Teenager gets $16,592 for coyote

Frenchville, Pa. — A 10th-grader at Clearfield Area High School took home the largest payout for a single coyote ever awarded in Pennsylvania, and probably the entire United States. 

Fifteen-year-old Seth Bumbarger, of Woodland, garnered the top prize at the Mosquito Creek Sportsmen Coyote Hunt, held Feb. 19-21. The prize – $16,592 – was so high because Bumbarger had the heaviest coyote overall and he earned an additional $8,202 because his coyote was also the heaviest female coyote.

“We drove around looking for coyote tracks in the early morning and put the dogs on a set of tracks at around 8 o’clock,” Bumbarger said. “Then we had to pull the dogs off when they got too close to a road. At 9:45, we were walking the dogs through the woods and came upon another set of fresh tracks, and we let two dogs loose.

“The coyote jumped from a bunch of old terracotta pipes and I was the first to see it, but I didn’t get a shot,” Bumbarger said. “My dad, John Bumbarger, got three shots but missed.

“The dogs pushed the coyote across the railroad track and down a bank. I was ready,” the youngster said. One shot from his Savage .243 dropped the large coyote at about 65 yards.

“Seth was just as cool as a cucumber when he made the shot,” noted his cousin Marti Bumbarger, a familiar face at organized coyote hunts.

“It was my first coyote, so I didn’t realize how big it was until we got a rough weight at the truck,” Seth said. “Then I got excited.”

Seth Bumbarger is the youngest hunter ever to win the Mosquito Creek contest and, since male coyotes are usually the heaviest, it is the first time in the history of the hunt that the heaviest female, at 46.5 pounds, was also the heaviest coyote overall. It was Bumbarger’s first time to enter the Mosquito Creek hunt.

Bumbarger, like all Mosquito Creek major prize winners, must take and pass a polygraph test. Bumbarger passed the test and plans to save his share of the prize money to purchase a pickup truck when he turns 16.

The 2016 Mosquito Creek event saw 4,153 registered hunters bring in a record 186 coyotes from 38 Pennsylvania counties. They gave out a record purse of over $41,400 – no other hunt comes close to this.

The Mosquito Creek hunt was not without a little drama – David Wilhour, of Sunbury initially had the heaviest coyote, a 47.4-pounder supposedly shot in Northumberland County on Feb. 20 – the second day of the hunt. 

Wilhour did not show up to take the polygraph test and therefore forfeited the $8,306 pot. This moved Bumbarger from second to first. When contacted by this reporter, Wilhour refused to answer any questions as to why he did not show for the polygraph and hung up the phone.   

Other coyote hunts

The results from many of the early coyote hunts are in. Gene Dodge reported that Bob Brown, of Tunkhannock, turned in the heaviest of nine coyotes during the United Sportsman Camp 271’s Jan. 22-24 hunt. 

Brown’s 50.4-pound ‘yote netted him $1,000. “Our numbers were down this year, but we had some of the heaviest coyotes ever turned in,” noted Dodge.

Peggy King reported that 47 hunters weighed in nine coyotes to the Paul’s Trading Post hunt, held Jan. 22-24 in McKean County. 

“The big snowstorm kicked us in the butt that weekend and prevented some hunters from bringing their coyotes. This kept our numbers down,” said King. Matt Logik, of Meadville, won the hunt with a 49.4-pound male coyote.  

Springville Coon Hunters held its coyote and fox contest Jan. 22-24. Of 170 hunters turning in 26 coyotes (14 males, 12 females), 19 were taken using dogs. Eleven gray foxes were also weighed in. 

Bob Brown, of Tunkhannock, turned in heaviest male coyote, shot in Wyoming County while hunting with dogs. At 49.6 pounds, it garnered Brown over $2,000. Jeff Clark had second heaviest coyote, a 43.85-pound male, also taken in Wyoming County.

The Tubmill Trout Club paid out a total of $2,335 plus an additional $800 worth of sponsor prizes during its Lucky Dog coyote and fox hunt, held Jan. 29-31. 

Rich Anders, of McDonald, Chris Griffin, of Venetia, and Jim McBride, of Ellwood City, each earned $530 for their coyotes. According to Lin Gamble, a total of 10 coyotes and seven foxes were entered in their hunt.

The District 9 PA Trappers Association Northeast Regional Hunt, also Jan. 29-31, drew 771 participants, who entered 27 coyotes – down from 48 coyotes last year. 

John Krazan, of Scott Township, was the big winner – earning $2,500 for his three coyotes. His heaviest coyote weighed 46.6 pounds and took the top prize. The hunt, centered in Tunkhannock, is the second largest hunt in the state.

Tyler Moon, a 15-year-old Somerset hunter, took the top prize of $520 with a 40.5-pound coyote in the Jan. 29-31 Jerome Sportsmen hunt. According to Paul Deist, 97 registered hunters turned in seven coyotes.

A total of 361 people entered the Feb. 5-7 Cresson Community Sportsmen hunt. Aaron Heck, of Tioga, netted $1,000 for his 43.6-pound Tioga County coyote.

Ronald Laubscher, of Bellefonte, scored $228 in the Feb. 5-7 Shavers Creek hunt with his 37.9-pound coyote. Only three coyotes were turned in by 61 hunters in this year’s hunt.

Bernie Svidergol reported, “It was disheartening that only 39 hunters entered this year’s Clover Sportsmen hunt (Feb. 19-21), but they did turn in 12 coyotes – 10 males and two females. James Kaufman, of Carrolltown, won – 42.8 pounds.”

Only 89 people entered the Sigel Sportsmen Feb. 19-21 coyote hunt. Eighteen coyotes earned $49 each in this hunt that does not weigh coyotes. 

According to Amanda Chrisner, Christopher Wagner, of Creekside, won the Laurel Highlands Predator Hunt with a 38.6-pound coyote. He also tied for second place with a 35.2-pound canine.            

Jack Danchak reported that 508 hunters turned in 71 coyotes in the Sullivan County, New York, hunt. Fifty-five of the registered hunters were from Pennsylvania, and they turned in three coyotes. A 49.3-pound coyote, taken in Sullivan County, N.Y., took this year’s contest and won $2,200 for a New York hunter.   

Corydon Township’s 18th annual March 12-13 hunt is the final organized coyote hunt of the winter. About $1,000 in prizes will be awarded.

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