Woke up to a cold Sunday morning went out to the truck to find the windshield frosted on the inside a bit.
Decided I would go back in and fix a mug of tea to go while the frost was melted and dried up.
Took about 10 minutes and it was thawed enough I could dry it off and be on my way.
Made the drive to the Capac bank and waited for Charlie to arrive. Once he did I put my gear in his truck as I was sure he had a mapped out plan.
We drove up the main road north I canít even remember the name or number because we didnít stay on it long. A gravel road we turned off on took us to a dairy farm.
Dairy farm owned buy Eddie Isom since 1962. There is a 80 acre wood lot on the place that has provided them lumber and fire wood for the out side boiler and a good spot for Coyotes to lay up. Charlie had told me he had gotten howls Thursday when he used his locator. But we didnít call up any coyotes.
That is a problem with the locator farm dogs any dog for that matter will start howling when the siren sound is going.
Up the road about 5 miles is another dairy farm we have hunted this farm several times before but have always came in from the north west. The Tucker farm is a family business, Mike and his sons run the place and farm close to 1500 acres they own and lease to grow feed for the cows.
The farm contains a wet land marsh full of brush and grass. It also contains small islands where coyotes lay up for the day.
Charlie runs the Piglet in distress sound which pulled in a pair of coyotes almost as far as it started. We were able to collect those waited and finally about 20 minutes in another lone coyote showed. Charlie collected another one.
Get them back to the truck deposit them and our gear, Charlie said the trucks read out showed 17F, radio weather guy said a 5F wind chill. Ya my hands had got cold and I removed my gloves. Worth less I felt despite them having blizzard stamped on both. I will throw them in the truck for a just in case pair of gloves.
Head north at another gravel road about 10 miles to a Crop farm this time. This place has also been one of our long time farms at least 10 years. They have a wet land they started to ditch and drain so they could plant crops. They were raided by the feds back in the 1970s For attempting to destroy a wet land. They paid a huge fine and had to fill the ditches so the wet land couldnít drain. But it does drain some though not enough to farm it.
It is owned by the family of George Androff and family.
We set up about 125 yards from the brushy grassy wet land with a pile of old brush and trees to break up our out line. About 15 minutes in we had a pack of coyotes show up at least 6 possible 7. We were able to get the first 2 easy, the Ki sound stopped one for another one for me . I thought I may have hit a 3d running one. Charlie also got a second one but never got a shot at another one. A search found I had removed hair and drawn blood from the third one. Track it thru the brush to find it struggling to get up and run some more after about 300 yards.
We drag it back to the rest and Charlie goes after his truck. Get them loaded up and head on out of there. I had tied a extra pipe cleaner around the leg of the one we tracked so I would pay special attention to it when I skinned it.
We make the swing west on a narrow black top road for about 8 miles. This time we come to a Sheep farm. Owned buy Rodger Bowman. He is a young fellow in his late 30ís. He bought the place right out of college with help from his folks who are also Michigan sheep farmers.
They have a big power line right of way thru their place with the huge steel four legged towers. They are allowed to graze sheep there but can not do any crops. The strip is about 50 yards wide and the sheep are grazing there when we made our way to it. There is one big hill that makes a good vantage point to over look a big swamp which is probably a result of the big hill having been dredged out in the ice age. We set the decoys out the shots here would most likely be 125 yards minima.
We had two coyotes respond to the caller with the lamb in distress sound. Both were females.
We back track from there to the narrow black top road make the turn to go west a bit farther. Reach a small village so small it rates a 4 way stop sign at the corner. Post office one corner, gas station party store we call them on another corner, and a bar on a third corner the forth held a building for lease. We went in the bar ordered a bowl of chili and a gut bomb with coffee.
The weather channal was showing for our area. Said current temp was 23F wind chill was 12F. The up coming week promised to be a messy one with snow freezing rain more snow and yet even more snow for a total of close to a foot of snow for the week.
We turn north at that point and drove about 5 miles up the road to turn east on another gravel road. We crossed a county line and HO BOY a freaking ice rink. Like so slick the road shined and there isnít any sun. Charlie backs out to the other county and we get out and put tire chains on. Head out again. I can see why so many schools were closed the end of last week. Packed snow with freezing rain on top and nothing having been done before the Friday freezing wind event. Charlie said he had been down the road Thursday when it was slushy.
We make it to another dairy farm owner by Ralph Hecock, we have hunted this place before about 3 years ago, we started. We work our way back behind the loafing barns to the lane going to cornfields and pasture fields summer only.
There is a wood lot back there of about 40 acres been timbered off about 5 years before so is very brushy. Set out the decoys and run the piglet in distress sound. 30 minutes and nothing showed.
Back on the skating rink to a east bound gravel road more of the same ice on it. I can see no school there come Monday.
We make it to another dairy farm and a truck load of salt & sand goes by with the blade down.
This place is Owned by the Ronald Beeman family one son has a house about 100 yard from the main house and milking barns. This place has a smallish river run thru the place with low flood plains full of brush.
We set up the decoys and caller about 75 yards out Run the piglet sound and 30 minutes later we had seen nothing other than 8 deer munching on brush father to our left.
We get back to the truck and Ron comes out of the work shop and starts talking to us.
Said they had not heard or seen a coyote in close to 4 months when Mike and Mikeie had hunted the place and gotten 3 coyotes.
Told us his sons kids had missed 8 days of school in the last 2 weeks. Said all the local families had talked about doing some thing about the roads them selves. Would be easy to use a chisel plow to break up the ice he though but the county was making noise they didnít want farmers to plow up the roads by threat of fines. Rural families we threating law suits against the county if they didn't do some thing soon. Spring couldnít come soon enough for them.
Charlie and I leave there talking about the roads Iím for the farmers taking care of them and Charlie says would be fine until one ran the equipment to deep and tore the road up.
So I guess the answer is the kids miss more school sue the county and pay more taxes to pay for the law suit the county would loose and the kids go to school till mid July.
We went about 10 more miles to another dairy farm. They were next to a 500 acre state game area. They were allowed to plant crops on the game area but had to leave some for the wild critters deer and Pheasants.
This place was owned by Al Prosser old and as cranky as I am too. Iíve hunted here before many times and I like Al a lot.
He has even asked us to come in the spring and he would set us up with equipment to plant fields.
We work back to the fence line heavy posted so hunters will know where the game area ends.
We set up about 100 yards shy of the game area and some standing corn the deer have harvested. Then about 50 yards to the wood line.
We call two out of there a male and a female. First time we have seen a pair together in a while.
Got added to our pile.
Back at the truck we remove the chains since we had made it to where the county had salted and sanded. Make our way east some more to another black road going north. Head up it about 15 miles and hit another sheep farm. I know those sheep farmers are liking the cold as the sheep are making some nice wool for spring.
Kenny Chipman owns the place used to do dairy until the 1970ís when the government bought his cows. I donít remember the reason Kenny had told us but the switch was paying off he said.
We made it back to a brushy sloth set up about 125 from the edge this is the sloth were a few years back I had shot a coyote couldnít find it that day so returned the next day when a couple of the guys had said they heard some thing hurt down in there that evening. Kenny was going back after some fire wood and his dog went down in there and came dragging the dead coyote back out.
Today we didnít see a thing.
Back at the truck Charlie says it is 4:30 PM we should just hang it up for the day. Will be dark by the time we get back to my truck.
I say OK as I am ready to quit my self.