It seems the coffee shop talk this past season was based around two problems that are bothering local sportsmen. The one is has as old as unused hunting tags - Where are all the deer?
The second one has been creeping up to the top of the list as of late - the coyote problem.
The second problem has everything to do with the first. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one of the major problems with deer numbers is the coyote.
Some would also say that coyote aren't just having an effect on the whitetail deer, but also the wild turkey right here in Chautauqua County.
Now some would ask what does this mean. Some of us that are little older remember the good old days of an ''arm band'' doe permit. That was back in the day when we didn't have any deer.
Granted the days of seeing 20 to 30 a day like it was in the early to mid 1990s is no more, but what we have is a healthier herd and bigger bucks. Then the question is still the same - Were the heck have all the deer gone?
Some would ague too many does are being taken, others would say all the land is posted and many more theories, all which do hold some water, but what is a fact is the growing coyote population.
For some it seems that coyotes have become a bigger problem each year. In my humble opinion, the main threat to the whitetail in New York and most of the northern United States is the coyote. While there are some folks that may disagree, I have witnessed first hand the impact a pack of coyotes can have on a hunting ground.
As recently as last summer we were taken to a den that was uncovered by some road construction that had everything from dog collars to cow parts to turkey bones to deer fur, right here in Chautauqua County. Like most, I have even heard stories of folks seeing coyotes in daylight hours in fields and chasing deer.
This past spring while a mature long beard was working his way into our setup, a young coyote came out of nowhere and spoiled my ambush by attempting to jump on the gobbler. Fortunately for the turkey, he was able to take flight and missed being killed twice.
I spend a bunch of time walking in the wood lots and fields in Chautauqua County and have seen different deer that have been devoured by coyotes. You ask how can one tell if it's coyotes or another critter?
When a coyote kills there is nothing left. Coyotes hunt and hang out in packs, hence a small pack of coyotes will devour an average size deer in short order. With a fox, they generally start eating at the back side of their prey. With a deer they start at the back side and don't tear into their prey there, but at the head and neck
As a rookie coyote hunter I have been able to hunt with a few folks and have sat in on some seminars by some pretty successful coyote hunters. One of the first things that I learned was calling is one of the most important things about coyote hunting and a coyote has keen eyesight and hearing which makes them tough to kill.
Coyotes are a tough critter to hunt. Keeping yout movements down and using a long-range weapon is best. A selection of calls, from rabbit, howler and often times a kee kee are good starting points for calling.
There has been a good selection of decoys on the market. From moving to stationary, decoys can help get coyotes into range.
Of course there are other factors that make up a successful coyote hunt, but calling is top on the list.
To help make the winter months go by faster and do some important conservation work on your own, starting hunting coyotes. They are not only fun, but very challenging.
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The sports show season kicks off next weekend at the Warren Mall with the Warren Sports Show on Saturday and Sunday. The Warren County Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with local sportsmen to hold this annual event. Exhibitors travel from the tri-state area to show off the latest and greatest in outdoor sports equipment.
There are a bunch of things I enjoy about the Warren County Sports Show, but the one that is ground breaking to me is that admission is free. Yes folks, there is no charge to get into the show.
The Warren County Sports Show also offers numerous free seminars. Seminar speakers will discuss everything from Grizzly Gary talking about fishing the Kinuza, Pete Hofert discussing successful treestand hunting and safety to 101 on spring turkey hunting and proper use of calls by yours truly.
Stop by the Oakridge Game Calls booth and say hi.