CHRISTIANSBURG – Hunting enthusiasts wanting to use their 2016-2017 hunting licences one final time before they expire at the end of the month can do so during the second annual Christiansburg Fire Department Coyote Hunt Benefit scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 25.
Mike Reuber, who lives just east of the village and helps organize the benefit, said the idea for the hunt came from his neighbor, Adam Frantz, who had seen video of a coyote hunt held in the village of Amanda for the same purpose – to benefit a local fire department.
Reuber said last year’s inaugural coyote hunt near Christiansburg was an all-day event that raised $300 for the Christiansburg Fire Company.
“We had 12 participates, and everyone had a good time,” Reuber said. “We saw six coyotes and ended up killing two.”
Individuals interested in participating in the hunt on Feb. 25 are asked to arrive at the Christiansburg firehouse, 10 W. First St., by 8 a.m. There is a required donation of at least $15 dollars, and participants will be treated to coffee and doughnuts in the morning, and chili after the hunt. In addition, two handmade antler knives will be given away – one via a random drawing and the other to the hunter who kills the largest coyote.
As for participation requirements, all individuals must have a valid Ohio hunting license, must wear hunter orange, and are not permitted to use rifles bigger than .223 caliber (shotguns are encouraged).
“Safety is our number one priority,” Reuber said.
While many coyote hunters tend to draw out the animals using dogs, this particular hunt won’t involve the use of K9s. Instead, it will operate as a drive hunt in which some of the hunters will walk through potential coyote habitat in hopes of driving them out of hiding and into the path of other hunters.
The drive will take place in a 3-by-3-mile section of land in Jackson Township, just outside Christiansburg.
“We have five or six landowners out here who were gracious enough to grant us access to their land,” Reuber said.
For more information, contact Reuber at 937-405-6238.
Coyote population troublesome to some
Although not native to Ohio, coyotes has become one of the state’s top predators and a nuisance to many hunters and farmers due to the animal’s appetite for deer fawns and small livestock like lambs.
Reuber said coyotes have started to put a dent in the deer population in various areas throughout the state, which is a concern for hunters like himself. While he admitted that’s “Mother Nature,” he added coyotes also thin the rabbit population and have been known to kill small dogs and cats.
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife, coyotes, which are similar in appearance to a medium-sized dog, are considered to be versatile animals given their ability to find habitat almost anywhere.
In regard to their habitat range, coyotes can be found in varying degrees in all 88 Ohio counties. The ODNR Division of Wildlife lists Champaign, Logan, Clark and Miami counties as having “medium” populations, while Shelby and Madison counties are considered to have “high” populations. Union County, on the other hand, has a “low” population of coyotes.
Reuber, who works third shift and leaves his Jackson Township home at approximately 1:20 a.m. during the work week, said, “In the fall and winter, there’s usually never an evening in which I don’t here them howling somewhere around me.
“It’s kind of a neat thing to hear, but from the perspective of a deer hunter (for food), you have to keep them in check. If you do, it allows for a better deer herd and more rabbits,” he added.
Since coyotes are not considered endangered, they are provided little protection by the state. Because of this, Ohioans are allowed to hunt or trap coyotes year-round without a bag limit as long as they have a valid hunting license.