Sunday, March 7, 2010

Coyote Hunt, Or Was Something Hunitng Us?

We finally made plans to hit the woods with the AR for a little coyote hunt this past weekend. I got with our Pro Staff Member Chico Lopez to see if he wanted to ride along and spend a day in the woods chasing the devil dogs. I picked him up around 1:30am and headed north, after a 2 and a half hour drive we arrived at our northern Michigan destination around 4am! After a little sleep we got our gear ready and hit the woods. As we were getting ready to take to the field, I noticed a beautiful bald eagle flying over a clearing next to the lake. I thought to myself, this is a good sign of things to come!

Our First Set

We made our first set in a nearby field that I have previously seen bobcats and coyotes in before. It was a beautiful blue bird sky with bright sunshine, the temperature was nearing 40 degrees and climbing with no wind what so ever. On our way to this first set we saw three deer moving across the field as we entered the edge of it. They quickly vanished out of sight as if something had spooked them. It wasn't us since we slipped in quietly and both sprayed down vigorously with Dead Down Wind Scent Eliminator.

Chico & Myself Getting Ready

We began our first series of calls with our new predator calls from Quaker Boy Calls. It was music to my ears! I could hardly wait to see a coyote appear so I could take a crack at him with the AR-15! We waited and waited, but nothing showed itself. We only saw two crows circling over head as we waited patiently. After waiting a half hour after our last series of calls we decided to move to the second set up.

Bright Blue Skies and Sunshine!

We moved about a 1/4 mile away to a fork in the trail and found a great looking low hanging pine tree to set up underneath. On the way to this spot we found hundreds of deer tracks and most were very fresh! Lots of good sign, but no sign of any animals!

Me & The AR-15

Waiting For Mr. Coyote!

At our second set we ran the same series of calls with no avail! Not so much as a peep or squawk of a bird! No squirrels, varmints, birds, turkeys, deer, nothing was showing itself or even making a sound! Very odd on such a warm day at the end of winter!

The Third Set Of The Morning

At our third and final set of the morning we had to work to find a good hiding spot. It was a very open stretch of woods with very little cover. We found a low hanging pine tree but we had to do some trimming to get a spot to see from as well as shoot from. After getting set up we ran our series of calls again with only one crow making a sound from far away! Still no wind, you could hear the silence if that makes any sense. I could hear my heart beating it was so quiet! The silence was deafening! It was ere! Too ere!

Chico Manning The Camera In Case We Got A Shot

As we were heading back to the parking area we passed through an old oak stand with visible squirrel nests. Chico and I both discussed and questioned why we weren't seeing anything! It was very strange, almost as if someone dropped a bomb that killed off every living animal! About a hundred or so yards after the oak stand Chico looked down and noticed a track in the snow amongst the hundreds of deer tracks we had already seen that morning! Coyote track he exclaimed! I was eager to see it myself so I made my way up to what he was looking at. It was then he looked up at me and said, "Dude, that's not a coyote track!"

The Track We Saw Next To A Dollar Bill!
If what we were looking at was a coyote track, it was the biggest world record coyote that I would have hate to come across! It was too big to be a coyote and we first thought about a dog, but that would have to be one massive dog to make that track as well. It wasn't anyone walking a dog because there were no human tracks anywhere around. We followed this set of tracks through the snow and up the trail for around 300 to 400 yards.

Track In The Snow Next To A Dollar Bill

As we discussed if this was a possible wolf track, the realization of what we were dealing with became more evident as we talked further. We ruled out coyote, and even a small bear since the tracks were in a straight line. A bear makes two distinct lines of tracks, not one! I have seen many bear tracks and this wasn't a small bear, this was canine! In the photo below you can see the gait of the animal compared to the size of Chico's foot in the right side of the shot. This animal had a long gait! You can also see that the tracks were in a straight line, not in two distinct lines as that of a bear.

The Gait Of The Animal!
After our evening set, we made our way over to my friends house for a visit. We showed him the photos of what we saw and told him where we saw them at. His response immediately was, those are wolf tracks! His girlfriend said the same thing when she saw them. They both have had similar encounters in the same general area. This gives me a new found respect for being in the woods hunting for a predator, that is one that can hunt you back! I will no longer hit the field without a side arm or long gun!

A Few Shed Antlers From A Friend!
While sitting and talking with my friend, he showed me a few of the sheds he found this winter while walking the deer woods! I like to think of this photo as looking at our future! That is if the wolves don't destroy them first!
Mike Adams
Up North Journal
Shoot Straight & Be Safe!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hunting Coyotes and Magazine Capacities

With a free weekend coming up and nothing to do, I knew it was time to get out and chase the devil dogs! Coyote season is coming to an end here in Michigan on April 15th so I knew I had to get out while I could. I wanted to use my new AR-15 that is scoped with a nice Leupold Mark AR 40mm 6x18 scope, there was only one problem. According to Michigan Hunting Law:

Shell Capacity For Shotguns And Centerfire

It is unlawful to hunt with a semi-automatic shotgun or semi-automatic rifle that can hold more than six shells in the barrel and magazine combined unless it is a .22 caliber rimfire. Fully automatic firearms are illegal. All shotguns used for migratory game birds (including woodcock) must be plugged so the total capacity of the shotgun does not exceed three shells.

So I knew that I only had a 30 round magazine for the AR, which meant that I had to make a trip to my favorite gun shop! Guns Galore in Fenton Michigan is one of the state's biggest firearm shops with a great variety of ammunition along with magazines, which is just what I needed! I gave them a quick call and they had a 5 round magazine in stock, so away I went!

My Favorite Place To Visit Besides The Outdoors

When I got there I got just what I needed, a 5 round Bushmaster .223 magazine. This is what I would need to make sure I'm legal when I hit the field chasing coyotes! One might ask, why in the world would you use an AR-15 for yote hunting? With Remington coming out with the R-15 and R-25 sport rifles, the hunting public is taking to the newer styled sport rifles for varmint hunting and even big game hunting with the larger calibers. I found that the firearm that I purchased was significantly cheaper than the R-15 model with the only real difference in function being the camo pattern on the firearm. It didn't matter to me about the camo since the AR is flat black and would work in the field just fine. So it was really a money issue for me.

New Bushmaster 5 Round .223 Magazine

Once I got home I compared the two clips to one another, just for kicks you can see the difference between the two in the photo below.

30 Round Magazine & 5 Round Magazine

When choosing ammunition for my coyote hunt, I came across a good deal on some Winchester Ballistic Silvertip .223 55 grain varmint rounds. They match what I have been shooting at the range so these should work very nice on an unsuspecting coyote that happens to get too close!

Winchester Ballistic Silvertip .223

We are heading north this Saturday for a one day hunt on our deer property. After a few emails and quick call I found out that the yotes have been cruising the property with regularity here in the last week or so. Hopefully we can get the drop on a few of them while we are there, I will report back with our results if we have anything good to report.

Mike Adams
Up North Journal
Shoot Straight & Be Safe!