Sunday morning I awoke to 4 inches of fresh snow. I went out and started the old Blazer and hit the on button on the FM radio. Immediately I hear 2 familiar voices carrying on about 4 coyotes that they just jumped out of a ditch 3 miles west of my house. I grabbed my 22-250 and a box of shells and headed out to join them. Let me pause to say that I live in Iowa and the law here allows hunting coyotes with FM radios and pursuing them with vehicles is 100% legal. I got on sight just in time to see one of the boys make a nice 200 yard running shot on a nice dark *****. Two others got past him just to the west and were running hard to the south. I made it to a location a mile to the south of where the last critters were seen and turned through some open gates and drove a half mile west to where a big ditch wound its way up through a 50 acre patch of timber. I had no more than reached the ditch and looked north and here came both coyotes running parallel to the ditch. I jumped out rested the rifle across the hood and waited for them to run past me. The first coyote was much smaller than the second and evidently much smarter as she put on the brakes and bailed off into the ditch and out of sight. The big male veered off to the west and went around a hill. When he came back into sight he was 300 yards out and about to the timber. I shot once but missed. The coyote entered the timber and put another 50 yards between us and stopped partially hidden behind some ground clutter. During all of this I was directing two other vehicles into position just south of that timber so my plan at that time was to keep that coyote moving. I centered the cross hairs a bit above my intended target and touched the trigger. At the report the coyote hit high gear and filled the air with yipping........like a dog. It turns out that it wasn't a coyote after all but rather a local persons pet that had wandered off the night before. It was a medium sized German shepherd cross that ran like a coyote looked like a coyote and was out running with the coyotes. I tracked the injured critter for a mile or so to his owners house. There was blood all over the front yard and from the tracks in the fresh snow it was obvious that they had loaded the dog up in a vehicle and left.
We have but two vets in town and neither are open on sunday. I figured that if I had a wounded dog that might be where I'd take them so I drove to the first vet's office and there was nothing going on there. However when I arrived at the second it was clear that they were open. I pulled in and there was a blood trail from a small grey car into the front doors of the office. Yes....I went in. I asked them if they had a shot dog and yes was the answer I got.
In the end we parted ways as friends. The dog owner learned a valuable lesson about letting his pouch freely roam the country side during coyote breeding season. I paid the $892.00 dollars to get the dogs broken jaw pinned back together. It was probably more the owners fault than mine but for the sake of keeping our coyote hunting group in the same good standing that we have been known for for the last 30 years I wrote the check. The dog belonged to the guys 14 year old daughter and she was devastated. Some things are just beyond money
Lots of lessons to be learned here and if I were in the same situation all over again I'd pull the trigger again! What would you do