Not Wile E. enough

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

  1. boltfluter

    boltfluter Gold $$ Contributor

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    Toby,

    Nice looking coyote to me as well. I assume that you are saving/selling the hides as you can. Always enjoy your stories. Just curious where you are hunting in Eastern Washington. Just the general area, as I used to hunt around Ellensburg many years ago. Had some great times there! :D:D

    Paul
     
  2. Toby Bradshaw

    Toby Bradshaw Gold $$ Contributor

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    I give the coyotes to local trappers in exchange for access to private land. A good trade. :)

    I most often hunt coyotes in central/eastern Oregon (along with Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, ...), but in Washington I have shot them mostly in the Crab Creek and Desert wildlife areas. Washington has become so crowded that I've virtually stopped hunting there -- I'd rather drive to someplace where I don't see another hunter (or person, for that matter) while I'm hunting.

    You can usually find me in a flat spot on this map:

    population density map.jpg
     
  3. Toby Bradshaw

    Toby Bradshaw Gold $$ Contributor

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    For my second stand of the day I tried a new spot on a hillside overlooking an expansive sagebrush/greasewood flat framed on three sides by alfalfa pivots. The snow revealed many game trails well marked with coyote tracks. In the cold, calm air I have no doubt that a coyote could hear "jackrabbit distress" for the greater part of a square mile.

    The adult coyote came from my right on a dead run. By keeping to the base of the hillside the coyote had escaped detection until it was within 50 yards of the FOXPRO. By the time I picked up the coyote in my scope it had already reached the caller, winded me, and angled away from my stand without breaking stride. Knowing that this coyote had no intention of stopping or even slowing down, I took a running shot, but missed. I probably should have held my fire and just keep calling, hoping for a different coyote to walk in, rather than taking a low-percentage shot on the hard charger that arrived first, but self-control is not my strong suit. :)

    I explored some more rolling terrain and called several additional hillside/flat setups without seeing or hearing another coyote, though there were plenty of tracks and scat everywhere.

    Just before sunset I tried a greasewood flat that I know from my hawking hunts to be coyote-rich. The problem is that there is no elevation to shoot from except a low berm along the 2-track, but I decided to take a chance on it anyway. As I walked the 1/4-mile from my truck to the stand, I was impressed by the density of coyote tracks in the snow, and by some very fresh tracks on the damp, sandy ground recently exposed by snowmelt.

    The greasewood flat is fairly thick even though the individual shrubs are barely knee-high -- probably better for a shotgun than a rifle. But I settled my 22BR on the Bog-Pod and fired up "bay bee cottontail" for five minutes, then "adult cottontail" for another five. When I switched to "jackrabbit distress" at full volume, a pack of coyotes broke into a yip-howl chorus about a half mile directly in front of me. No doubt they had heard the whole calling sequence, but didn't seem to be impressed. As I was considering whether to try some coyote vocalizations on the FOXPRO, an adult coyote burst through the cover straight ahead of me, and almost slammed into the caller. Just like this morning's coyote, she wheeled around and ran back the way the way she came without ever seeming to slow down at all. [I wonder how they do that?] Once again demonstrating my lack of self-restraint, I put the crosshairs on her nose, pivoting the rifle in the Bog-Pod to track her, while squeezing the Jewell trigger.

    I heard the sound of a solid bullet impact, followed by the coyote face-planting and skidding to a stop on the crusted snow. You can see from the photo that the bullet caught her behind the left ear, and as she plowed the dirt with her nose she left a trail of topsoil on the surface of the snow. It was 81 paces from the Bog-Pod to the battle-scarred adult female, who had a healed-over but wicked cut across the bridge of her nose.

    Another example of "the bullet has to go somewhere."

    coyote kill 77.JPG
     
  4. centerlineseal

    centerlineseal

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    I've got a question. What is your method to place your Foxpro so as to remain undetected? Seems like you are able to get it out in front of your stand without being seen by Wile E. I've always cringed at the possibility of being made before the call even starts up. You obviously have a proven methodology.

    BTW. Love reading this thread!
     
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  5. helmut in the bush

    helmut in the bush

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    This is a great thread
     
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  6. Toby Bradshaw

    Toby Bradshaw Gold $$ Contributor

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    I usually walk (as quietly as possible in a straight line to avoid spreading my scent around) to my stand, normally about 1/4-mile from the truck (no door slamming, no interior or exterior lights). If walking in rolling terrain I stay below the skyline. And of course I walk into the wind on the way to the stand, or walk along the upwind edge of a clearing because coyotes don't like to leave cover for the open even if they're trying to downwind the caller. Coyotes use their eyes but believe their noses, and will take every opportunity to downwind you if they can do it safely. If you see a coyote circling to get downwind, shoot it before it crosses your scent cone/inbound track or most likely you will never see it again.

