I awoke to good weather this morning and started loading gear on my scooter for a full day of sniping with the TC Hornet. About two miles from the house, I see a coyote running across grassland at 300 yards but it never stopped. I started sniping a few squirrels but coyote hunting was on my mind. I drove to a farm about 4 miles away that has been off limits due to mud for quite a while to check out the roads. Roads were surprisingly dry but did have to dodge a lot of low spots full of water. Shot a mangy squirrel which is only the second infected one I have ever seen...post that pic in another thread. I pulled up to an intersection of dirt roads and decided to eat a snack....5 minutes later, a big jackrabbit comes hopping down the road and stops 15 yards away. Ever so slowly I retrieve the TC from the holster and place it on the rest....whop! Fella can't even eat lunch without being interrupted by gunfire. I drive around for a while and kill a few more squirrels and then head to the huge adjacent farm that has lots of fallow ground and joins lots of grassland. There is a small 30 acre pasture behind an old abandon farm house but I can't see into it until I get close. Dang....5 coyotes at 100 yards standing and staring at me....I quickly come to a halt and point the scooter right at em which sends them running. They all looked small, like last spring's crop so I figured maybe they were all litter mates. They were only running at half speed but none stopped for a shot. Instead of heading for wide open grasslands, they followed a fence line that went behind some old buildings and stock pens. At 500 yards, they stopped and quit paying attention to me as I sat motionless watching through the scope. I quietly drove down the road until the scooter was hidden from view and parked. I had plenty of cover from the old buildings, sheds, pens, etc. to make a sneak on foot. When I got to the last cover, the pens, I was glad to see the coyotes were not beyond where I saw them last. I eased along the outside edge of the stock pens toting the pistol, camera, and gun rest. It was about 150 yards to the last bit of cover which would put me in shooting range if the coyotes had stayed put. I carefully peeked around the last corner and they there were at 200 yards! Some were nosing around and a couple were laying down. There was no way to use my pistol rest due to high grass so I started fiddling with a way to get a decent rest on the corral boards. The best I could do was to hold the side of the handgun up against a big square post....was not happy with the rest and didn't know how it would affect recoil and accuracy. I had to contend with shooting through two barb wire fences but only worried about the wire on the close fence. I picked out a broadside yote and held the crosshair a squinch over its' back and missed the shot...still upset about that! The coyotes scatter in all directions like a covey of quail and one is headed straight at me.....gun is loaded and back on the post. Coyote is getting way too close but I am afraid to do anything except hold still and hope for a still shot. At 20 yards, the coyote drops into a little dip with 1/2 a body showing as it stops. Dang...scope is on 10X with AO at 200 yards and everything is a blur but I hold on fur and shoot and incredibly miss again.....can you say loss of confidence?? Unbelievably, the coyote comes right at me and crosses under the barb wire fence and stands 10 yards away looking over it's shoulder away from me. There I am standing in plain sight with an unloaded pistola....nothing to do but freeze!! The coyote then stares straight into my eyes and crosses back under the fence and walks about 20 yards and stops....gun is loaded and aimed....boom....whop....only a twirling tail showing above the grass....WOW....I needed that!! I quickly load and start looking for another disoriented yote but my "dead coyote" comes to life and starts hauling for a collapsed shed. I can see a blood spot mid-body which should be a destroyed liver but the coyote makes it to the shed and makes a racket running across the fallen metal roof and finds a gap to crawl under the mid section of the two-tear roof. He is making all kinds of noise under the tin like he is trying to wedge under a tight spot....this goes on for 30 seconds and then all is quiet. I returned my attention to the pasture and finally spot a coyote about 800 yards away standing broadside. He keeps looking back towards the area where I first saw em all and then he starts angling that way. I haul butt back to the road and use all available cover to head on a course of interception. When I get to the last available cover, the coyote has made a large arc and is still 800 yards away going through tall grass. In a bent over position going straight at the yote, I close the distance to 600 yards and stop at a net