Marion County hunters and trappers now have a market for their coyote pelts through a buyer who visits Marion twice a month.
Several hunters and trappers brought pelts, coyotes, and even a bobcat and fox to the parking lot of Ace Hardware in Marion Sunday to sell to a buyer for Lincoln, Nebraska-based Lincoln Fur.
Jack Branson, Marion, brought six coyotes to sell. Cody Abney, Peabody, brought 14 coyote pelts, a bobcat and a fox. Jason Passmore, Council Grove, brought 29 coyotes. Mark Jones, El Dorado, who hunts coyotes with greyhounds and wolfhound mix dogs, brought nine coyotes bagged by his 10 dogs. Other area hunters and trappers also came to sell their wares.
Shane Adcock, operator of Lincoln Fur, said his company started buying pelts in Marion this season.
Some area residents say coyotes seem no more plentiful this year, and others say they have seen more of them.
Rex Savage, who lives 10 miles south of Marion, said he’s seen more coyotes on the trail cams on his property. He also has seen more bobcats.
“Coyotes are one of those things we need in the ecosystem, they cut down on rats and mice and rabbits, but when we have too many, we don’t have rabbits,” he said.
The predatory canines have appeared in some odd places, though.
Sherry Hess, who lives with her husband Keith about two miles outside of Marion, said during warmer weather a few months ago, she saw coyotes jumping four to five feet into the air to snatch pears from a tree in their yard.
Hess said coyotes still visit her yard, but not as many visit as they did during pear season.
Lincolnville cattle feeder Mike Beneke said he’s observed coyote hunters and trappers near his home recently.
“We’ve had one to four people come and shot some in our area.” Beneke said. “There’s been a pair of them in the last couple weeks trapping coyotes.”
Coyotes, typically considered carnivores, are opportunistic eaters.
“I saw one hunting a rabbit in the weeds the other day, but the weeds are so hard they can hardly get through them,” Beneke said.
Beneke said a couple of mangy coyotes are living in his hay piles.
“They’ll eat off the grain,” Beneke said. “It’s a way to survive when they can’t get around and keep warm.”
Rocky Hett, Marion, has a hunting guide business, Hett Hollow that draws customers from across the nation.
“In my area this year, I haven’t seen near as many coyotes,” he said.
Most of his customers come to hunt deer, but one likes to trap the wily canines.
“This year he only caught two, and he ordinarily catches four or five every year,” Hett said.
Years ago, when his brother-in-law came from New York Hett took him to hunt coyotes. At that time, there was a $2 bounty on them.
They visited a place he’d seen a den, and when they approached, a female who had pups charged and chased his brother-in-law. He ran to Hett’s pickup, got in, and refused to get out of the truck.
Adcock said the number of pelts available for purchase in Marion County isn’t as good as in some areas of his business’ buying area, but pelt quality is OK.
“We cover a good part of Nebraska, 74% of Kansas, and part of Colorado,” Adcock said.
Pelt value is determined by softness, thickness, and color. On an average, the company pays $20 to $50 for each coyote.
The pelts they buy are made into fur trim on jackets and coats.