Coyote hunt series already underway

State College, Pa. — Over 20 organized predator hunts are scheduled for this winter across the state. The hunts offer healthy outdoor activity during the cold months, along with a chance to win big prizes.

Hunts began in mid-January and extend through mid-March, with one or more hunts scheduled for every weekend. The peak month is February, with 16 hunts on tap. Most hunts last for two or three days. 

However, the Pennsylvania State Hunters Organization’s event lasts the entire month of February, Port Clinton Fish and Game Association’s contest is nine days long, and Washington County’s Charleroi Sportsmen Association’s hunt extends through the first two weeks of March.

The Mosquito Creek Sportsmen’s Club and District 9 Pennsylvania Trappers Associa­tion, by far the two largest hunts in the state, are keeping their rules and prize structures much the same for 2015.

“Why make changes and ruin a good thing?” said Ron Sartori, of Mosquito Creek. “Registrations are running a little bit behind last year, but they have really picked up the past few days. Our mailbox at the Post Office was just stuffed yesterday.”

A total of 4,077 hunters entered the Mosquito Creek contest last year, and it remains the only hunt to require that winners pass a polygraph.

While the biggest hunts are going strong, organizers of two hunts have decided to call it quits or at least let it rest for a year or two. A few others are considering the same thing for a variety of reasons. 

The Germania Hose Company had very few early registrations and has been thinking about canceling. “After 15 years, we have backed out of the coyote hunt business,” reported Lin Gamble, who organized Westmoreland County’s Tubmill Trout Club Lucky Dogs hunt. 

“We tried a number of different things to grow, but the participation just wasn’t there. We have substituted a gun bash as a fundraiser this year and will devote the club’s efforts to habitat improvement and raising trout.”

Last year’s participation was also off for the Blair County Game and Fish and Forestry Association’s contest.

“The number of hunters has dwindled during the seven years that we sponsored a coyote hunt,” said association president Tim Merritts. “We only had 20 hunters in 2014, so we will have no hunt in 2015.

Maybe we will look at it again next year.”

Several contests have instituted changes for 2015. The Endless Mountain Coon Hunters added foxes to their hunt and moved it from March to late January in order to accommodate that change. 

The Sigel Sportsmen’s hunt extended their check-in hours until 5 p.m. on the final day.

“Our hunt is held the same weekend as Mosquito Creek,” said Sigel Sportsmen’s Club spokesman Fred Geer. 

“It was suggested by some hunters that we change our check-in times, so we did, to allow hunters travel time between our hunt and Mosquito Creek.” 

No changes were made to the Cresson Community Sportsman’s Association’s contest for 2015. The club made several big changes last year – moving somewhat away from weights – and according to hunt manager Tom McConnell, “the changes worked well.” 

The Cresson hunt is the third largest in the state and offers at least $5,000 in prizes.

Some coyote hunts are held in hopes of making money, others just for fun and still more continue in hopes of reducing the coyote population.

“We started our hunt six years ago because we wanted to help get rid of some of the coyotes,” noted Colver Sportsmen’s Club hunt chairman Bernie Svidergol. “We just wanted to try to get more hunters to shoot coyotes.”           

One New York hunt is included in this list – the Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs of Sullivan County, New York, hunt – held Feb. 6-8. It is a large hunt and a number of Pennsylvania hunters participate each winter. Hunt headquarters are just across the Delaware River from Wayne County, Pennsylvania. Their hunt was also started to help reduce the coyote population.         

2015 Coyote Hunts

• Jan. 23-25: United Sportsman Camp 271, 13th annual Coyote Hunt, Huntington Mills, Luzerne/Columbia counties. Hunt the entire state, $1,000 to the heaviest coyote, $500 to 2nd place, and a prize for the smallest coyote, plus daily cash prizes. Contact Gene Dodge at 570-256-3933.

• Jan. 23-25: Endless Mountain Coon Hunters Coyote and Fox Hunt, Springville, Susquehanna County. Hunt in eight northeastern counties, $2,000 top prize for heaviest coyote. Contact Jerry Croasdale at 570-942-6487 or www.endlessmountaincoonhunters.com for more info.

• Jan. 30-Feb. 1: Woodcock Valley Sportsmen’s Club Predator Hunt, James Creek, Huntingdon County. Hunt the entire state for foxes and coyotes, maximum three of each. Contact Rick Isett  at 814-658-3058. Rules and application at http://wvsa.webs.com.

• Feb. 1-28: Pennsylvania State Hunters Organization 10th annual Coyote Hunt, Newport, Perry County. Hunt the entire state, no weighing, equal prize money for all entered coyotes. Contact Keith Tobias at 717-444-7061 or www.pastatehuntersorg.com.

• Feb. 6-8: District 9, Pennsylvania Trappers Association Northeast Regional Coyote Hunt, Tunkhannock, Wyoming County. Hunt eight northeastern counties,  $2,000 for heaviest coyote, bonus $250 prizes for heaviest coyote each day and $100 each coyote. Free chicken dinner. Contact William Kalinauskis at 570-942-6895. 

