Organized coyote and fox hunts fill winter days

Carlisle hunter Grant Lebo with a 39-pound coyote that he entered in last year’s Mosquito Creek contest.
Carlisle hunter Grant Lebo with a 39-pound coyote that he entered in last year’s Mosquito Creek contest. For the CDT

Centre County is home to only one organized coyote hunt, the Liberty Township hunt that is held March 2-4. The seventh annual hunt features an indoor flea market and a raffle, as well as food and drink that are available for purchase.

At least 26 additional organized predator hunts are scheduled for the winter of 2018. Although most of the hunts are centered around coyotes, 11 hunts include foxes and a few even include raccoons, bobcats and crows.

The hunts begin January 12-14, with the Woodcock Valley Sportsmen’s Club Hunt — centered in James Creek, Huntingdon County. The following weekend, United Sportsmen Camp 271 and Endless Mountain Coon Hunters hold their contests. The hunts end in March with the Liberty Township hunt and the long-running Corydon Township hunt, scheduled for March 3-4. However, most of the hunts are scheduled for February.

The Mosquito Creek Sportsmen will hold their 27th annual coyote hunt Feb. 16-18. Mosquito Creek hosts the longest-running and, by far, the largest hunt in Pennsylvania, if not the entire United States. Six other hunts are also scheduled during that same weekend. The second-biggest weekend for hunts is Feb. 2-4, with five coyote contests planned.

According to Mosquito Creek hunt organizer Ron Sartori, registrations are running at about the same number as last year at this time. Last-minute registrations are often weather dependent.

“Our registration numbers could go up or down, but it appears that we have leveled off at 4,000 to 4,500 hunters per year,” Sartori said. “Everything is just kind of routine for our club, but two things were changed for this year. Instead of having an optional heaviest female coyote contest, we just decided to add the $2 to the cost of the entry, making it $12 plus a $10 membership fee. Only 50 hunters didn’t enter this extra contest last year; making it part of the entry fee will make things a lot easier for our membership chairman.”

The Mosquito Creek Sportsmen’s Club gives the polygraph test to the top winners. Their second change involves the wording pertaining to that test on their application. “We have always reserved the right to challenge any entry and give that hunter a polygraph. The new wording just makes that very clear to all applicants,” Sartori said.

Other changes include the District 9 Pennsylvania Trappers Association hunt, the second largest in the state, uppping the registration fee for their Jan. 26-28 contest. Their new fee is $35. (An early bird discount of $5 was offered until Jan. 8.) This puts them $13 higher than Mosquito Creek. The Sinnemahoning Sportsmen broadened their area to include the entire state instead of a few northcentral counties. The Sullivan County, Pa., hunt added an optional heaviest female of the day contest for an extra $15 fee.

Several hunts include a free meal with registration. United Sportsmen hold a breakfast, District 9 Trappers have a dinner, Sullivan County (Pa.) has a lunch, the Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs of Sullivan County, New York, include a banquet — and the Charleroi Sportsmen and Corydon Township hold a party on the last day.

The Cresson Sportsmen offer a free seminar by Doug Myers and U.S. Department of Agriculture biologist Kyle Van Why on Jan. 27. Sheri Baity will give a free coyote hunting and calling seminar at the Sullivan County, Pa., hunt on Feb. 25.

One new club is entering the world of organized coyote hunts and entering in a big way. The Lake Edinboro Sportsmen’s League in Crawford County will hold its first hunt Feb. 2-4. The guaranteed top prize will be $1,000, with other prizes dependent on the number of hunters who enter. The club hopes to raise money to help its youth activities.

“We’ve patterned our hunt after Mosquito Creek, and we have even arranged to give polygraph tests to the top winners,” hunt organizer Dave Vascovich said. “Since our club is located 15 miles from Ohio and just a little farther from New York, we have decided to make our hunt a tri-state contest. As long as a hunter is properly licensed, they can harvest a coyote in Pennsylvania, New York or Ohio.”

2018 Coyote Hunts

Jan. 12-14: Woodcock Valley Sportsmen’s Club 6th Annual Predator Hunt, James Creek, Huntingdon Co. Hunt the entire state for foxes and coyotes — maximum three of each. Biggest raccoon and bobcat added to this year’s hunt. Contact Jairus Sheffield at 814-599-7141. Rules and application at http://wvsa.webs.com.

Jan. 19-21: United Sportsman Camp 271 — 16th Annual Coyote Hunt, Huntington Mills, Luzerne/Columbia counties. Hunt the entire state — $1,000 for the heaviest coyote, $500 to 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. Contact Nick Wagner at 570-574-0682 or visit www.huntingdonmillssportsmen.com.

Jan. 19-21: Endless Mountain Coon Hunters 13th Annual Coyote & Fox Hunt, Springville, Susquehanna County. Hunt in 14 northeastern counties — $2,000 top prize for heaviest coyote, second prize Remington 783 in .270 caliber, 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 at 570-836-5047, Jerry at 570-942-6487, or www.endlessmountaincoonhunters.com for more info.

Jan. 26-28: District 9 PA Trappers Association Northeast Regional Coyote Hunt, Tunkhannock, Wyoming Co. Hunt 8 northeastern counties — $2,000 for heaviest coyote, bonus $250 prizes for heaviest coyote each day and $100 each coyote. Free weigh-in dinner for participants. For more information, call 570-885-9224 or email pricee0503@hotmail.com.

