on the run

So the past month I have seen more coyotes than I have since moving to Arizona 13 years ago. But between sitting out a deer hunt and poor judgement on my part I have yet to lay one down this fall. The hesitation on the last one in my sights was still weighing heavy on my mind and I couldn’t wait to get out in the field again.

After working another night shift I went home slept for about 4 hours then started planning my afternoon. I didn’t get out the door until after 2pm and knew that I would only have a few hours until dark . The sun is going down at about 5:30 now and it is dark by 6pm.So I knew that I would not be able to hit any of my regular hot spots. My plan was to park on Four Peaks Road and race into the hills a few miles away from all the dirt bikes as quick as I could.Instead I found a new road that took me back a few miles.

When I felt I was a good distance from the daily traffic in the area I parked and headed into the hills. I set up for my first stand in a less than ideal area and called for about 20 minutes. I realized at some point during the stand that I would not be able to see most anything coming in from where I was sitting and packed it in.

second stand location with Four Peaks in the background.

My next stand was much better. I had a good view of about 3 hills within range of my 223 and could see just about every route that a critter could take to get to my decoy. My only blind spot was the back side of the little rise that my decoy was sitting on.

Sure enough, within about 15 minutes of calling I heard something coming in, and a nice reddish coyote busted right out of the blind spot and was about to run off with my decoy. I guess that it didn’t like the taste because it let go and shifted into high gear.

It actually came right at me full speed but was within 30 yard when I first saw it and covered that ground in about a blink. There was no way to get a site picture with the 223 so I dropped the rifle, stood, and pulled my 357 from my hip. By the time I grabbed my pistol the ‘yote had come within 10 feet of me and by the time I drew the gun he was already about 45 yards away. I sent one shot off at it missing the back of his head by about a half inch and blowing a nice sized crater into the desert 15 yard ahead of him. With this he made a hard left and vanished like they do.

At this point I was kicking myself yet again for not bringing my shotgun along, but remembered that there was a spot with some lighter cover and bigger hills a few miles from there. I packed up my gear and headed out.

I settled on a high ridge with my FOXPRO SpitFire about 50 yards out. Beyond that was a ridge top about 200 yards from me. 15 minutes into the stand I saw a yote coming in fast over the ridge toward my call. Not wanting to repeat my errors from a few days before I put the scope on him and left it there. He came all the way down to within about 50 yards on the far side of the call before clearing the brush and giving me a clear broadside shot. I squeezed off a round and lost my view of him in the recoil. I looked over the top of my scope and saw a yote headed back up the hill about 15 yards from where he had been and quickly lined him up for another shot which ended up being a clean miss.

Within a second he was gone over the top of the ridge that he came from. I lowered my rifle dejected,  just in time to see 3 other yotes race back over the ridge. I had been so focused on the single yote in my scope I had not seen the other three that came with him. Four coyote in one stand was a new best for me. I played a ki-yi for a few minutes and watched the ridge but they were on the run and moving fast. There was still enough light for me to move to one more stand but I figured missing a total of five yotes in a day was enough. I hiked down, collected my caller and my decoy and decided to wander over to where I had shot at the yote.

To be fair it had been nearly three weeks since I had fired my rifle, but I was hammering a dime at 100 yards and there is no way my scope was that far off. I just had to go see if there was any hair or blood over where that yote had been standing. It moved off pretty quick but I didn’t think I could have missed that bad.

I got my bearings, headed off to where I thought he was standing. Stepped past a creosote bush, and imagine my surprise to find a shot yote laying right in front of me. I had actually called in five yotes on that stand, and was right: There was no way I missed that first one.

A big fat male yote with a white tipped tail. Starting the season off with a “two pointer”, it really felt good. The Hornaday 40 grain 223 had done the trick. There was not a drop of blood on him, the bullet left all its energy in its heart and lungs with no exit wound at all. My first yote with a 223 and it couldn’t have gone better, aside from the mile and a half back to the truck, that wouldn’t start, and skinning him in the dark while I was waiting for the cavalry to come pull me out.

Aside from that, a perfect afternoon.

First yote of the season with the FoxPro

 

 

 

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hesitation

I had some time to kill today after work so I went out to the four peaks area in Unit 22 to do some hiking and predator calling.

I hiked about a mile from 4 peaks road and setup in an area where I had some success last season. I started the first 10 minutes of the stand with the DSG Cottontail on my
FOXPRO SpitFire
with a Mojo Critter setup about 30 yards from me. I had my back to a cliff and the wind in my face so I knew from here I would be able to see anything coming in. After about 10 minutes I switched to the Bay Bee Cottontail sound and within about 30 seconds saw some movement on the hill directly in front of me.

The hill was about 120 yards out and I could see the back of a ‘yote heading left to right just on the other side of the hill. After about 50 yards the ‘yote stepped over the crest of the hill and stopped, facing directly toward me but looking at the decoy. I had my cross-hairs right over the center of his chest. I have not shot a ‘yote since spring and my heart was pounding. In my head I was thinking that it was obvious that the ‘yote was still coming in and I didn’t really want to have to hike all the way up that hill to pick him up. Much less carry him all the way back down to a good place to skin him.

So I didn’t pull the trigger.

But sure enough he came racing down the hill and was within about 5 feet of my decoy. The ‘yote paced back and forth trying to figure out what there was to eat but always stayed in just enough cover that I didn’t trust my shot with a 40 grain 223.

After a few minutes of checking out my decoy he just disappeared. From where I was sitting I should have been able to see him leave the valley I was in, but he found a way out. I spent the next 30 minutes running about every sound I had trying to get him to stick his head out again. But he was long gone. That would have been more than enough time to hike up the hill and skin him out if only I hadn’t hesitated.

Lesson learned, when you have the shot, take it.

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