Coyote Calibers

 

Coyotes compete with we humans for venison, a simple fact.  If you leave the Coyotes alone, these pesky critters will eat your downed deer if you don’t retrieve your game right away, and they will eat all the whitetail deer spring fawn crop leaving nothing for you to hunt. (NH Coyote Photo by Mark Nangeroni and enhanced by the Author) So many hunters are spending time after deer season to hunt them. The truth be known, I am a novice at coyote hunting but am a pretty good NH deer hunter when time allows. So I am going to pursue these critters. Rifles that are good at killing a Coyote may not be the best to leave the skin intact for a fur pelt. Varmint calibers like the 22-250 are great long distance calibers but be careful of bullet heads that blow up on contact. They are not the best, in my opinion. Use a solid or expanding hunting bullet. Cartridges that I would recommend are those that leave a clean hole on entrance and exit.  The 22 long rifle cartridge, used in a rifle, is a gun that can kill cleanly when the proper round is chosen and the distance is less than 100 yards. I watched a video of a frozen lamb shoulder fully penetrated at 300 yards with a 22 LR but the bullet must have fallen a number of feet before hitting the target. I like the Velocitor by CCI because it is very fast 1435 fps with a 40 grain head and has sufficient energy and bullet momentum to kill at distances of out to 100 yards, so some experts say. Check the web out. See photo below.

I would prefer shots within 100 yards and 50 yards or less being ideal for this round. Below is a Ammo chart I created of .22 rounds and energies offered.

Ammo Type       Muzzle E          E 50 y           E 75 y          E 100y
CCI Std Vel 40g 102 86 80 75
CCI Mini-Mag Solid 40g 135 107 97 89
CCI Mini-Mag HP 36g 127 99 90 82
CCI Velocitor 40g HP 183 137 121 108
CCI Stinger 32g HP 191 142 123 107

There are many other calibers in the .22 category that will do the job even better than the 22 Long Rifle at longer distances such as the 22 magnum or a big step up to the 22-250, .222 or .223 for example.  AR platforms are terrific in .223 for shooting multiple Coyotes as in the U-tube below.  Deer calibers like 30-06 and .270 are fine for yote hunting during the day.  I am interested first in ridding the woods of the excess of these predators that compete with  my venison and will not worry about the pelt till the Coyote is on the ground. So grab your deer rifle if that is all you have and your hunting license and follow the hunting rules and get some of these predators. Night time hunting is allowed in New Hampshire with land owner written permission, baiting is possible as well if you go on to the NH F&G website you can see the rules and locate the forms you need for F&G and for the landowner.

Yotes do have a place in the scheme of things, just not enough to destroy the deer herds.  They must be managed.

If you want to see some great Coyote hunts just look them up on U-TUBE Coyote Hunting. Great video. A friend has loaned me his .257 Roberts for yote hunting and it will take-em out to 300 yards in daytime without changing the aim-point when zeroed at 250 yards (max point blank range). A hunting friend and I have a .22 LR too that shoots the Velocitor’s out of semi-auto’s very well. Good Hunting! Ed ©

Wolf in Coyote Clothing?

 

There were three shots from muzzle loaders heard high on a hill in Southern NH a few weeks back, and not far from me on opening day of Muzzle Loader season. As I hunted my way toward the shots, I found no hunters, and no deer on the ground. two more shots rang out from smoke poles in the distance. Two hunters at least, I mused.  An hour later, I ran into a hunter that had friends in the woods in a different area who were after a big whiley Buck living in the swamp, swale-grass, and brush and brambles so thick you could not see 5 yards. Good luck to them, I thought.  We talked a bit as hunters often do when we meet while on stand. Shhh, my new hunting friend said, “Did you hear that” Yes, I could distinctly hear a Coyote howl in the far distance, perhaps on the trail of a wounded deer.  Hey, I said, “from those shots up on the hill”. You bet! Coyotes eat mice and voles and turkeys, and pets, when they can’t kill a deer, their preferred food.

