By Glen Wunderlich
Lansing, Michigan - -(Ammoland.com)- When John Glynn goes hunting, he means business.
He and his decoy dogs, Nuts and Scrap, are the primary protectors of 1800 head of cattle in S.E. Oklahoma, which roam freely on his 10,000 acres. So do the coyotes. Lots of them.
John manages his livestock so that his cows give birth at the same time. And, with myriad calves being born simultaneously, the coyotes can smell the “dinner bell”. Most of the time, however, they’re coming for the afterbirth. But, sometimes they’ll tear a newborn calf to shreds before it hits the ground. He’ll lose about 200 calves with some 25 to 30 percent related to predation. And, at a future value of over $1000 per animal, that’s bad business.
And, that’s why he and his two dogs work as a team. But, they don’t run the coyotes, like they do here in Michigan, with shooters looking for any opportunity with the dogs chasing the ‘yotes them all over the countryside. He hunts in tandem with his highly trained decoy dogs.
John has had working dogs since he was a youngster, but has used decoy dogs for only two years and states that the goal is to first find a dog that fits the bill. Although he has used a shock collar for initial training purposes, he kept it at a minimal level and rarely had to use it at all. Now his dogs are so well acquainted with John’s style of hunting, John merely calls the coyotes, while the dogs sit and watch intently for the next adventure..
He explains the goal is to call the coyotes and to get the dogs to engage the coyote and “work it” until the coyote gets “hooked”. He wants the dog to bring the coyote back to within shooting range, but rarely do the coyotes respond alone. He’ll play a puppy in distress on his electronic caller and the ‘yotes will respond by barking.
“When I am using the dogs, I want them to get the coyotes riled up when the dogs chase them and pester them, because a lot of the time it brings in more coyotes when they start barking and howling at the dogs”, explains John.
“Also, when they run off chasing a single coyote, a lot of times they run back to pack members and then when the dogs return, they bring back multiple coyotes. Once the coyote(s) are hooked, they tend to get so mad that they don’t flee from the scene after a shot or if you make a mistake like they would do if you were just calling them in.”
When I first saw a video of a hunt with a decoy dog, my concern was that the dog could get seriously hurt. I mean those coyotes are ultra-quick and mean! But, so are the hunting dogs. Big, tails bobbed, and tough enough to take care of themselves. But, if the coyotes are too numerous, John evens the score with a centerfire rifle.
Says, John, “As far as injuries to my dogs, they have had a few minor scrapes. I don’t know of any dogs personally that have been seriously hurt while working coyotes. I guess the worst thing that could happen is to have multiple coyotes on a single dog. That is why I run two dogs. Typically, my dogs chase the coyotes around and neither makes much contact. Every now and then, a coyote will want to fight. When one shows that much aggression, I will take him out before it gets a chance to hurt my dogs. My dog’s safety is my first concern!!! Always! It is my job to “read” the coyotes to determine how they are going to react to my dogs. My dogs are very capable of taking care of themselves though.”
In the video below, John’s wife, April, finishes the job.
As far as firearms, he uses typical varmint centerfire calibers such as the .223, .22-250 and .243. He states that there isn’t near as much muzzle blast and it saves on the dogs hearing, as well as his.
“The typical shot when using my dogs are from 25 yards to 100 yards. I have had coyotes close enough to actually touch many times”, explains John.
Certainly, this type of hunting is not for everyone. Cruel some will claim. But, John describes cruel as a neighboring sheep farmer having lost 40 lambs on a 30-acre parcel in a single night to crazed coyotes. And, that’s why John and his decoy dogs are in high demand in the 125,000 acres he hunts for others.
It is a way of life.
About Glen Wunderlich
Charter Member Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA). Outdoor writer and columnist for The Argus-Press (www.argus-press.com) and blog site at www.thinkingafield.org Member National Rifle Association (NRA), Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), member U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA), Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), Commemorative Bucks of Michigan (CBM). Adjutant of Perry, Michigan Sons of Amvets Post 4064 and Chairman Perry (MI) Youth Hunt Extravaganza, a sanctioned event of Perry Sons of Amvets held the fourth weekend of September each year.