Dick Hunt's Blog

April 23, 2010

Coyotes

Filed under: Current — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 7:05 pm

Coyotes
by Dick Hunt , April 22nd, 2010.

During the past few days the news has been reporting the scourge of agressive Coyotes in Nova Scotia and other provinces. Vancouver has not gone unscathed either. Plans are being made to take action to eliminate many of the animals as they are not only a menace to household pets but also children and adults. One young woman has apparently been killed by coyotes in the Mafritomes.

In the early fifties in eastern Alberta and Saskatchewan coyotes became a great menace to livestock, chiefly young calves and sheep in the spring months. Coyotes are very wily and seem to be able to detect the smell of firearms from some distance away. On one occasion one Sunday morning my brother and I and a hired man were feeding baled hay to the breeding cows when we became aware that a large coyote was dragging a calf down a hill into the trees at the bottom, intent on having a tasty breakfast . I jumped off the wagon and ran down the hill to save the calf, taking my pitch fork with me. The coyote did not let go of the calf until I was only ten feet away from him, and then only kept just out of my reach, looking over his shoulder as he retreated.

I suggested to my brother that he should return after taking the wagon home and bring me the .303 rifle which he did. I stayed with the cattle and the coyote trotted off to the south, taking his time and stopping occasionally to see where I was. My brother brought the rifle and I stayed on the hill to watch for the coyote to return. He finally showed up on the skyline about 300 metres to the south. I was quite sure I could not hit him from that distance, a moving target. But I fired and wonder of wonders knocked him down. He got up again and slowly disappeared into the Silver Willow (also known as Wolf Willow), as it was the same color as a wolf or a coyote. He probably died.
In the early fifties, a father and son team bought a two place Aeronca Champion aircraft, learned to fly it and decided to hunt coyotes from the air. The Government had arranged to pay a significant bounty on Coyotes and their hides were also worth quite a bit. The father flew the plane and the son wielded a twelve guage shotgun, from the back seat on the port (left) side with the window open. As they spotted coyotes stalking calves, the pilot moved in on the right side of the prey about 50 feet from the ground, and the son shot the coyote which at that point was running away from the plane. They became so proficient that they were invited to ply their trade over a wide area of eastern Alberta and western Saskatchewan. They bagged around 800 coyotes in the space of two months and paid off the whole cost of their plane. They also saved a lot of calves for the Ranchers.

My brother Bill also had a Aeronca Plane at that time, a four place “Sedan”. We used to load around 400 lbs. of Iodized Rock salt into the back with the seat removed. Bill then would take off and fly to the various waterholes where the cattle gathered to drink. He throttled back to just above stall speed and fifty feet above the ground. At the right time, when there were no cows in the way , I dropped the 50 pound blocks out the port window, putting a spin on them so hit the ground turning and we never broke a block. They would roll and bounce and finally stop beside the water hole. The cattle were pastured in that dry area on short grass, over the space of 48,000 acres. It would take a man at least a day to deliver salt by pick up on that rough land with no roads. We did it in about an hour, two loads.

Bill also recruited a marksman with a shotgun and shot some coyotes. On one flight around the various pastures, Bill and I counted 13 coyotes stalking calves at one water hole. We buzzed them and they ran away.

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