NORTH ADAMS -- A city resident has written and published a clarion call to Northeastern hunters who might have interest in a challenging new game: coyotes.
Three years ago, outdoor writer David Willette joined the ranks of local coyote hunters and never looked back. He proudly rattled off his 2011-12 season's numbers during an interview with the Transcript on Wednesday: 12 sighted, four killed, four missed.
Willette's new book, "Coyote Wars: A Deer Hunter's Guide to Hunting Coyotes," was recently published by Maine Outdoor Publications, and provides not only a starting point for beginners, but helpful information for experts.
"The reason why I wrote the book is a lot of guys are complaining about how bad the deer hunting is [in recent years] -- and it is bad," Willette said while baiting his favorite hunting area -- within the city but confidential, as one might expect. "Get out, hunt coyotes, and help your own cause."
Willette thinks, and asserts in his book, that predators like coyotes -- whose state population has swelled to an estimated 10,000 in recent years -- share responsibility for today's relatively low Western Massachusetts deer population, along with several other factors, including a decline in the region's suitable habitats.
On that premise and after over a year of research, hunting trips and writing, Willette had his book.
The text explains where, how and why to hunt the animals, even going so far as to list coyote recipes, and is bolstered by input from experienced hunters and biologists central to locations throughout the Northeast.
Berkshire hunters featured include Trent Gaylord, Donald Poirot, Aaron Perras, Carl Dolle and Dan Gaylord. Willette writes of experiences he had while on hunts with these individuals, pairing prose with photos taken during forays into Cheshire, Lanesborough and Williamstown, among other locations.
The experience proved addicting. Willette now hunts evenings six days a week throughout the state's October to March coyote hunting season. He said the prey, usually ranging from 33 to 40 pounds, demand discipline and concentration, as coyotes are skittish and have strong senses.
"It can only improve your hunting skills," Willette said. "Coyotes are intelligent, unique and fun to hunt. They're a challenging animal."
According to the state Department of Fish and Game, coyotes are established in every mainland city and town in the state.
A retired city fireman, former Transcript writer and current writer for a smattering of sporting journals, Willette plans to continue honing his skills.
To reach Phil Demers, email