Coyotes In Your Pocket - A Quest To Shotgun Coyotes
Recently after making a delivery to a ranch on which I have permission to hunt, I set up next to an island of brush surrounded by meadow and then sage. It was late and this would be the last stand of the day. I sat next to a large greasewood looking over the electronic caller so I could see the downwind (Titus’ Rule). A thundering of feet coming from over my right shoulder became evident. Turning my head ever so slightly to the right and looking out of the corner of my eye I saw the coyote stop ten yards away at the edge of the brush line. It moved to its left stopping just on the other side of the greasewood from my chair. It was standing four feet from my right rear pocket. Its next move should have put him behind me so when he didn’t show up, I jumped to my feet. He started away with the classic loping–while-looking-over-his–shoulder move of a big coyote but made it less than 20 yards before the shot collided with his head and neck. Now that’s a coyote in your pocket!
He was one of the fattest coyotes I’ve ever killed. He had fed well over the summer and fall but the game birds and animals would get a break from his dining now. Lesson number three: coyotes in shotgun range have radar. Full camo including your face and hands will help but any move you make will be noticed by the coyotes even when using motion decoys. Don’t move until you’re ready to take the shot. My quest has also taught me to raise a knee up and rest the shotgun over it to minimize the amount of movement necessary to bring your shotgun into play.
After another ranch delivery, I stopped to make a stand. Again the sound of footsteps preceded the appearance of the coyote ten yards to my right. As I slowly began raising the shotgun, the coyote immediately saw it and turned away from me into the opening next to the caller. The first shot knocked him down but he began to regain his feet. The second shot hit him again and after the third shot, I was still forced to switch to the rifle to finish the big male. Feeling a little silly staying there after the barrage of gunfire, I nonetheless held my position and checked the shotgun. One shell left.
Sure enough, two minutes later more footsteps are coming. Out of the corner of my eye a coyote is about to cross behind me into my scent cone at just two or three yards and, again, it doesn’t come by. Jumping to my feet, it actually surprises me to see the coyote roll at the shot. But, she too begins to regain her feet and I set the now-empty shotgun down and finish her with the rifle as well.
Lessons Four and Five:
Continue to call even if you’ve fired multiple shots. The security of the cover may make additional coyotes comfortable enough to still respond to your call. And, secondly, a coyote on adrenaline can take a lot of punishment. If a coyote is still struggling, keep pounding it until you are sure it’s finished. Bob Morris again instilled his wisdom in me for lesson number six when he said, “I thought everyone took at least ten rounds of shotgun shells in their pocket.” Point well taken.
Shotgunning coyotes has become a sport unto itself opening up new areas to hunt that many times have more dense coyote populations than the open country sought after by the rifleman. The close-up, fast action puts a new spin on an already exciting sport. Don’t give up your long range rifle but for a new challenge break out the shotgun and set up where you can put some coyotes in your pocket.
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 on-line predator and varmint hunting store and guiding business. You can check it out at No-Off-Season.com.
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