2018 coyote count started today

mcseal2

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I got a pair of coyotes today. We had a heifer prematurely abort a calf today and I saw a coyote circling trying to get at the calf while feeding. I got a clear angle and dropped it at 220yds with my 25-06 and a 100gr Ballistic tip. It was sitting on it's butt and broadside looking at the heifer.

I got done in time to make 3 sets calling after work. The first came up empty, and I screwed up the second. I got up after 19 minutes thinking the stand was over and wanting to get 2 more sets in before dark, and a coyote immediately started barking. He may have been an educated one that wouldn't commit, or just a late one. I barked back and mimicked him for several minutes until he went silent, and then sat for another 10 minutes in case he snuck in. I ran a real quiet vole squeak for a few seconds, off for a minute, 10 seconds just in case I could make him curious enough to pop out.

I had time for one quick set after that and set up prone on a terrace overlooking a big brome field. I had the call 60yds out from me. I howled right off since time was short, then did 3 minutes of vole squeaks on low volume. I then went to a kiyi and got a female to show up. She was going to circle really wide of me as she showed up while the call was on mute. I got it off mute before she got downwind and she came in at a run. I shot her 21yds from the call when she finally hit the brakes. She was quartering toward me and the 25-06 made a mess on the exit after penetrating that much coyote. I thought shots might be getting long for the AR since I'm hunting spots I've already hunted and coyotes are getting smarter now so I went to the bigger gun. Today had plenty of wind too. I might have to go back to the AR though, the guy I give my coyotes too would appreciate smaller holes than the second one had. I could load up some more 100gr Sirocco II bullets too, those seem to drop coyotes without the big holes but they are a pretty expensive bullet for coyotes and foul the rifle pretty quick.

I ended up with 36 total for 2017, I missed a 180yd shot with the AR a few days before the new year. I had a coyote sneak in from an unexpected angle and spotted him sitting there at last light. I had to make a big move and got spotted. He didn't leave but I didn't know if I could make another move into a more comfortable shooting position. I ended up shooting while leaning backward holding myself with my core muscles, not leaning forward into the bipod like I prefer. I pulled the shot to the right I think. I was due for a miss, I was 10 for 10 with the AR before that. I can shoot but I can't call that streak exactly normal.
 
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mcseal2

mcseal2

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Kansas. As far as acreage I'm not sure, it's several thousand acres. Not enough apparently, last 2 responses I had since my last post both hung up at 350yds or further. I missed one and never got the other to stop long enough to shoot. I had the AR both times and that's further than I like to shoot with it. I've pretty much called everywhere I have permission and am going back through spots, some for the 2nd or 3rd time. Both these places I had several coyotes come in at once in November and killed one, but educated the others.

My wife needed the computer so I wrote the above earlier, and finished the post now after dark.

I got a chance to put the AR on paper today and make sure it was still zeroed. I can't blame either of my misses on it, the 180yd one or the 350yd one. After bench shooting it I took it out to a brome field and shot Gatorade and other bottles I filled with water. I shoot regular water bottles to 150yds, 28oz Gatorade bottles from there to 250, and 2 liter or gallon jugs out to 300yds. I shoot out to 200yds from my Rapid Pivot bipod sitting and further using a short Rapid Pivot on the front of the gun, and my pack as a rear bag. I lay 2/3 of the bottles or jugs on their side to make sure I'm not shooting to high with my holds. An upright 28oz Gatorade bottle gives me a pretty tall target, taller than I want when practicing on coyotes. Laying it down only gives me a few inches of vertical target. The ones I do put upright keep me honest on my windage. I just can't seem to keep the horizontal wobble off my bipod down enough to hit upright bottles past 200yds sitting behind the bipod, even with my elbow locked inside my knee and a back rest. If I have a tree behind me and my elbow locked inside my knee I can hit further than without a back-rest to stabilize me. I practice switching targets and distances and getting on them quickly, shoot an 80yd bottle on the left and then a 225yd bottle on the right for example. It is great practice for multiple coyotes and helps me on my big game shooting too. I took a doe at 321yds with the 264WM Sunday night off the bipod prone with the pack as a back rest. I was low on light and she was the only doe out and she was facing right at me. The practice I do made me confident in the frontal shot.

