Met Eric and Mike at the truck stop about 6:30. Eric said we had five places to hunt in the area we were going to. Then we would do some door knocking, well we would let cherb faced Mike do the knocking. He is in his late 50ís and doesnít show his age as we do.
We make it to the first farm just off M57 before Cheaseing it is a sheep farm and we are setting up near a thorn apple patch. This time of year they have it fenced off from the sheep but after they are sheared they are allowed to pasture in there.
This is a large patch of sandy grown they just let the thorn apples grow in I would guess 5 acres.
We set the callers out about 25 yards from the edge of the thorny patch then moved the decoys another 10 yards.
Backed off to a stone pile with a huge maple tree growing in the center and some big boulders piled there to break up our out line.
We are using the challenge sound today with the female in heat.
Took just a minute to get a answering bark then 3 more. Kept the callers busy getting answers nearly each time and getting closer.
I figure about 10 minutes before the first coyote showed up in Mikes zone but it was soon followed by another one close to Erics zone. Mike called the shot and there are two coyotes down.
It is getting warm despite the winds, glad I was not one to drag a coyote about 500 yards back to the truck. Back at the truck, heading down the road Eric say the temp read out says 47F.
Next place is west of Cheasing and a bit north. A small hobby farm, they had called Erics office Thursday and said they had seen a pair of coyotes slinking around in the woods when they had gone back there.
They grow a big garden and sell in the farmers market and grow a few head of beef every year.
We walk back to the far edge of the field from the woods, then set up in the fence line away from the woods.
I am happy I am carrying the 243 today because the wind is strong. Once again the challenge call and female in heat pulls coyotes out in the open looking for that hot female. This time they are in my zone since Mike is the middle man it is up to him to get one at my trigger.
We have two young male coyotes down were about ready to pack up and a third coyote pops up in Erics area at the shot we have 3 coyotes to drag out but not as far this time.
Back at the truck Dan is standing near by, sees the coyotes and gives us a fist pump. Said they had seen them the day before, Connie had called Erics office then again that day and the day after. Hadnít wanted to have them get up in the yard and grab chickens.
We asked about any friends 4 or 5 miles away where we might do some hunting for coyotes. He told us to wait a minute and pulled out a cell phone and called.
We got permission to hunt another hobby farm 8 miles away. They also do the farmer market and have a sugar bush then sell the syrup their people after my own heart have honey bees.
If it were not for the wind the honey bees would be flying. So was surprised when we got there and the bees on the south side of the tool shed were flying about.
Will as he said to call him was out there installing pollen patties much the same way as I do.
Remove the outer cover and crack the inter cover and slide them in on the top bars.
He points out the farms property line and the woods where he has seen coyotes before. Explains there is a couple big round bales in a fence line where we can set up.
Told us where to park and be out of the way any time.
We get back in the field find the hay bales where we leave our gear as we walk out and set the decoys out. Even thought there are 3 of us we still only use 2 callers but 3 decoys 2 fairly close is a good draw we feel.
The challenge didnít get any response at all, figured we would hit a dry spot. But at about 20 minutes a coyote sticks its nose out of the weeds and hangs there for a good bit. I see Eric down the row of hay raise his rifle to his shoulder, it is his zone then as the coyote turns to the double decoy set he fires.
Only coyote we see there is a female looked rather old but decent fur.
It gets wrapped in plastic. They slide better that way and no mud get in the fur either.
Back at the truck we thank him for the permission to hunt the coyotes on his farm. He said to come back any time we had gotten good reviews from Dan and he also liked, I knew honey bees too.
We move on to a cash crop farm about 10 miles north. Isnít a lot of farms that do not have yard critters dogs, cats and chickens mostly so they always worry about foxes and coyotes. We been hunting this farm for about 6 years now.
They have 320 several grain dryers big tool shed and they lease about 5000 acres Paul told us once. He has 3 full time workers who maintain the tillage tools and help with the planting and harvest. He hires part time workers for spring planting and fall harvesting.
We head back across the farm with no fence rows to a small grove of trees that surround a small pond and is about 150 yards from the woods.
We set up there and do the challenge call and again nothing. In fact nothing at all in 30 minutes of calling and the full 40 minute wait.
