MOUNT VERNON — Hunters who are looking for a little different challenge have a few options with open seasons. Among them are wild boar, groundhog — except during deer-gun season — and coyote. Coyotes are an especially challenging predator, one that can do more harm than good.
“This is a good time for coyote hunting,” said Knox County Wildlife Officer Mike Miller. “We are getting into breeding season for one, but then when we’ve got these cold weather periods and extra-deep snowfall, it makes it harder for them to find food. They are easier to hunt this time of year because of that. There is a lot of information online and a lot of books you can check out at the library about coyote. There are a few guys here in the county that I’ve talked to that have been doing pretty well. I have checked guys that are hunting coyote with dogs in the county; they’ve been pretty successful.
“Also, if anyone is interested, the Johnstown Community Sportsman’s Club has coyote drives throughout the winter months. There is still one more scheduled in February.”
Coyotes are known to go after livestock, especially small animals such as sheep or goats, which is why Miller encourages hunters to accept the challenge.
“The best time (to hunt), talking to people, is in the early evening. You can also hunt them at night time,” Miller said. “It is a year-round season; you are just required to have a hunting license. You can generally get permission to hunt coyotes. They cause landowners a lot of livestock deprivation problems.
“It does not matter where you go; they are everywhere. I live down near Lock, and I see or hear them on a regular basis. I’ve seen them and heard them up on the Mohican River valley; I’ve talked to raccoon hunters near Centerburg, and they have them. Anywhere in the county is a good spot; we have coyotes in every township. They don’t like to be around people, but they will for a short time. They are more reclusive.”
Hunting coyotes takes no special licenses or equipment. For the most part, hunters already have to tools to make a successful hunt.
“You can legally use anything you can hunt with, but nothing over a 10-gauge,” said Miller. “A lot of people use rifles; probably nothing larger than a 220 3-caliber rifle. You can also use shotguns, a 12-gauge with a three-inch or 3 1/2-inch barrel with up to size four buckshot. That would be the largest. If you are hunting at night, you probably would want a shotgun because you will be closer. During the daytime, you might want to use a rifle because you can shoot further.”
For more information on the coyote hunts, go online to www.johnstowncommunitysportsmansclub.com.