Sunday, June 26, 2016

Uncle Bill's Coyote Trap

One of the latest deer-hunting trips I took with my father was in around 1970-1972.  I can't be more specific, but I got back from overseas in late September of 1970 and it wasn't long before I tired of hunting .. so this is the best estimate I can provide.

I went hunting  with my father (and my mother, and my wife, in a large trailer-thingie behind a Dodge Pickup) in late 1970's, immediately after I got home from my tour of duty.

My father wanted me to go hunting with him in the Elgin, Oregon are where he had many relatives.  I had become distanced from much of my family , so I wasn't much concerned about  ... whatever that whole "family" think was bout.\
The Coyote:
Anyway, there was only one reason why I agreed to go hunting with my father, and that was because I had missed him while I was away, and I wanted to reconnect with his wise and experienced self.

There was only one incident which made the trip worth-while to me: that was the deer-hunting trip of 1970.

I had an uncle on my mother's side, who was not someone I admired.  He fancied himself a trapper.
But he didn't trap beaver: he trapped Coyotes.

During that hunting trip, while Jack was tracking that pitiful buck, I noticed that across a mountain glade there was some movement at the treeline.

I put my six-power rifle scope on it and determined it was a coyote.

It was caught in a trap .. one of those 'mankiller' trips with the Jaws of Death thingie.

It had apparently been baited with something which attracted coyotes, and this particular coyote had followed a scent trail until it met the snap-trap .. and had got his face caught in it.

Coyotes ARE varmints .. if you've ever seen a deer which has been chased and run to ground by a pack of coyotes, you know how vicious they are; I've seen a yearling doe which has been savaged by a pack of coyotes.  They just bite the heels of a deer until they can't run any more, and then they start eating it alive.  You can see by the blood smears which can run (bad choice of words, because the deer is just dragging itself along the ground) that the coyotes are eating it alive.  And they make no special effort to kill their prey .. why should they?  The meat stays fresh longer if they eat it from the rectum 'up'.  and that's what they do.

I have no special love for Coyotes.  I've known people who exhibit the same moral values, but that's another story.

ANYWAY ... I was hunting deer and I spied a coyote with his face in a snap-trap.

There are very few things worse than a coyote, but a snap-trap qualifies.

I knew that my uncle, named (here) "Bill", was trapping to supplement his income; he had been employed by the local lumber mill, but he was getting old and got laid off.  So he was trapping for the $25 he could get for each coyote pelt.

But he didn't visit his trapline every day, and there was no telling how long it had been since that coyote had been trying to get his nose out of the claws of that trap.

I was 200 yards away, and trying to sneak up on a couple of bucks I suspected were in the next clearing.  I didn't spend as much as a second evaluating my priorities.

I brought my .25-06 up to my shoulder, took a careful bead through the 6x Leopold scope, and drilled that coyote right through the shoulder.

Then I watched him twitched on the ground, and put another round through the body.

And another.

And another.

By the time I was through, that (LONG dead) coyote hadn't enough hide left to make a handkerchief, let alone a 'pelt'

Uncle Bill wasn't going to get a red cent from that kill; the trap was sprung, and wouldn't catch any other prey until Bill make his weekly circle (yes, he only checked his traps 'weekly'), and the gunfire (hopefully) drove  other prey out of the area.

I hate traps.  They catch and hold an animal, and if the trapper doesn't check his traps daily, there's no telling how long the animal may suffer.  And even if he does check his traps daily, the trapper doesn't know if the critter has been held in those iron jaws for an hour or a day.  I can't imagine how painful that would be .. well, perhaps I can, but I prefer not to.

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