    If placing the caller upwind of the stand, I put it 30-50 yards out. If placing the caller crosswind, I often put it 100 yards out so the that coyote has the opportunity to get downwind of the FOXPRO without being downwind of me.

    But no matter how careful you are, if there's a coyote close by during your approach it's probably going to bust you. If they slink away it's not a big problem -- you'll just be calling other coyotes that didn't detect your approach. If the coyote that busts you starts barking at you, other coyotes know what that means and will almost never come to the caller.

    If you think you know where the coyotes are hanging out (in a brushy draw in otherwise open country, for instance), set up at least a 1/2-mile away. A coyote can easily hear a caller from that distance unless it is really windy. [I don't call if the wind is >10mph unless I am desperate. Calling coyotes that downwind you before you can shoot them just educates the coyotes and makes them hard/impossible to call later when conditions improve.]

    The large majority of coyotes that I shoot are less than a year old, and their lack of experience gives the hunter some room for error. I've had pups approach the caller from behind me and bump into my legs as I stood on my stand!

    Coyotes (including adults) are also curious, opportunistic, territorial, defensive of their pups, and (sometimes) in the mood for love. All of these things can lead to calling in a coyote even if it has: 1) seen you; 2) been shot at and missed by you; or, 3) seen you kill its sibling/parent/offspring/packmate. Coyotes well deserve their reputation for cleverness and wariness, but once in awhile they will do some really dumb things that give the persistent hunter a chance. And then there are probably a large proportion of coyotes that will never, ever be seen or killed over a caller.

    Part of what makes coyote calling so entertaining is that I never quite know what's going to happen on a stand. Much of the time I can read the coyote's body language to predict its behavior, but it's common for them to do something that catches me completely by surprise. A good way to practice your coyote reading skills is to watch coyote hunting videos and try to figure out what the coyote will do next.
     
  7. clunker

    clunker Gold $$ Contributor

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    Just found this thread. Thank you for the pics. Not sure if this question has already been answered in the thread, but where are you located? That terrain looks a lot like the inland Northwest.
     
  8. Toby Bradshaw

    Toby Bradshaw Gold $$ Contributor

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    See post #122.

    Some of it is, some isn't.
     
  9. centerlineseal

    centerlineseal

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    Thank You for your reply. Been exclusively hunting chukars all fall & winter, ... all the dumb ones are dead. Time to get after the coyotes. I've always used mouthcalls. Foxpro is on my wish list. If you had to get an e-caller today, what would you purchase?

    10-Q
     
  10. centerlineseal

    centerlineseal

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    Geez! Did I kill this fun thread? Toby, where are you?
     
  11. Toby Bradshaw

    Toby Bradshaw Gold $$ Contributor

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    Working. :)

    Next installment in August, if all goes well.
     
  12. centerlineseal

    centerlineseal

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    In that case, ... Hi Ho, Hi Ho!
     
  13. Toby Bradshaw

    Toby Bradshaw Gold $$ Contributor

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    I've been looking for an e-caller with more volume than my trusty FOXPRO Wildfire. A pile of coyotes have been shot over that Wildfire, but the Wildfire does come up a little short on the occasional windy day, or in wide open spaces where range is important. I narrowed down my choices for a new e-caller to the FOXPRO CS24C or the Lucky Duck Revolt. After reading several online reviews I decided to give the Revolt a try, because of the different (not necessarily better) sound library, built-in decoy, and $100 price break over the CS24C (from AllPredatorCalls.com). I also liked the results that the Revolt/Revolution is producing for the guys on The Last Stand and Hidden Instinct.

    Anybody can see that the Revolt is a tank compared to the Wildfire, but science demands a field test/shakedown cruise!

    Lucky Duck Revolt and FOXPRO Wildfire.JPG

    On my first stand with the Revolt, I set up at the base of a rocky, sage-covered hillside overlooking a thick sagebrush flat. I started with "shelterbelt", a Rick Paillet cottontail distress sound. I set the initial volume at 10 (32 is max) in case there were some coyotes close by. I wasn't even 5 minutes into the stand when I heard something thundering down the hill directly behind me. It sounded like a stampeding horse, but when I slowly turned around there was a coyote standing less than 10 yards away, trying to figure out how to get past me to the caller. I didn't even try to raise my rifle. The coyote climbed a little higher on the hill, looked back over its shoulder, and walked around a boulder and out of sight. The Revolt works!

