By Don Shumaker
The large, male coyote burst into the small clearing in the woods and I was lucky enough to dump him with a load of copper-plated #4 buckshot at 25 or so yards. Thank goodness!
I was hoping that this coyote was the one that had been killing sheep on this small farm (or at least one of the ones responsible). When you get paid to stop depredation on livestock (or wildlife), you have to produce. If you can’t get the job done, pretty soon you will be looking for another occupation.
Animal Damage Control has been a big part of my life for many years now. I have trapped, hunted and snared critters for going on 63 years now and have had the opportunity to do this over much of North America.
While it has afforded me a grand lifestyle, it has not been an easy one. Physically and mentally, it has taken a toll on my old carcass and I will die a poor (but happy) man. In the early years of my career, I depended primarily on the sale of furs to pay my bills. As time passed on, more and more ADC work came my way where I was paid to eliminate or control skunks, groundhogs, raccoons, possums, foxes, otters, bobcats, beaver, wild dogs, and coyotes. At times I have worked ADC on bears and mountain lions. In the past 20 + years I have concentrated more on old “wiley” coyote.
The coyote that was killed at the beginning of this writing was called in and shot with a Mossberg pump shotgun that I paid $175.00 for (used). The coyote responded to the call in less than 5 minutes, Quick, easy, simple and cheap, eh? Well, this one was, but most aren’t that way. It can be nearly impossible at times to call in and kill some coyotes when you are using six thousand dollars’ worth of guns and gear and spend all day and night attempting to do it. Some are never killed. That’s a fact of life for the professional ADC man.
I have always been a proponent of having and using the best tools I could find and afford to do my work with. Good tools in any trade rarely let you down, junk stuff does. Many “wannabe” coyote caller/killers have sought my advice over the years on what calls, guns, etc. I use in my line of work. Being as that I’m rather ancient in years, I’ve seen a lot of coyote calling products come and go. There aren’t many that I haven’t used or tested. I’ve used those that played records, some that used 8 track tapes and then cassette tapes. I killed predators with all of them. The high-tech electronic game calls we use today are somewhat of a marvel to me. I will now share with the readers what gear I am currently using for calling/killing coyotes. I am not a “know it all”
nor am I one of those writers who constantly attempt to sell products for a manufacturer so they can continue to get freebies and discounts.
My go-to electronic game caller today is the Icotec “Outlaw”. Of all that I have used, I have found none better for the money. Their remote system is I believe, the best on the market. Icotec offers some of the best sounds of actual coyotes that there is to be had. When using mouth-blown calls, I have had tremendous success with single and double reed diaphragm calls. When using tube-type handheld calls (open or closed reed) the Sceery line of calls are great producers for me as are the old Circes. Critter Calls and the Stanley Scruggs calls. I still use a handmade cow horn coyote howler that has been the death of many a coyote. Mind you that I have used all of these calls (and many others) from Virginia to Montana to Arizona and places in between. They work or I wouldn’t use them.
The make or brand of rifles that I use in my ADC coyote killing is not that important to me. As long as it is accurate and reliable, who cares who made it or how much it costs? The 2 calibers that I depend on now are .22/250 and .243. I prefer hollow points for the .22/250 (60 grain) and 70-75 grain hollow points for the .243. I am not a fan of the ballistic tipped bullets as I have lost too many coyotes with all that I have used. I want to show the people who are paying me a dead coyote, not tell them that I think the ones I have shot went off and died. The Ruger American rifle that I now use (.243) is considered to be a “cheap” rifle by many “snooty type” shooters, but it is a deadly coyote gun.
My main night hunting rifle (the .243 Ruger) is equipped with an ATN Thor 4 4.5-18 thermal scope. For a handheld spotter, I use the ATN OTS-HD monocular, 4.5-18. My rifle rest is a Bog Deathgrip carbon fiber tripod. I sometimes carry a Colt AR 15 .223 topped with an ATN night vision scope as a backup as well as a Flir Scout thermal monocular. My coyote “day” rifles are a Ruger M77 Compact .243 with a Nikon 3-9 x 50 scope on it and a Browning X Bolt .22/250 topped with a Zeiss 4.5-10×50 scope. Cheap optics are not an option for me.
Many years ago, the legendary coyote caller Gerry Blair (deceased) and I shotgunned a lot of Arizona coyotes using copper-plated BB and #2 shot (12 gauge). Since then the art of choking shotguns has allowed me to use copper-plated #4 buckshot (Federal). With an open shot, I can take down a coyote up to 60 yards. It matters not what brand or kind of shotgun you use, as long as it patterns those #4 buckshot well.
In closing let me say that there are many other coyote calling/killing products out there that are very good. Some may even be a tad better than what I use. It is not my intent to knock anyone else’s products, I only tell you what works well for me and what has served me well as I have made my living killing coyotes. Perhaps if the readers (and editor) wishes, I can write more on methods of killing coyotes in more detail in the future.