Oneontan Dennis Kirk will be doing some extensive road running this week when he presents seminars to Western New York hunters about harvesting the wily coyote -- no Acme equipment sold here.
Kirk will be in Niagara County at the Cornell Cooperative Center on Monday and at Frontier Central High School on Tuesday. He brings bountiful information to his presentations, with more than 15 years of Coyote calling and hunting experience in Canada, Mexico and 16 of the United States.
He uses videos and calling demonstrations to teach the complexities of finding and calling these creatures, which are classified between varmint and game animals. He gained some insights from close observation.
"Last year I began housing a male coyote -- with the proper DEC permits -- in order to study the animal's behaviors," he said.
Kirk, an experienced varmint caller and hunter of fox, raccoon and deer, says "I mainly hunt coyotes in this part of the country in January and February, when time allows after the closings of big game archery seasons."
Russ Biss, Department of Environmental Conservation senior wildlife biologist at the Olean office, points out that deer seasons generally account for a good number of coyotes taken in the region.
"Many of the coyote reports that come in are incidental kills made during the deer season," Biss said.
DEC's coyote harvest reports come exclusively from hunters applying for free pelt seals required for the sale of coyote hides. Pelt prices last year averaged $20, and hunters submitted 2,500 pelt seals statewide. Hunters who have taken coyotes can obtain the plastic pelt seals from the DEC by mail or by visiting area DEC offices at Avon, Buffalo or Olean.
Coyote numbers in Western New York have been increasing for 20 years, Biss says, but the pure strain of eastern coyotes has been moving into the area -- mainly across the Niagara River during hard-freezing winters -- since the early 1930s. There is proof Coyotes have lived in the region for at least 400 years.
Concern for the damage coyotes can cause to domestic and wildlife stock, plus the challenge they offer to sport hunters, has generated interest in this controversial critter.
Coyotes Limited, a regional organization, was formed earlier this year and is sponsoring a contest for the largest coyote taken during the state season (Oct. 25-March 15). Coyote contests have become extraordinarily popular. Last year, a two-day coyote hunt at Mosquito Creek, Pa., drew 2,146 entries. For details about the Coyotes Limited club and contest, call Chris Schotz (751-9397).
DEC personnel will introduce Kirk's talks at both locations with a presentation on the wide-ranging eastern coyote. The Cornell Cooperative Extension building is at 4487 Lake Ave. in Lockport. Doors open Monday at 6 p.m. for the 6:30 program. The meeting Tuesday will be held in the main auditorium of Frontier Central High School on Bayview Road in Hamburg at 7 p.m. A $3 admission fee will be charged at both locations.
For details, call 655-0975.