Still making rookie mistakes
Well I went out scouting for deer yesterday, I also bought a Bear tag so I guess I was Bear hunting as well. I went to a new area I hadn't been too and after a morning of no luck on the Bears or the bucks I found a callers dream spot. I drove to a water tank on a hill and on the other side was a mesa about a mile wide and a mile long. The tank I drove to was the only hill that had a vantage point of the whole area. I decided to get my stuff and see if I could get a dog to respond. I wasn't set up for calling but I figured I'd make do with what I had. I walked about midway down the hill and sat in front of a mesquite bush. Wind was in my face, sun was to the left of me as it was around 4:00 p.m. There was a fence to my right about 20 yards that ran north so it went straight away from me. On the mesa there were 3 patches of sunflowers the first patch about 300 yards away it was about 500 yards wide and 100 yards deep (from my perspective). The next one was at 655 yards same depth but about 800 yards wide and the last was past 1000 my lieca wouldn't range it and it was the width of the mesa. Since I wasn't set up to call I figured I wouldn't shoot past 250 because I would be shooting off my knee, so I ranged the mesa and picked spots the dogs would have to cross before I took a shot.
Which led to mistake #1
ALWAYS glass an area before you start calling. I knew better but wasn't in my normal calling mode so I just ranged areas and began blowing on the call.
I called for about 30 seconds as I normally do then started glassing. I do this to get coyotes attention that way if one stands up or is nearby I have a chance to make a shot early and continue calling. Sure enough at about 800 yards away is a songdog running away. Was he closer? Probably, was he in the open? Probably, could I have shot him? NO! What? Why? no shot?
Which brings us to mistake #2 and #3
When I set up I make sure to clear an area to sit and call and an area imediately left of me for prone shooting making sure there is nothing directly in front of me. Then I put the rifle on my sticks (I use stoney point rapid pivot sticks sitting and prone models) and start calling. I didn't have my sitting sticks which is why I was shooting off my knee and my prone sticks were in my pack (good place for them). AND there was a mesquite in front of me.
So needless to say I couldn't take that dog I tried to get him to come in with some barks, howls, chirping, and wimpering but he booked and that was that. No big deal it was a big mesa and I was a couple minutes into calling so I continued. I grabbed the rabbit in distress and started blowing for about a minute this time. I start my glassing routine and low in behold another yote is comming in at a fast trot. He makes it through the middle row of sunflowers and stops. I give 15 seconds of distress and here he comes ready for a free meal. Then he stops at about 580 and looks to my right and here comes a second dog (Oh boy a double). Then when the second dog gets there they start to leave so I chirp and stop em. They stay at 599 yards while I get up try and go prone throw rocks dig out my sticks set up the rifle dial my knob and still don't have a shot cause the bush is in my way (CRAP, CRAP, CRAP). So I sit back down figuring they're long gone but no they're still there yup 599. I start calling and the smaller dog wants to bolt right in but the other dog keeps hearding it and leading it away. This goes on for about 2 minutes which seemed like forever and finally they dissapear into the middle row of sunflowers never to be seen again. So I called for another 20 minutes with no response before I called it quits. I will go back in a couple weeks and seal the deal but this time I'll be ready.
Oh and #4
My gun was unloaded so I would've heard a click for my first shot I didn't notice that untill I tried to unload it, normally I will chamber a round before I start glassing and calling.
So the moral of the story with calling season weeks away or here already for those of you that don't stop calling, go prepared, and follow your mental checklist no matter how juicy a spot looks.
I didn't have my log book so that spot is unlogged. I usually get location, date, time, wind direction, wind speed, direction of calling, temp, time spent calling, calls used, weather (clear, overcast, rain, snow) and a few other bits of info to increase my success at other spots. I do this at my initial set up when I find a spot, it takes anywere from 15 to 20 minutes before I start screaming.
Oh well there's always next saturday.
44.5 grains RL-15