Comment(s)

The plan was simple: spend three days calling coyotes on Montana’s High-Line near the little town of Chester. I’ve hunted Western coyotes in April before, and it can be hit or miss, depending on the stage of the area’s gravid females’ pregnancies. If it’s about a week before the females give birth, they rarely come out of their dens, and the males will stand guard and stay put at the den’s entrance, for the most part.

We lucked out and called a few closer-range song dogs throughout the hunt with a new-fangled, high-tech shotgun as a primary weapon. That allowed me to break out Del-Ton’s new Evolution rifle and give it a Cowboy State workout for the long-range shots. Even though the first afternoon’s hunt was a bust, with only one coyote last seen heading for the Canadian border, we held out hope.

After battling 35-mph winds and a wind chill approaching zero the following morning, we swapped locations and drove south about 40 miles hoping for calmer conditions. On the first stand, we eased down into a dry creek bed where a small herd of Angus cattle were calving. Fifteen minutes into the set, we switched tunes from the “dying rabbit blues” to “kitty carnage” without anything showing up. When the calls switched to “coyote puppy in distress,” things changed quickly. I watched a pair of pale coyotes break the top of a ridge 600 yards out and charge down into a ravine, heading in our direction. A few minutes later, one of the coyotes topped a ridge at 375 yards and charged down into the creek bottom. When she crossed the dry creek bed, she quickly started circling downwind. Easing forward while looping downwind of our location, she got a snoot full of our scent, barked a few times and exited stage left. Seconds later, we spied her mate standing watching from the top of the ridge.

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