If there's a problem, it's that old, veteran coyotes have heard calls before and are wary of them. Young ones aren't and young of the year will often come running in a full speed. But there are ways to bag the old timers too, and one of the best is to use decoys. These are becoming ever more popular because they get results, and there are lots of kinds to use. Coyote silhouettes work well, and most are cheap, easy to carry, and weatherproof. You can carry the paper rolled up, and when you reach a proper spot, open and stake it sideways to where you think coyotes might be coming. A full sized silhouette has several advantages. It will draw a dominant male in fast to chase an intruder way from his territory. And it will give a young coyote confidence, especially if used with a rabbit squeal, sending it hurrying in hoping to share a meal.
A full body decoy made of Styrofoam or plastic is even better since it can be positioned at any angle and often arranged to be sitting, heads up, or in howling position. Some even have a fur tail that moves in the slightest breeze and adds to the realism of the decoy. Remember that any decoy should be placed 30 to 40 yards from your ground blind, so visitors will be concentrating on the decoy, and unlikely to notice your presence.
A third decoy is a prey type attractor, and these can be deadly. They might consist of a small box with batteries, and a 12 to 20 inch rod above. The rod can hold a ball of fur or two long colored tails, or even feathers. The batteries drive the attractor around and back and forth like something in trouble, and some even have a caller built right into the bottom of the box. Very effective.
For foxes, if they're still in season (till Jan. 31) a top decoy is a fawn deer decoy of styrofoam or plastic, and the fawn will also attract coyotes which feed on them at every opportunity in late winter and early spring. Used with a fawn bleat call, they can be lethal. There are also fox decoys in full body size that will attract both fox and coyotes. Place the fox decoy near brush, and if possible a small rabbit decoy in the open. Used with a rabbit squeal, it's an effective combination.
Where can you get these decoys and calls? Most serious sporting goods stores will have some or all, as will places like Cabela's and L.L. Bean. You can go on line too, and Google up coyot decoys and coyote calls. That will get you plenty of choices.
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Hooks & bullets
• It's a little hard to believe, but thanks to a mild winter so far, anglers were still fishing for Lake Erie walleye as of a week or two ago, and still catching fish! Many are trolling between Huron and Cleveland in 30 to 45 feet of water using deep diving crankbaits 40 to 120 feet back and moving slowly with additional snap weights of up to two ounces. Some are jigging lipless crankbaits and spoons with shiners on the hooks where fish are being marked. Perch fishing has been at least decent with fair action in 40 feet of water north of Gordon Park. And good action on steelhead trout is reported from anglers trolling inside the Fairport Harbor and Coneaut breakwalls. Obviously, it's not all over yet!
• Angles who would like to learn how to ice fish are invited to a free class hosted by ODNR experts on Saturday, Jan. 26 from 10 a.m.to 2 p.m. at the Mosquito Lake State Park Office, 1439 Wilson-Sharpsville Road, Cortland. The workshop is free, but pre-registration is required because space is limited, so call 330-245-3030 to do so. Participants over 16 will be required to have a fishing license.
• How much is a trophy buck worth? It was $27,904.46 for a Holmes County man. He shot the animal illegally, committing five violations in process. He was caught, found guilty in Coshocton Municipal Court, and not only paid the heavy fine but lost his hunting privileges for one year. The non-typical whopper buck scored 228 7/8.
• Quick note: The Catawba Island State Park boat ramp is now open just in time to welcome anglers to ice fish on Lake Erie this winter.
• The Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), in collaboration with county clerk of courts title offices, will implement a new Ohio certificate of title for motor vehicles and watercraft. In addition to the change in size, the appearance of the front and back of the title has been modified to better accommodate new fields and security features, as well as provide more clarity to the user.During the phased implementation period, a customer requesting a motor vehicle title from a title office will receive either the current title (2016 version) or the new title (2019 version), depending on whether or not that county has converted to the new title.Customers do not need to replace their current title with the new title. All previously issued, valid versions of the Ohio certificate of title may still be used to sell/transfer/register motor vehicles. All title issuance processes will remain the same. For more information, please visit www.bmv.ohio.gov
Dick Martin is a free-lance writer from Shelby. Reach him at [email protected] You also can visit his blog at outdoorswithmartin.com.