I went 9/10 on the bottles with the AR inside 225yds (shot right over a horizontal at 163yds), and 8/10 or so on the longer ones. I say that because I hit a 300yd 2 liter I had stuck in a bush low and the water drained out without exploding it, then I hit it at least once more, maybe twice. I can't tell if all the holes are bullets or shrapnel. The misses were my fault, the gun is performing well. I just have a standard duplex on the AR that works great for most shots, but if I want to stretch it futher I might have to look at going to a ballistic reticle or turret. I put the AR 1.5" high at 100yds and find that if I aim 2-3" low inside 170yds, dead on to 200, and 2-4" high from 225 to 250yds I hit well. I'm estimating my holds to be 8-10" high at 300, but the reticle I have doesn't really have a good way to do that except split the difference between the thick part of the crosshair and the center.

The ammo I shoot shoots great and consistent, but it's slow at 2964fps. I tried some Superformance 53gr V max loads this weekend that averaged 3286fps from it. The first group was awesome but the next was 1.5". I need to try it some more and see if it's worth considering trying it more, I hate to give up any accuracy for speed. I'd also have to re-learn my holds at different ranges if I go to switching around. Especially early in the year most coyotes are shot under 200yds when I call. Most of those are under 120yds. It's just now that I start having to reach more.

I do this several times a year, and always around now when I get a good day. Our last deer season just ended and I have been shooting bigger guns a lot for several months. I developed a flinch years ago that still haunts me at times when I shoot to many big guns to often. Putting lots of rounds through low recoil stuff now helps me remind my brain that what I shoot now doesn't kick and makes me shoot better.
 
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mcseal2

mcseal2

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Didn't get to call today in the wind, but I got some practice shooting done in my yard and bullets loaded. I put my bipod on my 10-22 Ruger and shot 40 rounds through it at spinner targets placed around the yard. I'd switch from one to the next as quick as I could get on them and shoot the spinners in order from biggest to smallest on the 3 spinner targets. It helps me be fast and smooth transitioning between yotes with the bipod on the AR and is cheap, fun practice. Hitting the one twice the size of my thumbnail at 40yds takes good shooting mechanics.
 
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mcseal2

mcseal2

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Well I'm up to 5 now for 2018.

I called a week ago Saturday with a couple guys on ground they had permission on. I even got to take the whole day, my wife volunteered to run the feed truck out and fed cows in the morning. My daughter is 2.5 and starting to like to go with my wife or I so she can give the cows orders, sing them songs, everything 2yr olds do. It's pretty hilarious at times.

I killed a hard charger with the AR on the 2nd stand of the morning. It hung up on the first sound at a half mile out of sight from me. As soon as I changed sounds the guy who was watching it said it came as hard as it could. I finally got it barked at enough to stop it about 20yds from the call, 80yds from me. I shot it in the chest and dropped it. The wind kept changing on us and a couple stands later it switched at the wrong time and we had a pair sit down and bark at us from the timber, they smelled us and never showed. They barked and I barked back at them trying to get them to go up the hill on the far side and look at least. It didn't work. It seldom does at that point for me. The next stand got a real old male to come in to rabbit distress. The guys I was with aren't nearly as particular about finding cover to call from as I usually am and one of the guys got spotted on an open hillside moving his rifle. He made a great 300yd shot when the coyote stopped and took a look though after spooking. Things slowed down for a while during the middle of the day but mid afternoon we got a group of 4 to come in. One came hard to the call and 3 started circling downwind at 350yds. I wanted to get a shot at one of the far ones while one of the other guys took the close one but it didn't work out. The far ones went out of sight and the hard charger kept coming. One of the other guys and I both shot at the same time, dropped him about 12yds from the call, 40yds from me. We ended up having 8 respond and killing 3. We never missed one, just had the two smell us and the 4 come in together that didn't work out for multiples.

