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The Blair Coyote Project

RuleBy Bryan Rule

-- I have yet to see Jackie Bushman in a treestand in my neck of the woods. However, those who can travel do; those who can’t, watch squirrels.

The 2008 season was my first to hunt deer, and I’m hooked. Although I haven’t harvested a deer, I find myself eagerly waking before the sun in order to visit a small section of woods and pasture a few minutes from home.

Truth is, until last fall, I had not killed anything by bow, gun or even vehicle. Many people say “It’s not about the killing; it's about the hunt.” To those souls, I offer unlimited hunting from my stand – one that would appeal to almost any birdwatcher – for a good kill from yours.

I woke early on Dec. 9, crept through the house so as not to wake my wife and daughter, made my way to the small corner where my vast array of hunting gear is packed into a very pretty lavender storage tote and started layering up (yes, I know I said Florida, but it was cold that morning and I’m a bit of a sissy). I got all the necessary gear and headed out about 4:30.

I waited patiently as the sun began to rise and turn all the deer that had been milling about beneath me into shrubbery that was absolutely not there the previous day. I listened to the sweet sounds of endless gunfire nearby, where I’m convinced Ted Nugent must’ve been hunting.

The hours passed and, as usual, nothing made an appearance. Time quickly ran out, as it often does for hunters in the woods, and I had to head to work.

Keep reading, however. This next part is where something bites the dust!

I got down and started my short walk through the woods to the pastureland where my long walk would begin. I was three feet inside the woods line looking at the cattle truck path on the pasture when I saw – for the first time in my life – a coyote. He was about 200 yards down the trail, downwind, in open pasture and headed right at me on the same trail I’d taken a few hours earlier.

My rifle was slung over my shoulder, and I was frozen in place. To me, it looked like this dog was looking right at me! Now due to the previous “sissy” comment, let me clarify that I was not scared. C’mon … I was seeing something that needed to be shot, and it was coming my way.

I was frozen because I wanted to take this animal. It was coming toward me, bound sooner or later to see my blaze-orange, steamy breath-blowing self blocking his way into the woods.

What I did not want to do was spook him into the woods no more than six feet to his left, so I stood there with a wild animal bearing down on me. I was Jim Shockey, except not in Africa, not staring down a big game animal with cameras rolling and long hair flowing.

My coyote (mine because it’s dead in a Deepfreeze, waiting to be skinned) kept coming, looking right past me, I guess, until it stopped cold less than eight feet in front of me. He looked curiously at me much like man’s best friend does when you ask him something he’s never heard.

Then he turned slowly, perhaps thinking I was blind. By then, the sissy factor had reared its ugly head. The thing was close enough to spit on (which I did not do, PETA, because that is cruel). After he got about 10 yards away, he looked back to make sure I was still blind. I had raised my gun.

I knew from my vast experience with The Outdoor Channel that he would stop and look back, but he was facing perfectly away. I waited to take the shot because he was headed out into the open pasture instead of the woods. The “old boy” (I hear that a lot and wanted to be sure and use it) then took off at full speed before stopping again 80 yards distant, which is when I acquired him in the crosshairs and took the shot. It was good (good because I have him in the aforementioned freezer, not as in perfectly placed). The shot was, however, placed well enough so that he hit the ground.

I cleared the shell casing and chambered another round, which he heard. He jumped up, hobbled about five yards and dropped.

I had to go to work at that point, but I went back during my lunch break to pick up what turned out to be my first of two animals this season (the second was not a deer either).

-- Bryan Rule

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