May 30, 2011

Chasing wily coyotes

Hunters are trying to thin the ranks of the coyote population in the hope it benefits Maine's deer.

By Deirdre Fleming
Staff Writer

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Mike Corson listens to baying bloodhounds in the woods of Thorndike on May 21 as he hunts coyotes with the Knox Ridge Coyote Hunters, a loose-knit club.

Photos by Gregory Rec/Staff photographer

click image to enlarge

A bloodhound sniffs from its dog box in the back of a truck during the hunt. Some dogs are held in reserve in case other dogs get tired.

The dog turns and flies off down the dirt road, followed by two trucks.

Four other hunters in trucks help surround a huge wooded, wet area in which the dogs are running, waiting for the hounds to chase the coyote out of the bog. But the GPS handheld devices only show the coyote doing loops.

"We look at the (GPS) and see the line it's run before, and we try to head it off. We try to outsmart it. But they're pretty amazing creatures," Spencer says.

As he watches Mixer loop back on a previous coyote track, a line marked on the GPS device, Spencer encouraged Mixer from miles away.

"Come on, dogs. I know you're doing all you can," he whispers.

But four hours later, the coyote has eluded them all.

They've been there before. The term wily coyote is more than just a cartoon nickname.

"I think coyotes are really clever," Jakubas said. "There is a thought that all the pressure on the coyote out West was responsible for breeding a super coyote, by natural selection. Some believe in some respects, you're almost making matters worse."

Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:

Twitter: Flemingpph


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