This afternoon I spotted a coyote from my driveway when heading in from doing chores. I grabbed the 204 from the house and got a good rest on my flatbed that was parked out front. I dropped him when he stopped at my bark with the 40gr Superformance load I was shooting the other day. I have had some bad luck with that bullet so I seldom use it on coyotes anymore, but it sure drops them when you miss bone and hit vitals. That's what I happened to have the 204 dialed with right now instead of the usual 45gr SP ammo. I ranged the coyote after at 337yds. There wasn't enough wind to have to hold for that. The little V max at 3900fps gets right out there, I held top of the back with a 2" high at 100yd zero and hit about 3" below the spine.

I put a different scope on my AR last week. I went with a Leupold 3.5-10x40 VX3i with the B&C reticle. My 223 load isn't fast enough to match up with the varmint or predator reticles very well so I went this route. I zeroed it at 1.5" high at 100yds, then put it on a friend's bench and shot his 300yd target and fine tuned my zero so my 300yd crosshair was right last Saturday. Sunday at home I shot it at paper and horizontal water bottles at 80-200yds and made sure I didn't have to much mid-range rise. Then I got out the new bouncing polymer targets I bought and practiced sitting off the Rapid Pivot hitting them. It was darn good practice, trying to keep 2 of them rolling at the same time about 30yds apart is probably not great on AR barrels though. I let it cool after the first 10rd mag, then shot slower on the next couple. Those targets are lots of fun and darn hard to beat for shooting practice.

This evening my daughter and I watched an old Les Johnson video I bought on Ebay. Every time a coyote would come in she would holler "there comes one" and when they shot it she'd say "got him Daddy". It was fun. She got out her toy AR and shot my coyote decoy when we got done while blowing on one of my old closed reed calls. We have to much fun when mom goes on a work trip.
 
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mcseal2

mcseal2

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Shot 4 today, partners killed 3. Hunted a contest and one guy got 3 singles early in the day, I got a triple on one stand. They came in together and I killed one at 60yds when they came in hard, rolled the 2nd at 120yds and the third at 170 as it bailed out. The 2nd two were running wide open and I was lucky and my lead was right. I was stoked to say the least. I used my 243 with 85gr bullets after we lost one hit with the AR. It wasn't the AR's fault but I stuck with what was working. I got another later in the day at 90yds at a dead run also. Best day of calling I'd ever had. It's so much fun when things go right. We had 10 respond and crippled and lost one, despite hitting him with a 243 and AR, and missed one. It got to the mid 60's today and it got slow once it warmed up.
 
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mcseal2

mcseal2

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I got a little more detail on last weekend's hunt here, took this from my coyote journal entry I made on the day.

I was asked to enter a little local contest by a friend so we got a 3 man team together for it. We ended up winning with 7 coyotes and called in 10 total. For this area this late in the year that's a pretty darn good day. The best day a group I was with had ever had before was a 5 coyote day following an ice storm so it was my personal best day.

We kinda ignored the wisdom of finding stands close together to decrease driving time and just hunted each of our best spots we hadn't already hunted to hard. We spend 40 minutes between 8:30 and 9:10 driving across the county but got 3 coyotes on the ground in those 2 areas. All those coyotes came as singles and circled in checking the wind pretty hard on the way in. After that we had a bit of a pattern found for what they liked that day and made more shorter stands as we hunted toward the check-in town. Our next stand we got busted and had a coyote bolt back out, but he stopped at 200yds to bark at us. One of my partners hit him with his 243 just as I squeezed the trigger on my AR, and he flipped over we thought dead. We really thought we had both connected, I saw my partner's bullet hit through my scope. Going down there we found he had dropped off a bank and found just a few blood spots but no coyote. We spent a while checking the draw to make sure we couldn't recover him but found nothing else. I got lucky in the next spot and killed a triple. It was my first triple ever, I've got doubles and a quad but never a triple. I shot one coyote as he stopped 60yds from me and 20yds from my call/decoy. The others bolted across the ditch instead of back down it, and I rolled the 2nd at 120yds and the 3rd at 170yds. I'd switched to my custom 243 built off a Ruger M77 with 85gr bullets as the wind was picking up. I shoot a lot but won't deny there was a lot of luck involved there. Things slowed down after that. We called and missed one coyote about 4pm and got another about 45 minutes later. It came bombing in hard from an unexpected direction and my buddy missed it at 30yds. I also missed as it smoked by me, I was prone at the time and trying to lead it wasn't working well, but I rolled him at 90yds after I got to my knees. I was set up lying over a pond dam to shoot a grassy ditch far below me.

