Several bloggers on Outdoorlife.com have weighed in over the past week or so with their New Year’s resolutions. And what noble declarations they have been.
Dear friend and OL Hunting Editor Andrew McKean vowed to befriend a new hunter, better respect whitetail deer and invest in habitat among other splendid ideas.
Gun Dogs blogger Brian Lynn plans to train more, hunt more and get some new training equipment.
Strut Zone head honcho Steve Hickoff resolves to pattern his gun each time before he hunts, get in on some big woods gobblers and thank landowners for providing him with hunting permission.
My New Year’s resolution isn’t nearly as admirable. There is only one and it is a very simple one at that–I resolve to spend as much free time as possible attempting to kill coyotes. I’ll shoot every damn one I see. If that sounds very un-PC-like, I don’t apologize. I’ll explain…
My lifelong hunting area in New England was never very exceptional outside of the fact that it was my favorite outdoor place in the entire universe. The deer hunting was never very good, but I did shoot the occasional buck. All that changed about 10 years ago. Be it diminished hunting pressure, informal quality deer management practices or whatever, we started seeing–and shooting–some great bucks. In fact, one year, our group took two bucks that each dressed at more than 200 pounds.
The story got even better after that. I still recall one moonlit, early December night just five years ago when I watched 6 bucks–3 shooters in anyone’s book–push, shove and all-out-battle over a doe in heat. It was a sight I’ll not ever forget. A week later, I shot at and missed the biggest buck I’d ever seen in my life–many inches bigger than the 172 non-typical I downed in Kansas the year before. Long story short, we had some great habitat, we had some great bucks and for the first time ever, I was actually excited about inviting guests to my camp to hunt. The future looked bright. Then the bottom inexplicably dropped out.
My deer season ended today–New Year’s Eve. Hunted for much of the firearm’s season and these past few days of muzzleloader season with snow on the ground. Fresh snow will always tell the tale and it is not a good one. On Tuesday, for example, I drove almost 50 miles of back roads, not so much to find a deer to hunt, but more to get a handle on how many deer there might be to hunt. The answer? None. Coyote tracks crisscrossed the roads with regularity, but deer tracks were non-existent. Blame it on coyotes? Damn right and plan on doing something about it this winter.