I first published this article in a shorter form in Hawkeye News in New Hampshire and expanded it here for NH Rifleman readers. Recent genetic DNA evidence proves the Northeast Coyote is not coyote at all but part coyote and part wolf.  Yes you heard that right part Wolf, try 1/3 wolf or more and increasing. “Eastern coyotes typically weigh 30-50 pounds and are 48-60 inches long, approximately twice the size of their close relative, the western coyote. Eastern coyotes have long legs, thick fur, a pointy snout, a drooping bushy black-tipped tail and range in color from a silvery gray to a grizzled, brownish red. The average life span of a wild coyote is four years. (Less, if I have the opportunity) Though coyotes are often mistaken for a domestic dog hybrid, recent genetic research has attributed the eastern coyote’s larger size and unique behavioral characteristics to interbreeding with Canadian gray wolves. Unlike the wolf or domestic dog, coyotes run with their tail pointing down.”

As part of my research I learned that there are basically two species of wolf in the world, the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) and the Red Wolf (Canis rufus) and both can mate and produce offspring hybrids (mixes) of wolf.  Furthermore they can mate and produce offspring with the eastern Coyote (Canis latrans var) as you will see later.  For Scientists, this new DNA data is throwing a curveball at them.  Example: was the eastern Coyote really Canis latrans and later to become Canis latrans var. a hybrid Coywolf instead. Var. is for Variation.

New studies demonstrate that the Coyote is in the midst of an “adaptive evolution” according to a fully released February 2010 article published by Royal Society Publishing in a format called “Biology Letters” and entitled “Rapid adaptive evolution of northeastern coyotes via hybridization with wolves” by Roland Kays, Abigail Curtis, and Jeremy Kirchman see web site http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org . I quote under the header Discussion in the article:

 The ecological differences between western and northeastern coyotes, on average, are that northeastern animals eat more deer (Odocoileus sp.) but fewer small mammals (Parker 1995), and show no avoidance of forested habitats (Kays et al. 2008). The larger body size of northeastern coyotes is widely accepted as advantageous for hunting large prey, but there has been debate about the origin of this variation through hybridization versus phenotypic plasticity (Lariviere & Crete 1993; Peterson & Thurber 1993). Our results show that northeastern coyote populations are a hybrid swarm resulting from the widespread introgression of GLW (Great Lakes Wolf) genes. This suggests that hybridization introduced genetic variation for the rapid adaptation of more efficient predation on deer, including larger predator body size and skull dimensions. This is further supported by our finding that northeastern coyotes were larger than those from Ohio, which are living in similar eastern forests, but have not hybridized with wolves. Mitochondrial genes are surely not responsible for the large body size, so the observed associations of particular haplotypes with skull morphology suggest that this hybrid swarm is young.”

Further quotes: “Northeastern coyote skulls are not simply larger versions of their western relatives, but show additional craniodental characteristics similar to wolves, supporting the hypothesis of the introgression of genetic variation; northeastern skulls are proportionally broader, with greater areas of attachment for masticatory musculature. In large-prey hunters, such as wolves, these traits are associated with strong bite forces and resistance to the mechanical stresses imposed by large, struggling prey (Slater et al. 2009). Furthermore, the sexual dimorphism we found in northeastern coyotes is absent in western coyotes, but similar to that reported for wolves (Gittleman & Van Valkenburgh 1997). We suggest that these traits confer similar adaptive advantages in northeastern coyotes and allow them to be more proficient in the capture of deer than western and Ohio coyotes. These adaptations presumably allowed the rapid movement of coyote-wolves through Ontario, in comparison with the slower colonization rate of the smaller non-hybridized coyotes across Ohio.”

So what does this information mean to me as a hunter?  It means this Coywolf is a highly adaptive aggressive Canid is on a continuing evolutionary path that places it in direct competition for deer meat in my freezer and whatever else it wants to eat.  If you did not hunt coywolves this year then don’t cry and whine that you didn’t see any deer to shoot this fall.  Get off your duff and go hunt some coywolves. If you want to continue to call them yotes then fine, just remember your “yote” is part wolf and if your deer is down this fall don’t be surprised to see “yotes” devouring it if you don’t find it right away. It has happened to me and I was not a happy hunter that day. All that was left after a nine hour overnight was the spine.

