I am not for sure where to put this story so you can move it where it needs to be.
Better Lucky than good....
Earlier this winter I had one of those days that make me a believer in the old saying that it is better to be lucky than to be good. Although it started out on a bad note I had a lucky day indeed. . The first coyote I saw that morning I spotted while heading for my first stand. The wind was blowing from the east, which is a rarity in my area. Usually you can count on a west to northwest wind.
The coyote was mousing and farting around up the draw I was working up. I was nearly strait east of the coyote when I saw him. There was snow on the ground and I was dressed accordingly in my new NatGear winter attire. The coyote saw me but paid little attention and went about his business. He worked his way down and out of sight so I made a break for a higher spot just up the draw a bit so I could get an elevated view and hopefully a shot. I made it to where I wanted to be and the coyote was gone. The draw forked about half way up and I was just sure that the coyote took the one to the right so I squeaked the call just a bit and waited. After a couple series of squeaks I had a sinking feeling come over me that told me that the coyote had went up the left fork “the one out of my view and closer to my down wind.” I rose to my knees and then to my feet. When I reached the last point where I saw the coyote the tracks told the story. While I was making my break for the elevated spot the coyote had wondered over to the left fork in the draw. I fallowed his tracks and I saw where he had stopped and then started my way after hearing the call. The coyote was within 50 yards of me when he caught my wind. The tracks in the snow went from a nice trot in my direction to a full-blown run in the other.
I was a little disappointed but shook off the mistake and moved on. A few small drainages later and I was getting ready to set up for my second stand of the day but didn’t really like what I saw so I thought I would move over to the next finger and squeak it. As I crested the hill I bumped a coyote out of its bed. Instantly I went prone and started yipping with my voice. The coyote started to bounce so I knew he was preparing to stop and he did. Crack!! Down he went. I gathered up the coyote and kept heading north to the next stand. Again I was getting ready to set up for a call and there is a coyote. The coyote sees me but only my head is visible to him because of the lay of the ground. I drop my coyote and slowly raise my rifle and take a short but deliberate step forward. The coyote was still standing there puzzled at what he was seeing. Steadily I aimed the rifle and “BANG!!!” The coyote didn’t move, he didn’t even flinch!! I chambered another round and again took careful aim and again a clean miss. LOL I must have at least been in the right zip coed with that shot because it sent the coyote off to the races. The coyote cleared the first hill and was out of sight. The grass was tall in thespot I was standing so I made a mad dash for a little clearing about 20 yards ahead of me. Just as I made it there and went prone the coyote had reappeared on the far side of the draw and was making tracks. Immediately I started yelping and barking with my voice all the time tracking the coyote with my rifle. It really looked like the coyote was not going to stop but just as he started to crest the hill he locked up the breaks for the fatal look back. “Crack,” down went number 2 for the day at a ranged 319 yards.
I will admit I was pretty up set with my shooting because the coyote was only about 75 yards away but then I realized it wasn’t my fault. I figured with the right to left breeze coupled with the mirage, gravitational pull of the moon as well as the obvious effects of the rotation of the earth it was no wonder I missed. Sheesh!! I thought I was slipping! LOL
I was near a section line fence so I drug the coyotes to it so I could find them more easily when I came back later with the pickup. On to the next stand I go.
The next place I wanted to call was about three quarters of a mile to the Northeast across a large draw. Before I crossed it I laid down and called it to make sure I wouldn’t bump anything out when I crossed. Nothing showed so I made the long walk to the next stand. When I arrived the best place I could find to set up was on a very wide open but gradually sloping hill. The grass was tall in places but I found a spot that gave me a good shooting lane in the direction I thought the coyotes would come from. I started off with a squeak “as I usually do” and I no more than finished with the series and I see a black silhouette of a coyote against a snow bank about 400 yards away. Slowly I slid into shooting position and gave another toot on the call. The coyote started picking his way through a see of Yuccas bouncing and weaving. At about 200 yards out the coyote broke off his rout and started moving to the left quartering towards me for my wind. I couldn’t let this happen because he had less than 100 yards to go and he would get below me and out of my shooting lain. I barked once, the coyote stopped and faced me at about 185 or so and I dumped him in his tracks. A textbook call in and I was happy with three coyotes down in less than two hours.
