The sun can be your friend on early morning hunts. I like to place my back to the sun, and since itís unpleasant to look directly into those early rays, I presume itís tough on the dogs too. Besides, the sun can reflect off your uncovered face or other gear, giving you away before your quarry is within range. Camo paint on your face or gear isnít a bad idea for the serious hunter.
7:35 a.m. Another one! Range Ė 360 yards. Look at him, just standing there Ė where did he come from? Good, heís not looking, bring up the rifle. Dial up the scope and get a good look. He has no idea you are here so take your time. Push up the shooting sticks a bit, dial the scope up eight MOA, there, safety off, squeezeÖ BANG!
Last season, I used a couple cans of spray paint to color my stainless steel gun. Iím not sure that it has added to my success, but it was fun to do. Granted, painting up a thousand dollar gun was a bit unnerving, but after masking off the action and grabbing a handful of grasses and twigs from the yard to help with the camouflage patterning, I actually had a good time applying the spray paint. There are plenty of helpful hints on the Internet and military snipers have been painting their guns for years Ė so donít be bashful about finding your artistic side.
How fruitful and consistent is pass-shooting coyotes? I hunt on three square sections of land wedged against the foothills. Iíll move my position around, not trying to hunt the same corner of each field on two consecutive days, and it seems to be enough to keep the coyote population wondering where I am silently lurking with my .22-250. The dogsí patterns are random, which makes this style of coyote chasing a hunt. Iíll walk a half mile in the dark of the moon to set up, complete with a thermos of homemade, gourmet black coffee and a snack. Iíll average a couple shots per two hour hunt, and usually bag two to three dogs per weekend - not a bad rate of pelt return for the energy investment. I can count on one hand the number of days Iíve been out in the past two years and not seen a coyote.
Iím still learning about long range coyote shooting. Ballistic calculators, chronographs and good factory ammunition have helped. I still get a little excited, which is good for the soul, but tough on shots out beyond 400 yards. Taping my MOA scope adjustments to my rifle has been helpful, but my forty-something eye sight makes close reading tough. I may be in the market for an adjustable scope with larger numbers on the turrets. Learning the wind is also an art Iím still trying to decipher.
There is plenty to learn and love about coyote hunting. Next time you go afield, consider a slow, stealthy stalk out to your favorite blind, strap in for a couple silent hours of pass shooting and see what happens. You may be pleasantly surprised.
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