As the weekend approaches, bragging rights are building among area firefighters and hunting enthusiasts about the annual Coyote Hunt, a fundraiser for the Comanche Volunteer Fire Department.

The 2012 event attracted 44 teams, the biggest to date, said Comanche Fire Captain Bobby Bowen. He’s hoping that number gets bigger this year.

“We anticipate it to be the best year yet. Last year, we raised $3,000 for the Comanche Volunteer Fire Department,” he said. “We purchased equipment, generators, things that are needed.”

This year the need is even greater. During the Christmas holiday, the small volunteer fire department responded to six fires.

“We had a run of them on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. They were structure fires and we believe they may have been arson. The state fire marshal is investigating them,” Bowen said.

While most rural fire departments have fundraisers such as chili cook-offs, pancake days and similar food festivals, Comanche found a way to make its fundraiser a double benefit.

“It helps us raise money but also helps out the ranchers at the same time,” Bowen added.

It begins with a Friday night registration, which starts at 7 p.m. at the Comanche fire station located behind City Hall on the north end of the city. There is a calcutta and plenty of time to socialize.

The hunt kicks off at legal time Saturday morning. That’s about 30 minutes before sunrise. Hunters must return to the fire station by 7:45 p.m.

Bowen said the bragging rights are part of the overall fun.

“I enjoy the competition, trash talking and bragging rights just leading up to it,” he said.

Open to anyone  licensed to shoot and hunt, the hunt in 2012 bagged 44 coyotes and 8 bobcats.

Bowen’s father, Dee, who is a county commissioner, also gets into the hunt. “He beat me last year,” Bobby said. “We are always trash talking each other.”

The CVFD has 21 volunteers and four full-time firefighters on its roster. For information, call Bobby Bowen at 656-4102, or become a friend on Facebook at ComancheVFD.

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