For the past 14 years, a retired state trapper, my hunting partner and I have taken care of the ADC chores on three ranches, consisting of more than 22,000 acres in south Texas. It is unfortunate that all three of us, due to age and health issues, are finding it increasingly difficult to make it to the ranch. I have had to give up overnight trips altogether, but spoke with the rancher a few weeks ago and he told me depredation has increased considerably, so I made a special effort to work in a day trip to the nearest ranch.

This trip would be an opportunity to not only help out the landowner a bit but to also initiate a new (to me) .308 Savage Scout and a 125 gr. NBT load. I was a bit concerned that they might not perform well on coyotes, however.

My hunting partner and I left @ 0530, arriving at camp just before daylight. By the time we loaded our gear in the jeep and reached our first stand the sun was just peeking over the horizon.

It was a beautiful morning, very gentle southeasterly breeze with the temperature in the low 50’s. We set up in the shadows of a brush line about 30 yards east of the northwest corner of a freshly roller chopped field, facing south. I put the Foxpro and decoy out in the field about 30 yards SE of our position with the decoy softly playing bird distress and began with a short sequence of female invitational howls, followed by female coyote whimpers after a few minutes of silence. Another short pause followed by nutty nuthatch. More silence then hit pup distress.

At the 30 minute mark, as we sat in silence, I was beginning to think about the next stand when I heard my partner whisper, COYOTE! It took a moment to catch the movement out of the corner of my eye. He was walking fast or trotting slowly, you know, that “coyote road gear”, from the tree line to our right, heading straight toward the decoy. When he reached a point within 25 yards of us, he saw, or sensed something he didn’t like and turned sharply, continued at the same pace, all the while watching the decoy intently, then quickly disappeared in some bushes to the right of a large tree (his path indicated by yellow line in picture below. Call location indicated by star).



As soon as he turned away from us, I switched my rifle & sticks. His course looked like I might get one last chance for a shot through a single, small triangular opening as he passed behind the tree, so I quickly lined up on that opening (see arrow above). I caught glimpses of him heading toward the opening and a second before he got there, I barked, hoping to stop him in the opening. No such luck, he totally ignored me and as soon as he appeared in the opening, I had only a split second to make the shot. The shot felt good, but he was only 70 yards away so I didn’t hear the bullet connect. The recoil of the little 308 is sufficient that I lost sight picture and didn’t see the results. It’s a shame that the scout muzzle brake was so loud I had to take it off, otherwise it might have tamed the recoil enough to maintain the sight picture.

Quickly hit the kiyi in case he had a compadre and waited as long as I could stand to sit still before walking around the tree to check it out.

It was hard to find the exact spot where the coyote had been with that tree in between us. Due to the many short bushes and roller chop furrows, which are deep enough that if he fell in one you would have to be very close to see him, I was starting to think that my bullet might have been deflected by an unseen twig or maybe I just plain missed........but finally, there he was!

He had a light case of mange on one side, and the other side was uhh.........mostly missing! Fact is, it took quite a bit of rearranging in order to get a presentable picture. Due to the angle of my shot, the bullet entered high, near the last rib, was deflected by the spine, and exited on same side just behind his front shoulder.

My bullet performance fears had been totally unfounded. Far from fur friendly, but that’s not an issue in S. TX, as fur is never good down here. The pressure is off, the Scout's finally broken in.



He turned out to be a very old male.



We were on the way to our next stand when a coyote started to cross the two-track about 400 yards in front of the jeep. I stopped, hoping he would go ahead into the huge mowed field across the road from the brush line. We had a staring contest for a minute or so before he vanished back into the brush. I moved ahead slowly and when I was about 250 yards away, he stepped out again. He really wanted to go out into that mowed pasture, but while I was trying to get into a shooting position he decided to get back into the safety of the brush. Good move on his part.

Next two stands produced nothing but at 1115, again, almost exactly thirty minutes into the fourth stand of the day, I spotted a coyote across the dry lake bed about 150 yards out. I was between sounds again, but he was definitely coming to investigate the Foxpro serenade. I left the call on mute but the bird distress was still barely audible from the decoy and served as an efficient coaxer.

The coyote slowly made his way between and around the bushes, pausing occasionally, then finally stepped into the clear just to the right of a large bush (Indicated by star below) to stare at the decoy. I had previously ranged that bush @110 yards.



My partner and I both got on him and my partner said, “take him”. I shot, heard the impact this time, but again recoil destroyed my line of sight. My buddy said he did a full backflip at the shot.

This one was a young male which had lost a front foot to a trap. The wound was completely healed and I had not noticed any sign of a limp during his approach.

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We made one more dry stand before putting the jeep to bed and heading for the house. The medical situation was still stable at home, thanks to the Lord, which gives me hope that I may be able to get out for another one day trip again before too long.



It is a sure sign that spring is near when the Spanish Daggers start to bloom in south Texas. A time in which the siren song calls out, “it is time for just one more hunt”. That irresistible sound always reminds this old hunter that while spring is, indeed, just around the corner, the winter of life is fast approaching, so I must make the most of each fleeting opportunity as it presents itself.

Regards,
hm


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If what's ahead scares you and what's behind hurts you, look up; He never fails you.

If My people will humble themselves, pray, seek My face & turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven & will forgive their sin & heal their land.