John's Journal...

Al Morris on Winning the 2007 Coyote Calling Contest

Setting Up for the World Hunt

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note:  Forty-one-year-old Al Morris, from Springfield , Utah , a Hunter's Specialties’ predator pros, has hunted coyotes since he was 12. He’s also helped in the production of the “Operation Predator Videos 2, 3, 4 and 5.”  Al Morris and his partner, Garvin Young, for won the 2007 World Coyote Calling Contest in November, 2007. Al and Garvin were the first team to win the World Coyote Calling Contest twice and the only team to consistently finish in the top-10 places in the championship for the past 11 years.  This week Al will tell us how he and Garvin won the World.

Here’s the setup-by-setup run down of how the hunt went:

Stand 1 – Usually you’d expect the first stand to be the most productive, but we didn’t see a single coyote at that stand. Garvin and I were panicked as we went on to stand 2.

Stand 2 – I walked the caller out from our stand site and put it about 30 yards from us. I came back and sat down. I pushed the PLAY button on the Grown Cottontail sound and then saw a coyote running away from us at about 150 yards. However, he never stopped. I’m convinced that coyote saw me come out, set the caller up and start playing it. We’d decided to only stay on the stands for 12 minutes. At the 10-minute mark, I saw a young male coyote coming toward our stand. He was out 50 yards when I took him with my rifle. We’d been on two stands and had one coyote. We decided we couldn’t stay more than 12-15 minutes on any stand because we were going to try to make 20-30 stands in a day. We put that coyote in the truck and went on to stand 3.Click to enlarge

Stand 3 – Garvin was set up to my right about 70-yards away from me. I set the caller up 20 yards in front of me and sat down by the only little bush I could find. I pushed PLAY on the Grown Cottontail sound on the Preymaster. In about 30 seconds, I spotted a coyote headed right for us. But I missed him with my rifle, and he turned and ran straight toward me. He didn’t know from where the shot had come. When I shot at him the second time, I dropped him about 4 yards from my stand. I’m sure that coyote would have run over me if I hadn’t shot him. I looked over at Garvin and saw a coyote running to him that then stopped at about 80 yards. Garvin took that coyote. After we played the caller for about 5-minutes more, I spotted another coyote coming down the hill from me. The coyote looked at me from 100 yards, and I took him. So, that gave us three coyotes off that one stand.  Now we had bagged four coyotes from three stands. 

Stand 4 – We went 1/2-mile down the railroad tracks, crept over the railroad tracks and started calling again. I looked on the opposite side of the tracks from where we were sitting, spotted two coyotes coming to the Preymaster and took both those coyotes. On the fourth stand, we got a double.

Stand 5 – I called in two singles and took both of them.  Now we had eight coyotes for five stands. 

Stand 6 – I called in two coyotes. I missed mine, but Garvin took his. That was the only coyote I missed during the hunt.Click to enlarge

Stand 7 – I called in two coyotes, 3-minutes apart, and Garvin took both of them. By 10:38 am, we had 11 coyotes in the truck. So we had enough coyotes to win the contest by 10:38 in the morning. We’d really gotten a break that morning. The wind was only about 8-10 miles per hour where we were in eastern New Mexico in drizzling rain. The other competitors who were in Colorado above us, Arizona and southern New Mexico were all in hurricane-force winds. They were dealing with winds 20-40 mph and torrential rains. We had apparently just found a little pocket in the storm that didn’t have heavy wind or heavy rain. The second-place team, who was only about 20-30 miles from us, took 11 coyotes the first day, and we finished that day with 16.  I really think the reason we took more than the other teams was because they were facing that high wind and heavy rain, and we didn’t.

Stands 8-11 – We didn’t call in a single coyote on these stands.

Stand 12 – Then we went on a loop road away from the tracks and made five or six more stands, where we called in a couple of singles to get to two more coyotes, a total of 13 so far by 2:30 or 3:00 pm. Each time we took a coyote we had to write on a wooden block the location, the date and the time we took the coyote and then put the block of wood in the coyote’s mouth and tape it shut. We were trying hard to fill up all 15 of our blocks.

Click to enlargeStand 13 – We called in two more coyotes. The male coyote came in so close that he got between the speaker and my stand and smelled where I’d walked to put the speaker out. He almost jumped into my lap. Although I stood up with my shotgun and shot at him four times, I was so excited I didn’t shoot very well. However, when the coyote was running away and got out to about 300 yards, he tipped over dead. Apparently some of the pellets from my shot hit their marks. I didn’t think I’d hit that coyote because he unnerved me so much by almost jumping in my lap. I reacted and shot quickly. I wasn’t certain I’d hit him, but apparently I did. That was coyote number 14.

We made about 6 or 8 more stands, but on these stands the wind, the rain and the storm hit us, and we didn’t take any coyotes. We were able to make two more stands in highly-productive locations. On these last two stands of the day, we took coyotes number 15 and number 16.  Coyote number 16 came in so close to Garvin that he took that coyote at 12 yards. The next morning we got up and made seven stands in 40- to 50-mile per hour winds. Garvin took one more coyote with his shotgun. We had to check in on Saturday by 3:00 pm, but we got to the check-in at 1:30 pm. We decided with the wind blowing as hard as it was we wouldn’t be very productive. Also one of the rules of the contest was that if two teams had the same number of coyotes, the team that arrived back to the check-in first with their coyotes would win. So we wanted to be the first team to check in with the judges.

Many of the hunters couldn’t believe that we had 17 coyotes because most of them had had terrible weather conditions in which to hunt. As I said earlier, the second-place team brought in 11. All the contestants paid $250 to enter. The prize money was given out down to 15th place.  Garvin and I received $1115 for our first-place win. This contest doesn’t pay big bucks. But, we also received two really-nice plaques. However, I thought the coolest thing we won were the belt buckles that each had a coyote with a rabbit in its mouth on it that said, “2007 World Champions.”

Tomorrow: The Preymaster Helped Conquer the World

Check back each day this week for more about "Al Morris on Winning the 2007 Coyote Calling Contest"

Day 1: How We Won the World Coyote Calling Contest
Day 2: Setting Up for the World Hunt
Day 3: The Preymaster Helped Conquer the World
Day 4: Get Them Downwind
Day 5: Why Hunt Coyotes Now


Entry 442, Day 2