Special to the Tribune-Star
TERRE HAUTE —
You talk about rednecks, nobody can hold a candle to these boys.
When I pulled into Roger Dale’s house, there are stock cars everywhere, a pile of coyotes in the yard and the wood burner going in the house and garage.
Roger Dale Mills is 30 and Jesse Bayless is 20. Dale is a lineman for Parke County REMC, so he lives a very active life climbing telephone polls and racing stock cars. Jesse also lives the high life climbing on houses roofing and building them. These boys live in the heart of Parke County and know every ridge and holler by heart. I can not count the number of critters these boys have harvested, and I’m talking about anything the breathes.
OK. Let’s get serious and talk about what we came here for — coyote hunting.
This is these guys’ technique. They go at night so the coyotes will feel more secure about coming into a call. Wind is everything, for a coyote is so smart he will circle completely around to come in with the wind in his face. Jesse says they park the truck and walk several hundred yards away. There again, the wind decides where they hunt that night. Dale agrees that you are likely to “start” one out of a thicket (briars, thick weeds) or a wooded area, rather than fence rows or open country. They do have certain travel patterns.
During winter months, you are likely to “start” a single coyote also instead of a pack. Summer and fall they are packed up, but around Christmas, they will start to single out.
When they say to “start” a coyote, they are going to start calling one in with a reed call that sound like a distressed rabbit, or a coyote in distress, but not very often. January and February are peak breeding seasons for them also, so you may hear a rare battle over a female. There are several other types of calls for different sounds like a female invite call. A howler call is a locate call to get them to call back to you. There are bird distress calls, with different types of bird species.
They like a Blazer coon hunting light that fits on the front of your hat, so your hands are free to shoot with.
When a coyote is spotted by his shining eyes at a long distance, they like to use a red or amber lens on the light because it is hard for a critter to recognize it.
As a coyote comes in, 99 percent of the time he is going to circle you to get the wind in his face, so don’t lose sight of that. They will come real close if they do not pick up any sound, movement or scent, so Dale says about 50 or 60 yards is his average shot distance.
They will show signs of caution by stopping and standing in a broad side of quartering stance and if he does that, you better drop the hammer.
Both of these guys pack a 243 caliber, with Jesse’s a 770 Remington and Dale a 110 Savage. Jesse tries for a headshot and Dale goes for the typical shoulder shot. When the shot is placed right, the coyotes drop in their tracks.
The market for a shot coyote is not very good from the hole in the hide, you might not get $4 or $5, they tell me.
After that first one is down, that doesn’t mean it’s all over. Dale will start calling immediately and may call the first one’s mate. He has taken several doubles.
These young men live life in the fullest. Stock car racing, hunting and fishing.