The Coyote: Always in Season
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By: Luke Strommen - 9/1/2006
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If there is a better method of practicing a real hunting situation to sharpen the skills of a rifle hunter than picking off a coyote at various distances, I donít know what it would be. Too bad I donít generally hunt big game with a rifle! The coyotes here on the Milk River bottom in N.E. Montana have been busy this hot August month. We knew it would be a "bad" year for the coyotes because of the shear number of them spotted this past winter. I say "bad" because they affect not only the wildlife population (mostly the young), but also because they will be giving our freshly born calves and their mamaís some serious concern come February and March. Even the younger dogs who are not fully mature will be a serious threat to the defenseless calves and fawns of the coming spring.
I realize they are Mother Natureís wildlife management tool by keeping the pheasant, turkey, and deer population in check I suppose, but I canít stand the buggers personally. Its funny how Ma Nature cycles and how the coyote population is one of the indicating tools to those cycles. For instance, if you notice an abundance of jackrabbits in your area, or have had a few good years of pheasant populations followed by an easy birthing spring, you can bet your coyote population will increase. If your deer population is thriving, bet on larger coyote sightings or the ambitous yapping you hear at night. This could be whether more packs move in and stay because of the abundant food source, or larger litters of pups can be sustained by the present game. I like to think that I am a key participant to keep the coyote population in check (does that put me on the same level as mange?)...although my meager number of kills hardly effects the population I am sure.