The 6th annual Pelican River Pheasants Forever coyote tournament was held on February 11.
Headquartered out of The Powerhouse in Rothsay, the tournament featured 21 teams participating in this year’s event.
Registration and rules were conducted on Friday night which was shortly followed by the midnight start.
“Each year we strive to hold the event on weekend’s revolving around the full moon phase which offers participants extended hours of hunting as the tournament kicks off at midnight,” said Erick Johnson, president of the Pelican River Pheasants Forever.
Johnson went on to say, “Mother Nature was kind to us this year as the sky was clear up until an hour before sunrise.” There was a flurry of activity under the moonlit sky as a large percentage of the coyotes taken were before sunrise.
“Our hunt offers a unique opportunity to hunt multiple species; coyote, fox, raccoon, and skunk are all qualifying animals to be harvested. We put the different species on points system with coyotes being worth the most points,” stated Johnson.
Under Minnesota state hunting regulations, coyotes are an unprotected species but in order to legally hunt fox, raccoon, and skunk, hunters are required to possess a small games licence.
Upon the conclusion of the hunt Saturday evening, 16 total coyotes were recorded along with multiple fox, raccoon, and skunk.
“With our ultimate goal each year to improve our native pheasant population, any effort we can take to remove predators from the landscape helps to ensure flourishing populations of upland game birds,” stated Johnson.
Two teams recorded 4 coyotes a piece with the winning team overtaking 1st place by way of having the heaviest coyote. This year’s winning team was a father/son duo of Scott and Jed Hanson.
The 2nd place team was a 3 man team from Fertile, MN, consisting of Chris Lee, Nate Griewe, and Matt Wagner. There is also a largest/smallest contest. The heaviest coyote was taken by the Hanson duo and the smallest coyote was harvested by the Olsen trio from Moorhead.
“We enjoy hosting this event each and every year. The weather for this year’s hunt was absolutely perfect as overcast skies and light winds offered ample opportunity for participants to see and potentially harvest a local fur bearer,” stated Johnson. “A special thanks must be mentioned to Craig Hesteness, owner and operator of The Powerhouse, for offering up his establishment to host our event. Between Bingo and the coyote tournament, the local bar in Rothsay was packed,” stated Johnson.
Johnson went onto say, “We would also like to thank all the participants for coming out again for this year’s hunt; we are always looking to grow the tournament and love seeing new teams participate each year.”