View Full Version : 20 Gauge #8's Perfect for Coyotes

November 8, 2009, 09:55 PM
My quail huntin partner Gunner and I decided to go out to our favorite patch this afternoon and find some birds, but---- ya just never know whats gonna happen.

We had stomped around for a quarter mile or so when I happened to spot a coyote fleeing the area about 300 yds away. As I watched him, another one came out of the draw below us about 100 yds away. The furthest one apparently had an appointment somewhere else, but the close one stopped about 200 yds out, looking back at us. It seemed that he hadn't really busted us, and with the sun directly behind us, he didn't have a good visual of us. Gunner who is a wirehaired dog, hadn't seen either of them, and was simply nosing around.

The coyote would have been a pretty fair rifle shot, but all I had was my little 20 gauge Remington 870 Express, with bird shells. I was wearing pretty good camo except for my face, and we were in fairly tall sagebrush. I thought what the heck, I'd try squeaking at him. By kissing the back of my hand, I made my best tortured rat imitation. The coyote perked up noticeably, and then started a bee-line right for us.

There wasn't much I could do to hide Gunner quick or quietly, so I decided to start his career as a coyote decoy dog. I actually think the coyote saw him, but not me.

The coyote went out of sight as he came back across the bottom of the draw, but I spotted him again as he came higher on our side. He was definitely going to come all the way. When he was about thirty yards out, I stood up ready to shoot, and because of the brush, he didn't see me until he was within about fifteen feet. It didn't take him long to swap ends and if I hadn't been on the ball he would have gotten enough brush between us to escape. At about 15 or 20 yards though, I let him have it and he went down not quite dead. Gunner, being the natural retriever, was instantly on him, but I managed to call him back before he got bit and get another shot into the coyote at a distance that wouldn't shred his pelt too bad.

I've called and killed a lot of coyotes, but these circumstances were a first for me, and it was pretty cool. I think from now on when quail hunting, I'll carry a few BB or #4 Buck in my pocket as well as a call. #8 bird shot really isn't quite the right size for coyotes in most situations.:rolleyes:

Here' a couple pics if it works. jd

November 8, 2009, 10:12 PM
Pretty Cool all around action!

November 8, 2009, 10:41 PM
That's simply amazing! Awesome pics, too!

November 8, 2009, 11:14 PM
I too have shot a called in coyote with a 20 guage using #8 shot. I was above the coyote and shot it in the top of the head at 3' away. Of course the coyote went down instantly. When shinning him out I found most of the shot didnt penatrate the skull, it was just wadded up under the skin. I think the wad killed him. After this experence on a small coyote I cant figure how Dick Chaney could possibly think he could cleanly take a politican with this quail load.

November 9, 2009, 01:06 AM
what about a coyote shot with 12 gauge? its all i have, i usually shoot em far away with my mosin nagant, and the coyotes pretty much get torn apart.

November 9, 2009, 08:50 AM
Actually my preferred method of shooting coyotes is the 12 gauge with #4 buckshot; 3" mag's if the gun is chambered for it.

When I used to call a lot, I carried both rifle and shotgun to the location, and held the shotgun at the ready. Laid the rifle along side where it was handy. For called coyotes, I think I've killed more with the scattergun than I have with the rifle. You just have to set up in spots where the coyote can't see you until he is right in your lap.

As far as pelts go, a dozen or so small pellet holes is much preferable to an exit hole the size of your fist. jd

November 9, 2009, 05:24 PM
RC1986 a load of #8's does not magically kill better since it came out of a 12 gauge a not a 20 gauge. the only difference between any of the gauges basically comes down to PAYLOAD size, they all fire about the same speed. WIth that said #4 buckshot NOT NUMBER 4 SHOT is a good size for coyotes. In either gauge.

November 9, 2009, 07:43 PM
I was down working on my parents' house when a dog tried to kill my dog.
This killer dog was a 50 pound Chow.
This dog had chased my little beagle under my truck, and the Chow was lunging at my truck trying to flush my dog out. No doubt, this dog would have killed my dog. But, the b****** ran across a better predator.
I had to use the only long gun on hand, a 20 gauge double barrel with #8 shot.
I shot that dog at a range of 20 feet. I was on the porch, above the dog, and made a good lung shot.

It was astonishing, the dog dropped as if a 90 pound sack of concrete had been dropped on him from a 30 foot scaffold.
I have shot all kinds of deer and hogs with rifles and pistols but I never saw an animal drop like this one did.

Sure didn't need the second barrel.
Close range birdshot is real lethal.

November 9, 2009, 08:57 PM
This past year dove hunting, I was sitting at the base of a cedar tree fully camoed out, in weeds that were about as high as my head when sitting in the chair. Of course hunting dove, I had a semi-auto 12 gauge, with #8's. I had an open field out in front of me. After watching some other hunters cut right across the middle of the field, within a minute or so I saw something coming out of the field running right towards me. It was a coyote! I drew the gun and waited for him to get closer as he was running right for me.. When he got within 15 yards, I let the lead fly. This rolled the coyote over like he did a flip. He came right back up on his feet and kept on booking. Now he was angling away from me off to my left.. I let him have another load of #8's in his left side. I knew it hit him because I saw his fur puff up when the shot hit him. That coyote never stopped! He got into a thicket and last I saw he was still running.

