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Long Bow Coyotes


By Paul Askew

Because the elk were not talking yet, my hunting partner for the week, Lee Busque, a Fire Fighter and professional Bull Rider from North Carolina and I decided to change strategies and set up an ambush for elk in an area we found elk the previous day.

Just before daylight, we arrived at the spot Lee nick named Elk Hill. I sat up in a cluster of pines that had dead droopy lower branches, which made for good natural cover.  Lee sat up on the other side of the hill on a stump overlooking what we figured was the main elk trail.

We planned to sit the first hour and a half of daylight and then go try and find elk if we were not successful in our ambush. Twenty minutes after daylight, I heard the thunderous sound of critters running through the dry mountainous pine forest. Not sure what was making the ruckus or why, because I had perfect wind, I knocked an arrow and readied for a shot. It was just a doe and a fawn, so my adrenaline didnt make it to overload before I realized what was causing the commotion.
 
Seconds later, the hoof beats of the doe and fawn were now distant, but I started hearing something over my left shoulder. I figured it was a deer that separated from the other two. I slowly pivoted my head in that direction and caught movement 25 yards away, which resulted in the observation of a beautiful coyote that stepped up on a log in a very picturesque fashion and scanned the area in front of him. It was the epitome of a wild setting with predator chasing prey.

In my experience, coyotes do not generally stick around long, so I was trying to get positioned for a shot. Just as I found an opening in the cluster of droopy dead pine branches, the yote jumped off the log and went from left to right, still at about 25 yards.

He then started trotting straight away, so I gave a light whoop, whoop, and he stopped and turned to look back in a slightly quartering away stance. Fortunately, I was fairly well hidden in my natural blind and the yote felt comfortable enough to stand for a shot as he gazed in my direction trying to locate the source of the call.

With my bow arm straight out and string taunt like Larry D. Jones had taught me 2 years prior, I attained my sight picture, drew, anchored, aimed, adjusted my focal point for elevation, and made a clean release. As I held my breath with adrenaline cracking through my veins, the arrow appeared to almost hang as it covered the 30 yards in what felt like slow motion as it arched its way through the cold morning air toward its target.

On impact, the yote flinched, spun, and started barking, and biting at the arrow that was poking through both sides of his body. Slow motion was over and things were happening in real time now. After a few 360s, the yote made off in a dead run that sounded like a freight train as he scattered dried pine cones and trampled dead pine branches in a roaring fashion.

Within seconds, the pine forest resumed its natural sounds again. It was just the birds chirping, squirrels running about, and the sound of a calm cool breeze. I sat there almost gloating to myself. Lee and I met up on the top of the ridge a little over an hour later. I took Lee down to show him where I shot from, and share my story.

We found first blood without a problem but about 20 yards later it got real spotty, so we started to scan the forest in the direction I thought the yote went. I didnt figure he was far, but after 50 yards from last blood I decided to go back to the blood trail. I found a speck and then it was all Lee from there. I guess with Lee having taken over 100 Whitetails, it just came natural for him to find pin drops of blood on the grass, rocks, etc.

Lee tracked to a point where he established the yotes clear path of travel and jumped ahead while I stood at last blood. I heard Lee say I found a lot more blood down here and a dead coyote. The yote lay not 10 yards from where I decided to go back to last blood and was piled up against a large downed log. We took a bunch of pictures, tied the yote to a branch and packed him out whole to preserve for Tim Tuttle at Creative Taxidermy.

Yeah, I know it is just a yote, but it is more than that to me. It is a wild experience, 2 years of learning how to shoot a long bow, and the feeling of accomplishment after a lot of stump shooting, shooting at home, and shooting the DART virtual hunt at Broken Arrow Archery, which taught me how to pick a spot. I also harvested a rabbit on this trip, which Lee skinned and cooked on an open fire for us. No elk or deer tags filled this week, but the season is not over yet.