wire fence behind a post. I watch the coyote for a long time as he eases along hunting and actually saw him catch something small and eat it. He is going to my right but not getting any closer. There is no way I can get over the fence without risking exposure so I hold ground. Another 30 minutes passes and the coyote finally lays down in high grass next to a thistle patch. I slowly raise up for a scope view and can't see a thing so I starting crawling along the fence until I find a way through. I figured I would crawl for 400 yards and make a 200 yard shot. Crawling through the pasture really upsets the cows and they are on me like flies on poop.....I mean 5 yards from my heels and snorting up a storm. I try to scare them but that only makes em more upset. The heifers were the most upset and a bull kept trying to run interference as he didn't want the cows near me. If I didn't move, they would start grazing and easing off but as soon as I started crawling, here they came again.....talk about a Catch 22! I finally said the hell with it and kept crawling and the cows kept following. About every 50 yards, I would raise just enough to look through the scope and never saw a thing. The last hundred yards was on my belly which was difficult with the camera case around my neck and the TC in one hand and the gun rest in the other....I kind of got tickled about my stealthy efforts. Now I am at 200 yards from where the coyote is supposed to be but the grass is way too tall to use my rest. I layed still for several minutes and the cows finally just wandered off but I needed some high ground with none in sight. I made the decision to keep belly crawling straight toward the yote slowly and quietly. Now I am 100 yards from where the coyote should be but still can't use my rest. There is a bunch of gopher mounds close together so I start scraping loose damp soil into a big mound using the side of my gun rest. Works great and now have a rest which allows the barrel to barely clear the top of the grass. Just lip squeak and shoot when the coyote stands up....easy huh? With the crosshair firmly planted at the coyote's last known location, I start lip squeaking and the tension is rising as I anticipate a quick response but there is nothing. Lip squeak louder....nothing!! Mild disappointment starting to set in thinking Wiley has snuck off. Reassure myself that Wiley is sound asleep and a good bark will produce an instant target....nothing....dang! OK, 3 loud barks....nothing. Wow, I can't believe that after all the stealthy effort, I come up empty. What went wrong? Did the cow's behavior send my dog packing?? I raise up a little and start scanning the horizon in hopes "my coyote" is somewhere in view.....nothing. I lay back down and can't explain why I decided to just lay there for a few minutes....guess I didn't want to admit defeat. About 5 minutes pass as I roll the day's events through my noggin and start thinking about the coyote under the shed roof. All of a sudden like divine intervention, I see an ever so slight movement and quickly get on the scope. I can't believe my eyes.....at 90 yards is just the top of Mr. Yote's head with ears laid flat. He is looking straight towards my position and his appearance is crazy with those ears flat down. Crosshairs are dead solid as I wait for more of a target. Soon the head turns 90 degrees and comes up in slow motion and then the ears pop up. The crack of that 40 gr. V-Max as it entered the coyote's ear was the best sound I ever heard!! I stood up with a very satisfied smile and watched the dog doing the "brain kick". For some reason, I just wanted to stand there and let all the tension flow away like a gentle river. The disappearing tension was being replaced by a warm feeling of accomplishment. I looked back at all flat ground I had successfully covered against the odds.....the cows came running up as if to congratulate me for crossing home plate after hitting a grand slam. I am 59 years-old and been hunting coyotes since I was 18. I have experienced a lot of crazy wild things while calling over those 41 years but this hunt was the most rewarding and satisfying.
Here is the shed where my first coyote took refuge. This building is 100 yards long and 40 yards wide. I looked in every nook and crannie around the edges but never found the yote. I am confident he is under there somewhere and quite dead.
On the way home and only a mile from the house, I spot a coyote in a sugar beet field 150 yards out. Lined up quickly and knocked him down hard with a body hit. Coyote gets up and starts hobbling away slow down a row. I drive around to a side road to parallel his movement and get another shot but missed by holding too high. Coyote now starts cross rowing and finally stops at 300 yards....missed again and coyote just vanishes. Going to look on foot in the morning.