Is it just me, or are there more coyotes running around the Sauk Valley now than ever?
And it isn’t just a problem in the Sauk Valley. Traveling Illinois 26 just north of Forreston one late night (or really early morning at about 1 a.m.), one of the varmints ran across the road and in front of my Jeep. The scoring on that matchup went as such: Jeep 1, Coyote 0.
I was worried about my car, so I immediately jumped out and checked for any possible damage to the bumper or undercarriage. There wasn’t even a scratch on my truck, but the coyote laid in a bloody heap right where its head dribbled off my bumper and then the pavement, dead as a doornail.
I always feel bad about hitting any animal on the road, and will swerve to avoid if possible for anything smaller than a deer. But hitting a coyote?
“Who even does that?,” I thought to myself as I drove the last stretch of the way home.
It was a thought-provoking incident for me about the coyote problem northern Illinois is currently dealing with. Hunters long before us nearly wiped out the entire population generations ago, and now I can’t go a night driving home from work without seeing one in the ditch or crossing the road.
So I’ve already explained one recent incident in my car, so how about another? When I first got my driver’s license, I received the nickname “Speed Racer” from my mother, and she wasn’t talking about my precision handling going through turns. I have a lead foot, and about 2 weeks ago late on my way to get gas, was pulled over in Dixon for coming into town a little hot.
While the state trooper was checking my insurance and license, a coyote ran across Palmyra Street roughly 50 feet from my car. The critter was likely headed towards the woods around Page Park, but it was another instance where I thought to myself, “If coyotes are running around in town, how many of them really are there?”
The only answer I can provide to that question is “a lot.” Guys in my hunting party in the fall and winter see them all the time. I had shots at multiple coyotes last year, but came away empty-handed. Calling in one of the varmints is hard enough, but shooting one of them on a full run going away? Forget about it.
In recent years, my father and I have assembled ample items designed toward harvesting more coyotes on our property and on a farm we have permission to hunt just a mile outside of Mount Carroll. Different calls are used, and we have our pick of a .22-250, 17-caliber, and a standard .22 rifle to try to do some damage. We’ve had more than a few chances, but our shots have been inconsistent.
Coyote season begins 30 minutes before sunrise on November 10, and runs all the way up until midnight on March 15, 2018. With shotgun season for whitetails on the horizon, think about taking a shot at that coyote that runs past your stand early in the sit. Many deer won’t be deterred from an area they want to move through for too long after discharging your gun.
The rule that my family has adopted regarding coyotes is similar to the old adage of “If it’s brown, it’s down.” It has helped our property become an amazing place for rabbits, and last year we shot the first two pheasants we’d seen in 5 years.
This year, every coyote within range of the firearm at our disposition will have lead or a bullet flying toward it. I urge you to adopt a similar philosophy. Your deer, turkey, rabbit and pheasant populations will thank you.