Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Coyote hunting at Fern Ridge

Thanks to the guys at Predator Extreme magazine, I managed to secure hunting rights for coyotes at Fern Ridge Wildlife Refuge. In turn, I get the chance to learn the area, gain some favor with the people running the show there, plust get to try my hand at predator calling for the first time.
From MattStansberry

I just picked up the magazine, and in the editorial letter the guy said game preserves were his secret for getting access to fattened up coyotes and other animals. Fern Ridge hosts a month-long fee hunt for farm pheasants and the coyotes have done well cleaning up the birds that don't get shot. So when I offered to come help out at Fern Ridge before the fee pheasant season got underway, Director Wayne Morrow had me in his office writing a permit 30 minutes later.

Hunting is legal during deer and gamebird seasons in Fern Ridge, but I managed to secure a pass for the rest of August, so I can carry/shoot a shotgun between now and the regular season.

My first night out there was Monday. I met with Morrow, he took me to a few spots where the crew had been seeing signs. Then I went to Mazama's and picked up a predator call. It's a dying jackrabbit call, sounds pretty good. But I don't think that rabbits make up a lot of a coyote's diet in this area. It holds too many birds, deer, other stuff. And I think these jack rabbit calls are made for rodent-eaters out on the prarie, not marsh coyotes. So I don't have a lot of confidence in the call.

I tried it at dusk Monday and again last night, but it didn't bring anything in that I could see. I wore head to toe, scentlock camo with a mosquito net over my face. I spent a lot of time scanning the fields, checking out the patterns of the Canada geese (Sept. season starts 9/9).

I did find some prints and some scat, so I'm on the right track. Going to try to find a different call today. Probably pick up some good decoys as well.

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