Not Wile E. enough

Discussion in 'Varminter & Hunting Forum' started by Toby Bradshaw, Mar 22, 2016.

  1. WyleWD

    WyleWD Gold $$ Contributor

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    Great pics and reading. Are those Cooper's Hawks having breakfast on the jack? If not, what kind of hawk are they?? TIA. WD
     
  2. Toby Bradshaw

    Toby Bradshaw Gold $$ Contributor

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    Harris's hawks (Parabuteo unicinctus). They are pack hunters, like wolves. The two in the most recent photos are sisters, the product of 6 generations of selective breeding by me. More here: http://faculty.washington.edu/toby/baywingdb/
     
  3. Toby Bradshaw

    Toby Bradshaw Gold $$ Contributor

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    The hawks were on a roll this morning and had me back at the truck in an hour with my vest sagging under the weight of the jackrabbits they had caught, so I took advantage of the early finish and cool morning to make a coyote stand before heading home to run the Brittany.

    I drove up the 2-track for a couple of miles to the transition between the sagebrush/rabbitbrush flats and the juniper-sagebrush savanna where the volcanic hills rise out of the valley. I walked about 250 yards from the truck and set up my Bog-Pod in the shadow of a stately juniper, overlooking a relatively open area below. I placed the FOXPRO in a dead sagebrush next to a small juniper about 60 yards from my stand.

    After 5 minutes of "nutty nuthatch" I was about to change to "adult cottontail" (louder) when I spotted a coyote pup trotting straight in, then circling to my left to take advantage of the few clumps of cover between her and the caller (smart pup!). I muted the caller and she stopped -- right behind the little juniper where I couldn't see her! I let the caller give one little squeak, and unfortunately the coyote didn't walk in, as I was hoping, but jumped straight at the caller. She immediately caught the scent from the path I walked to set the FOXPRO, spun on her back foot, and took off directly away from me at a lope.

    I whooped to stop her, but she just kept going. I had been tracking her in the scope the whole time, and while I don't like to take running shots on coyotes, I had little hope that this one was going to stop or turn around. I put the crosshair on her nose, and with the straightaway shot I just had to keep the muzzle rising smoothly as I squeezed the trigger.

    Nobody was more surprised than I when the coyote plowed a furrow with her nose as soon as I shot. [One of the reasons that I chose a light-recoiling 22BR with 40gr bullets is to be able to see the bullet impact through the scope.] I cycled the bolt (love that Kelbly Atlas Tactical!) because I expected her to get up, but there was no movement. I carried my rifle down the slope in case I had to put a finisher into her, but I found her graveyard dead 122 paces from my Bog-Pod. The Nosler had hit her in the back of the head on the left side.

    I have 2 theories on this running head shot: 1) The BR case is really just a short Creedmoor, so all you have to do is point it in the general direction of the target to make a perfect shot every time. 2) The bullet has to go somewhere.

    I'm leaning towards Theory #2.

    coyote kill 70.JPG

    coyote kill 70 closeup.JPG
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
  4. thekriebles

    thekriebles Silver $$ Contributor

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    Explosive!! Which 40 gr. bullet were you shooting?
     
  5. Toby Bradshaw

    Toby Bradshaw Gold $$ Contributor

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    Nosler Ballistic Tip. In my experience they give better penetration than other brands of 40-grainers if you have to break a bone going in. I avoid hitting big bones whenever possible but sometimes you either don't have a choice or don't hit them right where you want to.

    The advantages of a 40gr bullet are that they don't produce much recoil (easier to spot your own shots) and they are fur-friendly. The disadvantage is that you have to place shots more carefully than with a heavier, tougher bullet. For called coyotes it's a good tradeoff, IMO.

