If you hunt in farming and ranching country like I do, you quickly learn that the bigger operations all have a place where they dispose of dead livestock. Around here, the commonly used descriptor is “dead-pile.” And although that refers to livestock, if a coyote hunter has one of these in his back pocket, the name can apply to dead coyotes as well. These disposal piles are that productive.
There’s an entire skill set to hunting these spots and we’ll talk about that sometime, but for now I’ll just tell you about the time earlier this year when a friend, Darrel, and I stalked up to a dead-pile on a bitterly cold day. There was a coyote hanging around and it was my buddy’s turn, so he took the 155yard shot. Unfortunately, the coyote ran off. Then he drove me crazy by beating himself up—like many of us do—for missing. He dissected and analyzed that shot to death.
But the area was thick with sign, so I knew more coyotes were lurking nearby and I figured the best way to get his mind off the missed coyote was to give him another one to shoot at. We took a short walk west, across a frozen marsh and up onto a small rise that gave us a good vantage point. We both sat down, backs against the same fence post, and Darrel watched to the north while I took the south side and worked at calling.
After 25 minutes with no results, I twisted around to get a second opinion about quitting. I was just in time to see a coyote pop out of the treeline to Darrel’s left. When I suggested he shoot that one, he said, “What coyote?” Turns out he’d been looking to the right when the coyote appeared. However, he spotted the new arrival quickly and steered his Browning X-Bolt to an authoritative 130-yard kill.
It was a big female—large enough to have several years behind her and the education to match. However, even though we’d fired a .243 Win. nearby about 40 minutes prior, we managed to pull her in. It was another good example of how gunshots don’t always scare coyotes. We see this whenever we pull in doubles or triples on a stand, with 5 or 10 minutes between them.
The lesson here is that it works in other situations as well. A gunshot won’t necessarily spook every coyote in the area. If it’s a good spot, wait a little, change positions slightly and be patient. They’ll likely come in slower, but when they do, you can add them to your own coyote dead-pile.
This songdog came into range less than 1 hour after a gunshot rang out.