Inside MDT - Coyote School - Deception

Posted by Al Voth on 2022 Dec 15th

Inside MDT - Coyote School - Deception

Editor's Note: Coyote School is a multi-part series intermixed with knowledge, adventure, and wisdom. The first part of the Series, Coyote School: Death and Rebirth, details the author's loss of a long-time hunting partner and mentoring a new one. The article can be found here.

There are a lot of life lessons to be learned from hunting. Things like ethics, responsibility, respect, and perseverance are just some of what hunters can learn and/or develop while pursuing their quarry. I can certainly use more of those qualities in my life, so I need to do lots of hunting. At least that's what I tell my patient wife.

And since coyotes are my favorite game to hunt, I like to call it Coyote School. It's a school in session every time I head out the door with calls and a rifle. And as long as I keep my senses tuned, I regularly come back with a nugget of wisdom worth hanging onto. Fortunately, there are a lot of coyotes around these days and plenty of cattle producers who need help keeping them in check. So, I have many opportunities to learn.

More: Inside MDT - Coyote School - Death And Rebirth

Recently, I got philosophical while sitting in a snowbank and waiting for a coyote to respond to my call. It struck me that there was a link between what I was doing to coyotes and what individuals and even entire elements of society regularly try to do to me. It's called deception.

When calling coyotes, I'm deliberately trying to deceive them. I'm doing my best to make them believe something is true when it's entirely false. My injured rabbit sounds try to convince them there's a free and easy meal to be had here, while crow and raven sounds make them believe it's safe to come in and that scavenging birds are about to get that meal first. On the other hand, coyote vocalizations deceive them into thinking another coyote is intruding on their territory or, in the springtime, that there are mates to be had.

More: Turning Predator Into Prey: Thermal Coyote Hunt

Notice the motivations I'm playing with here, hunger, greed, possessiveness, and reproductive drive. They are different from the purest incentives in the world. But out in the woods, fields, and pastures, I do the selling, not the buying. And sure enough, at about the six-minute mark, a coyote bought what I was selling and came charging in to get that free meal, looking ready to fight any other dog thinking of laying claim to it first. A shot from my .22-250 ended his plans, and he paid the ultimate price for being deceived. Of course, I kept calling to see if another would fall for my lies.

Canis Latrans, MDT HNT26 Chassis System

Canis Latrans, MDT HNT26 Chassis System, MDT AICS Polymer Magazine.

As I worked the bolt to reload and continued to wait, I had to ask myself if I was that gullible? When I get home, I'm no longer the seller but the buyer. So, how much am I buying into what individuals, society, and the media collaborate to tell me? Am I buying into the idea that making more money will make me happy or that gaining power or promotion by trampling on others is worth the "success?" Or I've bought into the principle that ego and pride must be defended at all costs. Or that it's fashionable to be offended, and I even have a right to be offended. Whatever happened to humility, service, sacrifice, honor, and forgiveness?

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It's rare to find those qualities in people and even rarer in companies. When I see them in either one, I hang out with them as much as I can. It's likely part of the reason I'm attracted to the world of firearms, as those values are commonly held here. And, yes, it's part of the reason I'm proud to work with MDT, as I've consistently seen the high standards it holds to.

A sudden flurry of magpie activity at a treeline about 200 yards distant brought me back to reality. My binoculars revealed a red fox at the edge of the trees, intently looking in my direction. As I watched, he repositioned several times, studying me from different angles but never committing to coming any closer. I threw a variety of other sounds in his direction, trying to lure him closer, but with no success. He wasn't buying what I was selling, and eventually, he moved off to the south, where he lay down on a hillside, well out of range, and continued watching me.

Yes, I could have taken him at the tree line, but his failure to buy into the lies I was feeding him earned my respect. I want to be like that fox, a critical thinker who doesn't believe everything he's being fed. If something catches my attention, I must evaluate it carefully to see if it's deception. And if it is, reject it and leave it behind. In human terms, Coyote School has taught me that if the net result isn't peace, humility, service, sacrifice, honor, and forgiveness, somebody is trying to deceive me.



Al Voth calls himself a "student of the gun." Retired from a 35-year career in law enforcement, including nine years on an Emergency Response Team, he now works as an editor, freelance writer, and photographer, in addition to keeping active as a consultant in the field he most recently left behind—forensic firearm examination. He is a court-qualified expert in that forensic discipline, having worked in that capacity in three countries. When he's not working these days, you'll likely find him hunting varmints and predators (the 4-legged variety).


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