We had a great time and got better at hunting together. I did all the calling and really didn't plan to shoot much. I'd planned to take hard chargers while another guy took the downwind, and the 3rd guy watched our backs for anything coming behind us. I almost never have 2 other guys, seldom have 1 other hunter with me. I almost always hunt solo. Some of the places we hunted I'd left alone because they are so hard to hit solo. The downwind guy got the first 3 coyotes of the day and hit the one we lost, I got the next 4. Only one tried to come in behind us and it was the one that we missed.
 

KurtR

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This Saturday i called in two at the first stand and blew a 120 yard shot right over it's back and a couple more while he was running away. Next spot I was about to leave saw movement and a female hung up at 451 I tried for 10 minutes to get her closer but wouldn't budge so I dialed 7.5 on the creedmoor and planted that on. Sunday had two coming and then a train came buy and nothing that evening. Think I got my kid hooked he is ready to go again next weekend. All the calling was on public land here in South Dakota.
 

hflier

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Shot my first one this weekend. Came into a distressed rodent call. Mangy looking sucker.




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mcseal2

mcseal2

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Good job guys. I'd say making the 451yd shot makes up for missing the close one! There were a few at the contest showing some mange but around home they have been good so far. I know a neighbor 3 miles north is seeing some bad ones though.
 
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mcseal2

mcseal2

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I dropped #10 Friday but didn't call him in. He was on a neighbors place who gave me permission to shoot across the fence and I spotted him on my way home from feeding some cows and eating lunch in town. I bought a Sako Forester 243 a few years back that has one side of the stock bleached from sun, and one side of the muzzle worn off from being in someone else's truck for a number of years. Darn thing still shoots though, I put a 4.5-14x VH reticle Leupold on it and it seems to like anything I feed it over 80gr. I hit this coyote with a 90gr Accubond load at 3018 at 212yds and he went 10ft before tipping over. The entrance wound was tiny and the exit was about nickel size.

A local tournament was held Saturday I couldn't compete in because I was running the ranch while Dad was at the NCBA Convention. There ended up being 20 teams and 22 coyotes killed. Winds howled and temps reached 60. Top two teams killed 4, 3rd 3, and everyone else was 2 or less. 4-8th place were all at 2 coyotes and only a total of 1.5lbs apart. I'm not to sad I couldn't hunt this one, a partner I go with quite a bit borrowed all my stuff and ended up killing 2, one at daylight and another at twilight. Long slow day in the middle.
 

Whitetaildown215

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Im up to 14 yotes and a bobcat since middle of January when I started chasing them. Damn deer season had me distracted to long. Did a tournament this past weekend and ended up with 6 over 2 days. Got lucky with 2 doubles. All have come in to either rabbit distress or pup distress. Hopefully I'll be able to add to my count some more this weekend.
 
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mcseal2

mcseal2

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I shot #11 a couple days ago and am headed out to try for #12 - ? right now!
 
