Thursday, February 26, 2009

Coyote tale

I know...lots of posts tonight...I just don't know when to shut up ;) Shiloh's post made me think of our coyotes though and had to post my story. It was fall of '07 and I was pregnant with Lilly. I'm skipping vital info though...when I was younger I wasn't allowed to go hunting with my family, they only allowed the boys to go. Consequently I always wanted to go, soooo...when I met my hubby and could go hunting on the ranch I went. First year I shot a itty bitty buck up on the mountain but Tim had to spot it for me. Second year, Fall of '07 and I'm pregnant, I wanted to be able to spot my deer (doe this time) by myself. So I took the gun, informed him I was going hunting without him and hiked up to the ridge behind his parents house (probably about a mile hike) alone. Well I get up there and I'm being really quiet of course, and I see this group of deer going down into a dip in front of me. So I sneak around the direction they're headed and go a few ridges and sit down to wait for them since I figure they'll go that way. I wait...and I wait some more...and I wait some more..... Two short ridges away a coyote trots out and lays down. I watch her for a few minutes, still waiting on the deer. Pretty soon another trots out and rolls around in the dust by her. I decide to get closer so I slink down through the dip and over to the next ridge, I crouch down behind a fair size rock and am about 3 feet away from it, so that I'm in it's shadow. The coyotes and still down there relaxing. I'm still waiting for the deer.

I start thinking about how my mother-in-law is always complaining about the coyotes and about how they kill the calves. I know they're on the predator list and I can legally shoot them but I'm still waiting on my deer darn-it! I finally decide my deer went another direction and wonder if I should take a shot at the coyotes. I brought both my .22 and the .243 with me to the ridges but I had left my .22 back where I first saw the deer, knowing it would do me no good on them and just slow me down. So I have this monster of a gun (I know I know .243s aren't bad, but compared to a .22 they're a monster) and I'm debating about taking a shot at the coyote. I finally figure, oh what the heck, the ranch wants them gone and I've got an OK shot, if I miss they'll just run off.

So I get the gun up and ready, I aim and BOOM! I miss! The previous year I shot my buck beautifully in one shot. I had forgotten how much of a kick that .243 has! I'm sitting there stunned watching the coyotes run off. Out of the corner of my eye I see a movement on the ridge line to my left. I turn that way and a coyote shoots off at the movement. I'm starting to think...okay, the coyote just went the wrong way when he ran, I'm hidden in the shadow of this rock he couldn't see me. "Reload the stupid gun," does not cross my mind. A flash from the valley behind the rock on the right, I turn that way and see another coyote dissapear. What on earth is going on here?? Suddenly there's one trotting down the slope in front of me heading straight for me...I panicked (I hate to say it but I did). I threw a shell into the gun and aimed it at the coyote coming down the slope in front...I can't shoot! I'm freaked out about the darn kicking gun and can't shoot! AHHH....coyote gets closer, and closer, and closer (jumping up and waving my arms and screaming does not occur to me) I finally decide that this coyote is going to have me for lunch if I don't shoot the gun. BANG! Down it drops, shadow vanishes on the right of me again, I jerk towards it and there goes the tail. I forget the gun has to be reloaded (my .22 is semi-auto and the .243 is borrowed) There goes a coyote on my left again I raise the gun quickly and "click." More panic! I'm thinking "oh, my Gosh! I'm being surrounded and hunted by these coyotes and they're going to eat me and my little girl!" (keep in mind people I have hormones going on at this time!) I throw another shell into the gun, another coyote coming down the slope in front to investigate the dead one. I vaguely aim and shoot BANG! (no gun shy this time) There's a yelp and the coyote takes off running. I reload quickly.

I sit there glancing furiously all around me...nothing, not a thing...they're gone. I stand up, gun still loaded and ready...knees shaky...I wobble down to the dead coyote...yep, it's dead...hmm no blood trail from the other coyote...I'm going the heck home...I have to walk back and collect my .22 though and that's the direction they've gone. I walked slowly back to the .22 watching carefully the whole way. I get to my .22 and unload the .243 and load the .22, less powerful but I can shoot quicker and it doesn't beat me up with every shot. I'm dreading walking the mile back to the house and wishing I'd brought a vehicle, digging out cell phone to call comes my brother-in-law Rick in the Kawasaki Mule! He pulls up with his oldest in the passenger seat. "what'd you get??!" he quirps happily. I have never been that happy to see my brother-in-law!

I did make $15 off of that dead coyote though. I learned that there's a bounty for them here and we went and picked it up. Next day, I decided I'd seen my deer and I was NOT going alone. Hubby took his pistol .44 and went with me, we got my deer, after hours of searching, but that's another story.

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