Editor’s Note: Steven Reinhold of Polk, Ohio, is the Regional Pro Staff Manager for Mossy Oak’s Eastern US Predator Division. The good news about predator hunting is that in certain states, you can hunt them before deer season arrives, during deer season and after deer season. Even when predators are out of season, a farmer or a rancher often can get a crop-depredation permit for you to hunt predators on their lands. Many people believe predator hunting is easier in the West with its open terrain, but Reinhold has been extremely-successful taking predators in the East.
We have a lot of flat terrain up here in Ohio where I live, so most of the time I like to set-up on field edges. I take a stand where I can see to both sides, giving me a good chance to spot a coyote before it sees me. I like the challenge of trying to get coyotes up close and personal before taking the shot. When I can see a coyote come in and watch it get right to where I want to take it, that’s as exciting to me as watching a longbeard gobbler strut into gun range. In seminars, I’m often asked how I get permission to hunt the places I hunt. I tell them that I knock on doors and ask landowners. Landowners may have problems with bobcats, foxes, coyotes and/or raccoons. In other parts of the country like the Deep South, feral hogs also are viewed as predators and may be hunted all year, but they aren’t a big problem where I hunt.
One of my favorite animals to call and to take is the raccoon. We’re pretty much in the Corn Belt where I live, and raccoons really can do a lot of damage to a farmer’s corn crop. If you’ve never called coons, you may want to try it this year, because when a raccoon comes to a call, it’s usually coming in for a fight. I generally hunt coyotes from first light until 9:00 am and then hunt raccoons in creek and river bottoms. You can call coons out of their trees during the morning hours as well, and the middle of January until the end of February is my favorite time for coons. We’re talking with wildlife officials to permit coon hunting all year long just like coyotes. When the corn crop comes in, we can run the coons with dogs but can’t harvest them. Right now our season in Ohio where I live opens in November and goes through January 31. We try to harvest as many coons as we can, but we can’t really help the farmers whose crops are being damaged by coons in the spring and summer at this time. Farmers can get crop-depredation permits for white-tailed deer, but not for coons. Deer will stand in a corn field and eat the corn off the stalks, but a coon will climb up a corn stalk, knock the stalk down and then eat the corn, so the coons really are doing more damage than the deer.