun was rising. I called for about 20 minutes without seeing anything but angry woodpeckers.
I picked up all my gear and went in for a hike. I had never hiked into this part of the forest and ended up going a few miles across the forested plateau over to the rim looking North. Being this close to the rim I was glad to have a lion tag in my pocket and hoping to get lucky.
I set up my second stand looking South in the shadow of a big ponderosa pine. I set up my caller and decoy about 70 yards in front of me, made it back to my seat, checked the screen on my remote for the sound I wanted, put my finger over the volume button, and looked up to see a coyote about 20 feet from my decoy standing broadside staring right at me. I was so shocked I just kept on with my routine, instead of lifting my rifle I hit the volume button on my remote. The caller screamed out at 80% volume and the coyote bolted in top gear. I raised my rifle and watched it disappear into the trees. It did pause about 250 yards out, but not long enough for me to pull the trigger, then it was gone.
This was the first time since about February that I had a clear shot at a coyote and my heart was pumping. I sat there sweating and shaking with my pulse beating in my ears like bongo drums. I was totally thrilled, and kicking myself at the same time.
It took a few minutes to get my heart rate under control while scanning the trees in case he circled back. Then I turned the caller down, ran it for about 5 more minutes. Then changed to a higher pitched distress call and turned it back up.
About 90 seconds later I saw a flash of blonde in the trees a few hundred yards out. Raised my scope and waited. The coyote stepped clear about 50 yards from my decoy in a trot, then bolted right at it. I let loose about 2 seconds later and dropped it dead at 110 yards. He was probably the biggest coyote I have shot, but still smaller then the other two I have seen in that area. He is also the first yote I have shot in unit 6a. I will definitely be back.