    At 122 yards that 40gr NBT from a 22BR is still going 3500 fps (or thereabouts), so no wonder it makes a mess. It's like shooting them at point blank range with a .222. :)
     
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  6. Toby Bradshaw

    Toby Bradshaw Gold $$ Contributor

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    I had several good reasons for hunting coyotes this morning. First, I missed a standing 75-yard head shot on one that I called in a few days ago. I hate to miss.:mad: Second, I saw 2 coyote pups in alfalfa pivots this morning on my way out to the jackrabbit fields with my hawks. Seeing coyotes out mousing always gets me in the mood to call. Finally, the coyotes around my cabin have been getting uppity -- howling and barking at all hours of the night. The last straw came when one neighborhood coyote took a three-tiered country dump right at the perimeter of the yard where my hawks are perched. Now it has become a matter of honor. :)

    coyote turd.JPG

    Theo chillin' in Blitzen's bath pan.JPG

    Yesterday evening I ran the Brittany in a section of sagebrush adjacent to a pivot near the cabin to look for a good coyote stand. After catching a couple of jackrabbits with the hawks this morning, the temperature was still in the mid-40s, with a light northerly breeze, so I parked the truck and walked a half-mile straight north along the border between the pivot and sagebrush. By keeping my inbound scent at the edge of the cover I reduced the chances of a coyote downwinding me on the way to the FOXPRO -- they don't like to come out of the sagebrush and into the open pivot if they don't have to.

    The clearing in the sagebrush was small, but (I hoped) big enough for a shot. In less than 5 minutes of "bay bee cottontail" a coyote pup walked into the clearing from the east. I hit the mute button on the remote, and she stopped about a yard from the FOXPRO, quartering towards me. The 40gr Nosler BT caught her right behind her left shoulder, plowed through her ribcage and left lung, then unzipped her belly, making an unholy mess. There were various coyote parts and pieces scattered around the ground in the impact zone, 96 paces from the Bog-Pod.

    If you like to shoot coyotes with 40gr .224 bullets, I can heartily endorse the Nosler Ballistic Tip. While penetration isn't always as good as seen below, the NBTs do stay together better than many varmint bullets when impact speed is high (about 3600 fps in this case).

    coyote kill 71.JPG
     
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  7. BRGUY

    BRGUY

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    Most excellent!

    I really look forward to your hunts and stories.
     
  8. Toby Bradshaw

    Toby Bradshaw Gold $$ Contributor

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    On my last morning (for awhile -- duty calls!) in the high desert I decided to call coyotes on the edge of a juniper-lined draw surrounded by thick sagebrush. I made just about every mistake possible, but it worked out anyway. :) I arrived on my stand about 10 minutes late, bumping 2 short-eared owls off their roosts, putting the rising sun right in my face, and preventing me from standing in the shadow of a juniper for concealment. I set up my tall Bog-Pod at the military crest of the draw on a steep section, which put the rifle rest too low for maximum comfort and stability. I didn't realize until later that I could easily have sat down with a bipod, which would have given me a fine view of the draw, made me less visible to the coyotes, and provided a steadier shooting position. Oh, well.

    Just as I was preparing to start the FOXPRO ("bay bee cottontail" on tap!), 2 or 3 packs of coyotes broke into their dawn chorus. Several of them sounded like they were within rock-throwing distance in the heavy sage, and one of them started barking. A barking coyote usually means that I've been busted.

    When the yodeling finally stopped I played the FOXPRO at a very low volume, knowing that coyotes were close. It was a major disappointment that 5 minutes of prey sounds produced absolutely no visible response, even though I knew for a fact that the draw was loaded with coyotes.

    Rather than go through the whole litany of sounds, I went straight to the panic button: "pup distress 3". Within 1 cycle this female pup walked right up to the FOXPRO, taking the 40gr NBT broadside at 45 yards. There isn't enough thread on a spool to sew up the exit hole.

    Thank goodness for dumb pups -- they are very forgiving of mistakes.

    coyote kill 72.JPG

    And just to prove that it wasn't my day (despite my undeserved good fortune with the pup), I walked a half mile up the 2-track and set up over a open field (crested wheatgrass and Jim Hill mustard) with a fenceline that coyotes use as a thoroughfare between two stands of sagebrush. I made myself comfortable sitting in the shadow of a big sagebrush.

    Unfortunately, the FOXPRO didn't make a sound when I keyed the remote. Cursing myself for forgetting to turn on the switch, I walked out to check the FOXPRO, but for the life of me I could not find it. I tromped around the field for 20 minutes, stinking up the whole area and making it very unlikely to be a successful stand.