Back at the truck going down the road Eric says his read out said 53F. It is nearing noon so we are thinking of some thing to eat.
Decided that since we were so close to St Charles we would stop at Tonys there.
First we would stop at a parking area in the state game area along the river.
If no one was in the lot we would go and set up for coyotes.
A full 40 minutes provide nothing at all. Back at the truck a DNR officer was setting. When we got to the truck she jumped out and asked for our licenses. We always have them even though we usually hunt private property and never see any DNR people.
She told us she hasnít seen any coyotes in the area in some time and believes the game area is hunted often on week ends.
She tells us that some people had called the office from east of there a week or so ago with coyotes causing worry. She calls her office and asked for the coyote complaint phone number and as she is saying it Mike is dialing his cell phone. Get a answer and says we are coyote hunters and would it be ok to meet with them in a hour and a half.
That will be fine they say.
We run into St Charles and grab a sandwich at Tonys. These things are huge and with fries included YUMM.
We finish there head to the Mitchells farm a dairy farm about 5 miles south east of St Charles. Bob Mitchell showed us the boundary from a old airel photo of the farm. Told us that the coyotes had been seen in the loafing yard slinking around. He believed the coyotes pack to have a den in the 20 acre woods half belongs to the neighbor.
We take the easy grassy way across fields Bob had told us about so we would not be wading mud.
We make it to a wooded fence line and about 70 yards across is the woods we set the callers out at half way and the decoys 10 yards more.
Right away with the Challenge we have several answering barks for a couple areas to our front.
Eric starts talking dirty again and he is so good at it I swear he has lived with coyotes to know just what they like to hear.
About 10 minutes 2 coyotes show up in my zone and easy for Mike also, I give Mike the finger and fire we have 2 coyotes down and still hearing barks to the challenge sound. About 5 minutes a 3d coyote shows up in Mikes zone and he has another coyote to drag out.
Eric being the nice fellow he is drags one.
It is really getting warm I am glad I had thrown in my lite weight camo by the time we arrived back at the truck.
We gave Bob Mitchell one of the coyote hunting groups cards to call Eric's office if he has coyotes come again or if they see any more. When he saw the 3 coyotes we had he was happy and impressed and said come hunt any time we wanted for coyotes.
On the road again Eric says it is 54F the weather guy on the radio is saying good time to get the car washed and the wind chill is 47F.
Ya right get the car washed the gravel back roads we have been on were slop.
We are far away from any other place we have permission to hunt. Time to put Mike to work.
Eric stops at a likely looking farm and send Mike to the door knocks and a man answers and Mike and him talk on the porch a bit then Mike returns and says we have permission to hunt coyotes there except on Sunday.
Did two more places and got pretty much the same answer fine except Sundays. Decided we would not do any more of that. Guess not every one wants to get rid of coyotes even on Sunday like we do.
Since we were so close to Saginaw Mike suggested we hit Cabelas and kill some time.
Mike found some snow camo on sale and they had his size in stock so bought a coat and matching bibs.
I wasnít impressed with most of their prices on any thing except shot shell wads for the 12 but didnít buy any.
Leave Cabelas and work our way to the south east corner of Saginaw and hit M13 work south. We have two places one before the new Loutrup road and west a dairy farm again. Get parked and the perfume of a dairy farm assaults our noses. We have to work our way around thru several fields to get near the woods to set top they are pumping the manure pit thru the irrigation system to the fields where they are going to plant corn soon.
We stay on the set 40 minutes and do not get answering calls or any type of response.
One more place and there are rumblings is to warm to be doing this.
Next place is just pass New Loutrup road and east a bit. A lot of low abandon crop land here along the road. We arrive at the small hobby farm we will hunt. Grab our gear and walk back the the woods. Here things will be close since the fields are starting to go back wild. But if we get a few good dry years they will again farm the fields.
Once again a dry spot no answering barks at all after 40 minutes.
At the truck we decide it is just to warm for coyotes with fur coats we have to remove for them.
It is 3:40PM so they take me back to my truck and even though Mike was saying he would skin my coyotes I said no I will do my own thanks just the same.