Here are all the preda­tor chal­lenges that await the state’s hunters this win­ter

Centre Daily Times (Sunday) - - Sports - BY MARK NALE

At least 30 preda­tor hunts are sched­uled to run through­out the win­ter — giv­ing hunters an­other way to en­joy the out­doors after the reg­u­lar small- and big-game hunt­ing sea­sons have ended.

Hunts be­gan a few days ago with Furbearer Fury, hosted by Kin­sey’s Out­doors in Mount Joy, Lan­caster County, and the Lit­tle Val­ley Sports­men Hunt in Sax­ton, Hunt­ing­don County. Events end in early March with Cen­tre County’s Lib­erty Town­ship Sports­men Coy­ote Hunt.

Twelve hunts are planned for Jan­uary, 17 in Fe­bru­ary and one in early March. The heav­i­est hunt week­end is Feb. 15-17, when six events are held — in­clud­ing the Mos­quito Creek Sports­men’s con­test, the largest coy­ote hunt in the United States.

Last year, 4,836 reg­is­tered Mos­quito Creek hunters brought in 193 coy­otes, with a 53-pound coy­ote break­ing club records. The top two prizes were more than $9,000 each, and the to­tal hunt purse was more than $48,000. The sec­ond-largest Penn­syl­va­nia hunt — the Dis­trict 9 Penn­syl­va­nia Trap­pers As­soci-

ation con­test — at­tracted 685 hunters, who har­vested 45 coy­otes, with a 48.65-pounder tak­ing the top prize.

Both the Mos­quito Creek- and the Dis­trict 9 Pa. Trap­pers-win­ning coy­otes were huge for any hunt — big “dogs” al­ways gen­er­ate ex­cite­ment. En­trants at most hunts have yet to even ap­proach the 50-pound thresh­old.

“We are hop­ing that the 46-pound coy­ote record for the club will fall this year,” said Chris Dou­ble, preda­tor hunt man­ager for the Rolfe Bea­gle Club. “We know there are larger coy­otes out there.”

The Rolfe Bea­gle Club added foxes and a largest­fe­male coy­ote to their hunt this year. The club also is hold­ing a “ghost coy­ote” raf­fle for un­suc­cess­ful hunters. The Lit­tle Val­ley hunt added crows, and Paul’s Trad­ing Post added foxes and bob­cats to their con­test. The RFS Preda­tor Run­down in Punx­sutawney added rac­coons. The Ellsworth Sports­men added a new sep­a­rate coy­ote trap­ping cat­e­gory.

The smaller hunts con­tinue to tweak their con­tests in an at­tempt to make them more at­trac­tive, but the larger long-run­ning hunts, such as Mos­quito Creek and Dis­trict 9, tend to con­tinue with few changes.

“For 20 years, we have been run­ning a good and suc­cess­ful coy­ote hunt,” said Dis­trict 9 Penn­syl­va­nia Trap­pers di­rec­tor Bill Kalin­aukis. “We would have to see a sig­nif­i­cant drop in en­tries be­fore we would con­sider chang­ing. Why mess with a good thing?”

The Trout Run Vol­un­teer Fire Com­pany in Ly­coming County is new to or­ga­nized preda­tor hunts. Their first hunt will be held Feb. 1517, and it in­cludes foxes, coy­otes and rac­coons. In a new twist to help de­ter cheat­ing, hunt or­ga­nizer Tim Frey said, each hunter or team of two hunters will be given a num­ber just be­fore the hunt be­gins. They will be re­quired to snap a cell­phone photo of the an­i­mal, one of the hunters and a piece of paper dis­play­ing their num­ber at the kill site.

Last year, the Lib­erty Town­ship hunt — cen­tered in Blan­chard, drew 120 hunters but only one coy­ote. Matt Ben­der of Car­roll­town won $932 for his 28.1-pound coy­ote. Ac­cord­ing to hunt spokesman Dwight Kline, that was the low­est-ever num­ber of coy­otes, and he is hop­ing for bet­ter re­sults this March.

2019 PREDA­TOR HUNTS

Jan. 17-20 — Penn­syl­va­nia Fox Hunt - Mum­mas­burg Sportsman’s As­so­ci­a­tion,

Get­tys­burg, Adams County. En­try fee in­cludes hunt hat and re­fresh­ments on Jan. 20. Prizes $200, $100 and $50 for the three heav­i­est foxes of each species, plus prizes for largest and small­est each day. $200 for heav­i­est coy­ote. For more in­for­ma­tion, call Tim Kane at 717-778-5042 or Adam Hoff­man at 717-253-5593, or visit face­book.com/Mum­mas­burg Sportsman.

