The Twin Valley Rod and Gun Club (TVRGC) set out for a competitive coyote hunt the weekend of Feb. 7-9 to hunt the largest female for a cash prize.
Seen as a varmint, coyotes are tough on the fawn population, especially in the spring season. Member Paul Price explained that coyotes are known to eat farmers’ livestock.
“Some of the guys that have livestock, sheep and whatnot, they have caused them problems,” said Price.
Methods of hunting coyote include calling, pushing/driving, trapping, and baiting. Bait can include table scraps, old freezer meat, veggies, and fruits.
“When I was younger, there were hardly any coyotes around. There were mostly grey fox, red fox, and then coyotes moved in, and they’re the biggest predator out there now, and they will kill red fox and grey fox, if they can catch them. So their numbers are down, and coyote numbers are up. We have a healthy deer population, and that gives feed to the coyote population, so we have a healthy coyote problem,” said Price.
Ron Kauffman, a member of the TVRGC, also a member of QDMA, NRA, the Rocky Mountain Health Association, the National Turkey Wildlife Federation, and Ducks Unlimited to name a few, explained his experience with the coyote population.
“Anytime a farmer has livestock, and they’re dropping newborns, they’re very susceptible to coyotes; we see that in the deer population as well, and that’s also a good time to hunt coyotes, when the deer are dropping fawns,” said Kauffman. Kauffman also noted that he has seen an increase in rabbit population.
Kauffman is familiar with calls from homeowners asking him to kill a coyote that’s been spotted on their lawn, within city limits. One of Kauffman’s theories is coyotes have moved into more urban areas where food is more plentiful. For example, coyotes are known to eat trash, cats, small dogs, and even infants. “They’re just surviving and moving toward food sources,” said Kauffman.
“Recently, I’ve noticed a decrease, definitely,” said Kauffman through his chuckles. Despite his efforts, Kauffman wasn’t able to bring in a coyote in this year’s hunt. “I’ve seen a decrease in the last five years… I think the influx [in coyote population five years ago] was that not many people were hunting them. And in the last five years, there’s been more hunters. You know, TV does a lot for all types of sports,” said Kauffman.
Price brought back three coyotes, a few other members brought back one, however many brought back zero.
“I bought a call this year, and this is the first successful time I’ve called them in,” said Price. “They are very tough to call… we hunted in places where we called, and they answered, they howled back at us, but they wouldn’t come in… They are very wary and are tough to call… You know, you see it on TV and they’re always out West. The Eastern coyotes are tougher to call in,” said Price, due to the coyote’s skepticism.
“Generally for coyote, there is not a problem getting permission to hunt them, because pretty much everyone knows they need to be controlled,” said Price.
Price explains there is no gender correlation between the increase of the coyote population and the contest for the biggest female, and the criteria for the hunt was established was chosen by random. Price said that most of the men who hunted were not in it for the money, but “for the bragging rights.”
“I’d say the females are more of a problem because they can have anywhere between four to 18 pups in a litter,” said Kauffman.
Brad Turner, a Darke County native, was the Wildlife Officer present at the weigh-in. Turner has been an officer for seven years, and has been in Preble County since 2009. He is familiar with this particular varmint.
“You have to have to have a hunting license to hunt, unless you’re on your own property,” said Turner. “You can use any weapon you want, they’re open year-round. The only time it is restricted is during our week-long deer gun season,” said Turner.
In regard to the club’s competition regulations, Turner said members must hunt or trap the coyotes, and could not consider roadkill a legitimate entry in the contest.
“Hunting this time of year, you can use whatever you want, the only thing when you’re out hunting, you have to have some sort of continuous light on. It can be any color when you’re out in the field. Most guys choose red or green,” said Turner. He said the lights are imperative so other hunters can see who is in the field hunting for safety reasons.
To get permission to hunt on another person’s property, Turner recommends obtaining permission in writing, in case a law is broken and the property owner claims otherwise.
Turner explains the way coyotes attack and kill their prey is distinctive from other predators, in that they will attack an animal from their hindquarters, or on an animal’s snout.
One of the oldest conservation clubs in the state of Ohio, the Twin Valley Rod and Gun Club strives to promote healthy population control, while following regulation and maintaining sportsmanship. “The club itself stocks game. In the years past, they’ve released fish and whatnot because they had a license fee for getting conservation. We’ve turned fish loose in Twin Creek and other public fishing places,” said Price.
The TVRGC is also active in youth organizations and scholarships.
The weigh-in took place Sunday, Feb. 9, at the TVRGC clubhouse, with a total of eight coyotes killed.The heaviest female contest was won by Aaron Sorrel, who’s female weighed-in at 40 lbs.
For those who are interested in joining the club, membership fees are $10 for the year.