    The next day I spotted a coyote mousing in a dormant alfalfa pivot. She obligingly came to the caller set up in the adjacent juniper/sage, but when I picked her up in the scope I could see that her belly was practically dragging the ground, loaded with just-about-to-be-born pups. I'll be back for those pups in a few months, and shoot them one at at time, starting with the dumbest one. :)

    I did about 200 miles of scouting today. Plenty of coyote scat and tracks, and several groups willing to respond to some interrogation howls, but no takers until the second-to-last stand in mid-afternoon. I was set up in the shade of a juniper above a sagebrush basin when I saw the coyote about 300 yards out. It liked the sound of "shelterbelt" but wasn't charging the call. There was enough of a breeze (5-10 mph) that the coyote wanted to downwind me. I lost it for 5 minutes in the sagebrush, then it reappeared almost straight downwind of the Revolt. When it stopped momentarily, looking nervous, I centered it in the Leupold 3.5-10x40 and touched off the 22BR. The coyote bolted at the shot, stumbling over the nearest sagebrush. I assumed (wrongly, as it turned out) that I had hit it, but a thorough tracking job (with the help of my Brittany) turned up nothing in a 45-minute search. I hate to miss!

    The only cure for a missed shot is to make more stands, so an hour before sunset I set up on a south-facing juniper slope to take advantage of an unusual SW wind. I was only 4 minutes into "shelterbelt" when the coyote materialized, headed straight for the caller. When she was 100 yards away she turned sharply downwind and started to circle to get my wind. I could never see enough of her to take a shot even though she was getting closer. I tried to guess where she would pop out, but I was still surprised when she stepped out of the junipers a scant 20 yards from me. She never saw me (she was focused on the Revolt), but winded me and turned up the hill at a trot. I pulled the 22BR off the Bog-Pod and swung it like a shotgun on the moving coyote. The 40gr Nosler caught her right behind the diaphragm and blew a 6-inch hole in her off side. Some shrapnel broke her back, so she was anchored, but I had to put a finisher into her from 32 yards away. Looks like last year's pup. First blood for my new Revolt!

    coyote kill 78.JPG
    Things I like about the Revolt compared to the Wildfire:
    1. High volume with great clarity -- excellent speaker
    2. Fabulous sound library
    3. Built-in decoy -- easy to use (or stow away)
    4. Built-in tripod stand useful on open ground
    5. Remote works at remarkably long range

    Things I don't like about the Revolt compared to the Wildfire:
    1. Heavy and bulky (the price you pay for better sound quality/volume)
    2. Complicated, bulky remote that doesn't fit in my hand very well
    3. Remote buttons are small, close together, and sensitive -- hard to work with heavy gloves in cold weather
    4. Battery box cover catch on caller and remote seems a little flimsy -- time will tell

    For most of my hunting, which is in fairly thick cover and light (or no) wind, the Wildfire is all I really need. But for the times when I want to reach out into a stiff breeze or cover a broad expanse of prairie, I'm glad I have the Revolt.
     
  14. brians356

    brians356 Gold $$ Contributor

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    When my hunting buddy passed away a few years ago, I "inherited" (among other stuff) his FoxPro Wildfire. I'd hunted with him while he operated it, but I've never taken it out on my own. I need to!
    -
     
  15. Toby Bradshaw

    Toby Bradshaw Gold $$ Contributor

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    I've shot quite a few coyotes within a couple of feet of the Wildfire. You'll like it!

    coyote kill 29 with FoxPro.JPG
    coyote kill 32.JPG
     
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  16. helmut in the bush

    helmut in the bush

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  17. centerlineseal

    centerlineseal

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    Glad to see you are back, ... shoot straight!
     
  18. Toby Bradshaw

    Toby Bradshaw Gold $$ Contributor

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    Today I got a chance to test the Lucky Duck Revolt in a 10mph wind. About an hour before sunset I made a stand under a big juniper with a sagebrush flat below me. I set out the Revolt crosswind, with a clear view of the downwind side of the caller. The square mile at my feet has the highest density of coyote tracks and scat anywhere in the region.

    I played "shelterbelt" for 2 minutes at volume 10, 2 minutes at 20, 2 minutes at 30, then worked my way back down to volume 10 in case coyotes were getting closer. The Revolt at 30 is loud -- probably too loud/scary for a coyote closer than a half-mile.

    After 8 minutes of "shelterbelt" I switched to "luckypecker" (a high-pitched bird distress sound). Within a minute a yearling male loped across the 2-track headed straight for the caller. He was so close to the caller that I didn't have time to mute the Revolt, or stop the coyote with a whoop, so I shot him moving. The 40gr NBT hit just left of center in his chest, breaking his right shoulder, homogenizing his vitals, and killing him instantly. As you can see from the first photo, his momentum rolled him into a sagebrush. The second photo shows the yearling laid out next to the Lucky Duck Revolt that fooled him. I think I'll keep my new e-caller. :)

    coyote kill 79.JPG

    coyote kill 79 with Revolt.JPG
     
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  19. Roe

    Roe

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    Very nice post, thanks for sharing!
     
