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Ann's Corner

VOLUME 33-----------MARCH 2005

SHOOTIN', HUNTIN', AND RELOADIN'

WITH THE OL' MISSOURI HILLBILLY

We're still having that unbelievable sunny Spring weather.  I'm starting this newsletter on February 27th, and it was nearly 60 degrees today!  Hopefully, Spring is here to stay, but my confidence level is not yet high enough to stow away the snow blowers.  I do believe I'll take the studded tires off Ann's GMC Jimmy next week though.

Our first Hunter Education class of 2005 is now history.  We finished the week with the live fire session at the Sharp Shooter indoor range on Saturday, February 26th.  (For more on our Hunter Education classes, click the link in the left margin)

Little Heifer and I celebrated our 43rd wedding anniversary on February 4th!  I informed her again, as I do every year, that she is still on thin ice and improvement is needed to avoid being traded in for a newer model!  (Yeah, Right!)  We celebrated with a nice dinner and an overnight stay at Templin's Resort Hotel on the River in Post Falls, Idaho;  'Moonlight and Roses' package, no less!

I'm spending some time in the woods these days, dragging out deadfall to burn.  In addition to lessening the fire hazard, some of the 'cleaning out' is in preparation for expanding the shooting range from 100 to 200 yards.  We have not finalized the plan yet, but do want to get this done this year.

You might recall, I reported that we remodeled Ann's bathroom a few months ago.  We now have some 'do-over' because of some dried paint flakes that were in the bottom of the can when I finished painting the walls.  Since Ann is now going to put a wallpaper border around the top, we decided to sand out the little bumps and repaint.

I was going to start that project one morning last week, when circumstances reminded me of a short story by outdoor humorist, Patrick McManus.  The story is entitled "SEQUENCES," and describes the all too common series of events that often interfere with our hunting or fishing plans.  Such as:  We'll go fishing as soon as we fix this, but to fix this we need to go get that thing the neighbor borrowed, and to get that we need to fix the flat tire on the truck. . . well, you get the picture!

Here was my situation:  When I sand the bumps out of the bathroom paint, I need to catch the dust with the shop vac.  The shop vac filter needs cleaning.  To clean the filter I need the air compressor.  The air compressor is in the shop building and is not pumped up.  It's 16 degrees this morning and the furnace in the shop is turned off.  The sun is shining and it's a pretty day.  Heck with it; I'm goin' coyote huntin'!!!!!  I'll fix the dang bathroom later!

I have an Extreme Dimension® electronic call, a howler, and several mouth blown calls, so I gathered my stuff, took the Ruger No. 1 .25-06 out of the safe, and set up about 100 yards Southwest of the house at the edge of the timber.  I began with the electronic call, set the speaker out about 50 feet, hid behind a Douglas Fir, and started calling.

Extreme Dimension Phantom Predator Call

This call has 12 different sounds, and will play any two of them at the same time.  I started with a couple of sequences of rabbit distress, and then, on the third one, added a crow gathering.  Within a minute I had a raven circling the site, talking back.  This is a good thing!  Next, I combined the rabbit distress with some coyote howls, then got quiet.

In minutes I could hear a pine squirrel chattering at something down the draw, so I gave a few squeaks on a mouth blown rodent squeaker.

This is the rest of my predator calling arsenal.

L to R:  Howler, Rodent Squeaker, Cottontail, and Jackrabbit by Sceery® and a 40 year old Faulk's®

I soon saw movement about 40 to 45 yards out, and Mr. coyote eased up on a little rise.  All I could see was the top of his head, from ears to eyes, and that through a screen of small twigs and brush.  I waited, seemingly forever, for a clear shot.  I didn't want to try and shoot through the brush because the 75 grain Hornady Vmax bullets exit the .25-06 at well over 3500 fps with this handload, and just explode if they hit a twig.

Unfortunately the coyote busted me before he moved into the clear, and was gone in a flash.

Of course, this was just bad decision making on my part.  With my limited range of visibility on this setup, I would've been better served with the 12 gauge and a dose of #2's.  That would have made for a dead coyote!  Instead, I now have an educated coyote that will be harder than ever to entice with a call!

I'm a good rationalizer though.  I told myself that one of those vibrating Rigor Rabbit® decoys out by the speaker would have held the coyote's attention, and caused him to move into the clear before he spotted me.  A camo face mask wouldn't hurt either, and I can always use that when turkey season rolls around.

The journey into town the next day, to make those purchases, brings me to my second coyote story of the month.

About 2 miles into the trip Ann and I spotted 3 coyotes in an open field about 300 yards from the road.  Two were trotting along together, with number 3 bringing up the rear about 30 yards out.  Wasn't too hard to figure this out:  Must be mating season!  (I could even see from 300 yards away that the follower had a dejected look on his face!)

I've hunted for a lot of years, and have never before actually witnessed what happened next.  I try to keep this site rated no higher than PG, but I don't know how else to describe this.  The winner of the lady mounted two or three times, and finally they successfully did their thing in broad daylight, in an open field, at 10:00 o'clock in the morning!  As members of the canine species often do, they even got stuck!

Of course, I had no rifle, no permission to hunt, and besides, they were in an area where shooting would be unsafe!  Dang the luck anyway, I didn't even have a camera!  30 years ago, I might have grabbed a club and tried to run 'em down while disadvantaged, but I'm too old for that any more.

We had pulled off the road and watched this show for probably 10 or 15 minutes, when Little Heifer explained something, "I really don't want to sit here all day and watch those ____ coyotes.  Let's go!"  Of course, that's exactly what we did!

Two days later, my third coyote story of the month begins as I am returning from town.  (I'm sure you see a pattern here - If I go to town every day, I don't have to fix that dang bathroom!)  It's another warm, sunny day, about 11:00AM.  In the same field, I see 3 coyotes, two traveling together and a third bringing up the rear.  I swear, the 'trailer' still has that dejected look on his face!

The coyotes appeared to be in no hurry, so I proceeded to the house, grabbed binoculars and video camera, and drove back down to the field.  Sure enough, the coyotes were still meandering around, occasionally pouncing at mice in the tall grass.  I got the video camera running and taped about 5 or 6 minutes of these interesting antics.  I was taping at maximum telephoto extension, so have a little heat mirage in the image, but you can clearly see all that was going on.

The large dominate male became so interested in his hunting, that he lost track of the little female.  (I swear, you can almost hear these words when you watch the video)  He pounces at a mouse, and suddenly realizes the object of his affections is not beside him.  Quickly swapping ends, and flinging his head high, he sees his lady about 50 yards behind, with the smaller male closing in!

In high gear, he quickly closes the gap as he shouts, "Hey, Woman!  I told you to stay with me, and no gallivantin' around!"

The big male faces down the smaller one, who retreats to a safe distance.  After the typical canine sniff, to make sure his territory has not been breached, Mr. Big whispers, "Come on, My Sweet, stick close and I'll find you some of the fattest, juiciest mice you ever tasted!"  The words fade to nothingness, as the two continue their journey into the world of procreation.

This month's hillbilly wisdom comes from the "littlest hillbilly"; our 8 year old Granddaughter, Jennifer.  This is her advice to Grandma, upon approaching a deer you have shot:

Grandma, if his tongue's not hangin' out and no poop's comin' out, he might not be dead!"

Well, It's time to shut down here, So . . . .

'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!!!

THE OL' HILLBILLY
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