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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Whenever the wind shifts, and begins blowing from east to west, it makes for an easy approach to this farms hay and wheat fields. They are 1 x 2 mile rectangles, divided every 1/2 mile by these irrigation ditches, that carry water in the hot months to the linear irrigators. About 6 ft. deep, with a sandy bottom, they provide safe travel undetected by coyote eyes and ears, who are often mousing, or laying in the hay stubble soaking up some California winter sunshine.

Later into winter, it is common to see pairs, or even packs of coyotes roaming these fields. This farm abuts one large grape vineyard (3700 acre) and two 2900 acre ranches. Across the road, on the fourth side is another chunk of open ground, not sure the size, but at least 3 miles by 2 miles. Lots of coyote food in the form of mice and rabbits and more importantly, access and escape routes, in case they sense danger.


Not having seen anything on the flat horizon, I stepped into the ditch anyway with by 222, my calls, and binocular ,and planned on walking 3/4 of a mile, stopping every 200 yards to glass the fields. At the 900 yard mark, I hit paydirt! A lone coyote, unaware of my ditch approach into the wind was mousing along not 500 yards away, and at a perfect 45 degree angle. Why was that perfect? Because 90 degrees out, and I would be looking straight into the setting sun. And if near the ditch, the chance that he would cross over, and go into the adjacent field would ruin the set, because there is no way for me to swing over without beeing seen or making noise on the steep, clay like bank, with loose gravel at the tops. I crawled up on my belly out of the ditch, and used the backpack for a rifle rest, about 10 inches off the ground, and watched for a few minutes. Still oblivious to me, I got set and reached for the mouser, since that was the food source being targeted.

Two squeaks and I got a look. Two more and I got a commitment. Coming in at a modest speed trot, no hurry, yet not real cautious either. She had taken a good 15 second survey of the terrain, and saw nothing, no vehicle, no ditchtender, no other noises, before deciding it was safe to check out this mouse on the ditchbank. What amazing hearing they have, I had barely squeezed the bulb on that mouser. In fact, I wanted to see how low level a sound could get her attention. I was planning on increasing the volume every few seconds, but she heard the very first offering!

Watching this approach thru the scope for 30 seconds was fun, but it was time to get serious now, and get set. Scope on 6X, safety off, and I waited quietly with the mouser near my left hand, laying on the ground, just in case a reminder was warranted. It was not, and at 81 yards the 36 grain pill was on its way to the chest. It wasnt the perfect scenario, as the side shots are always preferred, but this one knocked her to the dirt, with an authoratative WHOP... but when I saw her trying to raise her head a few seconds later, I fired another one into the body, for insurance. You do not want any adrenaline runners in open fields! (BTDT). The second one hit the spine, mid-body, and finished her career. (edit-for reference, she was first spotted mousing near the wheels on the right hand edge of that linear in the backround of the picture)



Even though I've found it to be a futile exercise 90% of the time, I waited a good 15 minutes in that ditch, to see if another far away may have gotten confused as to where the shots actually came from, and ran into view, but it did not happen. She was a young female, no scale this time, but am guessing her weight at around 26-28 lbs.

 

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Looks like too much fun!

Nicely done and well told John!

You do have me curious though, as you mentioned always preferring the broadside shot. I'm just the opposite, preferring the head-on facing shot when I can get it. Using my .17's at least, I've found nothing more reliably bang-flop and concurrently fur friendly than the facing shot. Nearly always an instant bang flop, and almost never any kind of exit hole. Again, speaking of using the .17's, a little bit of a death sprint seems more common after a well placed broadside shot. Larger calibers, less an issue, but I do still like the head-on facing shots better. Just a small difference in personal preferance I suppose!

- DAA
 

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I think it's the difference between saving well-furred, and valuable pelts, and the more disposable variety, Dave. No doubt, that frontal shot leaves a pelt the least damaged, and is extremely lethal, assuming a good shot is made.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the comments Dave.......

Nicely done and well told John!

You do have me curious though, as you mentioned always preferring the broadside shot. I'm just the opposite, preferring the head-on facing shot when I can get it. Using my .17's at least, I've found nothing more reliably bang-flop and concurrently fur friendly than the facing shot. Nearly always an instant bang flop, and almost never any kind of exit hole. Again, speaking of using the .17's, a little bit of a death sprint seems more common after a well placed broadside shot. Larger calibers, less an issue, but I do still like the head-on facing shots better. Just a small difference in personal preferance I suppose!

- DAA
And I agree, the head-on shots are the fur-savers delight. I just seem to have less confidence in them as I have missed many and poorly hit others. But no doubt, they get instant death most the time, and anchor the animal well the rest of the time, for a follow-up if needed. Like you, I dont think Ive had an exit with the 222 on frontals.

As you also know, down here I use the 257 Roberts a lot, and with it, almost any angle of shot equals death, so its only a matter of me wanting a bigger target in the scope on the frequent 250 +/- yard shots we get so often here on the flats. :)
 

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Nice job, John! Love the pics and the story!.....

Do you think that the 36g Pill had too shallow penetration on the first shot? Just curious?

Keith
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Do you think that the 36g Pill had too shallow penetration on the first shot? Just curious?

Keith
It might have Keith. It went in right at top of her breastbone, and Im reasonably sure she was securely anchored, But when I stood up, and saw her head come up after a minute or two of being downed, I "bought the insurance"...to avoid seeing a lingering death :(

But head on shots do require the bullet getting driven into the body deeper than the broadside shots, no doubt. And for the 222, a good 50 Sierra (or equivalent) would likely be a better choice.
 

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Now that is a nice hunt story with great photo support!
Just goes to show you that even though the coyote is a great adaptor to their surroundings, us hunters can adapt to the task at hand for success.
A successfull hunt in such open ground is a great testament to good tactics!
 

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Another great hunt story, John! Beautiful rifle too, I might add.
 
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