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  20. Toby Bradshaw

    Toby Bradshaw Gold $$ Contributor

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    Yesterday I did some scouting and calling, finding a decent amount of coyote sign, but no song dogs that responded to the Revolt. Late in the evening I drove by an idle alfalfa pivot, spotting 2 coyotes mousing. It's an area where I frequently run my dog, so I knew how to drive into the adjacent sage and put a stalk on the coyotes.

    When I got within a quarter-mile of the coyotes I set out the Revolt and played a wide variety of sounds while watching their reactions through my Leupold set on 10x. The only sound that even got the coyotes to look my way was "luckypecker". Clearly they were finding plenty to eat in the pivot.

    So I grabbed my gear and decided to get closer. I got within ~350 yards before both of them busted me. One of them loped out of the pivot, but the other stayed. Since I was crouch-walking in full camo, it didn't quite know what to make of me, and eventually went back to mousing. At ~300 yards it looked up and caught me moving. It trotted the same path as the first one, headed for the sagebrush at the far end of the pivot. I put the 22BR on the Bog-Pod, picked up the coyote in the scope, and whooped. The coyote stopped, just like it was supposed to! I put the crosshairs on the top of its back and let 'er rip, expecting the bullet to drop almost 3" at 300 yards. The bullet sailed right over the coyote's shoulder blades and into the dirt behind it, but came close enough to put the coyote in high gear. It turned out that the coyote was only 250 yards away. I have got to remember to trust the flat trajectory of a 40gr Nosler leaving the muzzle at 4100 fps! A center hold would have dropped that coyote, regardless of whether it was 250 or 300 yards away.

    For some reason I spend more time thinking about my misses than my kills, and replay the bloopers over and over in my mind, trying not to make the same mistake(s) again. I was determined to end my week of scouting with something besides a miss, though, so I was looking forward to the next day's hunt, my last chance at redemption until August.

    Today I woke to a fine spring morning in the high desert -- 22*F with a thin, freezing fog to coat every branch and twig with hoar frost.

    hoar frost.JPG

    Fog almost always means no wind -- perfect for calling coyotes. I went to a sagebrush flat with some bunchgrass clearings and widely scattered junipers. I set up my Bog-Pod under a juniper, with the Revolt 50 yards in front of me, riding on its built-in tripod amongst the bunchgrass. The decoy spinner was put in place on the Revolt for a little extra appeal, in case it was needed to entice a coyote from the safety of the thick sage into the open bunchgrass.

    Sound carries well in the cold, so I started with "shelterbelt" at volume 10 (1/3 of max). The timer on the remote read 2:05 when the female coyote burst from the sagebrush, charging the call. I couldn't get my rifle on her before she slammed into the caller, biting at the decoy and knocking the Revolt off its tripod! Talk about taking the bait hook, line, and sinker!

    After her encounter with the fake cottontail, no doubt she was thinking, "Oh, sh1t!", and lit the afterburners going almost straight away from me, angling a bit to my left. In the thin bunchgrass she was making serious speed, the dirt flying from her feet with every stride. By this time I was tracking her in the scope. Reflexively I put the crosshairs on her nose while squeezing the trigger. And herein lies the advantage of light bullets -- the light recoil let me see the spectacular results of my shot through the scope. At the report of the rifle the coyote did a complete somersault in full layout position before plowing to a stop, head first, leaving a 10-foot spray trail of blood in her wake. She was piled up 79 yards from my Bog-Pod.

    The 40gr NBT caught her on the right side of her neck, opening the carotid artery before smashing into the back of her skull. When I squeezed her head it sounded like a box of gravel. Her teeth were not broken, but were yellowed with age. I would guess that she's at least a 2-year-old, but not pregnant.

    coyote kill 80.JPG

    Here she is in a more formal pose:

    coyote kill 80 laid out.JPG

    Of the 5 coyotes that I shot at on this trip, I missed the 2 that were standing still and killed the 3 that were moving. In the future I may fire a warning shot to get them running, to improve my odds of success. :eek:

    When I told this story to a friend of mine he suggested that today's runner could have been killed by a stray micrometeorite from deep space. Knowing of my recent misses on standing coyotes, he suggested that the micrometeorite theory was at least as plausible as my hitting a running coyote.

    I did have the good sense to put away my coyote hunting gear and drive straight home without making another stand. I will kill (and miss) a lot more coyotes before ever having another hunt as memorable as this one. Always end on a high note if you can!
     

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