Even with a full moon that didn't help hunters who were trying to call in hungry coyotes, hunters from all over Arizona and three western states participated in the Mohave Sportsman Club annual coyote suppression hunt.
This year 260 hunters on 111 teams went into the prime antelope and deer fawning areas of northern Arizona to try and temporarily reduce the number of coyotes there, said Steve Bell, president of the local outdoor recreational group.
While only 37 of the predators were brought in, hunters removed these fawn-eaters at no cost to the state, giving the newborn deer and antelope fawns, elk calves, turkey poults and javelina redds a better chance of survival.
Arizona Game and Fish biologists have long said that coyotes are the No. 1 predator of newborn antelope fawns in Arizona.
The hunt was started 24 years ago by then-MSC president Herb Stipe. Stipe wanted sportsmen to help with predator control in prime antelope fawning areas in northern Arizona.
Bell said that coyotes were taken in Units 9, 10, 18A, 18B and 15A - areas that all have populations of antelope.
Kingman residents and teammates Clint Zumwalt and Brian Cook brought in three coyotes, as did the team of James Roberts and Kathy Akakorblade. Five teams brought in two coyotes each, including two from Kingman - Brad Lewis and Allen Probst, and Bonnie Hendricks and Hali Hodges.
The hunters also supplied coyotes to biologists from the Game and Fish Department. The biologists collected samples from coyotes taken in and near the federally listed and endangered black-footed ferrets in Aubrey Valley.
The MSC also held a huge raffle at the conclusion of the day and half event, and local sportsman Thom Howell and his son Matt won the grand prize, a new Rock River AR-15 rifle worth more than $1,500.
Linda Bell, the wife of MSC president Steve Bell, won the second prize, a Savage Axis rifle package in .22-250 caliber.
Steve Bell said that the club gave away about 80 prizes that he valued at over $5,000.
In addition, the club held drawings for cash on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon to help hunters defray the cost of attending the event.
Bell also noted that there wasn't a motel room to be found in Seligman on Saturday night. They were all taken by those who participated in the hunt.
It is believed that the annual Antelope Eaters hunt, which is headquartered at the Black Cat Bar, is the single largest event that brings in thousands of dollars to the Seligman community annually.
Besides all the motel rooms being filled, hunters patronized the town's restaurants and gas stations.
As always, this event turned out to be a win-win.
Wildlife won - there are fewer coyotes out there for the young of the year to avoid. And sportsmen won, as they enjoyed the great outdoors while doing something good for wildlife.
Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2013
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Wow, 260 hunters and their high tech paramilitary assault weapons traveling from three states and spending thousands of dollars on Seligman's economy. $5000. worth of prizes? The MSC Presidents's wife won the Savage Axis?
All just to kill 37 coyotes?
What was that last line again? Wildlife won? This is about doing something good for wildlife?