Jan. 18-20 — End­less Moun­tain Coon Hunters 14th An­nual Coy­ote & Fox Hunt,

Springville, Susque­hanna County. Hunt in 14 north­east­ern coun­ties — $2,000 top prize for heav­i­est coy­ote, sec­ond prize Ruger Preda­tor Ri­fle 6.5 Creed­moor, and $50 per coy­ote turned in. Other prizes in­clude $200 for heav­i­est each day & sep­a­rate largest fe­male coy­ote. The fox con­test is $10 ex­tra. Con­tact Bob Brown at 570-8365047, Jerry Croas­dale at 570942-6487, or end­less moun­tain­coon­hunters.com for more info.

Jan. 18-20 — United Sportsman Camp 271 — 17th An­nual Coy­ote Hunt,

Hunt­ing­ton Mills, Luzerne/Columbia coun­ties. Hunt the en­tire state — $1,000 for the heav­i­est coy­ote, $500 for sec­ond place and $50 for each coy­ote en­tered. There is a sep­a­rate small­est coy­ote pool, plus daily cash prizes. Gun raf­fle plus all-you-can-eat Sun­day break­fast. Visit hunt­ing­ton­millss­ports­men.com for more info.

Jan. 25-27 — Jerome Sports­men 11th An­nual Adam Deist Me­mo­rial Hunt,

Som­er­set County. Hunt or trap the en­tire state for coy­otes, foxes and rac­coons. Three places in each cat­e­gory by weight. Con­tact Paul Deist at 814-483-0084 or JeromeS­ports­men.org for more in­for­ma­tion.

Jan. 25-27 — Lake Ed­in­boro Sports­men’s League Tri-State Coy­ote Hunt,

Cam­bridge Springs, Craw­ford County. Hunt Penn­syl­va­nia, Ohio and New York for coy­otes. Min­i­mum $1,000 prize for heav­i­est coy­ote. Heav­i­est fe­male con­test in­cluded. Hunt­ing with dogs or by call­ing, only. Visit ed­in­boro sports­men.org for ap­pli­ca­tion and more in­for­ma­tion.

Jan. 25-27 — Paul’s Trad­ing Post 5th An­nual Coy­ote, Bob­cat and Fox Con­test,

Kane, McKean County. Trap or hunt the en­tire state. Prizes paid for top-three heav­i­est coy­otes, plus heav­i­est fe­male and fox prizes. Bob­cat re­quires ex­tra en­try fee. Free pedestal coy­ote mount from Dan Swan­son Taxi­dermy to top win­ner. Con­tact Peggy or Paul King at 814-945-6504 for more info.

Jan. 25-27 — Dis­trict 9 PA Trap­pers As­so­ci­a­tion North­east Re­gional Coy­ote Hunt,

Tunkhan­nock, Wyoming County. Hunt eight north­east­ern coun­ties — $2,000 for heav­i­est coy­ote, bonus $250 prizes for heav­i­est coy­ote each day and $100 each coy­ote. Free weighin din­ner for par­tic­i­pants. For more in­for­ma­tion, call 570-8859224, or email [email protected]ot­mail.com.

Jan. 25-27 — Dis­tant Area Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment Coy­ote and Fox Hunt,

Dis­tant, Arm­strong County. Hunt en­tire state. Sep­a­rate reg­is­tra­tion for each species. Cash prizes for heav­i­est an­i­mals — with an ex­tra $2 pot for heav­i­est fe­males. Visit dis­tanta­rea vol­un­teer­firede­part­ment.net for more info.

Jan. 25-27 — RFS 4th An­nual Preda­tor Run­down, Punx­sutawney,

Jef­fer­son County. Hunt en­tire state for foxes, coy­otes and rac­coons. No trap­ping. 100 per­cent of en­try fees paid out as prizes — ex­tra en­try for heav­i­est fe­male con­tests. Top prizes were more than $1,000 each last year. Ham din­ner sold on site. Con­tact Bev­erly Rugh at 814-938-7831, or visit face­book.com/ RughFar­mSup­ply for more in­for­ma­tion.

Jan. 26-27 — 6th An­nual Bucks County Preda­tor Hunt,

Pipersville, Bucks County. Hunt the en­tire state in two-per­son teams for coy­otes and foxes. Bonus pot for big­gest skunk, rac­coon and opos­sum. Google the hunt for more in­for­ma­tion.

Feb. 1-3 — Wood­cock Val­ley Sportsman’s As­so­ci­a­tion 9th An­nual Preda­tor Hunt,

James Creek, Hunt­ing­don County. Hunt the en­tire state for foxes and coy­otes — max­i­mum three of each. Ad­di­tional fees to en­ter big­gest rac­coon, opos­sum and bob­cat. Con­tact Jairus Sh­effield at 814-599-7141. Rules and ap­pli­ca­tion at wvsa.webs.com.

