I woke up about a half an hour before the alarm went off this morning. But glancing out the window, I could see the sky already beginning to lighten. So I quickly got up and got dressed in my hunting clothes. Then grabbed my rifle, a Winchester model 70 in 7mm Remington Magnum and my black bag and headed out the door. Three good shots of starter fluid later, the old jeep roared to life. My destination this morning was a new butte that I had never shot from. Just a few miles down a dirt two track from my home. I had a fairly stiff breeze out of the East, but it commonly dies down for the first couple of hours after sunrise, so I wasnít too worried about it. I parked on the North end of the butte and made my way three fourths of a mile around the West side of it. I set up my little stool against a large, dead yucca plant on the South end. The Yucca would not only serve as a back rest while I waited, but it would help to break up my outline and serve as a shooting platform for longer shots.
My position gave me a nice view of a small valley between two buttes. It was right about 1,200 yards from my position across the valley to the base of the next butte. I laid my rifle on my right, and started unpacking my bag. First out was a box of 162 grain Amax bullets, over H4831sc powder. I quietly slipped 3 in the magazine and put a fourth in the chamber. Next out of the bag was my range finder and binoculars. I pulled a small sandbag out next and tossed it behind the yucca.
I leaned back against the yucca and for the next twenty minutes just enjoyed the view. To my right was a stock tank just over 900 yards out. There was a fence running up the center of the valley, right at 500 yards straight ahead. Three hundred yards to my left, was the end of another butte. At a forty-five degree angle to my left, was another small butte, a little over a mile away. Up to this point, I hadnít picked up the binoculars. I had spent my time just looking around, and ranging various objects, learning distances to various landmarks.
I went to lay the rangefinder down and pick up the binoculars. Before I could get them to my eyes, I noticed movement in the brush just below me. I froze up and seconds later was rewarded with the sight of a coyote mousing though the mesquite. A quick hit with the range finder, showed him to be only 136 yards out. I picked up the rifle and settled my elbows on my knees. Seconds later an Amax shattered his world in a huge explosion of dust. The coyote never knew what hit him.
Seconds later, I saw movement to my right. His partner had been a couple of hundred yards behind him and was running across the valley. He stopped in a bush a little over 600 yards out, and hunkered down out of sight. I slipped off of my stool and crawled around behind the yucca. Once behind it, I rose up to my knees and set the sandbag and rifle on top. He didnít seem to want to come out of the brush, and I had no clear shot at him. While I was waiting, I checked the drop chart and added the 13 MOA needed for the shot to the scope. About 15-20 minutes went by before the coyote decided the thunder was over and started making his way though the brush and down the fence row separating the valley. Unfortunately, at this point he was between me and a herd of cattle and I couldnít shoot. He finally broke into the open due South of me, I clicked 3 ľ MOA back off of the scope and when he stopped, I touched the trigger. I heard a resounding whop through the sound of the rifle echoing though the valley. Then saw the coyote come spinning out of a huge cloud of dust, 509 yards away. He made about five spins before going rigid and flopping over onto his side.
I watched for signs of movement for another five minutes before slipping back around the yucca and into my seat. I had probably been glassing for another fifteen minutes before I noticed another coyote coming into my valley from the west. He was almost playing Shepard with a herd of 8 cows and their calves. He would stay 100 to 200 yards to the North (My side) of them and would get just ahead of the lead cow, then hold up under a bush. As the last cow past him, he would get up and move forward of the first cow again. I watched him repeat this process several times as he and the cattle made their way though the valley.
As they made their way to the Far East end of the valley, I lowered my binoculars into my lap, just in time to catch a bit of movement in the brush below me again. I sat there in awe as I watched a large bobcat stalk though the mesquite. They are still in season for the next three days, but as hot as it has been here lately, I canít help but think they are severely rubbed by this time of the year, and I hate to shoot one of those beautiful animals and not sell the fur. So I settled in and decided to watch him. He passed with in 75 feet of the first coyote I shot, and didnít seem to notice any odor. I was really surprised to see him take this route, as he must have crossed paths with the coyote.
He slowly made his way from right to left and he finally disappeared out of my sight.
I reached back into my bag and brought out my Foxpro
caller. I hadnít planned on using any calls today, but at this point, I was glad to have it with me. I turned it to the Bobcat in heat selection and let it play for a few seconds. I waited a few minutes and the repeated. After the third or forth time, and still no sight of him, I decided to try a little rabbit in distress. Iíd play it for a few seconds, and then wait. After a few minutes, with out any luck of trying to get another look at him. I noticed the cattle on the far butte all turning to look at something. I picked up the binoculars to find two coyotes coming off of the side of the butte and heading my direction from a mile away.
I quickly slipped back behind the yucca and put the rifle back on the sandbag.
I watched them through the scope as they made their way across to me. About 800 yards out, they slipped into a wash and disappeared from view. I waited several minutes and didnít see any movement. So I turned the caller back on for a quick series and with in seconds one came bouncing out of the wash, a hundred yards from where he had disappeared, making his way to me at a trot. His buddy soon following the same trail a couple of hundred yards behind. I looked up to double check that I had reset the scope to its hundred yard zero and decided to let them keep coming in. The leader stopped at 213 yards and checked up. I held the crosshairs an inch above center and lit the fire. He went down hard in a cloud of dust, with out as much as a twitch. He buddy was making for the far butte in a big hurry. I pulled out my howler and gave a few barks as he went into the wash they had disappeared into earlier. He came out of the wash and checked up, looking directly back at me. I quickly spun 21 MOA into the scope and centered the crosshairs on his chest. I recovered from the recoil just in time to see the dirt in front of his feet explode. My range estimation had been a little short and all I gave him was a dirt bath and a cure for constipation.
I sat there for a few more minutes looking around and reflecting on my new found LR honey hole. It was getting hot and I knew the coyotes would be holding up for the day. I glanced at my watch as I packed up my bag and was surprised to see that it was only 8 am.
It was a great morning, one of those rare ones when nearly everything comes together as planned. I had seen five coyotes and a bobcat. Fired four shots and walked out to count coup of three coyotes. Iíll let that butte rest for a week or two, but you can bet that I will be back!
[ 03-28-2004: Message edited by: Tim Behle ]