• Feb. 6-8: Orbisonia Rockhill Sportsman’s Association Predator Hunt, Huntingdon County. Hunt the entire state for foxes, crows and coyotes. Coyote, red and gray fox prizes awarded by weight. Hunting with dogs not permitted. Contact Rob Smith at 814-447-3736.

• Feb. 6-8: St. Clair Tremont Trap and Field Club’s 13th annual Fox and Coyote Hunt, Johnstown, Cambria County. Hunt the entire state for foxes and coyotes. Contact Garret Smith at 814-619-5373 or go to www.stclairtremontclub.com. 

• Feb. 6-8: Cresson Community Sportsman’s Association ninth annual Fox and Coyote Hunt, Cambria County. Hunt the entire state, $5,000 minimum guaranteed prize money. Prizes for heaviest coyotes, smallest coyotes and several chance drawings, top prize $1,000. Contact 814-886-7727 or www.cressonsportsmans.com for more information.

• Feb. 6-8: Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs of Sullivan County, N.Y., eighth Coyote Hunt. Top prize $2,000, $100 for top female and youth hunters, plus $100 guaranteed for each coyote. Just across the Pennsylvania border – Pennsylvania hunters welcome, but they must hunt in New York. Contact Jack Danchak at 845-482-4987 for more information.

• Feb. 13-15: Shavers Creek Volunteer Fire Company 18th annual Coyote Hunt, Huntingdon County. Hunt the entire state for foxes and coyotes. For more information, call 814-667-2018 or www.shaverscreekfire.com.

n Feb. 13-15: Clarion County Rod & Gun Club Coyote Hunt, Knox.  Registration and weigh-in at Sportsman’s Outfitters in Knox. Prizes by weight. Contact Randy at 814-797-5253.

• Feb. 13-15: Sinnemahoning Sportsmen’s Association 10th Fox and Coyote Hunt, Cameron County. Hunt Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, Ohio and Maryland, with 60 percent of prize money to heaviest coyote, the remainder divided equally, plus a separate heaviest female contest. Contact Ray Savel at 814-263-4418 or       visit www.sinnemahoning-sportsmen
.org.

• Feb. 14-22: Port Clinton Fish & Game Association 12th annual Coyote Hunt, Schuylkill County. Hunt the entire state – 13 prize winners – maximum of one prize per hunter. Call 610-562-4310 or 610-562-4765 for more information or visit www.portclintonfishand
game.com.

• Feb. 20-22: Mosquito Creek Sportsmen’s 24th annual Coyote Hunt, Frenchville, Clearfield County. Largest prizes – over $40,000 paid out last year. Contact 814-263-4510 or www.mosquitocreeksportsmen
.com for more info.

• Feb. 20-22: St. Marys 12th annual Size Doesn’t Matter Coyote Hunt, Elk County. Hunt the entire state. Contact 814-834-4375 or www.stmaryssportsmen.org for more info.

• Feb. 20-22: 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. 20-22: Laurel Highlands Predator Hunt, Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County,  hunt or trap the entire state for coyotes, foxes and raccoons. Three places in each category by weight. Contact Adam Fabian (724-455-5217) or Bruce Knopsnider (724-455-3345) for more info. 

• Feb. 28-March 14: Charleroi Sportsmen Association Coyote Hunt, Washington County. Equal payout for all coyotes, plus a jackpot drawing. Free party on the last day. Contact Pete Cupari at 724-640-6555 or visit www.charleroisportsmen.com for more info.

• Feb. 27-March 1: Sullivan County 12th annual Coyote Hunt, Laporte. Hunt entire state. Proceeds benefit three fire companies, $1,000 guaranteed in top prize money plus $50 per coyote up to three. Free Sunday lunch for hunters. Contact Daniel Morrison at 570-506-2911 or Mildred Fire Company at www.station58.org for more info.

• Feb. 27-March 1: Colver Sportsmen’s Club Coyote Hunt, Colver, Cambria County. Hunt entire state. Top prizes: $500 for heaviest male and female coyotes, plus $250 to the oldest and youngest successful hunters. The largest coyote shot in Cambria County also nets $250. All successful hunters receive money. Contact Bernie Svidergol at 814-749-7415 or visit www.colversports.com.

• March 6-8: Liberty Township Sportsmen’s Association fourth 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. Contact Dwight Kline at 814-574-5020 or go to www.libertysportsmen.com.

• March 14-15: Corydon Township 17th annual Coyote Hunt, McKean County. Hunt all of Pennsylvania and New York. Top prizes for heaviest coyotes $500, $250 and $125. Party with door prizes on the last day of the hunt. Proceeds benefit volunteer fire company. Contact Chris Cobb at 814-598-0752 or www.corydon
twp.com for more info.

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