BigBore Airgun Coyote Hunt

A couple of days ago, I visited the office of a local timber company, and requested permission to hunt on their land. When giving permission to hunt their land, it is their policy to allow you to hunt up to four of their properties, and there are several to choose from (most of them fairly large).

The property I hunted today was one of the smallest properties available, but it looked like a real good spot with very dense timberland that could be covered nicely in an afternoon's hunt. It is relatively close to a bit of isolated farmland, so despite it's small size I included it in the four properties I chose to include on my permit (they actually cut me some slack, and allowed me five properties).

My strategy with this area was to call at low to medium volume depending on the surrounding terrain of the location I made my stand, setting-up numerous 1/2 hour to 45 minute stands that weren't to far apart from each-other, so as to make the most of this relatively small area.

Against my better judgment, I decided to go hunting by myself today in prime Cougar country, as the hunting partner I have been planning to go calling with lately is out hunting bear this weekend. Sometimes I just HAVE TO HUNT!

I arrived at the gate sometime after 9am. I made my way up the closed-off logging road, and chose an area in some pretty thick woods to make my first stand. I then broke out the Circe MVP-4, and selected the low volume voice (sqweaker). I called for about ten seconds, waited about 10 minutes, then called again for another ten seconds. After about 10-15 minutes of hearing and seeing nothing, I decided to head out to find a more promising location.

A bit less than 1/2 mile down the road, I came across this clearcut.


I got my decoy out of my hip bag (Turkey feather tied with some fishing line to a fold-out stick), stuck it into the ground, and set up on a berm overlooking the clearcut about 30 yards downwind of the decoy. After settling into my position, and taking some time to study my surroundings, I let out a medium volume distress for about ten seconds, using the Primos Cat Nip (a bite-type handcall).

After about one minute (if that), I detected movement about 200 yards away on the far ridge of the clearcut. I immediately got that hunters rush, as I realized it was what I was after: a coyote! I could see that it was a high-bellied critter, and figured that if it was a female, it was likely a dry one.

The coyote made it's way into the clearcut, and stopped to survey it's surroundings about 50 yards in, and about 150 yards from my stand. "Don't....move" I told myself, trying to settle myself down. My heart was about to burst out of my chest, as I knew that the coyote was definitely on a direct course towards my location. There is a grass road that comes out of the clearcut, and meets the logging road about 30 yards to my right, so I set up accordingly should a coyote come from the clearcut.

Making it's way further in, the coyote again stopped to look around. It was now about 75 yards out. I took a quick inventory of the wind: crosswind from my left. I was OK for now. Venturing further into the clearcut, the coyote stopped once again to survey the surroundings at about 50 yards. If the coyote took another couple of steps, it would be under the berm on the other side of the road, and out of my line of sight.

Do I dare move the rifle from my lap, and take the shot? I would have to stand up if the coyote saw me and ran (pretty sure it would have), and I would only have a moving shot without a rest at that point; there was no time to grab the mono-pod. Not a high-percentage (ie airgunning) shot.

Then I recalled a word of advice I had read on the PredatorMasters forum just before heading out that morning. A poster named Vent-O-Later had responded to a newbie's request for guidance, with the words "be patient....if you see one come in, let it come on in". So that is what I did.

The coyote continued on it's path, and out of sight behind the berm in front of me. The berm was between the grass road coming from the clearcut, and the logging road that was in front of my stand. I took this opportunity to put the rifle to my shoulder, take a breath or two, and prepare myself.

Sure enough, the coyote came up the grass clearcut road, and onto the logging road, turned my direction, and HEADED STRAIGHT FOR ME AT ABOUT 20 yards!

This is the view of the green grass road coming out of the clearcut. I was sitting to the right of the intersection.


Being set-up on another slight berm, I was slightly above the coyote. It was very slightly quartering towards me on it's approach, and had it's nose to the ground, so I didn't have the frontal chest shot I was after. No moving head-shots for me.

Now it was downwind from me, and about 12-15 yards away. I was about to BLOW A GASKET waiting for it to cross my path before putting the scope to my eye, which would have been no more than 15 feet in front of me!

Then the coyote seemed to sense something it didn't like (ya think?) and took a sharp left turn, and started to head towards the cover up the berm I was sitting on. It was now, or never!

Focusing my aiming eye on the coyote, quickly raised my Leroy-tuned SamYang 909 .456 air rifle, and got it in my sights. I didn't sqweak or bark to try and stop it, as I figured at this close of range it would only alarm the coyote more than it may already be. I thought it would see the movement and stop, and it did. Right before it was about to get it's nose into the thick cover, it stopped on the berm and looked right at me, giving me a full-on broadside shot at very close range.

The words that a friend of mine used to describe the importance of immediately taking advantage of a shot opportunity on game rang true thru my head as if he were right there next to me shouting them in my ear.........RIGHT NOW!!!

!!!BLAPTHWUMP!!! Then the coyote ran into the thick woods.

I reloaded my bigbore air rifle, and ran to the last spot I saw the coyote; looking for any signs of blood. Upon entering the timber, I found blood after about 5 yards. I then gathered my thoughts. I said to myself, "OK self, that shot was a little farther back than I wanted (correct shot placement on a broadside coyote is "on the shoulder"), but it was still only a little bit behind the shoulder/armpit, so it definitely took out the lungs. There's blood here, so take it easy, and see how the trail is looking".

The blood trail was a steady one, so I made sure to take my time, and mark the blood spots by sticking branches into the ground where I saw blood. I made certain to do this very quietly, in a slow, methodical fashion. I wanted to give the coyote time to die, and not prematurely jump it from it's deathbed. After following the bloodtrail for about 60-70 yards I thought I could hear the coyote thrashing around another 30-40 yards or so ahead, just over a ridge. So I held tight, and waited for what seemed like an eternity (probably about 10-15minutes).