November 9, 2009, 09:40 PM
If you think about it, with a half ounce or more of lead hitting anything or anybody at say 10 or 15 yards when the velocity is probably around 1000 fps, the shock has got to be tremendous. And if there is any kind of penetration, there is going to be a whoppin lot of nerve and vascular damage.

Coyotes have a pretty thick coat when prime, and very tough hide, so penetration gets kinda iffy with small shot. I've dumped several with #2 bird shot and BB. #4 buck seems to be the best though, and we've rolled a few clear out at 60 yards. (too far really) If you go bigger than #4 there doesn't seem to be enough pellets for good patterns and multiple hits out at 30 or 40 yards.

#8's worked for me this time, but the range was very close, and it still took two shots. I'm going shopping for some 20 ga. turkey loads, or something mobetta than my quail shot to carry in a pocket for a similar situation in the future. jd

November 10, 2009, 08:31 AM
When he got within 15 yards, I let the lead fly.

With birdshot, the range is the critical thing.
I shot my Chow dog at 20 feet, you shot your coyote at 45 feet.
Big difference, the little lead round balls slow down a lot at 45 feet.

I have seen 14 humans hit at inside-the-house range with birdshot, torso shots, and every one of them died. Most of them were dead when us Paramedics got there. I am talking about less than 20 feet.
Nothing is more lethal than birdshot at such close range.

November 10, 2009, 09:20 AM
Nothing is more lethal than bird shot at such close range.

I tend to agree with you, and you have seen the ugly results. If you go on the more defense oriented branch of the forum however, the "Gotta Kill em Harder!" guys pretty much sniff at bird shot.

Within self defense range or even out to 15 yards, particularly with larger bird shot like 4's or 2's --- yikes! I just can't imagine an assailant getting off his butt and coming for another dose. jd

November 10, 2009, 09:39 AM
Figured alot of knowledgeable yote hunters will be here. I`ve never coyote hunted but want to start. I got plenty of ground access consisting of open farmland and woods. Alot of open hilly cow pasture and much wooded hilly/revened terrain. I hear the yotes almost every night from different directions and have dispatched a few with 22 in yard as I live in the middle of a deep woods. In rifles I have .22, SKS`s,30 cal M1, 243,270,30-30,303 and 30-06. Shotguns include 410,20,16 and 12`s. What would be the best setup for yote`s out of these guns. Also what about handguns or muzzleloaders and load recommendations if they`re useable? Yotes are getting out of hand.

Art Eatman
November 10, 2009, 09:46 AM
As long as you can bait them up close to the house, most anything will work. My preference would be the .243 or the 12-gauge with a full-choke tube and somewhere in the vicinity of #2 or #4 shot. It's mostly a distance function. The .243 is great to 200 or 300 yards, if you work around any open areas. Most any light .243 load does just fine.

November 10, 2009, 10:26 AM
Thanks Art. Many of the farmers around here are starting to complain as most have cattle/sheep and the yotes are going nuts with nobody hunting them. Shot two in the backyard last Friday night with the 22. One looked about half grown and the other was an adult female. She ran down to a revene and died at the entrance of which I believe to be her den. Tail was hanging out. What would you feel the average max. distance would be for the full choke 12 ga. shooting the #2 or 4`s you mentioned ?

November 10, 2009, 02:10 PM
If you go on the more defense oriented branch of the forum however, the "Gotta Kill em Harder!" guys pretty much sniff at bird shot.

I have gone over there and butted heads with those guys a few times.
And to the "Bird shot is not lethal on humans" crowd I have asked, "Have you ever seen a person shot with bird shot?"
No reply.
The less they know the more they talk.

James R. Burke
November 10, 2009, 07:13 PM
That is so cool. Nice dog!

November 10, 2009, 07:20 PM
I shot a mule deer buck that was eating my new trees, twice in the butt at 15 yards with a 20 guage and #8 shot. It ran off like a scalded cat, however he was back within 10 minutes and showed no ill effects what so ever.

November 10, 2009, 11:08 PM
shortwave: It sounds like you have the kind of country where you could have some real fun calling coyotes if they haven't been overly educated about it.

Think of those wooded areas and brushy ravines as the areas that the coyotes lay around during the day, and the travel routes that they use to get around. The wide open fields where you sometimes see them during the day are the places that they must feel fairly secure because of good visibility and long distance; especially if there aren't a lot of folks lobbing bullets at them from 600 yards away.

GOOD coyote calling usually involves a lot of leg work. The idea is to get yourself into a spot where the coyote will feel safe coming to your call. And you need to get there without being seen, heard, or smelled by the coyote. If you do a good job of this, you will have coyotes come so close and fast that you could nearly kill them with a club. (well, sometimes) If you do a bad job of this you will simply teach the coyotes in the area that a predator call is something to be scared of and run the other direction.

