Gastro Gnome - Eat Better Wherever

A story to remember...thanks coyotes


Active member
Jun 11, 2020
Well I debated whether to post this or not but what the heck.

My buddy and I have been trying to get him on a buck for archery hunting on a small 400 acre ranch surrounded by smaller ranches and then a larger housing development and school (more on that later). It's not an ideal area but with the forest closed in CA we thought why not. We had seen several bucks, including a nice 3 X 3 that we couldn't get close enough to, except for when it walked 10 yards from me (a whole other story) but I wasn't the one hunting, just scouting.

Fast forward to Sunday, the last day of the season. We go out one more time but I didn't have high hopes, we hadn't see a buck for the last couple days on the property, including that morning and I had been gone a lot from the family so I felt bad I was leaving again. However, I had committed to try and get him a buck so I made the effort to go and scout the last few hours of light to see what happens. What did I decide to wear? Well glad you asked because like I said, I had low hopes and decided to roll in basketball shorts and tennis shoes, the first time I have ever done this. And last. I do have my pack, knives, game bags, flashlight, headlamp, food and water etc. So not totally unprepared, just not dressed right.

Of course with an hour left, I glass up a buck. It's a fork and horn but still has a good body on him and my friend decides to go for it. We make our plan and start the stalk. As we are adjusting for the wind, we spook three coyotes who are just coming out to start their hunt. This annoys us as I am afraid they will spook the buck but instead they run up the hill to the next ridge and we dismiss them...for a short while that is. We get to our spot and while I watch my friend is able to get within 40 yards. The buck is on a hill but its a good position and right when he is about to let go the buck turns slightly to head up the hill. I don't do archery and I'm not here to debate whether it was a good shot or not, but I can honestly say it wasn't irresponsible and I have seen him hit that shot dozens and dozens of times before. But life happens and the arrow hits him in the shoulder and not vitals.

The buck only runs up the hill about 20 yards and I can tell he doesn't want to move much. I know he isn't going to die and we need to get another arrow in him. My friend does a great job getting into position again but the wind shifts and the buck makes him and moves the the next ridge but stops again. Not really concerned just trying to find a place to bed down. Well you may remember what is waiting on the next ridge :( Before we know what is happening these three coyotes are quite delighted that his wounded buck has wandered right into them and they start chasing it. At this point the buck takes off up a very steep mountain being pursued by three coyotes.

My friend is in full pursuit to not lose sight of the buck and this means running up a hill (mountain) in the dusk while watching these coyotes push the buck. I didn't witness this part but he says at one point they surround it and he gives a couple kicks. Since I was further down the hill and wouldn't be able to catch them, I decide to run back to the car and drive around the property line in the direction they are running. I don't want this buck to leave the property if it can be helped. BY the time I do that and meet up with my friend on a new hill it is totally dark however we do both have the headlamps so we keep hiking. Remember I am in shorts and my legs are getting all jacked up by the sage brush and yucca bushes.

The coyotes push the buck over a mile up the hill and off property to the school property on the backside of this hill. It's ridiculous. We obviously can't trespass, let alone bring a weapon onto school property so we are out of luck. At this point we are just going to bump the buck if it is alive or run into three coyotes eating it. We decide to call it a night and to come back and search first thing in the morning. On the way back down, I step within 1 foot of a rattlesnake, even with my light, who let's me know he is there and it is a perfect ending to the night and a great reminded to me that I'm an idiot for not wearing proper clothes and boots.

The next morning at 5:45am we are back out there and hike the mountain again to the edge of his property to look down where the buck was pushed, half expecting to see a dead half eaten buck. The season is over, so no bow, but we have to make an effort. The terrible thing is we are having a heatwave and the low that night was only 63 so if the buck had died, all the meat was spoiled but we needed to find it. Low and behold after 30 minutes walking along the ridge, there is that darn buck bedded down, looking right at us without a care in the world. After a minute or so it stands up and trots down the hill at a speed I would not have thought possible for being shot in the shoulder. (side-note, arrow went through and we had found it) It runs off the school property and goes into this thick set of bushes about 40 -60 yards behind a cul de sac of houses.

At this point we're screwed so we call cdfw. We tell the warden the whole story and he basically says we have two options. They won't help us plus we can't finish/hunt it because the season is over. So we can ask for permission from the property owners to keep checking on the buck to see if it passes and then tag and harvest the animal or walk away because we basically made an effort and "didn't get a deer". Both options are terrible and my friend feels so bad for missing a kill shot. We obviously can't sit on this buck for 24/7 and if we got permission to look for it, it's definitely not going to die anytime soon, if at all. Its triple digits for the next 6 days so if that buck dies we would only have a realllll short time to actually be there and harvest it.

Not the best hunt in the world but I truly believe if the coyotes hadn't pushed it so hard it wouldn't have ever left the property that evening and we would have got another shot on it before shooting time ended. Yes a better shot would have not led to this whole story in the first place but that's hunting. Lot's of lessons learned and glad I didn't end up in the hospital with a snake bite because I would have never heard the end of if for being so ill prepared......


Well-known member
Oct 26, 2018
CA(not by choice)
Sounds like its time to do a little predator management in that area. I'm sure he will live with how you described him running away. Thanks for sharing!


Well-known member
Feb 23, 2018
That’s a pretty cool story. I enjoy hunting coyotes almost just as much as I enjoy hunting deer. It would be pretty cool to see the coyotes pursuing the deer either way. Definitely worth the read. Sorry to hear your friend didn’t get the deer.
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