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mcseal2

mcseal2

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Well #12 did die tonight but no great story. He made the mistake of stopping within range of the vehicle between stands, he thought he was far enough away from me to be safe stopping to look back but I didn't! It's more fun to call them in but we will be calving in 2 weeks and I'll take them how I can. I actually saw one there at 3pm this afternoon while hauling hay but he took off instantly and the calling stand I tried there when I got done at 4:30 didn't work. I think maybe the coyotes 400yds from my house that are still living are educated on calling? I spotted and shot him there after my first 2 stands calling while heading to a new area.

I bought a Sako L579 243 a couple years ago that I carry in my overhead rack in that vehicle because the 22" barrel doesn't try to rub holes in my headliner like a 24" barreled gun will. I think this rifle could tell some stories if I knew the history, one side of the stock is faded out and the metal of the muzzle (not quite into the crown) on one side is worn off at an angle from riding on a truck seat with the barrel against the floorboard. Maybe it was never in a window rack and just rode the seat, when I met the guy to buy it he pulled it off his truck seat to show it to me. It was a truck gun long before I owned it. I removed the classic K4 Weaver that was just to blurry to use anymore and stuck a VXIII Leupold 4.5-14x40 on it and it showed it could still shoot. I had the trigger worked over, the stock bedded and barrel floated after it proved it was worth sinking a little money into with it's initial accuracy. My gunsmith kind of laughed at me for sinking money into a rifle that looked like that but he knew if I was spending money it shot. It shoots most anything I feed it under 1" but really likes 90gr Accubonds. They exit all coyotes but make a pretty small exit no matter the angle. I had my 204 in my Eberlestock pack I carry use to carry my giant FoxPro Prairie Blaster 3 in the back seat but the Sako was quicker to get on target when I spotted him. The 204 does a great job on coyotes unless I have to shoot through heavy grass, so when I use it calling I always have a bigger rifle in the truck for targets of opportunity that I might have to shoot through big grass to kill. I get a kick out of using a truck gun with history and am kinda glad I'm not the only one who would treat a Sako quality rifle like it was meant to be used. Since it was already beat up when I got it I don't have to worry about beating it up I guess.

Even though that rifle doesn't have a long history with my family, I think when I pass it down to a nephew in a few years it will become an heirloom. In our area where coyotes and whitetail are the biggest game a tackdriving 243 with a premium bullet is a tough package to top. Shoot it a lot and learn to shoot it well and the rifle will never be the weak link. I will miss that rifle when that day comes, but I will get a kick out of it being a truck gun for a youngster and continuing it's legacy. I will make sure he knows that if he ever decides to sell it I get first chance!
 
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mcseal2

mcseal2

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Well things got busy calving, haying, and on all the rest of the ranch work that needed done and I didn't keep up on my coyote count. I called a few since the last post but shot a lot more calving. The kid snaring the neighboring ranch had a new baby and took a new job, so he was not out this year. The coyotes were thick and not as smart because he wasn't slinging lead at them with his AR while checking his snares. I also shot a few while haying but shot most before that during calving. Haying I carry a short barreled AR or Mossberg MVP behind the tractor seat if I start seeing enough coyotes to justify it and got a few hunting wind rows for mice. I had shot 29 this year and 30 fell tonight.

I finally got back out calling for the first time this fall and got one worth writing a little about. Nothing to exciting but on my third stand of the night I got a young one to poke it's head out of the heavy cover along an alfalfa field and check out my calling. I started with 12 minutes of distress gradually increasing volume and then did a couple howls. After 5 minutes of silence I started playing some coyote/fox fighting. I did it really sparingly, just a few seconds and then mute it. I have found sometimes that I can inspire enough curiosity with this when nothing else is working. I usually don't have to break it out this early in the year though. On my second stand tonight I had at least 3 different groups of coyotes answer when I howled and nobody show up to my usual recipe for this time of year so I mixed it up. Anyway about 4 minutes into the fight sequence I spotted a coyote in the thick stuff at about 220yds. He was curious but wasn't convinced that he should come right out in the open to get a better look. After a few more minutes of messing with him I got him to come about 10 yards out of the thick stuff into the field before he started circling downwind. My wind wasn't ideal so I took him first time he stopped. I used the AR (DPMS Prairie Panther) with the same reman 55gr V max load at 2964fps I have been using. I made a perfect behind the shoulder shot and he dropped but popped back up. He made a stiff legged walk back into the edge of the thick stuff, I knew he was hit hard so I let him go. I did a slow 8 count as he walked before he fell over. I get excellent accuracy from that bullet, and it's very affordable to practice with, but I still feel it lacks a bit on killing power at mid range.