I think I mentioned above that my favorite shotgun load is 12 ga. 3", #4 buckshot. If ya can't find any though, large bird shot such as #2 or BB will work. Just don't stretch the range too much. All of your rifles will kill coyotes, but as far as pelts go, most of them will kill them too hard. The 243 is great for reaching out and taking care of business, but it blows them up pretty bad. Prime coyote pelts are beautiful and really ought to be taken care of.

Hey I'd like to keep on blabbing, but the "Sons of Anarchy" is about to come on. Stick around and we'll keep at it. jd

Art Eatman
November 11, 2009, 09:04 AM
Smaller shot? I dunno. Maybe 50 yards, but that might be stretching it. If as far as 75 yards was likely, I'd go ahead to 0 or 00 buckshot.

November 11, 2009, 09:31 AM
Smaller shot? I dunno. Maybe 50 yards, but that might be stretching it. If as far as 75 yards was likely, I'd go ahead to 0 or 00 buckshot

Actually, if 75 yards was likely, I'd recommend a rifle. We've tried the larger buckshot for long shots and the trouble is that there just isn't enough pellets to score many (if any) hits on the skinny little body that lives inside that big fluffy coyote pelt.

I'm not sure, but I think that 00 buck has about 12 pellets in a 12 gauge. There is a lot of empty space between those pellets by the time they get 50 yds out. Back before I was as law abiding as I am now, I tried 00 buck for far out geese and the success was --- not so much. jd

November 11, 2009, 06:29 PM
Thanks guys for the info. The yotes around here aren`t gun shy at all. Nobody ever hunts them and they keep getting bolder. Neighbor had to literally stop the tractor as one was dusting himself in the lane. The mix of woods and pasture will be excellent. There`s alot of nice ambush spots to set up at due to the hills. Should you scent and camo out as with deer hunting? What scents draws them in? Also what`s the best type of calls to use? Apologies for all the questions but I DON`T want to go into this blind and make the mistake of educating them.

November 11, 2009, 10:13 PM
Should you scent and camo out as with deer hunting? What scents draws them in? Also what`s the best type of calls to use?

Hi again shortwave. I consider camo pretty important for calling coyotes, and the most important thing to hide is your bright and shiny face. In a lot of places, you could almost skip all the camo except the head net. (or whatever head gear ya decide on)

I like to be as scent free as possible, but realize that there is probably nothing that can hide my odor from the nose of a coyote. That's where the breeze can either help or hinder you, and you have to plan your stands accordingly. What I love is the first hour of morning light when there is often no breeze at all. Sometimes even a few hours. Keep in mind that a coyote will often try to circle down wind of your call to identify what you are and if it's safe to approach. It just comes natural to them.

Hey, dinners ready, I'll get back atcha later. jd

November 11, 2009, 10:34 PM
Thanks again jd. Also thanks for the hijack of your thread:o. Gotta go myself, Reba McEntire just came on Country Awards:eek::).

Art Eatman
November 12, 2009, 10:30 AM
Dittos on the headnet comment.

Bait? A bunch of table scraps will work. Fat and bone from steaks and roasts. Or, canned cat/dog food. A neighbor of mine found that they'll come to El Cheapo-type dry dog food.

I've found that the only things coyotes WON'T eat are onion skins, orange peel and cantelope and watermelon rind. But, stale bread or soda crackers disappear overnight. Foxes like ancient spaghetti sauce, I noted.

My old Model 12 is full choke with the old paper hulls. With modern plastic, it's somewhere around omigawd-extra full. Darned near might's well dove hunt with a .22. Anyhow, I used Winchester high-brass 7-1/2s on a bobcat at 25 yards and he did a somersault and quit right there. 3-3/4 Dram, 1-3/4 oz. Don't shoot a round of skeet with that load. But, what the heck. I killed the world's unluckiest dove with that package: 90 yards, and one pellet hit him in the eye. I'll take luck over skill, any day. Sort of a waste to center-punch one at ten yards, though, unless you like wings and legs.

November 12, 2009, 07:18 PM
I was coming home from work and saw another neighbor exiting woods dressed in his deer hunting garb. Stopped and asked him if he`s done any good. I brought up the yotes and he is as excited for me to come hunt them as I am to hunt them. WAHOO! He`s got chickens and the yotes/fox`s have been playing havoc with them. I`ve never had it so easy getting permission to hunt on private land. Coyote`s must be getting to be a REAL problem around here. Many thanks Art and jd for answering my question. I`ll be checking out the remote calls at Cabelas and ordering soon. Any more tips that comes to mind will be very much appreciated. Your advice will be followed.;)

November 12, 2009, 10:28 PM
Here's a quick tip for ya if you are calling with a partner. When you pick a spot to sit, (hopefully in the shade) sit back to back leaning against each other. You won't believe how comfortable it is and how little you have to move to view a full 360 degrees. We take turns facing the most likely direction, and the guy facing the least likely does the calling. In heavy cover with gullible coyotes, a couple guys with shotguns can clean up like this and literally have coyotes falling at your feet. jd