    I finally gave up, went home to get Theo the Brittany, and took him for his morning run while I tried one more time to locate my missing FOXPRO. Of course, I found it in less than 5 minutes this time. It turned out that the speaker switch had accidentally been flipped to "external", probably from being jostled in my backpack. You can bet that I will be looking more closely at that in the future!

    Theo in the shade at the Tacoma.JPG
     
  9. Toby Bradshaw

    Toby Bradshaw Gold $$ Contributor

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    I have a few holidays left before going back to work, so I checked the weather, and it looks promising for calling coyotes later in the week after a couple of breezy days. There was a 10mph WSW wind when I arrived this afternoon, so I took the dog for a run until a couple of hours before sunset. The high temps for the past few days have been above freezing, crusting the skiff of snow by the daily freeze/thaw cycle, and making for an annoyingly loud, crunchy approach to my first stand. I set the FOXPRO about 80 yards out, crosswind, to give the coyotes a chance to downwind the caller without getting directly downwind of me. I spent about 15 minutes on the stand without seeing a coyote.

    I pulled up stakes and moved down the road a mile or so. I set my stand-up BogPod on a slight rise in the shadow of a tall sagebrush, with the FOXPRO in the flat below. The cover in the flat was thicker than I like -- I wouldn't see a coyote until it was right on top of the caller, and a coyote could downwind me without being seen at all. Luckily, right before sunset the wind died to a gentle 5mph.

    Within the first few minutes of "bay bee cottontail" I spotted a coyote coming in from the downwind side. He was making good progress towards the caller, but he was ducking in and out of the cover, only visible intermittently. About 100 yards away from me he paused, and appeared to be a little tentative. He probably caught a bit of my wind. He started towards the FOXPRO again, but was walking slowly and looking nervous. He stopped again at 70 yards, and turned his head to look right at me. Fortunately, his front half was exposed, and I put the 40gr NBT behind his right front shoulder. He spun twice and hit the deck.

    No wonder he was hungry -- count his feet in the photo.

    coyote kill 73.jpg
    His left front leg had been shot off sometime in the past, had completely healed, and this old dog had been making a living on 3 legs ever since. Are coyotes tough? Yeah.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
  10. BRGUY

    BRGUY

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    Another great story and hunt. Thank you once again for sharing. I for one look very much forward to your hunting stories.
     
  11. thekriebles

    thekriebles Silver $$ Contributor

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    Your shared experiences are a great read as are your photos. Thanks for sharing!!
     
  12. Toby Bradshaw

    Toby Bradshaw Gold $$ Contributor

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    Hoping to share some more once this wind dies down! :)

    While you're waiting, you might enjoy the Hidden Instinct Coyote Tour videos. "The Tour" is just finishing up -- still waiting for Day 30. It's great to see two young guys (and a few of their friends) out in the high and low deserts calling coyotes. Lots of good video and technical info without all the histrionics you sometimes see on coyote hunting videos. They work hard for their coyotes and have only been skunked one day out of the first 28, which I find very impressive.

     
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  13. allen529

    allen529

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    I subscribed to those guys last month and they flat out kill some coyotes. They are down to earth and answer questions and comments too.
     
  14. 6MMsteve

    6MMsteve Gold $$ Contributor

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    Yote Slayer fun fun
     
  15. Toby Bradshaw

    Toby Bradshaw Gold $$ Contributor

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    Yesterday's forecast called for 10-20mph winds, so I was planning to scout instead of hunt. Right at dawn there was a half hour of relative calm but I wasted it running the Brittany. By the time I got back to the truck the WNW wind was starting to pick up, but like an idiot I went and made a couple of hope-over-reason stands with (predictably) no success. I did see 2 coyotes mousing out in the dormant alfalfa pivots, despite the wind.

    The wind was supposed to turn to the north overnight and blow all day today at 10-15mph. But after missing yesterday's dawn lull I was prepared this morning. I was on my stand before sunrise, and the wind was almost perfectly calm. The walk to the stand was a noisy, slip-sliding affair with a hard freeze having created a thick crust of ice after yesterday's afternoon thaw.

