Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Predator hunters and their competitive events

...Now for predators! Competitive predator hunting is big — perhaps too big. So far, the field for the World Championship Predator Calling Contest has been limited to 130 teams and there is a waiting list. Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah have hosted the annual event, and the purse is attractive enough to require the use of lie detector tests on all teams that submit dead critters. This event could come to South Dakota, but I don't know that we would want it. I'd be interested in thoughts from readers on this topic. I have some mixed emotions about the World Championship. Because I abhor political correctness, there is no way that I'd bow to animal rights activists. The World Championship people do so by not allowing the photography of dead predators, and encouraging participants to keep their kills off of the Internet. They are very low-key about advertising, promotion, and location of the contest. While I understand their reasons, I say "bring it on!" I asked a rancher friend if competitive predator hunting — primarily coyotes — is taking place in South Dakota. I was surprised to learn that in his area alone, Bison, Dupree, Isabel, and Watauga host competitions that begin with a Friday night Calcutta auction of participating teams. This enables the entire community to participate in the activity. Prizes are given for the most and largest coyotes. Like the world competition, cheating has become an issue. What a sad commentary on an otherwise wholesome event among friends and neighbors. According to my rancher friend, most ranchers support the predator hunts. I assume that this relates in part to the coyote threat to livestock. He has no problem with local hunters, but I did detect some apprehension on his part about prizes becoming more lucrative and attracting hunters from greater distances. I would guess that his neighbors share similar concerns. California has addressed this issue by banning the awarding of prizes for predator hunts. Though I'm not a predator hunter per se, I've killed a dozen or so foxes and coyotes while hunting deer, antelope, or pheasants. Serious prairie dog/predator hunters use a quality bolt-action rifle with a high-power scope. Popular calibers are .204 Ruger, .22-250 Remington, and .243 Winchester. I'd pick the .243, as it bucks the wind better than the others. Predator hunters also rely on calls — mouth or sophisticated electronic calls. In spite of the technology, calling in a "once-fooled" coyote works about as well as make-up on a 70 year-old woman, not to mention men dyeing their hair. Judging by what I see mounted on a cowboy ATV, AR-15's are popular varmint rifles and operate contrary to the image presented by our media today. AR does not stand for assault rifle. It is a trademark for a gun made by ArmaLite, similar to how Kleenex is the trademark term for paper tissue. ArmaLite developed the AR-15 for civilians, not the military. As they are surprisingly accurate, they make a great coyote rifle, especially when equipped with a suppressor or silencer...more

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