After registering late Thursday night at the casino, we headed to the coffee shop for dinner. We ran into Danny (BillyTheKidd), who neither of us had seen in years, and we stayed up late catching up. Every motel in Globe was packed, and we camped out the first night. After a couple hours of sleep, we got up early on Friday.
Don and I hunted public land, the Arizona Lands Trust properties west, south, and southwest of Globe, and stayed off the the Apache Indian Reservation. We may have been the only team not hunting the reservation. Don is essentially a rifleman and prefers hunting with a spotlight at night in CA and NV. I'm essentially a daylight shotgun hunter, preferring banker's hours, 10am - 4pm, and hunting extremely tight cover usually with no more than 20 - 25 yards of visibility. We differ in hunting styles, but often we compliment each other. The rifleman sets up with a view and the shotgunner watches a flank or the backdoor.
Hunting the cactus forests my way with a shotgun, Don shot the first coyote at high noon Friday at 12 yards with his Winchester 101 and Dead Coyote 3".
About 1:30 pm we set up on a berm around a stock tank and Don used one of the fence posts surrounding the tank for a rest. This coyote came in right in front of me at 80-90 yards. Don never heard my squeaker and finally saw the coyote as it crossed in front of his .22-250 at 140 yards quartering away. His shot went through both front legs and I broke the stand, ran it down and finished the deal with the shotgun. This coyote "ran" a hundred yards on his rear legs.
In the late afternoon, on the way back to Globe and a steak dinner at the Crestline, I stopped near Superior and parked about 50 yards off State 60, a major highway. We walked in another 100 yards and Don set up his stool, sticks, and rifle. I was watching the backdoor and had only a short view up a a wash. I kept my eyes on the gravel through the brush and cactus. At minute 5 of Johnny Stewart's High-Pitched Cottontail, I spotted a bobcat in the wash. It stopped behind a bush and never came out the other side. I put the shotgun on the bush and pulled the trigger. I hit the cat at 44 yards with a 3.5" load of #4 buck from a Beretta Xtrema 2. A few seconds later, when I picked it up, I noticed it had almost no damage. The fur was perfect and there was hardly any blood. We took a few pictures, weighed it (19#) and threw it into the truck.
This was an old tomcat, evident by its well-worn canines and incisors ground down to the gums. This cat became the star of Friday night's skinning demonstration back at Redfrog's. Tip did a great job showing us a unique method for skinning a trophy mount. He begins with the mouth! He found only two pellets in the cat, one in the boiler room. Don thinks I should pattern the shotgun. I think more guys should shoot at bushes! I've taken a lot of coyotes and cats this way with both rifle and shotgun. I gave the hide to Tip, as a replacement for the next time he's faced with mounting a big bobcat that's been hit in the shoulder with a splash wound. He'll be able to amaze a client with a high-qualtiy reconstruction. The boys from Michigan took the skull.
Saturday, we had a tough time getting started and finding the right kind of hunting terrain. Don eventually tipped over about 11 am and took a nap in the truck, leaving me to hunt solo around lunch time. On my third stand alone, at 12:05 pm, I was hunting just outside the city limits of a small town SW of Globe. The JS cottontail brought another good coyote into range at minute 5 and I took the shot at 47 yards. Don woke up and snapped a picture for me.
We worked our way as far out as Oracle by Saturday afternoon, and around 3 pm we turned around and headed back to Globe. I stopped again right near houses just outside another small town and we set up on a hill. Behind us were 20 or so homes and in front of us a small valley. When I fired up the caller, game started moving all over. A doe moved out of her bed. A 3x3 Mule Deer buck appreared right below my position. A coyote double came over the hill to my left and headed straight toward me. At minute two, surprise, a big male coyote popped out of a cactus thicket just to my left and I dropped him in his tracks at 9 yards. The double in front of me fled in spite of my best efforts with the hand call and the Bandit to get the other two to keep coming. Looking at its teeth, the coyote I shot was at least 6 years old. This was my 107th honest coyote since September, called, shot, and picked up.
Around Globe, we were cold-calling unscouted territory, and hunting wherever we could, often with houses nearby and the sound of ATV's, 4x4's, and other gunfire in the background. But, we also spent hours hunting while we traversed a ten mile stretch of desert where there was no one, nothing, hardly even a two-track to follow, in the middle of nowhere. I was also shooting a brand new shotgun. Still, we did well by most standards. Next year, if we're fortunate enough to join the Predator Master crowd again, I think we could do a bit better with the knowledge of the terrain we gained this time out.
At the banquet, Sunday afternoon, I sat at a table with Mike Dillon, and over the course of an hour we talked callers. Mike had me thoroughly talked into adding an FX5 to my arsenal, which includes two Bandits, a WT, and three high-watt, high fidelty custom TOA and Speco callers. I wasn't paying too much attention when Redfrog, who was pulling raffle tickets, interrupted and asked me how I pronounced my last name. I'll be damned. He'd pulled one of my raffle tickets and when I walked up to the front, he handed me a brand new FX5! I'll post a few pics in coming days with the FX5 and some fur to go with it!
Great company! Great hunting! Great scenery! Great winter weather! And good luck in the raffle!
Thanks again to all the organizers and donors. The mods worked their tails off to make this a great event. Thanks especially to Mike and Foxpro!