In a recent post, we told you some important things to know before hunting coyotes. Now hear more about the hunt that taught us these lessons. Be sure to check back for more shotgunning tips!
The first evening of our Wyoming coyote hunt was eventful. We were greeted by the distant yipping and howling of a coyote pack almost immediately, but no matter how much calling we did, we simply couldn’t entice the pack to move closer. So, like the ol’ worn out saying goes, “if the mountain doesn’t come to Mohammad, Mohammad must go the mountain.” And, so we did. As quietly as possible we picked up and slipped out, trying to keep the low laying hills between the pack and our approach. In a matter minutes we were once again set up in our triangle layout and had resumed our calling.
As before, our calls received quick replies, but it soon became obvious that the pack had no intention of moving any closer, nor were they willing to even stay in the area. As the yipping became fainter and further away, Dan began picking up his gear. He suggested that if we hurried we could make one more setup before darkness descended upon us, and mentioned a little hidey-hole close by that just might work out. Within a matter of about 15 minutes we’d repositioned ourselves and began calling once again. This particular site was a bit unusual for the area. It consisted of a small bowl surrounded on all sides by steep hills, and was no more than about 250 yards across.
Seemingly almost before the first volley of squealing rabbit sounds had dissipated, two coyotes came on a dead run straight over the rim of the hill in front of me. My borrowed Benelli was stuffed full of the new 3-inch Federal Heavyweight® Coyote Loads, and my finger was itching to send a charge their way.
But just before coming within range, the coyotes spun off to my left, circling out of my view. I can only assume that they were attempting to get down wind of the calling. Assuming that I wouldn’t be able to get a shot with the shotgun, Dan barked, turning one of the coyotes sideways and positioning it for a shot from one of the rifle shooters. A moment later the .223 sounded off, but the bullet impacted a little further back than any of us would have liked.
This resulted in bringing the dog back into my sight picture, but clearly at extreme range for any shotgun. Nevertheless, with the coyote struggling to survive and a chance that he might be able to slip away, I decided to see how the new Federal coyote loads would do on a target that was now well over 80-yards from my muzzle. I pulled down on the dog and touched off the first shot.
The somewhat substantial recoil was enough to throw me off target temporarily, so I was unable to watch the impact. But Dan later told me that with that shot and the two that followed, the shot pattern completely surrounded the coyote and even resulted in rolling him. The first shot would have likely done the deed, but I was a caught up in the moment thinking that this was likely the first time anyone had used this particular load to take a coyote.
Story & Pictures by Tom Tabor