We both sat camouflaged below the brow of the rim and listened to the early morning music of the song-dog wailing about his lot in life. I never tired of listening to the many varied notes of this wooly desert marauder. My son looked over at me; we winked knowingly at one another.
I lifted the well worn cow horn howler and let loose with some melodies of my own in answer to the coyote's lonesome howl. After a series of yips, yodels and howls I sat quietly to await the response. It didn't take long for a ferocious challenge howl to send chills up and down my spine. I knew I was close to the den and, apparently, I was closer than the coyote would tolerate. I readied the .22 Cheetah on the bipod glanced at Chris and he nodded back.
Silence ensued eerily and the early morning fog drifted in and out like ghosts dancing a minuet. I knew the coyote or coyotes would try and circle to get our wind; hopefully the coyote urine I had liberally sprayed around would combat this problem.
The local sheepman had been losing several lambs a night to the old desert dog feeding his pups. We hoped we would now be able to cause the coyotes a little misery and, hopefully, cause him to be "pushing up daisies".
I glimpsed a movement off to my right and shifted slightly to keep it on sight. A magpie fluttered in the air squawking and I knew "Ole Wiley" was close at hand. Another "challenge howl" hit the cool morning dawn and a 30 lb alligator with fur launched himself into an opening in the sage brush. I barked sharply and the coyote pulled up short and stared intently ahead trying to discern his enemy. The "Cheetah" cracked and a small red spot appeared in the "sticking point" and the proud ol' dog crumpled.
Another shot echoed and split the dawn and I turned toward Chris in time to see a coyote's tail twitching about 30 yards away. A double doesn't happen all the time I can assure you and we were both proud as punch; we had performed as "one helluva team" once again.
All this coyote howling started about 30 + years ago when I was with the Fish and Wildlife Service (government trapper) or Animal Damage Control. I learned to voice howl from the old master, Milt McQueary, who eventually called in over 5000 coyotes before his death. I developed the "Herbs Howler" early on because I could not always depend on my voice to imitate the melodious soulful tones of "El Coyote".
I started my son, Chris, hunting at the tender age of 8 and he had quite a few coyote trips under his belt by the time he was a teenager. Because of our close relationship and his love for hunting "Wiley", he took over Herb's Howlers in 1991.Today I am so sad to say that my great hunting partner, my friend, my son, is no longer with us due to unforeseen tragic circumstances. His love for the chase and coyote calling will live on and I know he will be fondly remembered by all who knew him.