Exclusive: Kimberly Bangerter Becomes the First Woman to Win a Coyote Calling World Championship

Kimberly Bangerter and her father, Layne, holding some of the hardware they won at the coyote calling competition. (Photo: Kimberly Bangerter)

When Kimberly Bangerter’s father agreed to partner with her at this year’s World Championship Coyote Calling Contest, Kimberly doesn’t believe he had serious designs to win. Layne Bangerter had won the Coyote Calling World Championship once before, but he’d never partnered with one of his daughters, and he tried to manage her expectations going into the event.

Kimberly had different ideas.

“He was more thinking it was a good father-daughter experience, which it totally was. But I was like, ‘No, we’re in this to compete. We’re in this to win,’” she told Hunt365.

After the final day of the competition, Kimberly knew they had done well, but she wasn’t sure whether they’d won.

“I was so beyond stoked. When we got back, my dad was talking to all the other teams, but I could hardly be around because I was so anxious,” she said. “I really wanted to win. I believed in our team because my dad and I worked well together, and I thought it would be awesome to be the first girl champion.”

Kimberly is the first woman to ever win the World Championship.

That wish—earned through two grueling days of hunting in Nevada’s Elko region—came true. The 26-year-old and her father bagged 13 coyotes over the two days of the contest, enough to earn both the championship and the prize for most coyotes killed.

Kimberly and her father, Layne, also won the Calcutta with 13 coyotes. This is where they bet on themselves to shoot the most coyotes.

A Family Affair

It’s fitting that Kimberly won the championship with her father. Kimberly said he always tried to include his eight children in his outdoor pursuits, and as an aerial gunman and coyote trapper in Utah and Idaho, he had plenty of experience to share.

“He would take us outside all the time. Just load up all the kids and go. It was just what we did as a family,” Kimberly said. “My dad had a sticker at his work that said, ‘hunt with your kids, not for them.’ He was good at living by that.”

Kimberly grew up in Idaho and now lives in Utah, and she remembers learning to shoot ground squirrels even as a kid.

Kimberly and her father went in with a game plan — and it paid off. (Photo: Kimberly Bangerter)

“My dad trained us all how to shoot from a really young age. We’re all pro-Second Amendment, pro-gun safety. That’s very important to us,” she said.

She’s tagged along with her brothers and father on hunting trips before, but in recent years, she’s worked to expand her hunting repertoire to deer, and she hopes to soon bag her first elk.

Everyone in the family wants to join Layne at the coyote calling championship. After her brothers and brothers-in-law earned high spots competing with their father, Kimberly decided it was her turn.

“I said, ‘I call dibs! I’m your teammate next year,’” she said, laughing. “He wasn’t expecting us to win. He said, ‘These guys are killers, Kimberly. You’ve got to understand that. They are really good.’”

Kimberly expressed nothing but respect and admiration for her competitors, but when the coyotes were finally counted, those grizzled, veteran coyote hunters weren’t quite good enough.

Some Advice

At the World Championship Coyote Calling Contest, teams of two compete for two days in the region surrounding the town of Elko in northeastern Nevada. Teams that can kill five coyotes on the first day qualify for the second day of the competition. The first team back the second day of the competition with five coyotes wins the World Championship.

Kimberly and Layne bagged eight dogs on the first day, and they were the first team back on the second. No other team killed as many as 13 coyotes

Kimberly credits their preparedness and their calling strategy for their victory, but more than that, she believes their hustle and their positive mindset earned them the win.

“Just hustle,” she said when asked to give advice to other hunters.

Kimberly’s advice for other coyote hunters? “Hustle.” (Photo: Kimberly Bangerter)

Kimberly had to take off her coat and wade across a freezing December river to retrieve one of their kills. She says they hiked hard all day and sometimes sprinted after coyotes to save time. They ate on the trail and didn’t talk much.

“Try to hustle and pay the physical price to accomplish it. It feels awesome,” she said.

No matter what happened, the pair stayed positive.

“That was a key to our partnership. We stayed super positive. Hunting is so mental. Like my dad always says, shooting is confidence. You have to do things to keep up your confidence. To keep up your positivity,” she said.

The hunt was filled with ups and downs. They had already bagged three coyotes on the first day when they saw two more come in. Layne shot at both, which would have given them their five-coyote quota, but when they walked over to retrieve the dogs, one of them had disappeared.

They missed other coyotes during those two days, and Kimberly lost Layne’s shooting sticks. In another disappointment, her shotgun jammed as she turned to shoot “the biggest coyote I’d ever seen.”

“Things are going to go wrong, but you have to have a good attitude. If one of us missed a coyote, we stayed completely positive the entire time,” she said.

In the end, Kimberly shot four coyotes with her 12GA shotgun and Layne shot the other nine with his AR-15.

“A Special Experience”

For other women who hope to get out in the field, Kimberly recommends connecting with friends and family.

“Just start doing it. Find friends or family members that go and just start tagging along and learning whatever you can,” she said. “It’s physical, mental, spiritual, emotional—you experience all of that together. It helps you grow with people and connect with your surroundings.”

Those connections go beyond the stand or the blind, but hunting will further deepen those relationships, Kimberly said. Her fondest memories of the hunt are those small connections with her dad.

“We didn’t celebrate when we shot a coyote because we were waiting for more to come in. But I’d look over at my dad and we’d smile at each other like, ‘Yeah!’ Those moments when you smile at each other, those are the best,” she said.

“This was one of our best father-daughter times ever,” she continued. “It was such a special experience for the two of us and for our relationship.”

Ultimately, Kimberly believes hunting should be a family affair.

Kimberly believes hunting should be a family affair. (Photo: Kimberly Bangerter)

“It’s an important family thing. That’s big to me. It’s important that families do this together, otherwise, hunting is going to die out. It’s an American pastime,” she explained.

Fathers concerned that their daughters won’t enjoy the experience or won’t be able to stand the physical strain might take a page from Layne’s playbook. He’d competed with his sons and sons-in-law, but he didn’t win a championship with a family member until he decided to take Kimberly.

“That’s a really special thing we have,” she said.

Kimberly used a 12 gauge shotgun and her dad carried an AR-15. His “go-to” coyote load is the Hornady 53g VMax out of his AR-15.

Kimberly with both her buckles!
The best coyote hunters in the world attend the World Championship Calling Contest. The winners take home both cash and prizes including guns and optics.

About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Tommy Davis January 5, 2022, 5:43 pm

    great to see family in competition. Two of my sons love to go with me or me with them after the coyotes. Great times and memories. Show and tell more about their hunt.

  • RICKY PRICE January 4, 2022, 1:31 pm

    That is great. The sport that I love so much. Can’t wait every winter to hunt.

  • shrailer January 4, 2022, 9:20 am

    Congratulations to the father and daughter team. I would like to see more shots and details of their gear. Guns, ammo, optics and callers. looks like a leupold scope there.

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