Texas. A bright-eyed but toothsome head popped up in range where we thought a turkey might. I’d been calling steadily on a mouth diaphragm. The coyote paused, looking hard at us, as I whispered to the high-school football player guiding me and a buddy on the land: “Shoot him?”
“You’d be doing the rancher a favor,” he said.
Fifteen minutes later we called a screaming suicidal turkey down the hill to his certain death and my buddy shot it. Do gun blasts spook birds? Not this gobbler.
Coyotes. They seem to shadow me while chasing turkeys – spring and fall. Once, while Vermont fall turkey hunting with my late-great turkey dog Midge, she paused in a twisted “birdy” point.
“Woodcock?” I asked my bud. “Probably grouse,” he flatly responded.
No more than 10 steps off her nose, a coyote sniffed along, no doubt “mousing,” just past the multi-flora rose between us and the skinny game trail. She'd pointed a 'yote.
As he turned to ask, “Should I dust’m?” I answered with a shotgun bark. During the deer season that followed, he found the dead coyote dismantled by others – so much for reverence of the dead.
Why did I shoot? My Midge had been bitten in the rear right leg by a Maine coyote the year before – the infected wound swelled up like a tennis ball implant – and I wasn’t taking any chances. Don’t mess with my dog, dawgs. And sometimes coyotes mess with Maine hunters.
I’ve called up coyotes – or walked them up – all around the country while turkey hunting. Ever have a coyote encounter while chasing spring gobblers or fall flocks? Do you shoot them or let the animal live another day? Comment below.
Steve Hickoff is Realtree’s turkey hunting editor and blogger. He’s a world-class coyote caller during turkey season. Go here for Realtree turkey hunting tips.
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Realtree turkey hunting editor Steve Hickoff has chased gobblers all over the United States and Mexico. He was born and raised in northcentral Pennsylvania, and now makes his home in Maine. Hickoff was named the NWTF Tom Kelly Communicator of the Year for 2019, a prestigious award reflecting his longtime work promoting hunting and conservation as a turkey hunting writer, editor and book author.