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WV – HUNTING – Modern hunters and tough eastern coyotes

It’s about 20 degrees as I stumble along in the dark following my two guides, Connor and Tyler. With about a gazillion stars overhead, it is still very dark, and I try not to make too much noise. The bare cornfield that we are walking in is covered in frozen snow and mud and it is hard to be quiet. My young friends (no cracks about my age, please) set up the electronic predator call and AR-15-style rifles on tripods with a thermal imaging scope mounted on both guns. The predator call is turned on and the cold night air is filled with the howls, yips and snarls of what sounds like a nasty coyote domestic dispute. Connor and Tyler calmly scan the area before us, looking for Wile E. Coyote to show, as I watch quietly and shiver in the Monroe County darkness. In the outdoor and hunting world, maybe no animal draws as much controversy as the coyote. We hunters argue about where they came from, what animal they actually are, what they eat and how they behave. To many hunters, the coyote is the spawn of Satan and they blame the yodel dog for everything. Deer and turkey numbers down? Too many coyotes. Turkeys won’t gobble, the grouse have disappeared along with the rabbits and the stock market is down — it’s the coyote’s fault (OK, I made that last one up). Now don’t get me wrong, the coyote is a predator, and they certainly eat deer, rabbits and anything else they can catch. Coyotes eat other animals to survive, and above all else the coyote is a survivor. To put an even finer point on this, we are talking about the eastern coyote, and he is definitely a different varmint than his western cousin. As noted earlier, the ancestry and where the eastern coyote actually came from is the cause of some controversy. Many wildlife biologists and scientists agree the coyote we now have over much of the east is a coyote and wolf mixture with maybe a touch of domestic dog mixed in. In truth, I have always been skeptical of the part wolf theories, but DNA testing doesn’t lie. There is no doubt the eastern dog is much bigger than his relatives out west and has a much more varied fur color scheme.  [full article]

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