Jan. 26-28: Jerome Sportsmen 10th 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 www.JeromeSportsmen.org for more information.

Jan. 26-28: Paul’s Trading Post 4th Annual Coyote Contest, Kane, McKean County. Trap or hunt the entire state. Prizes paid for top three heaviest coyotes, plus heaviest female. Contact Peggy or Paul King at 814-945-6504 for more info.

Feb. 2-4: Little Valley Sportsman — Saxton, Huntingdon Co. Hunt the entire state for coyotes and foxes. Contact Chad Ayers at 814-635-3681 for more information.

Feb. 2-4: 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. Visit www.edinborosportsmen.org for application and more information.

Feb. 2-4: Orbisonia Rockhill Sportsman’s Association Predator Hunt, Huntingdon Co. Hunt the entire state for foxes, crows & coyotes — coyote, red & grey fox prizes awarded by weight. Hunting with dogs not permitted. Contact Rob Smith at 814-447-3736.

Feb. 2-4: Three Springs Fire Company Predator Hunt, Huntingdon Co. Hunt the entire state for foxes, crows & coyotes — coyote, red & grey fox prizes awarded by weight. Hunting with dogs not permitted. Contact Joe Myers at 814-448-3085.

Feb. 2-10: Ellsworth Sportsmen’s Club 4th 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. 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 www.esc15360.com for more information.

Feb. 9-18: PA State Hunters Organization 13th Annual Coyote and Fox Hunt, Newport, Perry Co. Hunt the entire state — no weighing. Equal prize money for all entered coyotes. No fox hunting on Feb. 18. Contact Keith Tobias at 717-444-7061.

Feb. 9-11: Cresson Community Sportsman’s Association 12th Annual Coyote and Fox Hunt, Cambria Co. 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 814-886-7727 or www.cressonsportsmans.com for more information.

Feb. 9-11: Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs of Sullivan County, New York, 11th Coyote Hunt. Hunting and trapping allowed. Top prize $2,000; $500 second 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 845-482-4987 or www.sportsmensfederation.com for more information.

Feb. 10-17: Port Clinton Fish & Game Association 15th Annual Coyote & Fox Hunt, Schuylkill Co. Hunt the entire state — up to 26 prize winners — maximum of one prize per hunter. Call Ted at 610-562-4310 or Justin at 610-763-9794 for more information or visit www.portclintonfishandgame.com.

Feb. 16-18: Sinnemahoning Sportsmen’s Association 13th Fox & Coyote Hunt, Sinnemahoning, Cameron Co. 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. 18. Contact 814-546-2835 or check the club’s Facebook page for more information. ($12 membership, $5 heaviest female, $5 fox entry)

Feb. 16-18: Mosquito Creek Sportsmen’s 27th Annual Coyote Hunt, Frenchville, Clearfield Co. Hunt entire state. Largest prizes — more than $46,000 paid out last year. $12 (includes heaviest female) plus $10 membership. Contact 814-263-4510 or www.mosqcreek.com for more info.

Feb. 16-18: Laurel Highlands Predator Hunt, Mt. Pleasant, Westmoreland Co. 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. Contact Adam Fabian (724-455-5217). Entry fee $15 for one category ($5 used for admin). Only Sunday weigh-ins 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Feb. 16-18: St. Marys Sportsmen 15th Annual Size Doesn’t Matter Coyote Hunt, Elk Co. Hunt the entire state. Contact 814-834-4375 or www.stmaryssportsmen.org for more info.

Feb. 16-18: Rolfe Beagle Club 2nd Annual Winter Coyote Hunt, Johnsonburg, Elk Co. Hunt entire state. Equal payout for all coyotes entered, with the heaviest getting 10 percent more than the others. Contact Chris Double at 814-964-2961 or chris@threemilebeagles.com, for more info.

Feb. 16-18: Sigel Sportsmen’s Statewide Winter Coyote Hunt, Jefferson County. Hunt the entire state — size does not matter, one coyote per entry fee, multiple entries permitted. Contact Fred Geer (814-752-2485), Bill Fiscus (814-752-2795) or www.sigelsportsmensclub.com.

Feb 16-18: Colver Sportsmen’s Club Coyote Hunt, 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 Bernie Svidergol at 814-749-7415 or visit www.colversports.com

Feb. 23-25: Sullivan County 15th 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 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 25. Contact Daniel Morrison at 570-506-2911 or Sean Thibodeault at 570-637-1905 or visit their Facebook page for more info.

Feb. 24–March 10: Charleroi Sportsmen Association Coyote Hunt, Washington County. Equal payout for all coyotes, plus jackpot drawings. Hunt entire state. Free party on the last day. Hunt limited to 250 people. Contact Pete Cupari at 724-640-6555 or www.charleroisportsmen.com for more information.

March 2-4: Liberty Township Sportsmen’s Association 7th 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 Saturday and Sunday. Contact Dwight Kline at 814-574-5020 or go to www.libertysportsmen.com.

March 3-4: Corydon Township 20th Annual Coyote Hunt, McKean County. Hunt in any state. Top prizes for heaviest coyotes — $600, $350 and $225. Separate heaviest female added for $10 extra. Party with door prizes on the last day of the hunt. Proceeds benefit Corydon Township Volunteer Fire Company. Contact Chris Cobb at 814-598-0752 or visit www.corydonVFD.com

Mark Nale, who lives in the Bald Eagle Valley, is a member of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association and can be reached at MarkAngler@aol.com