    I started with "bay bee cottontail" -- a softer sound that would still carry far in the cold, calm air. After 5 minutes I switched to "adult cottontail" (louder) for another 5 minutes, then to "jackrabbit distress" (loudest) for the third sound in the sequence. I was just about to finish up the stand ("coyote pup distress 3") when a coyote came trotting in from my left. I muted the call as soon as I saw her. She stopped right on cue, but was behind a sagebrush. I blipped the jackrabbit sound once, and she took a step into the open, 57 paces from me and 5 yards from the FOXPRO. The 40gr NBT went a little left of center in her chest (you can see the entrance wound if you look closely). She went straight down. Looks like this year's pup, though the pups have grown quite a bit since the last time I hunted here in August.

    coyote kill 74 with 22BR.JPG
    The sun rose just as I was wrapping up the photo shoot.

    coyote kill 74.JPG
     
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  16. Toby Bradshaw

    Toby Bradshaw Gold $$ Contributor

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    Today's weather alert was for a stagnant air advisory -- no wind for the next 2 days! Combined with the single digit overnight low temps, the coyote calling should be good. Sure enough, it was 6*F at sunup when I made my first stand in an area that has been productive for me in the past. But all I called in was a Cooper's hawk that tried to grab the spinner decoy on the FOXPRO.

    On the next stand a coyote came from behind me, cut my inbound track, and barked at me for 10 minutes from the safety of the thick sagebrush.

    On the third stand I was only a few minutes into "jackrabbit distress" when I spotted an adult coyote coming from my right, beelining at a gallop for the caller. I didn't think that it would stop when I muted the caller, but it did. I had a standing broadside shot at about 50 yards. With the crosshairs right behind its shoulder I touched the Jewell trigger, expecting to see a perfect impact. Instead, I could practically feel the firing pin spring trying to accelerate the striker through the congealed grease in the bolt, which at this temperature had the consistency of peanut butter. When the firing pin finally hit the primer with a feeble "click," the coyote heard it, looked at me, and trotted away looking over his shoulder. I ejected the round; it had just a tiny dimple in the primer.

    I always leave my rifle in the truck overnight because I don't like bringing a cold rifle into a warm house, to prevent condensation on the rifle. I have disassembled the bolt on my Kelbly Atlas Tactical action in the past, and did notice that it was shipped with more grease than I normally use on the striker mechanism, but I failed to take into account the effect of very low temps on the viscosity of the grease. Shame on me.

    I put the bolt inside my jacket to warm up and took the dog for a run to give the grease some time to thin. The next two stands were fruitless. I was beginning to think that my carelessness with the bolt lubrication was going to cost me what should have been a good day of calling.

    By the time I had lunch and ran the dog again, the temperature had risen to the high 20s. My sixth stand was in a shallow bowl surrounded by a greasewood rim. I set up my Bog-Pod just below the rim, well-hidden in the greasewood. After about 15 minutes of prey sounds going from softer to louder, a coyote pup came over the rim to check out "jackrabbit distress." Mysteriously, it turned around before getting close to the FOXPRO, and started to climb out of the bowl from the same direction it had come. I was tracking it in my scope, and when it paused at the rim (about 200 yards out) I took a shot with the same cartridge that had the light primer strike on the first coyote. I didn't see the bullet impact in the snow, but I missed the coyote clean.

    Definitely not one of my better days.

    The FOXPRO went to "coyote pup distress 3" at the report of the rifle, but since all of the recent coyotes have been coming to prey sounds, I switched back to "jackrabbit distress." Within a minute a coyote pup (the one I had just missed, I think) appeared on the rim and headed straight for the caller. He stopped, facing me at 96 paces. I tried to hold for the center of his chest but hit a couple of inches to the left, smashing the ball joint of his right shoulder. The 40gr NBT just about ripped off his front leg, spraying blood and shards of bone behind him and killing him instantly.

    If it weren't for dumb pups and 3-legged grownups I'd be getting skunked on this trip! :)

    coyote kill 75.JPG

    coyote kill 75 entrance wound.JPG
     
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  17. Bojo

    Bojo

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    How does that setup your gun hangs from work ? I'd like to see some pics of that. Please and thank you .
     
