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A profile on the wiley brush wolf -- the coyote

The coyote is also known as the brush wolf. The Aztecs attributed supernatural powers to the coyote. So did many northern Indians, who knew this small American wolf by another name. Sportsmen don't relish coyote meat but some Indians do. No other carnivore has doubled or tripled his range in spite of man's intrusion into his territory.

The coyote isn't a migratory animal. He stays where he is whelped. The coyote is speedy. He can outrun a jackrabbit, which is among his favorite dinners. If prey is plentiful he may spend his entire lifetime within a few miles from the den site.

Like the timberwolf, he hunts habitual runways, except for scouting. Coyotes need water, and will occasionally dig for it when he lives in a desert area.

We hunt coyote on foot, all terrain vehicles, on horseback or Ford pickup truck. A hunter will invade the prairie grassland, observing the area with binoculars, equipped with a centerfire rifle. Many coyote are taken during deer season, when circumstances just fall in line. But many men do pursue the coyote, one of them being Layden Jacobson of Audubon, as attested to by the photograph after he had dispatched a pair near his home. The .22-250, 257 Roberts, .270 Winchester or the popular .30-06 are calibers of bolt-action, scoped rifles Layden has used when hunting.

Windless days are best, and coyotes respond eagerly to a call. One of the most successful means of getting a coyote to come to you is to use a call that imitates a rabbit in distress. A coyote may come running. A rabbit squeal really works.

Coyotes are also hunted with dogs. The chase with dogs may be over a five-mile course, or more. The coyote can run for an hour or more -- endurance that few dogs have. The result is an escape with the brush wolf taking cover in dense brush. The best calling time is in early morning or just before dusk.

Mated coyotes stay together, and hunters frequently will see two together. The coyote catches unwary birds, ground squirrels, rats and other rodents. He relishes the eggs of ground birds, such as pheasant and sharptail grouse. The coyote has a keen nose and can sniff out mice, even under deep snow.

Coyotes talk to each other over considerable distance with high-pitched howls, particularly at night.

Unable to compete with the larger timberwolf, coyotes avoid the forests where the big canines live. Coyotes will invade a farmyard, sometimes killing a farm dog or any poultry that may live near a farmstead.

Coyote hunting is a sport that can be fast and furious. He is a non-game animal, which will occasionally prey on domestic stock. When this happens, farmers and ranchers will go hunting for him, or call in local area sportsmen to hunt him down. The coyote is a blend of slyness and audacity and he has outlived an era that saw poisoned baits. Coyotes are quite common in the Becker County area.

Severe winter weather can devastate his food supply, when snow lies deep. This is the time when the resourceful coyote will hunt for field mice and voles, or pursue the cottontail or jackrabbits.

He is a challenging target for the hunter. Camouflage clothing is needed when hunting, but white coveralls are great when there is snow on the ground. If you want to hunt this little wolf you'll need your deer rifle and a method to call this crafty animal into shooting range.

The $25 duck stamp

Last fall, Minnesota duck hunters anted up $15 for the Federal duck stamp. That's been the price for several years now. The money goes to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to buy, enhance, and improve lands that are considered habitat for waterfowl. Over the years since the first duck stamp sold for $1 in 1935, sales of the stamp has raised an average Of $100 million a year.

That's important money, of course, yet those who know say that it won't be enough to sustain the waterfowl we have, much less provide the water and land needed for the increase of waterfowl numbers. Hunters are fussing about the proposed rise in the stamp to $25, but that's really only the cost of two boxes of the non-toxic tungsten formulas of the pellets in today's duck ammunition.

Duck hunters: take a deep breath, close your eyes, and resolve to be ready to pay an increased cost for the stamps. It'll have to be if we're to have restoration of waterfowl numbers. If you're a duck hunter, you shouldn't grouse about it; get ready to do what you really know is necessary.

The weather was perfect

On Saturday, Nov. 7, in Detroit Lakes the temperature was 65 degrees no wind and sunny all day. It was a perfect autumn day, but not so great for deer hunting. I spent the morning visiting the hot spots in the County. The Tamarac Refuge was the most disappointing. At the noon hour, virtually everyone wearing orange and carrying a rifle, was on the road, munching Frito Lays, chicken sandwiches and Cokes. Not one in the 115 people at one stop had a deer. Only a few guys had taken a shot with the firearm. The "perfect weather" was bound to be here until nightfall. Tamarac has had a reputation of being a very good place to hunt deer. Over three decades, I'd had my personal share and I knew deer had been taken on Tamarac. Not so in the early days of 2009 a season.

It was a different matter with Louie Eidenschenk and his brothers. This group had four nice bucks by noon, with Mike's being exceptional. Don Lefebvre and his sons and nephews had no deer by mid afternoon on opening day.

Statewide, farmers are growing a lot more corn this year. There's a lot of places for deer to hide, and until more corn is harvested, deer will not be seen in the open. The 2009 season is likely to be good, but not a record breaker. Deer hunting will get better in the next few weeks. Archery and muzzle-loader puts many seasoned and experienced hunters into the field, and these guys will harvest- some nice deer.

Local deer processing was busy

All of the six local venison processors were busy the past week. Most said the numbers were a bit fewer this year, but not by much. The procedures for donating part of your venison to local food banks admits carefully trimmed cuts as acceptable, so it is suggested that you look into donating part of your wild game meat. This protein is vitally needed for the vast needs of the local food banks.