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Coyotes are prey in B. Bow calling contest

Photo by: Courtesy
Danal Wilkie enjoys coyote calling because the hunter becomes the hunted. His passion for the sport led him to organize a contest in Broken Bow.
Posted: Saturday, January 9, 2010 9:40 am
By KRIS WILLIAMS Hub Regional Correspondent | 0 comments
BROKEN BOW — The thrill of being the hunted rather than the hunter is one of the reasons Danal Wilkie loves coyote calling.
“I’m a coyote caller from the word go,” Wilkie said. “It’s in my blood, and I’d rather do that than hunt deer, actually. It’s an adrenaline rush.”
Callers imitating the sound of an injured rabbit, turkey or deer draw coyotes to come looking for them, he explained.
To feed his passion, Wilkie organized a coyote-calling contest at Broken Bow. The sixth-annual contest will be from 7 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Jan. 16. Two-person teams will attempt to call and kill as many coyotes as possible. At check-in time, the team with the most coyotes wins.
For years, Wilkie and a buddy traveled to other coyote-calling contests.
“We decided, ‘Why not have some of them come to Broken Bow?’” he said. “Since then, some of the others have ended, but ours is still going strong.”
The first event in 2004 drew 10 teams and produced six dead coyotes. All previous hunts were 12-hour hunts. This time, he’s expecting 25 to 30 teams for the hunt.
“My contest is actually a pretty small contest compared to some,” Wilkie said. “We’ve grown over the years; 25 to 30 teams is kind of a nice number in my book.”
Sign-up is between 6:15 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. at the Tumbleweed Café in Broken Bow. A list of rules will be read before the 7 p.m. shotgun start. Both team members must be present. Hunters must return with their trophies not a minute later than 6 p.m. to Trotter’s Service station, along Highway 2 in Broken Bow.
“If you can stand going 24 hours nonstop, that’s great,” Wilkie said. His own plan includes making a few attempts in different locations, taking a nap and starting again right before daylight.
“Right before and after dark and at first dawn are normally the best times to hunt,” he said. “All those coyotes that didn’t catch anything in the night are looking for something (to eat) in the morning.”
“I’ll probably try and get a little bit of sleep before the contest, hunt into the night, take a three-hour nap in the night and, hopefully, hunt from 4 a.m. to 5 a.m. all the way through the end of the contest,” he said.
The hunt is open to anyone interested in hunting. Wilkie said women and children have hunted on some of the teams.
Hunters must find their own areas to call coyotes and must get permission from landowners, but hunting is allowed anywhere in Nebraska. Hunters must abide by all local, state and federal game laws.
“My main thing is making safety the No. 1 priority,” Wilkie said. “Get permission (to hunt) on grounds so we don’t ruin it for future hunting. Watch your boundaries.”
One of the rules is that all coyotes must be called, either electronically, vocally or with mouth calls.
“It’s an honor system,” Wilkie said. “Don’t just shoot one you see and then say you called it. We keep an eye out for cheaters.”
Wilkie said pen-raised and trapped coyotes will not be accepted. Neither will those that have been chased down with an all-terrain vehicle.
He said he’s been taught some of the tricks that cheaters might try and will use a thermometer to check the core temperature of questionable ones to determine the time of the coyote’s death. They must have been killed during the 24-hour hunt.
There will be a $40 bounty for the heaviest coyote and cash will be paid to the top four teams. The amount of winnings depends on the number of entries, Wilkie said. Last year’s first-place team earned $400 and second place earned $300. The team entry fee is $40.
Wilkie hopes to get enough prizes so that everyone gets something. He has received donations from companies such as Cabela’s and Hornady Manufacturing.
Check-in is Wilkie’s favorite time of the entire hunt.
“That’s when you hear everybody’s little stories of things that happened throughout the contest,” he said. Over the years of contests, he has met a lot of new friends.
“We’ve always got new faces coming in, and I like to meet other people that enjoy doing exactly what I like to do. We’ve used (the hunt) to get other people interested in coyote calling,” he said. Wilkie has a new partner, Chris Rudichar of Ansley, this year.
Not only does coyote hunting reduce coyote overpopulation, which helps ranchers and farmers that are raising livestock, it helps control mange, Wilkie said. His goal in killing coyotes is to prevent suffering in the animals with mange.
The disease is extremely contagious and affects as much as 70 percent of the coyote population. It is caused by a mite that burrows into the skin and causes irritation. Coyotes with mange can lose their fur, which makes it difficult for them to control their body temperature.
“It’s a slow, painful death,” Wilkie said. “A coyote loses his fur, develops sores and, eventually, he’ll die from that.”
For more information about the hunt, contact Wilkie at 308-870-0942 or co-chair Dusty Rasmussen at 402-540-7359. Wilkie hopes hunters will eat a $9 pre-hunt buffet at the Tumbleweed Café as a way to thank the cafe for letting the group use its building as a starting point.
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