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2016 Spring Coyote

 

It was mid-March and the bare ground had been covered with a couple of inches of fresh snow the previous night.  Around 3:30 in the afternoon, Donna announces from the top of the stairs that there is a coyote in the back yard.  I quickly ran up the stairs to take a look at what she had just seen.

backyard

The back yard here is a bit bigger than the city lot we left behind in Phoenix. We have a 4 strand barbwire fence about 30 yds out from the house that could be considered the border of our backyard, but that is only there to keep our neighbors cattle from walking through our yard and out onto the highway. We let him graze his cattle on our property since we don't have anything to run on it and I would rather see it get used for that than revert back to woodland. Other than this couple hundred yard run of barbwire fence, there is nothing that separates his land from ours. This works well for both of us.  So, when Donna says the back yard, it could be that 30 yard zone between our house and the fence or it could be somewhere in the 150 yards past that out to the tree line. It was the latter.

She pointed the coyote out to me....it was moving in and out of the brush along the edge of the tree line. We keep binoculars on the kitchen island and a couple of days ago, I put a 20x spotting scope on the dining table to give us more of an up close and personal view of the deer when they come out to feed in the evening.  She handed me the binoculars and sure enough, there it was.

I have no love for coyotes.  We have 3 dogs which don't need to mix it up with one, baby chicks on the way, and the deer that roam our land don't need coyotes either. A coyote pack can really put a hurt on the young fawns which will be born pretty soon....so having one less coyote running around is OK with me. My neighbors cows are just about ready to drop their calves and loosing a calf to them is very costly.

I moved here with future plans of actively hunting coyotes for all the above reasons.  The only problem I had was that I hadn't worked up a good varmint round for my .223 Rem bolt action rifle....which was to be my choice for a coyote rifle. So, I did the next best thing....take what you are the most familiar with and go with it. That meant my Smith & Wesson M&P 15 rifle. I have put thousands of rounds through it while attending firearms training classes at Front Sight....not to mention thousands more during practice when I lived in Phoenix. Unfortunately, it was set up for 55 gr FMJ Hornady training ammo. The ammo is reliable for training and even home defense but certainly not my first, second, nor third choice for varmint hunting.

I opened the gun safe and grabbed the M&P 15. The coyote was still working his way through the "far" back yard and had moved about 20 or 30 yds out away from the woods. Donna had already quietly opened the sliding glass door. I pushed it open a few more inches and knelt on the floor next to the dining table. The M&P has a Trijicon ACOG optic on it which is  commonly used by our troops in the military. Great for that type of job but not exactly a varmint hunting scope.

I settled in on the coyote and waited for him to stop. I had set up the M&P 15 with a 50 yd zero meaning anything from point blank to 200 yds is a dead on hold with a guaranteed hit on a man sized target but not necessarily a small dog. The coyote was standing broadside to me when I gently squeezed the custom trigger. It dropped without taking a step. Without taking my eye away from the scope, I asked Donna "Did you see that?". I waited for about 30 seconds....I was using FMJ bullets which has minimal if any expansion in something like a coyote....and sure enough, it recovered enough from the shock of the first hit and started to scoot away, pushing mostly with the back legs. A couple more trigger pulls at the moving coyote brought it to a halt, having gone about 15 yds. It didn't move again.

I closed the door (it was about 28 degrees outside).  We put on boots and jackets and walked out to the coyote. I counted 150 paces, which means right about 150 yds for my stride. It was a male in excellent condition. It must have had an easy winter as there were no ribs showing....in fact, he looked to be a bit on the "chunky side". I would estimate his weight at 30 pounds, maybe a bit more.

 

coyote dead on the ground

My first shot hit just forward of the shoulder which was where I was aiming.  The exit hole on the other side showed no expansion, which was not surprising for the FMJ training round I was using.  It bled significantly where I first shot it and the 15 yds it moved later showed a lot of blood. 

 

Stu and the coyote

Yeah, I know....not exactly dressed for the typical coyote hunt.  At least I took off my bedroom slippers and put on my boots.  LOL!  I have to admit that shooting from inside the house has its perks....mainly not getting cold sitting on there on a fence line waiting for a coyote to come to a call. 


Stu holding coyote

The obligatory shot of me holding the coyote and my trusty (but not rusty) Smith & Wesson M&P 15 rifle.  For those that see too much news, I'm holding one of those "assault weapons" that no one uses for hunting, per the anti-gun liberal media.  The truth be known, with the correct optic (which means a trip back down to the man cave to swap it out), the AR-15 platform is a versatile rifle and commonly used for hunting.  Having now removed one coyote from the homestead using it, I think I'm going to scope up another AR-15 I have, work up a good hunting load for it, and keep it ready for situations such as these.  Of course, it will work equally well on porcupines and skunks, both of which I would rather NOT see wandering around the property. 

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