Illinois hunting and fishing

Tales from the Timber: Bow-kill ‘yote

December 30, 2009 at 03:07 PM

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here in the words of bowhunter David Heinz of Toulon is the story of his hunt for a bow-killed coyote.

I’ve read so many stories of people taking coyote with a bow from the ground and wondered how in the world it was possible.

Here’s my story.

It was 6 a.m. on Dec 27, 2009 and we had just received 8 inches of fresh fluffy snow the day before and on through that night. The temperature was 16 F with a 3 mph south wind. Who could say no to a stalk in the woods on a day like this?

Not being in a big hurry I took my time waking up with a little coffee and getting dressed one layer at a time. First I put on one layer of Underarmor steel long underwear, tops and bottoms. Then came three layers socks, a sock to wick the moisture followed by it’s smart wool partner and one more heavy pair made by browning. Then I added an addition layer of rocky long johns to my bottom half and covered it all with a base layer of Underarmor sweats, top and bottom. The next layers would be a Filson wool sweater, polar fleece jacket and finish it off with my Columbia wool bibs and jacket. With all that on my body I have no reason for special gloves but I still prefer wool, a complete glove on my bow hand and a fingerless glove which I cut back the middle finger to better fit the black widow 3 under finger tab I use on the other.

I have my favorite ridge to stalk with a south wind so the decision to go where I did was pretty much a no-brainer. Tthe only choice was where I would start. This wasn’t going to be an all day hunt so I selected a section of the ridge that allowed me to sneak in without too much visibility. I walked north up the field edge and headed for the backside of a draw that would lead me to the main ridge. The moment I stepped into the timber I slowed down and with each step I reminded myself to stop and slow down even more until eventually I was doing more standing than stalking.

I had started out looking for deer with my 54# Tomahawk bow and Carbon Express 250’s with a 200 grain Wensel Woodsmen broadhead on the business end. I figured the deer to be bedded this early in the morning and would have to do a spot and stalk. And I did pack an extra flu-flu arrow with an ace blunt head for squirrels but what I forgot about was the brush wolf, coyote, yot, or what I like to call a song dog.

I saw movement up ahead and identified a yot crossing the trail ahead about 70 yards down the valley. I didn’t think it had seen me so I gave a couple kisses with my mouth trying to imitate a mouse and immediately she came steadily trotting up the trail to me. I was just off the side of the trail where I had been all morning trying to stick to the cover. She then turned again some 30 yards away and was going head into the opposite side of the trail and into the cover, so I gave her a couple more kisses, she looked up and started back in my direction again.

I’d already decided which tree I would draw my bow when she went behind but when she hit 20 yards she stopped and looked right at me. It was at this is point I just figured her to be a girl. She was beautiful standing there in the snowy landscape. I stayed frozen, I figured I was busted and just took it all in, happy to be so close to such an animal. I knew the wind was good but I also know how a coyote can pin point within inches of where a noise came from.

This is why I like snow so much, I can use my favorite camouflage pattern, and it did its job. After she looked me over she lowered her head and started coming up the trail again. She pasted behind the tree I’d picked, I came to a full draw and anchored a second before she emerged into the shooting lane, without thinking my instincts took over and the arrow was on it’s way. She jumped as I saw the fletching end of the arrow kick up. I knew I’d hit her from the sound of the arrow but I thought I was a little to far forward cutting the front of her chest leaving her with a mere a flesh wound. Plus she didn’t appear to be hurting from the way she simply trotted back down the trail and then hooked off to the right just where she had came from.

After standing there for a minute, not believing just what had happened, and still not believing my arrow to be fatal, I slowly moved to the spot I’d taken the shot. I could see a little fur and blood on the snow but it doesn’t take a lot of blood to look like a lot. After a mere 30 yards her tracks veered to the right as well as my eyes and there she lay. The shot was perfect, straight through the heart.

I can’t tell you how excited I was. I called friends and family, sending pictures over the phone and telling everyone I thought would care and even some that wouldn’t.