CENTER TWP — Center Township is hardly known as a haven for coyotes.
Just don’t tell the Young family that.
Larry Young, the Mars High School girls track and field and cross country coach, bagged a coyote there three years ago. His son, Todd, got one in CT two years ago.
This year, Young’s granddaughter, 13-year-old Audrey Hilliard of Meridian, shot a 40-pound coyote while deer hunting in Center Township.
“I wasn’t expecting that at all,” Audrey said of the coyote. “I was up in a tree-stand with my brother and saw three deer go by, but I couldn’t get in position to shoot.
“Then there was a wounded deer hobbling by — it looked like it had a broken leg — and a coyote was coming over the hill after it. I took a shot and got it.”
Audrey Hilliard is only in her second year of hunting. She bagged a 6-point buck last year.
“I guess I’ll go for the doe next year. I haven’t gotten one of those yet,” she said, laughing. “Getting the buck and coyote ... Both were exciting.”
Hilliard said she began hunting because “my dad, brother, uncle ... the whole family is really into it.”
Her brother, Jake, 20, has never bagged a coyote.
“He’s been hunting for years and this is the first time he’s seen one in the wild,” Audrey said.
Larry and Todd Young were also on the hunt that day.
“Todd had already shot a buck, so he was walking around the hillside without a gun and saw the coyote and deer,” Larry Young said. “He tried to steer them our way.
“There was actually a second coyote there, but he must have picked up our scent or something, because he made a sudden turn and went up another hill.”
Pennsylvania has open season on coyotes year-round for licensed hunters.
“They’re a nuisance. They play havoc on other wildlife,” Young said.
Hunting has quickly grown on Young’s grand-daughter.
“I really enjoy it,” she said. “I love the wilderness, being out in the woods with the wildlife.
“There’s so many big (hunting) trips I’d love to go with my family on someday. I’d love to go to Montana, for one.
“I’m sure I’ll be doing this for a long time,” she added.