2008 MSC coyote hunt successful
Despite some less than perfect weather, 345 sportsmen and women from Arizona and even as far away as California took the time to participate in the Mohave Sportsman Club's annual coyote suppression hunt last weekend.
According to Linda Bell, secretary for the MSC, 145 teams, which included 45 three-person teams, spread out all over northern Arizona to hunt for the No. 1 predator of newborn antelope fawns.
Many of the teams were from Kingman, but several teams came from out of state to help with the predator control effort of the club.
Though the number of teams in the hunt was down from 2008, when 150 two-person teams were in the field, the number of participants was up this year, as were the number of coyotes taken during the two-day hunt.
According to Bell, 72 coyotes were brought in by hunters, with 49 of them taken on Saturday, 23 on Sunday. In 2008, 51 coyotes were taken. In 2007, 79 coyotes were taken.
The top team of the hunt was Blake Chapman and Craig Hamilton, who brought in five coyotes on Saturday and one on Sunday.
The team of Mark Olivas, Mike Olivas and Bobby Olivas brought in five coyotes on Saturday, though they were shut out on Sunday.
Several teams had three coyotes, including Pat Hintz and his partner, Russell Bierman.
Though most of the teams in the hunt didn't bring in a coyote, the effort they made is what is noteworthy.
As former MSC President Jim Jett noted, "This hunt didn't cost the taxpayers of Arizona one dime, and if the efforts by sportsmen this weekend results in the saving of even one antelope or deer fawn this year, then it was well worth it."
In the past, the Arizona Game & Fish Department has attempted to control coyotes in prime antelope units in northern Arizona by aerial gunning. Though very effective, aerial gunning is also very expensive. In some years, the department has paid the federal government's Animal Damage Control office in excess of $30,000 to reduce coyote numbers.
Statistics show that in areas where aerial gunning is done, the number of fawns that survive does go up.
Everyone who helped out on the hunt seemed to have a good time despite some snow and high winds in many of the hunt areas on Saturday.
For many, this hunt is a time when they meet and hunt with friends or family. There wasn't one motel room to be found in Seligman, where the hunt is headquartered, and one restaurant in town even had a banner out front welcoming coyote hunters.
A number of prizes were donated to the MSC by various conservation groups in Arizona, which include the Arizona Predator Callers, Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society, Arizona Antelope Foundation and Arizona Deer Association. Those prizes were distributed to sportsmen through a series of drawings.
The MSC also donated a new Savage model 116FSS rifle that was raffled off at the event, and this year Kingman resident Jerry Cowans was the lucky winner.
This year marked the 20th year the MSC has sponsored the coyote hunt.
Everyone knows that this hunt will not solve the ongoing predator problems in northern Arizona. However, it does show that sportsmen do care about wildlife, which is arguably the state's most valuable natural resource, and they are willing to take the time and spend their money to help out.