Coyote hunt set for weekend
The District 9 Pennsylvania Trappers Association will host its 15th annual coyote hunt this Friday through Sunday.
The hunt is open to residents of Wyoming, Susquehanna, Lackawanna, Wayne, Pike, Bradford, Luzerne and Sullivan counties.
About 600 people were signed up as of last week, according to District 9 director Bill Kalinauskis, who expects the numbers to continue to climb until the start of the tournament.
“It seems like we’re on track to get around where we were last year,” Kalinauskis said. “Last year we were able to beat the previous year number with 824 so we’d like to get close to that this year.”
Though the weather has fluctuated from balmy to bitter cold this winter, early forecasts for the hunt look normal, though snow will most likely remain on the ground.
“You’re still able to get around in the cold weather and the coyote should be just as forthcoming,” Kalinauskis said. “A lot of snow impacts it because people can’t get around as easily, but a small amount makes it easier to track the animal.”
Though there are many different methods for hunting coyotes, one method sticks out to Kalinauskis as one of the more successful.
“One or two of the gangs that I know in the hunt always seem to see more coyotes because they get a bunch of guys together and drive the coyotes,” Kalinauskis said. “It gives them more opportunities than it would if they were on their own and they have a lot of fun that way.”
Driving is when a group of hunters go in different directions and walk toward a central point, hoping to drive the coyotes to that point.
Other methods include calling the coyotes, which involves a mouth or electronic call to lure the coyote, or using trained dogs to sniff out the scent of the coyote.
The hunt will take place from 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 31, to 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 2. Registration dates have already passed.
Weigh-ins will be held at the Triton Hose Company in Tunkhannock 12-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Last year, Tim English of Frechville took top honors with a 46.95-pound coyote near Hallstead. It was the largest of the 58 coyotes brought in that weekend.
A $2,000 prize will be rewarded for the overall largest coyote, while $250 will be given daily for the heaviest coyote and $100 for every legal coyote killed in the hunt.
“The prize money is definitely an extra shot in the arm to get people to go out for some coyotes,” Kalinauskis said. “It makes people feel good when they can bring them in and were fortunate enough to be able to give that incentive. Outdoorsmen are looking for something to do during these months and it’s one of the reasons why the hunt is so successful.”
Which is a good thing for District 9, since the coyote hunt is its only fundraiser for the year.
“We started this before most clubs because we didn’t think that banquets worked for us,” Kalinauskis said. “We’ve never had to look back since it started and it’s worked out very well for us.”
The hunt is also the perfect time for research.
Biologists will be on hand throughout the hunt to gather DNA samples from the coyotes.
Kyle VanWhy, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services, will be one of the biologists at the hunt and will spend the weekend taking samples from coyotes to better understand the diseases and parasites carried by the animal.
“Students from some local colleges will also be here and can learn from the biologists,” Kalinauskis said.
Most of the coyotes brought in to Triton Hose Company on West Tioga St, Tunkhannock, will be on display throughout the weekend.
Kalinauskis encourages people not involved in the hunt to stop by, but is unsure as to what day will bring in the most coyotes.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time and there’s no rhyme or reason as to predicting when the most will come in,” Kalinauskis joked. “When you think you might have a big day it usually only ends up being half of what you expected.”
For more information on the hunt, please call Kalinauskis at 570-942-6895 or visit the District 9 website at www.patrappers.com.