Hunter bags two coyotes, bobcat in one day

Published 8:35 am Friday, October 29, 2010

NEWSOMS—A few weeks ago, Keith Futrell headed to the woods with his bow, hoping to bag a deer or bear.

Keith Futrell took this bobcat on Oct. 11.

He came home that day with two coyotes and a bobcat.

“It was an awesome day,” Futrell said. “It’s not very often you can shoot coyotes and a bobcat all in the same day, much less in the same season. Bobcats are rare.”

While hunting on Oct. 11 in the Newsoms area, the 36-year-old from Capron spotted a pack of coyotes. He saw three close up, but speculates there were as many as six.

“I was thinking it was a deer,” he said about seeing the initial coyote.

He took two females that weigh about 50 pounds each.

That afternoon, he spotted a bobcat.

“I saw him run across a log,” said Futrell, who shot the bobcat underneath his tree stand. It was the second one he’d taken as a hunter.

Futrell noted that it seems that the local coyote population is growing. Futrell has spotted packs of three or more on a few occasions.

Aaron Proctor, a wildlife biologist for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ Southeast District in Chesapeake, said the population has been growing for the past few decades.

Keith Futrell harvested these coyotes on Oct. 11.

With wolves and cougars no longer living in Virginia, the coyote has no natural predators, Proctor said.

“Coyotes are very adaptable,” he said. “The more you kill or harvest . . . they can increase their litter size and litters per year. We have found you have to take 60 percent or greater of a local population every year to keep the population in check.”

Every county has coyotes, but statewide population figures are not available.

“What can we do to get rid of them?” Proctor continued. “You’re not going to.”

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries suggests “controlling them.”

“We try to preach preventive fencing-in of livestock and bringing animals in at night,” Proctor said.

Coyotes prey on small rodents and mammals as well as sheep, goats, cats and small dogs. Coyotes breed from January through March and have litters of five to six pups.

“Where hunting pressure is high, they can have multiple litters,” Proctor said.

As for Futrell, he said he was pretty lucky on Oct. 11.

“I’m still looking for a buck and bear,” said Futrell, a bridge safety inspector with Virginia Department of Transportation. “I’ve seen a lot of nice deer.”

“I really enjoy sharing hunting with my family and friends and just being outdoors in God’s country,” he added. “I thank my landowner friends for that privilege — allowing me to hunt on their land. If it wasn’t for them, my hunting would be limited.”