It was time to move on to another section of the ranch so I lined out for the pickup with coyote in tow. As I was moving towards the truck I started to notice a lot of coyote sign and was starting to think about setting up for a quick stand before I screwed around and bumped something out. The area that I was in was rather flat but I saw a small jumble of hills up ahead so I veered that direction and intended on making a stand from there. While approaching the hills I noted that the tracks were getting “thicker” for lack of a better word. LOL
As I made it around the first hill I glanced up and saw a coyote standing broad side to me. I thought I was screwed, as the coyote wasn’t but 75 or 80 yards away. For once I used my head and never broke stride but let go of the coyote I was dragging. Slowly I brought the rifle off of my shoulder and folded down the bipods. I couldn’t hit the ground right there for the shot because of some Sun Flowers but I could in about 6 or seven yards. All the time I was watching the coyote out of the corner of my eye. When I reached the small clearing I went strait to the prone position settled the crosshairs and down went coyote number 4 for the day. Like I said before it is better to be lucky than good some times. LOL The only thing I can think of that kept the coyote from bolting is that it was the first snow of the year and I was head to toe in snow camo. I guess it didn’t register that I was one of the bad guys in time? When I retrieved that coyote he was only about 6 feet from his afternoon bed, which was marked by a round melted spot in the snow under a soap weed.
A LONG RANGE TRIPLE “sort of”
After I rounded up all the coyotes I moved about a mile to another area and started over. The first stand was a blank so I thought I would try another one a little further to the east. The problem was that I had to cross a large flat about 600 yards wide to get there, about half way across I abandoned the notion because I was giving up to much ground and I was completely exposed to my calling area. I really wanted to call this draw because it has produced a number of coyotes for me in the past. The only thing left to do was to come into it like I normally do but that meant that I had to hook back around the flat through a small drainage. It was a long walk and cost me about a half hour of daylight but it was worth it.
Cresting the last little hill that over looked the drainage I spotted a coyote. “$hit” I thought to myself in a whispered voice. He was dang near down wind of me now that the wind had switched from the east to the south. There was nothing between us but about 3 small rolling hills. I knew the situation favored the coyote so I had to do things just right if I wanted to skin him tonight. Laying down I kept sliding forward until I was clear of some grass and had a nice shooting lain for “when” he started to circle. The first thing I did was ranged the coyote and he lazered in at 414 yards. Then I ranged the closest hill to me that was about 250 to the middle of it. I needed to know this distance because the coyote had to cross this hill to get to me and I had to shoot him there because when he crossed it he could get below me and be out of sight until he picked up my wind.
The stage was set. I had my ranges and my game plan; now it was up to the coyote to produce. I shouldered my rifle and glassed the coyote before I started to call and noticed a very black spot about 5 yards to the coyote’s right. All of a sudden a head appeared out of the black spot and then a rooster tale of dirt started flying. Ha ha a badger! If all else fails at least I would get a badger out of the deal I thought and then I noticed a second coyote!! This coyote was laying down about 20 yards beyond the badger. Wow I thought I could really hit the jackpot here if I play my cards right. Immediately I shook off the notion that I would kill all three critters and remembered a few hard lessons I had learned through trial and error. Primarily “don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”
It was an over cast day and it was getting late so I had better make my move now so I would at least have time for another stand or two before it was to dark to shoot. Again I shouldered my rifle and placed the PeeWee between my lips and started squeaking. The coyote snapped to attention but was hesitant to come. I repeated the sequence two more times but all I could get was a look. The coyote seamed more interested in the badger “who’s attention I had as well,” than he was me. From there I moved strait into a soft cotton tale sound and then the unexpected happened. The first coyote stood up and started to trot off. Experience had told me that the gig was up and it was now or never. I barked and the coyote stopped. The breeze was light-ish quartering down from right to left. When the coyote stopped he was facing to the right. At that point I figured him at about 425 to 430 yards so I centered my 400-yard dot on the end of his nose and fired. “Crack,” went the rifle and off went the coyote!! I didn’t hear the meat report but the coyote acted funny from take off so I chambered another round and shouldered the rifle. I got him in the scope just in time to see him roll and then sprung up in the air about 6 feet and hit the ground dead as a stone. With that coyote in the bag I focused my attention on the other one.
