Local Column River Currents Extending Your Hunting Season

by Free Speech on January 11, 2011

Lodi, WI~

Lodi Valley News serving Lodi, WI & the Lake Wisconsin area with local information since Earth Day 2008.

Hunters are always looking for another way to spend more time in the outdoors. Here, in Wisconsin, we have had the deer seasons extended and a few years back a dove hunting season wasExtend the hunting seaon added to the list of gamebirds that may be hunted in the state. More and more hunters are now turning to predator and varmint hunting as another way to extend their hunting time and their hours in the outdoors.

Predator hunters in Wisconsin are lucky because the state has a good coyote population and the season is open year-round, except for a 19 day period in northern Wisconsin where it closes during the regular gun season and muzzle-loader deer seasons. Check your Small Game Regulations booklet for the map showing the closed area. There is no daily bag limit on coyotes, so a hunter may shoot as many as they choose or can. Coyotes are aggressive animals that can hurt gamebird and wild bird populations. Their growth and territory expansion has also driven the fox populations down because the coyote is a dominant species in the food chain.

The last decade has seen the coyote population in Wisconsin and most of the Midwest grow by leaps and bounds. I talked to Ricky Lien, a DNR Wildlife Specialist and Biologist, who confirmed the large growth of coyotes in Wisconsin. But, since the state doesn’t do any scientific surveys on coyotes, Lien said “most of the information on coyote numbers come from word of mouth, information from hunters, and fur sales.” Lien went on to say that “calls to the DNR concerning coyotes are number two behind deer calls.” Part of this may be due to more people moving to rural areas and buying their 10 or 20 acres and suddenly seeing coyotes in their backyard. Without having any or few predators (the wolf where present), the coyote with its great adaptability has moved into rural and metro areas all over Wisconsin even with the continued human expansion and encroachment. It is not uncommon to see coyotes in towns and cities all over the southern half of the state because of their willingness to eat about anything from rabbits, upland game birds, cats, dogs, to garbage which allows them to thrive in most locations. In the spring, the coyote will prey on any nesting animal or bird and their young of the year.

Coyotes are not that hard to find and hunters should concentrate on counties of the state that have good deer populations. Good counties to try are; Green, Iowa, Dane, Sauk, Columbia, Richland, Vernon, Crawford, and Grant Counties. Try to talk to rural landowners, DNR officials, and other hunters to find good coyote areas and useful Predator huntinginformation. January, February, and March are the months to drive the countryside looking for coyotes because that is when they mate and then they can get a little careless and are not as “spooky” when they are in mating season. This is one of the few times of the year when you can get relatively close to a coyote. Try looking and “glassing” the south-side of hills, where you will often find coyotes sunning themselves on a nice and sunny winter day. If you see a coyote be alert because there often is another one close by and often within shooting range. Remember to have permission to hunt any coyotes you see on someone else’s land and don’t road hunt.

Another good location to hunt coyotes is on the thousands of acres of public hunting lands that Wisconsin is blessed with. This time of the year, there are few hunters out and you’ll be surprised at the coyote numbers in the counties that I earlier recommended. A few days after New Year’s, I talked to Casey Blum, a pro-staffer for Primos Game Calls and an excellent multi-species hunter, who said “hunting public hunting grounds is an over-looked spot now that most hunting seasons are over”. The gut piles left by deer hunters are favorite eating locations for the adaptable coyote. Now, there are more deer remains left in public grounds with the longer seasons. I happen to live next to thousands of acres of public hunting grounds (Mazomanie and Blackhawk Lower Wisconsin River Units) and I can go out on most moon-light nights and listen to coyotes constantly yelping and singing to each other from both sides of the Wisconsin River.

A couple of necessary items are a plat book for the county you plan to hunt and a good pair of binoculars (like Vortex) for glassing the countryside. Once you spot some animals make sure you have permission to hunt on that land. Stop and talk to the farmers and landowners to see if they are regularly seeing any coyotes. Most farmers, if asked, will gladly give you permission to hunt coyotes. But, be sure to ask and don’t trespass!

Besides driving rural roads looking for coyotes, you can set up in a good looking location with a buddy and try to call the coyotes to you. Try doing this on your own land, if you have some, or on a public hunting ground. Electronic calls are legal and work very well as does the manual calls which are made to imitate rabbits, fawns, turkeys, and mice. Coyotes have great hearing and can hear your distress calls from a long distance. Try positioning your hunting partner a hundred yards away from the caller and make sure he is down wind. A smart coyote will circle the area where the sound is coming from and come in on the down wind side. Dress in the appropriate camo or white clothing (if there’s snow) to match the surroundings.

Also, try to remember those locations where you surprised a coyote during pheasant and deer seasons. If you have spots where there are numerous rabbits, there will be coyotes close by this time of year.

Often, your shots are going to be long ones, so make sure your gun is sighted in at least at 200 yards. I suggest a Remington or Winchester bolt action in 22.250, .223, or .243 calibers. A 50-grain bullet is good for a 22.250 and the .223 rifles. If shooting a .243 caliber use an 80 grain bullet. Next, you need a quality variable power scope for those long shots. One of the best optics companies that I mentioned is Vortex Optics located in Middleton, Wisconsin. Vortex makes quality scopes, binoculars, and spotting scopes at price points for all hunters.  I also have friends who prefer to use buck shot for coyotes, especially if you’re calling them, because your shots will be closer and often happen quickly.

Predator hunting is growing in popularity and gives you another opportunity to get outside and away from the television or computer. You’ll be saving numerous birds and animals by harvesting a few coyotes because their number have grown to the point where they may be affecting other wildlife which may need some protection from the “wily coyote.”


10106 Hwy.  Y Mazomanie, WI.    53560
Phone & Fax    608 795-4208
E-mail    gengberg@chorus.net
Web site: http://www.garyengbergoutdoors.com
Copyright Gary Engberg Outdoors 2011


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