View Full Version : BigBore Airgun Coyote Hunt

April 18, 2009, 09:56 PM
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!

April 18, 2009, 10:02 PM
Good read.... great outcome concidering your gun :eek: I must admit, I hadn't actually thought of hunting something that can eat me with an air rifle :eek: but you did one hell of a job :D

Good Onya :D

April 18, 2009, 10:47 PM
Congratulations! And awesome write-up! Not to mention that it looks like a pretty darn good coyote too. :) Where abouts are you from?

April 18, 2009, 11:31 PM
I congradulate you on taking the challenge of the use of an air rifle. You know the weapon's limitations and you restricted yourself to a disaplined distance for a killing shot. :cool:

Also, you could apply for an outdoor writting position with any leading magazine. :)

Even though I've killed a coyote with a bow, I don't recommend it. Too much can go wrong throughout the shooting process. For myself, I don't like leaving anything to chance when hunting coyotes. My weapon choice reflects that, as I use an AR, pump shotgun (tight patterning choke with heavy shot) or a bolt action centerfire rifle...in that order.

Good hunting, Bowhunter57

April 18, 2009, 11:53 PM
If you aren't a writer you should be. I am interested in your air rifle. What kind of velocity does it have and what is the weight of the projectile.

I have killed a few coyotes but only out of dumb luck. I have never successfully hunted them.

Was the turkey feather just to visually distract Wiley. Were you imitating a bobcat with the Catnip call?

BTW-may I suggest sending your resume' to Mississippi Outdoors. I buy the magazine for the great photography but my 10 year-old nephew can out write their whole staff.

April 18, 2009, 11:54 PM
Had I used a WFN slug, I'm sure it wouldn't have made it as far as it did. I ran out of my regular hunting slugs, and was pressed for time the last time I was out target shooting. So I had to sight in with roundball, and hunt with that.

The 142grain [email protected] apparently deflected off of a rib, as the exit on the other side was a ways back compared to the entry. Had I been using a 210-240grain WFN slug at 700-730fps, I would bet my air rifle that it would not have deflected AT ALL like the roundball did.

Getting some WFN slugs ASAP.

April 19, 2009, 12:00 AM
Yes, the Turkey feather was to draw it's attention off of me, though I cannot be certain that she actually saw it. I think she likely did, as coyotes don't miss much when it comes to movement. It doesn't take much wind to get that feather a flutterin'.

The Cat Nip does make a mean cat sound, but it is also great for making animal in distress sounds. Very different than any other call I have heard (in my limited experience). I was going for a rabbit-in-distress type of sound.

Whatever it sounded like, it sounded like lunch to that coyote!

April 19, 2009, 07:58 AM
A while back someone asked which air rifle could do this, now I guess he got his answer. Great job on the yote!

April 19, 2009, 11:22 AM

Thanks for the good read.