At the shot, coyote number two got up and started to gallop off. I bark twice with my voice and the coyote stopped. He was facing to the right as well so because of the added distance I put my 400 yard dot on top of his head and fired. The bullet pooped when it hit and the coyote started spinning. I fired again and missed. The coyote started off but almost as soon as he started off he stopped again to tend to his wound and I fired a third shot that missed. This time the coyote took off and was running hard when he disappeared into a cut. He looked pretty health and I was thinking to my self that this coyote is gone and I will never be able to catch him before dark. I got up on my knees and ranged to where I thought I hit him at and it read 478 yards. Just as I was about to stick my rangefinder back into my jacket the coyote came out of the cut and turned broad side. Grabbing the range finder I was able to get a reading on a cut bank that was what I thought to be about 10 yards or so this side of him. The range finder said 580 yards. I went prone, took a breath and placed my 600 yard dot on the base of the coyotes tale as he was now facing to the left and fired. The rifle cracked and bucked at the shot fallowed by a Shooooooo of the bullet sailing across the drainage. Through the scope I see the coyote crumple with out a twitch and then heard the tell tale pooo of the bullet making impact.
Woooo Hoooo I thought and while I was patting my self on the back walking to my kills I remembered the badger. At this point I had closed the gap by a couple hundred yards and was just coming over the first hill that separated us. Slowly I made my way to the top and saw that the badger was still doing his thing so I creped a little closer and finished him with a shoulder shot.
The first shot that hit coyote # 2 went through his hind leg a couple inches above the knee but never hit the bone. I would have never got that coyote unless I got lucky and caught him laying up in the next drainage or two. The first coyote was hit a little far back just clipping the back of its lungs.
Last but not least
The sun was setting so I had to get moving if I wanted to get in another stand or two before dark. I piled the two coyotes and the badger on the badgers mound and marked it with my GPS because at this point I would not make it back while it was light enough to see.
The next spot I wanted to hit was about 6 or 7 hundred yards on the exact opposite side of where I had just called so I fallowed my footsteps back to my last stand and proceeded across a large flat.
I reach the stand lay down and start of with a few squeaks mixed in with some hawk squalls. About 3 minutes in I spot a coyote coming down a snow bank about 600 yards out. Everything is looking good when he disappeared behind a ridge. I continued my series with squeaks and squalls but the coyote was a no show. That sinking feeling was starting to come over me again and I could see that if the coyote fallowed the ridge around he could wind me with out exposing himself.
One of two things was going to happen. One, the coyote was just farting around and taking his time or two, he was working towards my wind. I had a decision to make. Either move 50 yards to my right so I could see down in the draw I “think” he is heading for or wait it out and hope curiosity over takes him and he pops over the ridge for a look see. Regardless where the coyote was at if I moved to the other spot he could not get out of there with out me seeing him so I decided to make my move. At least that way I was guaranteed a shot. I only had a few steps to go before reaching my set up and the coyote popped up. I hit the ground and just as I got him in the scope he bolted back down the draw. The spot I had chose was a poor one so I got up and ran another 20 yards to my right for a better view of the drainage and went prone. The coyote had made it to the far side and was slowing up. I didn’t bark because his body language told me he was getting ready to stop and he did. Off went the rifle and 328 yards later down went the coyote.
I Forest Gumped my way through the day but hey, I’ll take em how I can get em. LOL
Here is the pic and I will apologize in advance for the poor quality. It was dark when I got home and I did a lousy job of trying to enhance it.
Good hunting to you all.