I am not a regular predator hunter but it is increasingly important to hunt these Coyotes with wolf genetics as they have made a highly significant impact in the reduction of spring fawn crops of the eastern whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus ). But you can’t relax one bit because they adapt by having more litters.

So, it is not just fun to hunt these adaptive critters, but that we compete for the same venison. In larger packs or by themselves these wild candid’s will kill domestic pets even while the pet owner takes the dog or cat for a potty call even while on a leash.

Given the fact that they eat my freezer meat, I want to introduce them to a fast rifle bullet along the way and plan to winter hunt these critters.  Rifles and cartridges that can kill a coyote cleanly are plentiful, in fact any deer rifle will do, but there has always been a following for really fast stuff like a 100 grain .270 shooting 3200 fps down to the .22 Long Rifle. I have a .257 Roberts that I have garnered for such an occasion.  It shoots sub-sub moa groups consistently at 100 yards and at about 3000 fps at the muzzle a 100 grain pills maximum point blank range is 290 yards when zeroed at around 250 yards. That means that any yote out to almost 300 yards is a gonner when struck by a pill still whooping along at 2300 fps and 1100 ft-lbs of energy at that distance.  Perhaps the best Coyote rifle is an AR platform in say a .223 that will take down more than one yote at a time with no discernible recoil between shots. Many traditional hunters stay with traditional rifles. I am one of those. Coyote pelts can be frozen if prepared properly, and then sent out for tanning. I have used pickling alum on some deer hides and would work well here, aside of professional tanning. Good Hunting! Ed  ©

Limbsaver Sharpshooter X-Ring Rifle Barrel De-resonator

This special Rubber manufactured from NAVCOM tunes the 5 main ballistic waves that affect shot grouping according to the accompanying device literature

The author has tested it for several rifle loads in a Kimber Select grade .338 Winchester Magnum with a thin sporter barrel that was capable of MOA-accuracy. With the de-resonator placed an inch back from the muzzle, groups improved up to 30% depending on the bullet weight. For practical hunting within 400 to 600 yards the device is not necessary for hunting with my particular MOA Rifle and 185 grain Nosler AccuBond bullets. But would substantially improve long range bullets that group at 2 MOA which would otherwise limit the hunter 300 yards presupposing an ethical shot diameter of say 6 inches to say 1.5 MOA inches adding another 100 yards to a possible 400 yard kill range. If your gonna spend some big bucks on a Western Mule Deer or Elk Hunt I would sure have one of these in my pack.

You can spend several hundred for a new barrel to achieve that capability or play with your barrel bedding costing hundreds or simply put the de-resonator on your rifle and go shoot.  At a cost of 20 bucks it is an inexpensive fix and a great Christmas Stocking Stuffer. Good Shooting! Ed ©

Leupold Optics for Very Short and Very Long Range

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Leupold Optics for Very Long Or Very Short Range. By Ed Hale

It is of course essential for Long Range Hunting, in my waking dreams, to have a “new just released Scope on the market”, with a Laser Rangefinder to team up with a rifle and cartridge/bullet combo to do the double duty-job at ranges close, far and anywhere in between. Christmas is coming my hunting friends, something for under the tree!

 

My test bed rifle is a Kimber Select Grade 8400 in .338 Winchester Magnum with the new Leupold VX-6 2×12 42mm with Boone and Crockett reticle. The cartridge is a hand loaded Nosler Custom Case and a 185 grain Nosler AccuBond using Reloader 15 powder. Clocking in at 3150 fps the 185 grain pill is a veritable freight train of energy for any species in North America and most of Africa. I have killed African Game such as Kudu, Impala, Springbok, and Blesbok with a Ruger .338 with Nosler Partitions, some out to near 300 yards but no farther. The Nosler folks suggest that the bullet will not mushroom effectively below 1800 fps so my range is limited to where the energy drops to that level coupled with my shooting skills and knowledge of the range, angle of the shot, altitude, temperature and most importantly the wind. The wind in long range hunting beyond 300 yards is an often troublesome variable that can kill the best of long range shots.  I am a student of Long Range hunting beyond 300 yards. Armed with Quality Assurance skills, suggest that for long distance, it is essential to reduce variation as much as humanly possible. How I achieve that is:

1.)    By choosing a flat shooting cartridge/bullet/powder that maintains its energy with superior bullet construction and superior ballistic coefficient.

