Organized coyote hunts get underway this month, ushering in a season that has saved serious hunters from months of boredom. For me, it is just a hunt because I do not actually pull the trigger very often. Watching coyotes is too much fun.
It would be different if I saw a coyote during one of the coyote hunts. I would like to take home some of the winners' jackpot. More than the money, well, as much as the money, it would be a good deal of satisfaction.
If not for the fact that coyotes have not risen to the level of respect given to deer by hunters, bagging a coyote would be a more highly prized big game animal. Coyotes are much more wary, much more intelligent that deer. Part of it is the fact that we do not eat them, at least I am not aware of anyone who does. I have heard that dogs make good meals, so being basically dogs it stands to reason that coyotes might make good eating, but do not ask me to do it. Ain't gonna' happen.
My coyote goal is to get a large coyote with prime fur, skin it cased, then have it tanned. They make a beautiful trophy this way. I will hang it my its nose in my office, then maybe I will try to get matching fed fox and gray fox. At times a bobcat is included in this plan, but I do not know if I would actually shoot a bobcat, if it by some remote possibility becomes possible.
To date I have received schedules for all of the major organized coyote hunts in western Pennsylvania. I will list the ones I have here along with some details. Watch the Outdoors Calendar for dates of other coyote contests as I find them.
The Tubmill Trout Club will hold their annual 'Big Dog Coyote Hunt' January 27 to January 30 which, to the best of my knowledge, starts the winter coyote hunt season this year. Headquarters is at New Florence, which is in Westmoreland County, at the V.F.W. Pavilion. In this hunt, successful hunters share equally in 100 percent of entry fees, plus there is an optional pot for the heaviest coyote. Entrants pay a $5 registration fee, $15 entry fee, and an optional $5 big coyote fee.
Coyotes must be taken in Pennsylvania. Each hunter may enter only one coyote. Enter at the club web site, www.tubmilltroutclub.org no later than January 26.
Tubmill Trout Club holds the 'Lucky Dog Coyote and Fox Hunt' simultaneously with the Bog Dog hunt. I am not sure why they do this. I would explain it if I understood it.
The 'St. Claire Tremont Coyote Hunt' will be held January 28 to January 30. Get information or an entry form at their web site, www.tremontclub.com/coyoteindex.htm.
This year the Brokenstraw Fish and Game Club Coyote Hunt will be held February 4, 5 and 6, but you must pre-register by February 2 by phoning Larry Upton at (814) 563-7074.
The Brokenstraw Fish and Game Club hunt may be the only coyote contest in the region which allows trapping or snares. Also unlike most western Pennsylvania hunts, participants may hunt or trap in New York.
Coyote hunters who are members of Brokenstraw Fish and Game Club, or who live in the same area as club members, probably are primarily responsible for bringing dedicated coyote hounds into Pennsylvania. They did this because coyotes were turning back on the hounds they had been using and killing them. Coyotes are tough customers. These hounds bred specifically to hunt coyotes are capable of dealing with coyotes. At least one that I heard about will kill a coyote when he catches it.
The 2011 Antler Club of Lucinda Coyote Hunt will be held February 11, 12 and 13.You may register at the clubhouse Sunday, February 6 from noon until 4 p.m., and Sunday, January 30th, 2011 from noon until 4:00 p.m. Or download entry forms from their web site, www.antlerclub.com. February 10 is the last day to register.
Mosquito Creek Sportsmen's Association will hold their big coyote hunt February 25, 25 and 27, with headquarters at Frenchville. Participation-wise, this probably is the largest organized coyote contest in Pennsylvania, maybe in the Northeast. More information and entry forms are available at the club web site, www.MOSQUITOCREEKSPORTSMEN.com.
Charleroi Sportsmen Association will hold their coyote hunt February 26 to March 12 this year. Prizes will be determined by weight. Get information and entry forms from their web site, charleroisportsmen.com.
March 17 to March 20 Tubmill Trout Club will hold perhaps the last of the winter coyote hunts, the '2011 Coyote Bash'. You can get more information by phoning Lin at (724) 235-9798, or get information and an entry form from the club web site, www.tubmilltroutclub.org.
These are the only coyote hunts which have sent me information about their 2011 events to date. I encourage, or plead if you wish, for all others to send information by e-mail to the address listed with Outdoors Calendar.