KALAMAZOO, MI — Hunters took a combination of 95 coyotes and fox during the 2017 Great Lakes Region Predator Challenge held by D&R Sports Center in Kalamazoo. Hunters checked-in their animals Sunday then took part in a raffle, luncheon and awards presentation. A combination of fair weather and new hunting laws led to more success this year for D&R Sports Center’s fourth annual Great Lakes Predator Region Challenge last weekend.
More than 400 hunters took to the woods and fields of Michigan Friday night and checked-in their animals Sunday morning, representing 152 teams participated and brought in 95 animals to be entered in the contest.
Winners of the contest brought in five coyotes weighing a total of 143 pounds, 8 ounces. The sleep-deprived duo picked up their $2,000 winner’s check after hunting most of Friday night, all day Saturday and into Sunday morning. Allowing center fire rifles at night, a change in the law enacted by the Michigan Natural Resource Commission last fall, has made an impact for the hunters. You could get them come in with rim fire but nine times out of ten you’d let them walk away. We went from doing 2-3 a tournament to this year five. It’s a huge difference.
Hunters were limited in the past to using shotguns or .22 caliber rim fire rifles at night for hunting predators such as coyotes or fox. Now they’re able to use center fire ammunition and guns up to .269 caliber at night, a big benefit when trying to reach a suspicious coyote at more than 100 yards away. The effective range went from 100 to 200 yards with the additional knock-down power.
Just 25 animals were taken during last year’s event. Some of that was due to poor weather. Hunters were asked to identify what caliber they were using for their successful hunts so more information could be gathered about the law’s effectiveness. That could be measured by the number of animals taken, almost quadrupled.
D&R Sports Center marketing manager spent much of Monday morning looking over the entry sheets and was pleased with what he saw. “I can tell you by looking at a lot of these, a lot of them were center-fire rifles at night.” “It’s a much more humane way to put them down. This is a great effective tool to help insure an ethical kill.”
Content and pictures provided by Cory Olsen of MLive.com