2.)    By choosing a Scope that is up to the task at hand whether it is short range or long range and is a large part of this article. Enter the Leupold Gold Ring VX-6 2×12 42mm with “Boone and Crockett” reticle with a full Lifetime Warranty. It maintains superior brightness, clarity and contrast while, at the same time absolutely waterproof and fog proof. Leupold’s dual spring erector system is as rugged as it gets when shooting a rifle that can rattle teeth if not held correctly. After shooting Leupold’s on many powerful rifles, I have become accustomed to the generous eye relief and the rubber bumper at the eye end.  All it takes is one crescent cut from a scope ring that was too close to your eye and forehead, e.g., to have that need for eye relief etched into your brain, like I once did, you’d have thought I was bleeding to death. I am much older and the scar is nearly invisible.  No scars from my Leupold Scopes, I am happy to say! And the new VX-6 has the capability of matching the ballistics of a number of calibers that make the use of many fast and faster calibers to match the long range crosshairs beyond 300 yards and out to say 600 yards. Let me say that again, it knows by your magnification selection diamond, bullet and speed of similar calibers, where it will cross the Boone and Crockett duplex crosshairs.  The shooter need to experiment and practice to be exact.

3.)    By Choosing a Laser Rangefinder such as the Leupold RX-1000i TBR, True Ballistic Rangefinder with DNA. Digitally eNhanced Accuracy you can determine the True Ballistic Range and automatically calculates the correct distance no matter what the angle is. It will range from 5 yards to 1000 yards and has a bright Orange OLED Display you can see at dawn or dusk for when that big bruiser buck steps out into the field.

4.)    A good pair of binoculars is essential hence the very compact Leupold Rogue 10x25mm Compact and waterproof Binocular’s utilizing a center focus Porro Prism. Weighing in at 12.7 oz. they were not bulky to carry.

I have chosen Leupold products my whole hunting life because I trust them and have done so with my life and that of my son’s in Africa.  Why because their products live up to what they advertise and they are for the most part affordable to me a great cross section of the hunting population in the USA and around the world. There are so many stories you and I grew up hearing of the hunter shooting at a deer for example with a 3×9 scope ( a fine all around scope except when you miss) and did not see the sapling 10 yard ahead that deflected a bullet intended for a deer at 40 yards. Accordingly, hunters having encountered that frustration went out and purchased a 1.5×5 scope (limited to shorter ranges) so they were not caught in that situation again. A few years may go by and the same hunter seeks a hunt that includes long range and now they are cursing the scope because they can’t shoot game at long distance. It is a frustrating situation, is it not? You can’t win? Oh yes you can! The VX-6 pays dividends by taking game at any distance. Well, let’s see, at 2 power you could see that sapling at 10 feet and avoid it in your crosshairs as you shoot at game at 40 yards. And with the 12 power capability, shoot at game say out to 500 yards or more depending on your skill level. In doing so with the VX-6 you can do it at the crack of dawn as the 30mm tube is larger than the 1 inch tube thus gathering more light. Coupled with some of the highest Optical Quality in the Industry this scope does it all, short range or long.

 

My farthest shots with a different rifle and a 4×14 Gold Ring Leupold are at 600 yards and published in Long Range Hunting Magazine were at targets and not wild game. The shots were impressive, at least to me personally, and groups of three were in a 3 1/8 vertical path.  With just a light 10 mph cross wind my shots strung laterally to a worst case distance of 19 inches (yes that is with a light 10 mph crosswind, though most were in a 6 inch left/right path because I learned to play the wind and shoot in a lull.

I may never kill game at long ranges beyond 300 yards but it is sure fun trying to hit targets that some folks have a hard time seeing. I hear bell ringing at 1 mile may become a new sport in and of itself. As responsible hunters we remember that we owe it to the game we hunt to be ethical in the field. Never take shots at game beyond those you are practiced at. Good Hunting! Ed ©