Hunting forms 20-year bond for outfitters
According to Andy Hansen of Marion, one of the best-kept secrets is that the best hunting resources in Kansas are in Marion, Chase, and Dickinson counties.
Perhaps another well-kept secret is that Marion has a hunting outfitter that is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
In 2001, a group of men — Hansen, Luke King, Chad Buchholz, and Casey Case — met for a hunting trip to western Kansas. They immediately bonded and decided to form Club Coyote.
“We knew we had something special,” Hansen said.
The “core four,” as Hansen calls them, decided to lease land from local landowners for their own hunting. Their relationships with the locals led them to find other hunters.
“The first four hunters stemmed from those local relationships,” Hansen said.
They began selling guided tours in 2005, and Hansen became a hunting guide.
At first, the money they made was used to purchase equipment for an archery club that King had organized for Marion High School youth. Hansen also assisted in the wrestling program.
Coyote Club continually added more leased acres. The insured and bonded enterprise now controls 6,000 acres and offers seven different hunts, including waterfowl, deer, and turkey. It has attracted 90 customers in the past 15 years.
Hansen said many local people have helped keep the club special. They search for good hunting spots, pick up hunters in the field, and process game.
Several young men including Kyle Palic, Tyler Palic, and Cooper Carpenter, who were members of the archery club at Marion High School, continue to help the club.
It isn’t a commercial, moneymaking venture, Hansen said. Hunting fees cover the land leases and insurance.
He led a youth hunt in September and four hunts in November. The local guys still hunt together from time to time.
Hansen has hunted all of his life. He is employed by Express Print and Signs, a company he started and later sold in 2015.
As a young trapper in Iowa, he delivered newspapers to a fur company that furnished him with muskrat traps.
After his family moved to western Kansas in 1987, he started trapping coyotes.
“One coyote pelt yielded $6, which provided gas money,” he said. “It was a way of life back then. We did anything to make a buck.”
He also hunted for geese and ducks.
Hansen and his wife, Stacie, came to Marion in 1994 and taught at Centre schools. Andy left teaching and got involved in business in Marion in 2001. Stacie now is a teacher in Marion.
After the guided hunts started, Hansen’s family became involved. The couple’s two young daughters, now grown, got corn and filled wildlife feeders. Stacie cooked for the hunters.
“One of the biggest rewards coming from the club’s formation has been the relationships we have formed,” Hansen said.
His family often goes to Florida in spring to visit the families of hunters who come to the area to hunt. They sometimes get together at Thanksgiving or over the Fourth of July holiday.
“I’ve built some amazing relationships in the outdoors industry,” he said. “I know a lot of the big guys.”
Hansen owns a bed and breakfast cottage at 202 W. Santa Fe St. that provides lodging for hunters. Elgin Hotel provides the food.
“They always are complimentary about the Marion community and want to come back,” Hansen said.
Last year, a hunter from Colorado brought his teenage son on a hunt, and the boy shot his first deer on his 16th birthday.
“That was really special,” Hansen said. “The club’s growth was not expected. It’s been a lot of fun to see it grow and to make something out of it.”
Last modified Jan. 27, 2021