Long Range Hunting Online Magazine

Songdog Fever -- Coyote Hunting
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I started hunting coyotes in earnest then. I read everything I could get my hands on about calling, but I had very mixed results with it. I called in a few coyotes but mostly when I blew a call they would run in the other direction. Many times I would spot a coyote and sneak as close as I could, then try to call him a little closer. The normal routine was to get within 500 yards, set up, and blow the call. The dog jerks its head up, comes a couple of steps in my direction, then takes off like a streak in the opposite direction.

Songdog Fever -- Coyote Hunting

I learned that to be a successful coyote hunter, you have to hunt much like the coyote himself--be an opportunist. Get them wherever you can, by whatever method you can. My best results came from spot and stalk tactics. I would glass feeding areas from a high spot with binoculars, and then plan a stalk to get within shooting range.

A coyote's main diet consists of mice and meadow voles, but they are opportunistic hunters and will eat about anything. One of my most productive methods was to spot a carcass of a ranch animal or deer or elk and to pick a spot from which I could approach unseen and silent into comfortable rifle range for an ambush. If the carcass wasnít in a spot that was conducive to this, I would move it to a better location.

I had permission to hunt on several big ranches to help keep the coyote population under control, and would have the ranchers tell me when they had an animal die. I remember one horse carcass in particular that I killed twelve coyotes off of in one winter.

After my younger brother moved to Colorado a couple years later, we partnered up and went into the fur business. We hunted and trapped coyotes, bobcats and fox throughout the 80's. We made friends with several different ranchers and became their official coyote controllers. One sheep ranch in particular was having a difficult time with coyote predation, and we were more than glad to help out with the problem. That next year we sold 2 batches of 75 coyotes, one in December and one in March.

After I started having some success and was harvesting some fur, I experimented with all sorts of different calibers and bullets to effectively kill coyotes, yet not destroy the fur. I learned to be quite a seamstress with dental floss, sewing up holes in my hides. It didnít take long to give up on the 25-06--it just damaged fur way to much. I bought a Remington 700 bdl varmint grade in a 22-250 after shooting a friendís rifle in this caliber. It was almost as bad as the 25-06 if you used factory soft nosed ammo.

After getting some hand loading equipment I started experimenting with different style bullets. I tried the 55grain FMJ bullets, thinking that would be the ticket, but found that if you hit a coyote in the ribs it would punch a needle hole through them and they would run for miles. If you hit them in the spine or the shoulder they still blew big holes in the hides.

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