I've said it before but I feel like the velocity is just not enough to deliver the shock that creates instant kills reliably outside 150yds with this load from this rifle. I've dumped a lot of coyotes in their tracks at 60 to 120 yards, and a few past that, but it seems a fairly good percentage of the coyotes past 150 will move after the shot in some fashion. They still die within a few yards so it isn't a huge deal except in contest hunting. An instant kill there means I move to the next target if there is one rather than following up on the initial dog. It seems like the guys winning the contests are getting doubles or triples down to do it. There is a lot of luck involved in the coyotes giving the opportunity for multiples, but the ones I have won are the ones where we were able to do that. I continue to think about selling some other things to get a 22 Nosler upper. I have shot a lot of coyotes with a 50 or 55gr V max or ballistic tip from a 22-250 that were DRT at longer distances and the 22 Nosler runs close to the same speed. Until then I am going to experiment with some 60gr V max bullets in my AR. I was reading reviews on Midway USA's site about the Black Hills 60gr V max load and found a lot of people who liked it. One even has my same rifle. Another said he was getting 2918fps from an 18" barrel with that load so I might be able to match my current load's speed in my 20" barrel. I'll see how they shoot and go from there at least. I'm nit picking but nothing wrong with seeking perfection I guess. I shoot to many with the faster bolt guns that just drop and want that all the time I guess.
 

BAKPAKR

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Does “I could have shot” one count?

At the beginning of my Wyoming moose hunt this fall, one of the guys I was with told me I could not shoot any coyotes (he had been with me a few years ago when I had a Hells Canyon mule deer tag and I shot a coyote in a prime spot for deer on opening day). Anyway, on the moose hunt, I had walked into the edge of a meadow when I saw two coyotes running playfully along some willows about 100 yards away and then they disappeared into the timber. A few seconds later, a third coyote popped out of and back into the willows. I sat down and started making a squeaking noise with my lips. The two that had gone into the timber came at me running. One stopped at about 10 yds and the other one at about 20. The close one filled my scope. My friend’s earlier admonishment is the only thing that kept me from finding out what a 200 gr Barnes LRX would do to a coyote. As it turned out, I didn’t see any bull moose that day so I should have taken the coyote.
 
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mcseal2

mcseal2

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Counts for me!

I should have got one last night. I went to call and spotted one on the walk in. I ended up setting up in a tight less than ideal spot so he wouldn't see me setting up. I got him to come in but he wasn't as curious about my decoy as I'd have liked at the close range. He started to leave and stopped again in some tall grass. I knew he wasn't staying long and I guessed where his body was in relation to his head, looking right into the sun, and shot. I saw a ton of hair, but then spotted the coyote leaving. I must have run a bullet right down his side, lots of hair on the ground but no blood. I just educated him. Saw 2 today but didn't have a rifle. One day without a rifle all fall and that's what happens.
 
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mcseal2

mcseal2

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Went to check trail cams today and got one about 300 yards from the house. It was a young one that stopped and looked back at me at 200 yards. I saw him trotting off and got the bolt 204 set up over a round bale and tracked him, waiting for him to stop. When he did the 40gr Superformance V max load dropped him. I deliberately held a bit back to avoid much bone and it actually exited, surprised me quite a bit. I haven't yet re-zeroed the 204 for the heavier 45gr SP loads I usually go to when I get serious about carrying it for coyotes. The light ones are pretty wicked on smaller varmints during the spring and summer months. Flatter and better in the wind.
 
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