Outdoors Column

Venison for family members

By Bill Howard | Dec 26, 2013
Photo by: File Bill Howard

Dennis had promised to share some venison with some family members. He knew there would be a good chance to at least see a doe that evening from the stand where he would be hunting. As the sun neared the tree lined horizon Dennis began seeing movement in the field. A little over 150 yards away, he was able to set his scope on the three deer and determine the biggest for the taking.
BLAM!
With the steady squeeze of the trigger the seasoned hunter dropped an old doe. His promise was soon to be intact. After a brief wait he climbed down from the tripod stand and began walking in the direction of his quarry. After searching the general area of where he thought the doe had fallen he pulled out his flashlight to begin looking for blood. “Strange,” he thought to himself, “I just knew she dropped right there. She didn’t run.”
With a few widening circles Dennis found the blood. Lots of blood. She had fallen. But the doe was not there. Scanning the beam of the light he noticed more blood just a few feet away. It almost looks as though someone had taken a 4 foot wide paintbrush and laid a stroke down going away from where she was.
He continued to follow the path of blood. Yes, this was a path not a track. There was no denying there was definitely something strange going on. As he neared the wood line he began to hear low pitched growls and stamping of feet in the fallen leaves. His light shot upward and there, just 20 yards away, was a coyote guarding his easy meal that Dennis had provided unwittingly. As Dennis assessed the situation, he realized this was just one of several coyotes anticipating the fresh deer kill. One major problem came to Dennis’ mind as he started the instinctual ‘fight or flight’ thought process. Dennis only had one cartridge left in his rifle.
Ultimately, Dennis backed away leaving the old doe to the yote pack.
And this is just one of many encounters over the last few years. I spoke to a Kiwanas Club a couple of weeks ago and one of their questions that had everyone’s attention was of the potential coyote problem. My response was there was not a potential problem. The problem was in fact full-fledged and current.
I shared another story from a taxidermist I had used before. Her husband had several deer pulled from the field before he could track them down over the course of one season. On his last deer kill of that year he aimed his spotting scope in the direction of shot. Sure enough, he spotted several coyotes exiting the woods and heading straight toward the game.  A week after the season he and some other hunters went to the same field. He fired one shot into the ground and waited. The coyotes were not afraid. They were hungry and looking for the deer that had just been slain. This time, the hunting group pulled off a Pavlov’s dog experiment by using the gun fire in place of the bell to bring the coyotes out in the open. The group opened fire and the pack was no more.
Coyotes raise many issues, including further spread of rabies, farm and domestic animal deaths, and habitat change on native animals. And with the stories of their willingness to encounter humans, the cowardly coyote myth seems to have been debunked.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Linda Sexton | Dec 30, 2013 08:49

Frustrating as it must be to see your prey snatched by the coyote, they too are a native animal of North America.  Obviously they were hungry.  They are opportunistic hunters and eat everything from berries to bugs, road kill and a killed deer.  Smart?  Yes they are.  They learn just like the domesticated dogs that they are cousins to.  I hope that the hunters are able to bring home that doe that they want to eat on another day.  The coyotes will find another way to fill their stomachs.  Hopefully folks will find that there is room for all native species to exist in our mountains.



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