Varmint Callers Association
The first varmint hunting site on the net! The California Varmint Callers maintains this webpage for the benefit of all varmint and predator hunters.
THE COYOTE THAT BROKE WIND
It was the week between Christmas and the start of the New Year. I was out of work for company holidays and had that nagging desire to go coyote hunting. Unfortunately all my hunting friends were working and my son had another real hot deal going.
For lack of a partner, I went to the high desert alone. Getting to the the desert is only an hour drive from my home in Riverside CA. Finding a good location to set up a day stand and not intrude on someone's peace and quiet is not as easily done.
Starting out late, I finally set up my first stand about 9 A.M. What looked like a great location ultimately proved to be a little too close to civilization. I put a pitiful sounding jackrabbit tape in the call box and almost immediately had two large curious German Shepherds checking things out. That was an entertaining pair to watch. They came in very quickly until they were about 30 yards from that dying rabbit in the box. They stopped, looked at each other and split up. One went left and the other right to begin circling. When they were about half way around the box, they stopped again and looked it over with more curiosity. After a few moments of looking at each other and at the box, they both began barking.
Figuring now that this stand was a total bust, and not expecting the dogs to be aggressive, I stood up and called them. The one on my right came trotting over is a friendly sort of way. The other was not at all interested in me. He cautiously walked closer to the box and frequently looked back to his left.
When the brave one was about 10 feet from me, the other started barking again and off they went to my left. A few moments later, they dropped into a gully about a hundred yards out. I saw them next in hot pursuit of a fleeing coyote. Apparently 'old wiley' was in the gully coming into the call, despite the presence of the domestic dogs.
Anxious to try again, I loaded up the truck and headed for a new location. Before noon I had tried four more stands and saw nothing. Feeling a bit hungry I stopped at a local bean-n-burrito shop for lunch. I had hoped to set up another couple stands between there and home, because my evening was pre planned and required an early return.
I stopped at a rock pile that afforded good cover and a great field of view. The area in front of the rocks was once a crop field, but had not seen the plow in many a year. My field of view was about 300 yards for 180 degrees with only small sage and tumbleweed out there. It looked good for the coyotes too, as the brush was thick enough to offer cover as he came in. Behind me there was no view at all. I put the caller about 50 yards down wind and crawled into the rocks.
Nothing but the wind was moving that afternoon. For a Winter day, it was unusually warm, but, the wind was gusting somewhere between 15 and 25. After 15 minutes I took advantage of the warmth and a not so comfortable rock pillow. Yup! In no time at all, I was in another world. Probably dreaming about a rare successful hunt!
Now imagine this. Here you are, just woke up, sleep still in the brain and sand in your eyes. Not sure if the sand is from the sleep or the wind. Now compound that with the noise of someone or something passing gas. Nope! Not you. Now you begin wondering what kind of critter could make such a sound and for such a long time.
I figured the noise was coming from somewhere above and behind me in the rocks. I got out of the crack in the rocks where I had crawled earlier, and started to climb. Just as I poked my head over the top, I was face to face with a startled yodel dog. Being that close, I could swear (and still do) that he was the biggest coyote I have ever seen. After my heart restarted all I could see was that big critter making for the state line. Frantically I began thrashing about. Doing things like, regaining my balance, trying to chamber a round that doesn't want to chamber, then get the rifle shouldered. Then, see nothing but desert brush in the scope. He certainly knew where he was headed and how to get there. I got a glimpse of him as he topped the last rise before the Nevada border. As he went out of sight I thought I could here him breaking wind. I am certain I heard the sound barrier breaking also.
Now, we have dogs around the house and I know they do the natural thing when the pressure gets too tough to hold. I just never thought a wild critter that survives on its instincts would allow the enemy the opportunity to locate him in such a way. Survival of the smartest or something like that.
Hey! There it is again! That noise. Now what could it be, old wiley is half a state away by now. That coyote didn't circle behind me that fast did he? Ain't no way! He will never come back here, at least not for a long time.
With my .243 at the ready, I climbed to the top of the rocks and carefully checked out the area. The noise seemed to be coming from a crevice near the top. I was not quite sure if I should expect a ferocious beast or some local kid playing a prank on the citified hunter caught snoring in the rock pile.
By now I figured it can't be any living creature, because nothing can hold that much gas. In front of the crevice the sand is a mess with dog tracks. So, now I began to wonder if he may call that place home, and, his bride is in there feeling a little over full and cranky. Could it be that they had lunch at the same bean-n-burrito shop. If so, I can sympathize. Maybe he was just curious like I am.
My anticipation was calmed when I saw the noise was being made by some bazaar twist of Mother Nature. An old plastic milk jug was wedged in the rocks and a stiff twig pushed by the wind was rubbing it. Mystery solved, my coyote breaking wind.
I decided I had enough excitement for one day and went to get my calling box. I found that the caller did work on something other than German Shepherds. There were coyote tracks in a close circle twice around the box. They lead from there, around the south side of the rock pile and up the back side. I followed those tracks right up to the crevice and the milk jug.
That was the last time I went coyote hunting alone. Never can tell when I might need another nap, and, when I do someone should be watching the back door. I also now require my hunting partners to bring along a pillow for me. That rock was not quite soft enough.
But, I still wonder. Do coyotes Break Wind?