By Duane Fronek
The day started as any other day set aside for calling. My partner Yotefever came to go calling and after the usual double checking that we had all our gear with us and in the truck, we set off. We were heading up into the National Forest about 3 miles from my place. In the dead of winter it’s a serene place to spend a day calling. As we reach the National our thoughts and talks are starting to develop a game plan on where to setup and whether they were compatible wind the light wind out of the north. A couple miles in on the ice and snow covered road, we spot a flock of ravens up ahead, assembled in there usual form fighting amongst themselves when they find a winter meal. As we’re approaching, the black cloud ascends and scatters about, taking their roosts to watch the intruders close in. What we discover is a half eaten carcass of a deer, road kill probably. We pull over to inspect the scene a little closer as to see who else may be visiting this resting place. Among all the raven tracks scattered about as if someone dumped a puzzle out, we were able to decipher coyote tracks intermingled with the ravens, and a single trail coming in from the north which contained a thick tamarack swamp.
Being the tracks of the coyote seemed to be quite fresh and pert near smoking, we decide to implement a quick game plan to coax out the guardian of this winter buffet. No doubt he is camped out back off the road enjoying a relaxing snooze that can only be induced with the intoxicating euphoria of a belly full of red meat.
We jump in the 4x4 and head down the road about a ½ mile and pull to the side. We were about a 100 yds east of the edge of the tamarack swamp. With the wind coming out of the north we had a good chance at cracking this guys code. We head into the hardwoods looking for a good vantage point in which we could snipe an incoming visitor. As luck would have it and a little intuition as to how this country lays, we find ourselves a slight rise from the hardwoods that fingers out to a point that abruptly descends into a fairly open flat of maple saplings that thicken as they approach the tamaracks.
With the wind sweeping through from right to left as we take our positions, I have yotefever guard the downwind side with his 22-250 savage striker hand cannon. I figure the direction of an incoming suspect would opt to come in from that direction, giving yotefever the opportunity to add another notch on his pistol grip. For myself, I perched myself to yotefevers right out on the slight point, ready to snipe any incoming less educated dogs that ignored the wind.
With our carcasses settled into the comforts of tree stumps, I lay my .243 across my lap while it waits to make it’s report. I pull out my open reed Carlton pee wee, a medium range call perfect for this type of assault. Within a few seconds of our concealment, I rape the air with the blood curdling pleading of a bunny that wants to live. The bunnies torment and piercing screams for help summoned a willing suspect within minutes of his first cries for help. Unbeknownst to me, the intended target came in down wind at lightning speed, right in to yotrefevers lap at 20yds in full tilt mode. Yotefever announced the arrival by unleashing the 22-250, sending a 40gr sleeping pill at the incoming blur of fur seen throw the cross hairs of his trusted Leupold. Problem was the incoming dog failed to take the pill and swapped ends to make his retreat.
The crack of the 22-250 alerted the .243 to the situation unfolding to the left. I brought the .243 to full attention, and attempting to help the 100gr bullet find it’s mark through the ever thickening saplings, the monarch that rode her back did the best she could in guiding the pill to it’s intended target, but failed to part the way unobstructed. The intended “ending” to this hunt, left with his hide intact, but left behind a yellow trail for 50yds or so to let us know we gave him an education he will carry to his grave.
After picking up our seats and what was left of our dignity, I decided to check out the trail that our lucky suspect left behind. As Yotefever was starting to regain his composure and settle his nerves, he said to me; warn me next time you decide to throw a coyote in my lap that fast. I told him I was just trying to surprise him.
Well upon further inspection of the outgoing trail, I found where this fleeing dog actually lost control of all bladder functions, the yellow streak laid out on the snow better than 50 yds and I just had to laugh, yotefever wasn’t the only one rattled. Being curious, I decided to follow the incoming set of tracks just to see the incoming line of approach. To my surprise it was a fairly straight bee line for our fictional bunny in it’s death throws. But the real gem was I had found where our little friend came from, I found a nice little coyote bed nestled under a blown down tamarack, with another trail of which I followed and not surprisingly led to the deer carcass not 75yds away.
Below is a short vid of the calling sequence that called this one in, it’s from the actual stand.