Having not heard any more thrashing about for awhile, I continued to slowly follow the bloodtrail until I came across my dead-as-a-doornail quarry.

My first coyote (a dry female) and BY FAR my greatest hunting achievement to date. Taken by myself, with a handcall, and a .456 air rifle.


Needless to say, I'm pretty stoked!
Awesome job on the song dog! Great story as well. How did that cannon perform terminaly?

A few words about the projectile used.

The last time I was out target shooting, I ran out of my regular hunting slugs (heavier, larger meplat stuff), and was pressed for time. I only had time to sight in with roundball, and had to hunt with those. That's right. Butcher45, worshipper of the large-meplat slug, went hunting with a no-meplat round.

But look what it got me. More tracking than necessarily IMO.

The roundball apparently deflected off of a rib, as the exit on the other side was a ways back when compared with the entry.

Had I used a WFN slug, I think the coyote probably would not have made it as far as it did. I would bet my air rifle that a heavier, WFN slug would not have deflected off a 'lil old rib.

Compare the exit wound, with the entry shown in the original post. I'm guessing it MAY have taken out only one lung, and the liver.

Judging from this experience, I do not recommend using roundball on anything but the really small stuff. For me, it's all 200-240grain, large meplat slugs from here on out. I don't think those will be prone to deflect, or tumble off course.

Did you eat it? I don't see any sheep or chickens around.

What's wrong with 'yotes in the forest?

First and foremost, I hunt coyotes because I enjoy the challenge. You'd be hard-pressed to find both a more intelligent, and difficult animal to hunt. It requires a lot of hunting skill.

No I didn't eat it. A hunting partner of mine wants to try eating one, though.

You are correct. There are no chickens, or lambs in that clearcut. However, I would bet you any amount of money that this coyote has ventured outside the clearcut area a time or two:D

Hunting the coyotes food is a lot more popular, but the coyote numbers as a whole do not get put in check like the game animals do. They are getting a bit over-populated. I just saved countless upland game birds, turkey, and deer by shooting that one coyote (possibly even someone's pet) so I will be doing other hunters a big favor with each coyote I kill.

There's nothing necessarily "wrong" with coyotes in the forest, however they do seem to be a little out of balance with the big game animals everyone loves to hunt so much.

For your information; after shooting the coyote, I went to a nearby house to request the use of their phone to call for my ride, as I was not getting reception on my cell phone. When asked what I was hunting, as no game animals were in season at the time, I replied "predators".

The lady replied "Did you get that *^%# coyote that's been coming around here?" to which I happily replied "I sure did". She even went up the road along with her kids to the gate where I had left the coyote, to see if it was the big male her husband had chased off of their property the night before (it obviously wasn't).

She said "keep on killin' them".


No problem...

I was just wondering the "what for" part. I guess it's no problem if you like killing just for the fun. That's your business..

We have a few on our property and they keep all of the stray cats and rabbits down. Just be careful you don't kill too many and then you'll have a rabbit/rodent problem. You should at least head shot them so you can use the pelts. I, for one, wouldn't buy a pelt that has holes through both sides.
top notch story telling, aswome pictures. I actually had increased breathing reading that thing.......fantastic.
If you have called in a predator, you know the rush. There's nothing like it.

No problem...

I was just wondering the "what for" part. I guess it's no problem if you like killing just for the fun. That's your business.

Did you read my entire reply? There were some other reasons/benefits besides fun in there if you look, though I really don't need a reason.

We have a few on our property and they keep all of the stray cats and rabbits down. Just be careful you don't kill too many and then you'll have a rabbit/rodent problem. You should at least head shot them so you can use the pelts. I, for one, wouldn't buy a pelt that has holes through both sides.
I seriously doubt I will "kill to many". It's not like I'm shooting fish in a barrel, and there are lots of coyotes in Western Oregon. The city park down the street is testament to that. I find coyote scat within 200 yards of the playground almost everytime I walk my dogs there. More and more reports of urban coyote problems every year.

I don't believe in using "headshots" on an animal that moves as much as a coyote does when coming in to the call. I also don't like the term "headshot": it should be called "brainshot". Just shooting at an animals head doesn't cut it.
It's all to easy to miss the mark on coyote using a brainshot. If you miss, you have a maimed animal that will suffer for a long time.
Just think of what could have happened had I placed that shot on the head, and the roundball deflected? Not cool.

A sub-sonic .45 caliber hole or two is very easy to stitch-up, and probably a lot smaller of a hole than many centerfire .22's produce. Ask anyone that is actually involved in the fur trade.
The place we went to call yesterday has had calves and domestic pets (4 dogs) killed by coyotes recently. The guys I was tagging a long with were asked to come take care of the coyote problem.
I think that they can definitely be a nuisance in close proximity to farms and residences.
You make Wolfy sad...

Just kidding cause I know what you mean by the rush you felt. A coyote killed my cat a few years ago. Not the coyotes fault, it is after all, a predator like my cat was. Still, I was mad so I bought a call and lured it in one morning with a few squeaks. It disappeared behind a hedge and I moved into a position and popped up with my AR-15 (55gr soft point). Of course, it was looking right at me about 25 yards away so I had to take a quick shot, which went right under its chest. It promptly ran off and I no longer had a clear backstop. I never saw it again so I guess it learned it was not wanted. They are very smart creatures. Ravens are pretty smart as well but that's another story... Congrats on your successful hunt. :s0155:


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