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Walter Scott's Outdoors: Retired coyote hound has life figured out

They say, “with age comes wisdom.” In the case of retired coyote hound Toes, that saying might just be the truth.

Columnist Walter Scott
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My son, Damon, has a coyote hound named Toes.

He has had a long and colorful career as a hunter, but as old age creeps up on him, he has begun to slow down. A typical coyote hunt can run 10 miles or more; sometimes much more.

Toes has gotten to the point where a full blown hunt is more than he can do. He still has the desire but the old joints will not allow it.

Last week, a group of hunters started just north of Damon’s house.

A usual coyote hunt entails dropping off a few dogs in a likely area and hope they will find a track. When the trail is scented, the chase is on. Other hunters try to anticipate where the coyote might cross the road or an open field and wait ahead of the chase. The coyote will generally run in a giant loop, and at some point returns close to where he started.


Toes has been on many of this type of hunt. He spent years being leader of the pack, running miles at a time. When he saw the hunters and dogs begin the hunt, he was anxious to join in.

He started out with the pack and struck a scent trail almost immediately. Toes followed the trail for a short distance rapidly falling back in the pack. Before long, he dropped out of the race and circled back to the truck. There he waited patiently with the hunter in the release truck.

In an hour or so, the coyote, with dogs in hot pursuit, circled back toward the starting point. When Toes heard the baying draw closer, he was again ready to join the race. He headed of over the hill toward the sound. He again picked up the fresh trail and, having cut off a number of miles, was again leader of the pack.

When the hunters moved on, Toes trotted back home, happy but ready for a long drink and a nap.

Damon’s place is about a mile and a half from our house if a person is going cross country. Occasionally Toes will go out hunting on his own. If he happens to be near our house, he will stop for a drink and a rest. He seems to find it easier to hunt toward our place than to hunt home again.

When I tell him to go home, he walks up to my truck and waits. This seems to work well for him as he has the patience to out-wait me. I eventually give up and give him a ride home.

They say, “with age comes wisdom.” I think it may be true in Toes’ case. He is making the most of his retirement. He has figured out the easy way of doing what he wants to do.


Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Drakesville, Iowa.

Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Drakesville, Iowa.
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