January 6: Mike Prochnow & Mike Liljestrand

Forecast -7 for a low, clear skies and 5mph winds becoming calm.

Since filming the first night coyote hunts for Predator Madness 4, we were anxious to try out the Nyte Vu scope camera and goggles at night. Due to ND regulations, we cannot use any artificial lights or night vision to hunt. We can use it to film but not to hunt or aid the hunter. So, we are restricted to full moon conditions so the hunter can see enough to shoot. We had about 84% moon, so it would be a good test for the Nyte Vu Night Vision technology.

We decided to leave early and get in two stands by sundown and switch to night mode. First gravel road we went down, stuck. 2 hours later, sun had gone down and we finally get out of the snow bank. Great start to the evening. Now we are all sweated up and we needed to give the moon a bit of time to get higher as it was cloudy and not clear so we headed to the nearest town to get something to eat.

Clouds set in, winds pick up to 15 mph + and snow starts to drift. Nice forecast right. We set up on the first stand and after about 5 minutes, Mike Prochnow says there is a coyote on the frozen lake about 500 yards in front of us. I turned on the Nyte VU (IR) attachment on the scope and sure enough I see this coyote. It will not budge. We tried howling, prey distress, but nothing worked. It actually laid down and curled up. At 8PM in the evening I kept thinking what in the world was this coyote doing. Mike said, I am going to stalk him. I was thinking, you go ahead and try to stalk a coyote we just saw sit up at 8PM at night, in 3+ feet of snow. About 15 minutes later, a friend of our’s who had joined us, Mike Liljestrand, told me Mike had laid down. I took a look and estimated it at 300 yards. My thoughts were not positive with the coyote curled up in a ball with a 15 mph wind at 300 yards in the middle of the night. I was just about ready to hit the caller to see if the coyote would get up to give Mike a better shot and bang, and that coyote went from a ball to stretched out. He proved me wrong. We got most of it on the scope camera so that was really cool.

Stand #2 dry but with all the filming we have to do after getting the kill on stand #1, it is now 12:30AM.

We decide to try one more spot as we are still more than 1 hour from our houses and we all need to get up for work the next morning. I ripped a greeting howl loose and faintly I heard a pack of coyotes respond. A few minutes later I hit a territorial howl, and one older coyote responded and it seemed closer. 20 minutes passed and no coyotes. I went through my favorite sound progression one last time and Mike Prochnow looks back and motioned he sees 5 coyotes coming. I flipped all the night equipment on and the lead alpha male came in first and was trying to circle us. He was about 200 yards and he stopped. At that moment, we realized where he was standing, he could probably see one of our trucks, he looked like he was about to bolt, and we called the shot. He went right down and the other 4 scattered. It is a tough call to make but if the alpha male had bolted all the coyotes would have went with him with no shooting opportunity. 1 hour of additional footage to wrap up the hunt and at about 2:15 AM, we headed for home. Long story, but had lots of elements which makes hunts memorable. We left Fargo at 3:00PM, got stuck and didn't put our first stand in until 8PM. We left at 3:00PM and I crawled into bed at 3:30 AM, and in total only called 3 stands. Shot at 2 and killed 2 and went through about 4 camera batteries as temps were below 0 degrees. Without the nyte vu equipment, there is no way we could have captured these kills on video.

And, of course, by the time we got home, the sky cleared, and the wind let up.

--written by Korey Kirschenmann