They say that it's better to be lucky than good. While I don't generally go by that mantra, today luck was on my side even if skill was not.
I had intended to spend the day setting out 10-20 snares in an area that a friend ran a trapline in a couple of years ago. He had decent success and never crossed another human footprint once he was more than 1/2 mile off the road, so I figured it was worth a shot. A couple of hours into the day and a few miles from my truck, I finally had to admit that I didn't know what I was doing. I decided not to set any snares after all, as the only really good sets I could figure out would have caught me nothing but hares. I found a few sets of lynx tracks, but they didn't seem to be following a pattern that I could see, which perhaps isn't surprising given only ~6 inches of snow. Other potential tracks were covered by the couple of inches of overnight snow, so I decided that I would be better off coming back later in the winter when the trails were more established and when I might be able to talk someone into coming along.
Since I was already well into my day, I figured that I might as well give a few blows on the predator call to see if lightning might strike. I've only ever tried calling a handful of times, and other than ravens and magpies, my success had been nil. I've taken a wolf and a fox, but those were spotted while hunting other critters, not taken intentionally. I called for 3-4 minutes at a time and rested for about five, and did this cycle three or four times. Not having a lot of faith that my calling was believable to a fox or coyote, I decided to pack it in at about the 20 minute mark despite advice to keep going for 30-45. I packed my rifle into my pack, as the climb back to the truck would require both hands. Wouldn't you know it...after I stood and had walked about 15 steps, my eyes caught movement almost directly in front of me. To my surprise, a coyote had come in across the gravel bars and was now looking in my direction. He was too far out to consider trying a shot with my .22 handgun, so I furiously tore my pack off and unstrapped my rifle. I was amazed when I got setup and still found him standing there. He was bouncing around a bit, obviously unsure of what was going on, but he wasn't running. I rushed my first shot a bit and hit him behind his lungs, but it was obvious that he was wounded. He did run out of sight as I tried a follow up shot, but when I followed him I immediately found blood. He ran probably 300 yards out across a gravel bar to where I finally found him lying in some overflow. I had to walk on some ice that I wasn't particularly comfortable with to retrieve him, but other than some slightly damp feet all was well.
It's just a coyote - not as glamorous as calling in a lynx or wolf - but man, that was sure exciting having something come in to a call. I'm sure it was 99% luck, but I'll take it.