(Ain't no pitchas)
So I left my camera behind, and planned to put in an appearance at the OFH meet before going on to the NFH.
So I stayed in my truck. No radio. Primitive, it was like 2002 !!
Somewhat foggy morning, grey sky and unseasonably warm.
Off we went. I went too far out at first, as usual. Then circled back. Hounds struck and started running.
I stationed myself at Goldfield branch, a little inlet from the river and a good crossing spot to watch.
As I waited, hounds came toward me. Louder and louder, I wondered if he might spring out beside me...
No, they are fading away now. It is amazing the difference in sound when those mouths point at one and when they deviate just a bit to the side.
Away they went. I'm trying to fight my desire to GO, so I waited. Fade, fade, silence.
Hold on for a minute. One more before I go...
Wait, what's that? Hounds again, circling back. Their voices swelling, heading toward me again! Louder, closer!
And then that shift of direction, the decrease in sound. Then silence. Wait, wait...
What's that? Hounds again?
Often a coyote in covert will run a loop or two or three, first trying to see if this noise is a problem, then deciding where to go. As I sat there, I heard hounds go away and back again, again, again- eleven times!
The cry was lovely to hear. Like with the Black Assassins in November, the low sky kept the sound down and the trees gave it more melody.
Every time hounds approached me, it sounded as though they were all on- close together, running as a pack. As it should be, and not surprising. The open nature of the country and the speed with which a hunt can unravel make it important to keep hounds together, and the hunt staff have emphasised it. (Note the Christmas Eve hunt.)
Oddly enough, a tight pack served this coyote well. Going as he was over and over the same country, he ran quite a risk of bumping into a slow or thrown out hound. But today there weren't any.
But he would have to break out eventually...
The suspense was killing me!!
And break out he did, across the road right behind me! a fluffy blonde, less than 40 seconds in front of hounds! The section of forest he ran into is long and narrow, with a wide river on the other edge. He looked had...
But no! He jinked right handed, through the woods, back across the road, and away!! Whoa!
At this point I ditched my truck and climbed in with my Pilot, who kindly allowed me the gate seat. Varoom!
Off we went toward the huge giant landfill. Stopping there. listening. What's that? The blonde one, stepping out of the woods to check us out.
Always a bit chilling when that happens, those yellow eyes narrowing at me in assessment. Just as they would if I were wandering the desert in the last extremity of thirst, or dragging a broken leg in a mountain blizzard...
Back in he ducked, and along came hounds. Again, right on the line, but now two or three minutes behind.
At the spot where he popped out and in, they were at fault! Right in front of me., as pretty a Wicked Witch (Half of you go this way, half of you go that way!) self cast as one could hope to see, and back on.
Through more woods, and then bang- out, right in front of the field! They were treated to a pretty display of coyote, then shortly to nineteen and a half couple right on the line, hardly a horse's length from one hound to the next! Three and a bit minutes behind, now.
No time for us to tarry, he's heading back...
And back to Goldfield Branch! This is a clever, bold, quick, tough, and lucky coyote.
Back and forth again around the branch, and into the Pipe Covert. This is a famous go-to-ground spot for OFH coyotes, a lot of old field drainage pipes left scattered about. Usually if one can get into one of those tubes, he wins.
And in hounds went, to find- nothing. Couldn't hold anything coming away from the pipes, either. On his last long run back there had been a temperature/humidity change, which I remarked on at the time. No more sensitive to weather than to anything else, but suddenly I could see my breath so even I could not miss it.
Informed barn was that this change had made him much less aromatic, which makes sense. Hounds did not seem as violently hot after the change as before.
Time to pick up, and there might be time for some full cry action- four hunts in four days! Oops, found Esther, managed to catch her, get her in the truck and back to the meet.
NOW off to NFH...
Just in time to hear the end of day horn.
Oh, and the stats? One hound ran twenty eight miles.
This is some serious hunting!