  18. Toby Bradshaw

    Toby Bradshaw Gold $$ Contributor

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    It's a tall (68") Bog-Pod. The majority of the places that I now call coyotes are flat, with fairly thick sagebrush, rabbitbrush, and greasewood, where shooting from a sitting position isn't a viable option. Like most people I started calling coyotes from a hillside adjacent to a flat, sitting on a pad with a medium-tall bipod (see below). I still do this when I can, because the sitting position is so much more stable for shooting, and it's easier to conceal myself when sitting.

    Atlas Tactical with rock background.JPG

    But once I figured out that the standing position can work for calling coyotes in the wide-open flats (as long as there is something to break up your outline -- a juniper tree, a thick clump of tall sagebrush, etc.), a LOT of new areas, most of them loaded with coyotes that had never been called, opened up for me. Another advantage of calling/shooting from the standing position is that I can cover a wider arc by moving my feet, as long as the coyote is focused on the caller and not likely to detect my movement.

    Atlas Tactical in the shade of a juniper.JPG
     
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  19. Bojo

    Bojo

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    Looks like a great setup. Love to read your stories. I've never even seen terrain like that in person as I am a Pennsylvania guy , maybe some day here I'll get to go Prarie dog shooting or on a pig hunt. It just seems to alway be something else that alway demanding money that is more important. If I have the money I don't have the time and when I finally have the time I have already spent the money.
     
  20. Toby Bradshaw

    Toby Bradshaw Gold $$ Contributor

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    With cold weather and calm winds for the past two days, I was expecting a coyote on every stand. But it didn't work out that way. I made 7 stands yesterday, and only saw a coyote on the third stand. That coyote didn't come all the way to the FOXPRO, but stood on a ridgetop looking uneasily at the caller in the bottom of a little valley. [I later figured out that it was able to see my truck from the hilltop.] I took the ~200-yard shot but missed.

    After missing 2 coyotes in the past couple of days I decided to check the zero on my 22BR during my lunch break. I went to the local "range," a makeshift shooting gallery on BLM land. Someone had left a cardboard box at the 100-yard target stand, so I cut a 1/2" square in it to use as an aiming point. Shooting over a rolled-up jacket, I turned up the scope to 10X and touched one off. The bullet hit 3/4" high at 100 yards -- spot on for its 245-yard zero. Oh, well, the two misses can't be chalked up to bad equipment, just poor shooting on my part. :eek:

    22BR zero check 100yd.JPG
    This morning was calm and overcast, absolutely perfect for calling coyotes. I set up shop at my "sure thing" juniper-lined draw just before sunrise. No sooner had I cranked up the FOXPRO than a pack of coyotes started howling less than a mile away. I was thinking "double!" but the coyotes weren't having any of it.

    I hit some new spots, I hit some tried-and-true spots. Nothing.

    But you can't call coyotes unless you make another stand, and you can't kill them unless you pull the trigger, so at sunset I found myself looking over a greasewood flat adjacent to an alfalfa pivot. I went straight to "jackrabbit distress" at max volume. I was anticipating that the coyotes would come from the north, but after 10 minutes of calling I heard the click of toenails on the crusty snow behind me (the first time that the noisy surface was working for me instead of against me). I didn't turn around because I wasn't sure whether the coyote was looking at me or at the caller. He swung around through the heavy sage to my left instead of coming through the thinner greasewood, and I finally caught his movement out of the corner of my eye. He had crossed my inbound track -- a mistake rarely made by any coyote, especially an adult. He was intent on the caller but walking slowly. I eased the rifle around to the left on the swiveling head of the Bog-Pod. The coyote obligingly climbed onto a dirt mound produced by a foraging badger, and was momentarily clear of the thick sage. At 79 paces I put the 40gr NBT right behind his shoulder. He dropped instantly and never wiggled. Coyotes with reddish fur don't bring much at auction, but I think they're quite handsome. Be glad that you can't smell him via the internet, though. ;)

    coyote kill 76.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
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