The 2009 Indiana Predator Challenge is now complete!
This 5th annual event has been a record breaker from day one, LITERALLY! The first day of registration, back on July 15th of 2008, generated nearly 1/3rd of the limited entries we were looking for. It took less than 2 weeks to lock in the largest field in IPC history!
On Friday February 6th a field of 62 hunters checked in for what would turn out to be the most deceivingly difficult contest in event history. As organizers prepared to deliver the rules to the crowd of eager hunters, a chatter came over the group and eyes widened. A red fox had trotted across the field just behind our trucks in broad daylight! After releasing the contestants to travel across the countryside in search of predators, a coyote would also appear in plain view of even staff back at headquarters!
Surprisingly a sluggish predator response combined with the rough terrain and warming weather would make short work of two teams, but the rest prevailed to Saturdays check-in with the lowest harvest since our first event.
Team Lucky Point checked in one of the three coyotes they called up on an afternoon stand.
The Regulators would take an early lead with a pair of coyotes they called in around 2:45am!
Although most were tired and sore from the first 24 hours of hunting, hopes were high during lunch as the point spread was minimal and could easily be overcome! Each team had stories of predators spotted along the roadway, sprinting thru a calling stand or hanging up just out of range. One group had spotted a bobcat; another had already seen 6 coyotes- you could feel the energy building to get back in the field!
The guys enjoyed a pork BBQ lunch with all the fixins and mingled for a couple hours.
Glancing over our record breaking prize packages added a little boost of energy as well!
Each hunter took home magazines, decals and T-shirts but the first 36 guys to registration on Saturday also received their choice of some great door prizes!
Finally it was time for the 5th annual IPC Rifle Contest. A shooter from each team was set aside while the rest of their team spread out to view the contest. One by one they made their way to the shooting position and took their shot at those much needed points!
Jeff Porter of Illinois settled in as our first shooter in the rifle contest, his 4 targets in 60 seconds set the bar very high!
Jason Brunner tried to defend his 2008 win with a borrowed rifle, which appeared to be dreadfully inaccurate as bullets whizzed 18” to the right of the bullseyes!
Kyle Nees of the “Ultimate Predators” would be our last shooter of the day. As we’ve come to expect from the Indiana Predator Challenge events: the whole score sheet was turned on its ear in merely 40.58 seconds.
Kyle took down 4 targets quickly and then discharged his 5th round into the hillside to stop the clock. He had beaten Porter’s pace and swiped 2 points for his team in the process.
2009 Indiana Predator Challenge Rifle Contest Champion - Kyle Nees
With the rifle contest complete, all that remained was 20 hours of hard hunting. Hunt organizers stepped up surveillance this year and found a wide variety of strategies in effect. Some were making stands, others were napping at the hotel and others were sitting in the drive thru at Dairy Queen (SERIOUSLY?) LOL!
It was a long hot night in the hills of Southern Indiana. If the sweat hadn’t soaked you in the first 20 minutes of your hunt, a little sprinkle of rain would surely do the job. Fog set in and winds were variable. This was NOT the hunting conditions we had hoped for! No fur would hit the ground overnight, all bets were hedged on Sunday morning producing some call-ups.
As the sun came up on the last day of the event, and the stopwatch dwindled down on this 2009 contest, critters started moving again. Teams were spotting coyotes from the road and even calling up a few: but not getting anything killed. One group shared daylight vocals with 3 coyotes, eventually drawing them into within 80 yards before getting winded! Another group missed a pair of coyotes at close range: literally watching their victory run back over a hill for another year. There were several teams that had opportunities to WIN the contest in the closing hours… but failed to close the deal. A single fox would’ve tied anyone for first… a fox and any other animal would’ve won it!! How frustrating!
The Jocko Jockeys did manage to synch a 3rd place finish with a 42 pound trophy in the closing hours of the hunt!
The 2nd place finishers in the 2009 Indiana Predator Challenge – the Ultimate Predators!
The 2009 Indiana Predator Challenge Champions, and our first REPEAT WINNERS, the Regulators!
Everything about this contest was amazing and unpredictable. Who knew we’d be hunting in 65 degree weather on Saturday after a real temperature of -6 on the Thursday before it began. Who knew 3 sets of previous winners would be shut out, 3 brand new teams would rank in the top 4, and the Regulators would pull off what they’ve been trying to do since 2005! All these variables and excitement are what make the Indiana Predator Challenge the only event of its kind! Any given team could’ve gone from dead last to top dog in 20 seconds on a stand at any point in the contest.
I’d like to congratulate the Regulators on their 2nd title and also the Ultimate Predators for their impressive entry into this contest with a 2nd place finish! I hope everyone had as much fun as I did and took home some memories they can enjoy until we do this whole thing over again!
I'd also like to thank the folks that helped us out with prizes. MattS, Pure Predator, Brushwolf, Jwkimber and Anzra Knives certainly helped us out this year. I hope you guys will keep these folks in mind when purchasing predator hunting equipment... because they really helped us stretch out this shoestring budget.
Thanks to everyone, and I hope to be registering you guys for the 2010 event in July!
For updated IPC Info- www.IndianaPredatorChallenge.com
To contact organizers- IndianaPredator@yahoo.com
To read accounts from 09 contestants- www.MidwestPredator.com