- Featured Stories
- Douglas County
- City of Ava
- General Interest
By Whitney Keith
Coyote hunting is a sport that’s misunderstood by many people who weren’t raised in an area or family in which it was popular.
Brad Stanifer is an avid coyote hunter, and hunts, at times, several days a week.
Stanifer said he doesn’t own any dogs himself, but he has several friends who allow him to use theirs.
Coyote hunting involves two types of dogs – “catch” dogs and “track” dogs.
Track dogs bay when they are on the trail of a coyote, which lets the catch dogs know they should be on the move.
Walkers and July hounds make good Coyote dogs, Stanifer said.
Many years ago, hunters got together to hunt foxes, not coyotes. However, the general idea was the same.
“Get together, build a fire and listen to the dogs run,” Stanifer said.
Most coyote hunting groups consist of 5 to 7 individuals.
Coyote hunting is a very misunderstood sport, Stanifer said.
Coyotes can be a nuisance to farmers and rural land owners, which is one of the reasons the season on them is so long.
Coyotes can eat newborn calves, dogs and house cats.
“It really bothers us (as hunters) when people think we’re out doing something illegal or unethical,” Stanifer said. “Most of them don’t seem to know the damage that coyotes can cause.”
Stanifer said the thrill of hunting coyotes is in the chase and watching the dogs run.
“It all boils down to a love of dogs and hunting,” he said.
During the summer months the hunters hunt later in the day, when it’s cooler outside.
“We hunt daylight to dark in other months,” Stanifer said.
The coyote hunters try to be considerate of land owners and other hunters, Stanifer said.
“We try not to hunt right before deer season and hunting coyotes during deer season is against regulations,” he said.
One concern local land owners have is dogs running through their property.
“Dogs can’t read ‘no trespassing’ signs,” Stanifer said. “If we have to go through someone’s land, we always try to stop in and let them know.”
They hunt coyotes from the weekend after deer season to “when the grass turns green,” Stanifer said.
“We stop then to let them raise their young,” he said.
In this area, a good day of coyote hunting will yield two kills.
“Around here, the terrain is rough,” Stanifer said. “When we go up north or out west it’s easier.”
The predecessor to coyote hunting in this area was fox hunting.
Fox hunting was brought over on the Mayflower from England.
“Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were avid fox hunters,” Stanifer said.
C.W. Gusewelle, a former columnist for the Kansas City Star, wrote a collection of essays titled, “Far From Any Coast, Pieces of America’s Heartland.” The first essay included is about fox hunting in the Ozark hills.
Guseweller hunted foxes with Don Graham, and quoted him in the book.
“The fox is an individual, known by his neighborhood and the race he runs. And as Graham has put it, you couldn’t hire a man to kill one. ‘There used to be one over by my place,’ he (Graham) remembers now. ‘He’d come out on the side of the hill in plain daylight and bark. We ran that fox five or six years, didn’t we? Kind of a blue, smutty-colored fox.’”
Gusewelle stresses in his essay that the thrill of a fox hunt is that the fox isn’t meant to be caught, and rarely is.
“The fox is seldom caught. Mustn’t be. Or there’d be no fox to chase,” he wrote.
An article was written by Janet Taber in the Ozarks Farm & Neighbor in 2004 about coyote hunting.
The article records how Graham got his start in fox hunting with hounds in 1947, when Don Souder, the sheriff of Douglas County, gave him a Walker hound. Graham then began hunting with his father-in-law, Lewis Huff.
“Now, fox hunting is strictly at night, and coyote hunting is during the day,” Graham said.
He said one of the best parts of hunting a coyote or a fox was the sound of the hounds baying together.
“It’s just like an orchestra, the voices aren’t all the same,” he said. “You have your tenors, your basses, and your altos.
If anyone has a question or concern about local coyote hunters, they may contact:
Brad Stanifer (417-683-0876), Don Graham (417-683-2515), or Randall Tate (417-683-7796).
Reflections is a weekly column exploring the history of Douglas County. Current topics include local festivals, school history and Douglas County residents who have a special talent. If you have an idea for an article, please call 417-683-4181 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org