BY ROBERT L. BAKER
The 11th Annual District 9 Northeast Pennsylvania Trappers Association Coyote Hunt brought in 21 wild dogs with Jeff Baker taking the top honors for the heaviest animal over the weekend at 46.20 pounds.
He was awarded $2,000 along with the daily prize of $250 for the heaviest coyote taken on Friday.
Baker’s male coyote was harvested in Susquehanna County using a .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire rifle and dogs.
The hunt saw animals brought in from seven counties Friday through Sunday with weigh-ins at Triton Hose Company in Tunkhannock.
There were 724 hunters participating in the weekend hunt, with Jonathan Lee taking top Saturday honors of $250 for his 38.15-pound
coyote harvested in Wayne County out of 12 brought in that day.
John Bold’s 41.75-pound coyote harvested in Wayne County was the largest of four brought in on Sunday.
Last year’s hunt brought in a record 59 coyotes.
Of the 21 coyotes taken this year, seven were male.
District 9 director Bill Kalinauskis said that while the number of coyotes was down the trappers’ group was pleased to put another hunt behind it.
“We’re happy that so many hunters got involved this year and everyone involved is, too,” Kalinauskis, of Nicholson, said.
Bill Kasten, a District 9 Director from north of Montrose, said he felt the low harvest was largely attributed to the weather with a deep snow pack covered by rain that froze overnight leaving an ice pack that’s tough on the dogs.”
He added, “And, then, the additional rain didn’t help. But some years are like that and that’s part of the challenge in a hunt like this.”
He discounted any talk about the coyote population being down in the region.
“They’re out there,” he said. “We’re sure of that.”
This year’s hunt again saw generally lighter animals being brought in then in the hunt’s earliest years, with the lightest ever animal brought in a 19.95-pounder from Pike County on Saturday.
We don’t know if food was scarce, it was from a late litter or exactly what its history was.
In addition to hunters, this year’s hunt also attracted scientists. East Stroudsburg University graduate student Kim Harle took organ samples in a study of tick-borne diseases, and Willy Wenner of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s wildlife services unit taking blood draws and organ samples in support of several ongoing studies.
The breakdown of county of harvest was: Susquehanna (8), Wayne (4), Luzerne (2), Pike (2). Sullivan (2), Wyoming (2) and Lackawanna (1).
By day, each hunter’s name, coyote weight in pounds and county shot are as follows:
Friday: Terry Jones, 27.65, Susq.; Bob Brown, 38.55, Susq.; Jeff Baker, 46.2, Susq.; Andrew Hofmire, 32.25, Susq.; John Holland, 37.8, Wayne.
Saturday: Chester Lenceski, 34.85, Luz.; Joseph Miller, 32.4, Wyo.; Ernest Quick, 19.95, Pike; Karl Haass, 25.15, Pike; Dennis Young, 33.95, Luz.; William Cameron, 33.55, Sull.; Darrell Travelpiece, 34.10, Sull.; John Krzan, 29.75, Lack.; Jonathan Lee, 38.15, Wayne; Brian Stucker, 34.5, Susq.; Jack Henderson, 32.9, Wayne; Jason Clancy, 35.45, Susq.
Sunday: Eric Onyon, 34.9, Susq.; Mark Zdancewicz, 34.95, Susq.; Robert Cragle, 32.7, Wyo.; John Bold, 41.75, Wayne.