The accuracy potential of your rifle won’t be realized without some form of rest. Portable shooting aids will greatly increase your ability to hit the grapefruit-size vitals of a coyote. I virtually always sit in front of vegetation or rocks to break up my outline while still allowing an unrestricted field of fire. Relying on field rests restricts the options in stand location.. Options in bipods and sticks are almost endless these days. Just ensure that whatever you choose allows you to shoot over vegetation and is tall enough to work when setting up on a slope. A bipod that worked well on the rifle range may not be tall enough when set up on a slope.
While generally not as stable as a bipod, shooting sticks have the advantage of being able to make quick height adjustments by simply kicking the legs apart or together. My son leaves his Harris prone bipod attached to his rifle then uses sticks when in the sitting position.
I like the Stoney Point Rapid Pivot Bipod. It has a rubber attachment point for the legs so the legs can be opened or closed for height adjustment like sticks but still attaches to the rifle via a push on/pull off attachment point so your rifle and bipod can be moved as one unit when repositioning for incoming coyotes. As the name implies, the bipod pivots in a panning motion.
I use the sitting/kneeling height for most of my calling and carry the prone height bipod in my cargo pocket for use when the opportunity for a prone set up arises or I need to get more stable for a longer shot. With practice groups of less than two inches at 200 yards can be accomplished off the sitting height bipod.
Experience on stand is invaluable to the coyote hunter. The more animals the hunter can observe, the more able he is to anticipate a coyote’s actions. Coyote fever can grip a hunter, especially when he isn’t sure what the coyote is going to do. If you anticipate the coyote busting you at any second, the nerves can run wild. I hope I never get over the excitement of an approaching coyote but experience can calm the nerves and allow good decisions to be made and more coyotes to hit the ground.
Watching coyote hunting DVD’s or television shows also helps the hunter learn coyote body language. When carrying only a rifle, stop the coyote whenever it gets into your comfortable rifle range and take the shot. I use a quick bark with my voice to stop the coyote as it tries to determine who else is in the area. A whistle can also cause the coyote to check up but after one particular stand, I quit relying on the whistle as my primary mode of stopping coyotes.
My son called one morning on his way to school to tell me he’d seen three coyotes crossing onto our property. I put on my camo, grabbed my calling gear and headed out to see if they’d respond to my call. After a few howls and more distress cries, I thought they’d given me the slip. Then after a full 20 minutes into the stand they appeared at a full run coming down the fenceline towards me.
When they were less than 100 yards away, I tried to whistle them to a stop and found that the cold, dry desert air had dried my lips and nothing would come out! The coyotes overran my position and scattered in several directions. I got only one offhand shot but I was too rattled to connect. Whistling might work for Randy Anderson, but I have barked my coyotes to a stop since that day!
Moving coyotes aren’t impossible to hit but they are challenging. Try to stop them if possible, carry a shotgun for the hard chargers and use some form of shooting aid to steady your rifle. Putting fur on the ground is what it’s all about. When everything comes together, make sure you’re ready to seal the deal!
Tim Titus has been calling coyotes for 35 years. He lives in the coyote rich country of Southeast Oregon where he and his son spend their winters calling predators and their springs and early summers shooting varmints. Tim owns and operates No Off Season, an online predator and varmint hunting store and guiding business. You can check it out at No-Off-Season.com.
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