Coyote hunt this weekend

BY KEVIN WOODRUFF

The District 9 PA Trappers Association Coyote Hunt will host its 14th annual coyote hunt Friday through Sunday.

The hunt is open to people in Wyoming, Susquehanna, Lackawanna, Wayne, Pike, Bradford, Luzerne and Sullivan counties.

According to District 9 director Bill Kalinauskis, around 550 people were signed up as of last week, and the organization is looking to top last year’s 817 hunters.

“Things are looking pretty good this year,” Kalinauskis said. “I think our numbers are up.”

Kalinauskas said that no matter the number of hunters signed up, success is dependent on the weather.

“The cold weather shouldn’t affect things too much,” Kalinauskis said. “The biggest problem comes when there is too much snow. It makes it tougher for guys to get around.”

Kalinauskis noted that ideal coyote hunting weather would be frozen ground with about an inch of snow on top of it. The snow helps hunters track the dogs.

He said hunters use three main methods of hunting for coyotes.

The most successful method recently has been driving the coyotes.

Driving is where a group of five or six hunters will go in different directions and walk towards a central point, hoping to drive the coyotes to that point.

Another method is calling the coyotes.

When calling the coyotes, a hunter will use either a mouth call or an electronic call to try to lure the dog near the hunter.

The third method is to use dogs.

Some hunters will use trained dogs to sniff out the scent of a coyotes.

The hunt will take place from Feb. 1-3 with weigh-ins being held at the Triton Hose Company in Tunkhannock from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. Weigh-in ends at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 5.

A $25 entry fee was due by Jan. 21. After Jan. 21 the fee is $30 and entries will not be accepted after 10 p.m., Jan. 30.

Prizes will be $2,000 for the overall largest coyote, $250 daily for the heaviest coyote and $100 for every legal coyote killed in the hunt.

Last year’s hunt brought in 53 wild dogs with Bill Corry taking top honors with a 51.7 pound coyote.

The 2012 total was more than double 2011’s 21 dogs.

Kalinauskis said the hunt is important to have each year because it cuts down on the coyote population.

“The more coyotes we get, the better,” Kalinauskis said.

He also mentioned that coyotes are responsible for carrying many diseases and parasites that can affect other species of animal, including humans.

In addition to the hunt being used as District 9’s only fundraiser for the year, it is also a chance for researchers to gather samples from the dead coyotes.

Kyle VanWhy, a wildlife disease biologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services, will be on hand throughout the weekend taking samples to better understand specific diseases and parasites carried by the animal.

 

“These hunts are the greatest things for these biologists,” Kalinauskis said. “Where else would they be able to find this many samples in one spot.”

Kalinauskis encourages those not taking part in the hunt to stop by and view the coyotes on display and feel free to ask any questions about the animal.

For more information on the hunt call Kalinauskis at 942-6895 or e-mail Ed Price at pricee@nep.net with the subject line “Coyote Hunt Information.”