Feb. 1-3 — Or­biso­nia Rock­hill Sportsman’s As­so­ci­a­tion Preda­tor Hunt,

Hunt­ing­don County. Hunt the en­tire state for foxes, crows, coy­otes and bob­cats (with per­mit) — bob­cat, coy­ote, red & grey fox prizes awarded by weight. Hunt­ing with dogs not per­mit­ted. Con­tact Rob Smith at 814-447-3736.

Feb. 1-3 — Three Springs Fire Com­pany Preda­tor Hunt,

Hunt­ing­don County. Hunt the en­tire state for foxes, crows, bob­cats (with per­mit) and coy­otes — bob­cat, coy­ote, red & grey fox prizes awarded by weight. Hunt­ing with dogs not per­mit­ted. Con­tact Joe My­ers at 814-448-3085.

Feb. 1-9 — Ellsworth Sports­men’s Club 5th An­nual Coy­ote Hunt,

Scenery Hill, Wash­ing­ton County. Hunt nine states. Hunters al­lowed to en­ter one male and one fe­male coy­ote — cash and prizes by draw­ing. Sep­a­rate con­test for trap­pers — prizes based on par­tic­i­pa­tion. En­try fee in­cludes awards din­ner on Feb. 10. Top prizes at least $1,000 each. Ex­tra heav­i­est male and fe­male coy­ote con­tests — prizes de­pen­dent on en­tries. Con­tact Chad Stren­nen at 724-825-2883, Mike Lehman at 724-255-4592, or visit esc15360.com for more in­for­ma­tion.

Feb. 8-10 — Cres­son Com­mu­nity Sportsman’s As­so­ci­a­tion 13th An­nual Coy­ote and Fox Hunt,

Cam­bria County. Hunt the en­tire state — $5,000 min­i­mum guar­an­teed prize money. Prizes for heav­i­est coy­otes, small­est coy­otes and 15 chance draw­ings, top prize $1,000. Ex­tra cash prize draw­ings for foxes turned in Fri­day and Satur­day. Con­tact cres­son­sports­mans.com for more in­for­ma­tion.

Feb. 8-10 — Fed­er­a­tion of Sports­men’s Clubs of Sul­li­van County, New York, 12th Coy­ote Hunt,

White Sul­phur Springs. Hunt­ing and trap­ping al­lowed. Top prize $2,000, $500 sec­ond, $250 third and a $200 daily prize. $100 for top fe­male and youth hunters, plus $80 guar­an­teed for each coy­ote. Reg­is­tra­tion in­cludes free ban­quet and gun raf­fle ticket. Penn­syl­va­nia hunters hunt­ing in Lack­awanna, Mon­roe, Pike, Wayne or Susque­hanna coun­ties wel­come, also in New York. Con­tact Jack Dan­chak at 845482-4987, or visit sports­mens fed­er­a­tion.com for more in­for­ma­tion.

Feb. 8-17 — PA State Hunters Or­ga­ni­za­tion 14th An­nual Cen­tral PA Coy­ote and Fox Hunt,

New­port, Perry Co. Hunt the en­tire state — no weigh­ing. Equal prize money for all en­tered coy­otes and foxes. No fox hunt­ing on Feb. 17. Find reg­is­tra­tion and hunt rules on Face­book: PA State Hunter’s Or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Feb. 9-16 — Port Clin­ton Fish & Game As­so­ci­a­tion 16th An­nual Coy­ote & Fox Hunt,

Schuylkill County. Hunt the en­tire state – up to 26 prize win­ners — max­i­mum of one prize per hunter. Call Breg Boltz at 610-562-3220 or Jeff Guldin at 610-914-9975 for more in­for­ma­tion, or visit port­clin­ton fis­handgame.com.

Feb. 15-16 — First An­nual Trout Run Fire Hall Preda­tor Roundup, Trout Run,

Ly­coming County. Hunt en­tire state for coy­otes, foxes and rac­coons. Each species has a sep­a­rate en­try fee. Pay­out 75 per­cent of all en­tries, with 25 per­cent ben­e­fit­ing the fire com­pany. Andy’s Taxi­dermy is do­nat­ing a free hide tan­ning to the heav­i­est coy­ote win­ner. Con­tact Tim Frey at 570-4192666 or Kevin Lea­sure at 570755-1787, or email Preda­[email protected] for more in­for­ma­tion.

Feb. 15-17 — Mos­quito Creek Sports­men’s 28th An­nual Coy­ote Hunt,

Frenchville, Clearfield County. Hunt en­tire state. Largest prizes — more than $48,000 paid out last year. $12 (in­cludes heav­i­est fe­male) plus $15 mem­ber­ship. Poly­graph for win­ners after hunt on Feb. 17. Con­tact 814-2634510 or mosqcreek.com for more info.

Feb. 15-17 — Sin­nema­hon­ing Sports­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion 14th Fox & Coy­ote Hunt,

Sin­nema­hon­ing, Cameron County. Hunt or trap en­tire state — 60 per­cent of prize money for heav­i­est coy­ote, the re­main­der di­vided equally. Fox and heav­i­est fe­male coy­ote have sep­a­rate fees and prize pots. No fox hunt­ing Feb. 17, but trap­ping is al­lowed. Con­tact 814546-2835, or check the club’s Face­book page for more in­for­ma­tion. ($12 + mem­ber­ship, + $5 heav­i­est fe­male, + $5 fox en­try)

Feb. 15-17 — St. Marys Sports­men’s Club 16th An­nual Size Doesn’t Mat­ter Coy­ote Hunt,

Elk County. Hunt the en­tire state. Many door prizes. Con­tact 814-834-4375 or St­maryssports­men.org for info.

Feb. 15-17 — Rolfe Bea­gle Club 3nd An­nual Win­ter Coy­ote & Fox Hunt,

John­son­burg, Elk County. Hunt en­tire state. Equal pay­out for all coy­otes and foxes en­tered, with the heav­i­est get­ting 10 per­cent more than the oth­ers. In­cludes “ghost raf­fle” for 50 per­cent of en­try fees. Sep­a­rate en­try fees for species and heav­i­est fe­male con­tests. Con­tact Chris Dou­ble at 814-964-2961 or Mary Hos­mer at 814-512-2101, or email [email protected]­mile­bea­gles.com or wl­[email protected]­stream.net for more info.

Feb. 15-17 — Lau­rel High­lands Preda­tor Hunt, Mt. Pleas­ant,

West­more­land County. Hunt or trap the en­tire state for coy­otes, foxes and rac­coons. Three places in each cat­e­gory by weight. Prize tick­ets given for each har­vested an­i­mal. En­try fee $15 for one cat­e­gory, plus $5 each there­after ($5 used for ad­min). Only Sun­day weigh-ins from 1-6 p.m. Con­tact Adam Fabian at 724455-5217 or 724-640-5217, or visit face­book.com/ Lau­rel-High­lands-Squir­rel-andCoon-Hunters-Club for more info.

Feb. 22-24 — Sul­li­van County 16th An­nual Coy­ote Hunt,

La­porte. Hunt the en­tire state. Pro­ceeds ben­e­fit La­porte and Mil­dred fire com­pa­nies. $2,000 guar­an­teed top prize, plus heav­i­est fe­male each day, light­est coy­ote and $50 per coy­ote up to three. Free lunch for hunters and a free coy­ote call­ing/hunt­ing sem­i­nar (for hunter and one guest) by Sheri Baity on Feb 24. Con­tact Daniel Mor­ri­son at 570-506-2911 or Sean Thi­bodeault at 570-6371905, or visit their Face­book page for more info.

Feb 22-24 — Colver Sports­men’s Club Coy­ote Hunt,

Ebens­burg, Cam­bria County. Hunt en­tire state. Prizes: 50 per­cent of the pot for heav­i­est coy­ote and the re­main­der di­vided evenly among all coy­otes en­tered. All suc­cess­ful hunters re­ceive money. Con­tact 814-948-6081, or visit the club’s Face­book page.

Feb. 23–March 9 — Charleroi Sports­men As­so­ci­a­tion Coy­ote Hunt,

Wash­ing­ton County. Equal pay­out for all coy­otes, plus jack­pot draw­ings. Hunt en­tire state. Free party on the last day. New spe­cific weigh-in times. Con­tact Pete Cu­pari at 724-640-6555 for more in­for­ma­tion.

March 1-3 — Lib­erty Town­ship Sports­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion 8th An­nual Coy­ote Hunt,

Blan­chard, Cen­tre County. Half of the reg­is­tra­tion money paid out for top three heav­i­est coy­otes, with the other half di­vided equally per num­ber of coy­otes en­tered — plus sep­a­rate heav­i­est fe­male con­test. Flea mar­ket at club Sat. & Sun. Con­tact Dwight Kline at 814574-5020, or go to lib­er­tys­ports­men.com.

MARK NALE

Of­fi­cials weigh Matt Ben­der’s win­ning coy­ote at the 2018 Lib­erty Town­ship hunt in Cen­tre County. This coy­ote weighed 28.1 pounds and earned Ben­der $932. It was the only coy­ote taken dur­ing the hunt.

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