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Wounding Coyote Problem

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I've recently taken to the sport of predator hunting and I've had good luck calling in both fox and coyote. The bad thing is i've wounded 3 coyote in a row. I'm using 12 gauge 3 inch federal, copper plated BB's, 1 7/8 oz shot. I had a double come in last night, shot both coyotes inside 20 yds and didn't retrieve either of them. Tracked them both with good blood for along ways, then the blood just ran out. I have a extra full turkey choke in. Any thoughts or help??

I just went to cabelas and bought dead coyote, 3 1/2 inch, T's.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Its really frusting to call them in and get close shots only to not have them go down. THanks,


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I disagree.

My first thought is that you need to pattern your gun. My guess is that your extr full choke is spitting pellets all over the place. Try that first.

Second, switch to hevi-shot or Federal's high density shot. But, don't go up to 4 buck or 00buck. That's too big and you'll not have the pattern density you need to make long shots.

Trust me, BB size is adequate as long as you have a good pattern and the premium shot will out-do lead. I've been killing coyotes at 60 yards with the above loads.

One last thing, no matter what the range, when shooting a shotgun, keep shooting until the animal is dead right there!

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Dead Coyote loads are actually heavishot. Since hevishot patterns tightly no matter the choke I'd pattern a few shells and see what happens. Maybe you've got too much constriction. Where are you holding on them? I've killed coyotes with pheasant loads, but I always hold on the head.

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I agree with Buker on this one. If you are shooting inside 20 yards 4 shot will kill em, I'd say get your lead down, pattern your gun, and go from there. I'd say number one for any hunting is pattern your gun, get the best density you can, sometimes a tighter choke does not mean a better or tighter pattern. Brent

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Hey Jumbo, have you been calling them at night?

With the light? (The new law)

I have been doing some calling in the morning and in the late afternoon, but I haven't gone out at night with the shotgun yet.

Sounds like ya got 'em coming in!

Just wondering if I should try it.

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I've heard sooooo many claims against #4 buck that I wonder if some of the people have ACTUALLY tried it or are forum experts. I have 3 dedicated predator weapons but the one that I've killed the most with is an over under 223/12 ga. it's my night hunting favorite. I've used the big barrel most often loaded with #4 buck and I'll tell you from firsthand experience it works just fine. Maybe better loads for some guns/people but I have alotta faith in it.

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I'd definitely pattern the gun.

Generally the bigger the shot the looser the choke. I'd bet that you're blowing the pattern with that combo. I don't hunt coyotes but have run countless load combo through turkey chokes. Most turkey chokes don't pattern #4 shot well let alone BBs.

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I've personally only taken about 250 -300 fox and about 40 coyotes with a shotgun. R Buker is a professional predator hunter who is one of the primary people responsible for the law change allowing the use of lights. No one has contested the deadly power of 4 buck or 00 buck, in fact I wouldn't want to get hit with it at 100 yards.

Get comfortable with whatever product you like. It comes down to punching whatever that product is through the vital areas. I'd say just keep at it, you will find through trial and error what you like best.

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Thanks for all the thoughts. I think I will start with patterning the gun. I called two locations tonight with no luck, like I mentioned earlier i'm now trying my dead coyote shot. But, I'm certianly willing to take everything into consideration as I'm still learning.

I haven't yet hunted at night yet, once I master killing them in the daylight then I may start that. I've called 16 different locations this year and called in 5 coyote and 1 grey fox. One coyote at 10 am, the rest the last hour of daylight.

Thanks for the help, i can't wait to get the first one.


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I've personally only taken about 250 -300 fox and about 40 coyotes with a shotgun. R Buker is a professional predator hunter who is one of the primary people responsible for the law change allowing the use of lights.

Thanks for the vote of confidence but I'm certainly not a pro. Just a guy who's had a ton of experience over a bunch of years and I've been lucky enough to make enough cash from it to fund my hunting and fishing vices... laugh.gif

Anyway, I wasn't going to go into detail about the shot but since I've been called out, I'll explain a few things. My experience comes from shooting animals and then checking the path of the pellets to see exacty what they did and how they did it. It's NOT from being a "forum expert."

The idea behind shotguns is they kill by penetrating vitals. But, they anchor the animal by breaking down it's bone structures. Seldom will an animal fall in it's tracks when shot with a shotgun if no major bones are broken or if no major nerves are damaged.

So, in order to have an animal that falls at the shot and dies shortly, you need to break bones and penetrate vitals.

So, let's take a look at 4buck. That seems to be everyone's favorite. There's no doubt in any one's mind that they will retain more energy at longer ranges because they are bigger than BB size shot. A BB is approximately .18 inches across and the 4 buck is approximately .24 inches across. That's good. But...

If you've ever noticed a shotgun pellet's path when cleaning a duck or goose or pheasant or squirrel or.... you've noticed that a lot of times the pellet will grab a wad of fur or feathers and drag it into the meat of the bird. Some do and some don't. Those that drag the feathers or fur into the meat you'll notice don't penetrate as far as the pellets that go cleanly in or at least drag fewer feathers with it.

Well, it's the same thing with coyotes. Because #4 Buckshot is larger in diameter than BB shot, they almost always drag more fur into the wound channel and all that does is make the pellet penetrate less. So, your chances of getting adequate penetration especially at longer ranges diminishes with the 4 buck whereas the BB will more often slide between the fur and give you better penetration at those longer ranges.

So, then our chances are good of getting those pellets into the vitals to make that coyote die faster.

Then, let's look at the breaking down capabilities. Yup, the #4 buck will retain more energy at longer ranges so IF you hit a shoulder bone, a hip bone, a spine, etc with that 4 buck you can get that range out there a long ways! But... How much energy does it really take to break a coyotes leg, shoulder etc at Realistic shotgun range? (I'm talking about 60 to 65 yards MAXIMUM) Frankly, the only place where the #4 buck would really shine over the BB for breakdown power would be out to the 65 or MORE yards range. Inside of that (which I consider maximum shotgun range for ANY shotgun load) BB's have enough energy to break those important bones.

So, considering all of that let's just summarize:

BB's actually penetrate better at longer ranges due to their smaller size and picking up less fur on the way in.

BB's have enough energy to break bones at Maximum shotgun ranges.

Couple the above information with the fact that there's actually twice the number of pellets in an ounce of BB shot vs an ounce of 4buck (50 to 21).

What it boils down to is that you have twice the numbers of pellets with a chance to break bones and anchor the animal and you have twice the number of pellets to reach the vitals and quickly kill the animal.

Now, I will say that if you routinely kill all of your animals under 30 yards, it's just not going matter what load you choose. And, if you do all your shooting at 100 yards or more, go to 00 Buckshot or learn to handle an approaching animal a bit better and throw out a prayer each time you pull the trigger.

Top off all I've said with the fact that the premium loads now offer better shot than lead and all that I've said becomes even more true!

So, that's the take from this "forum expert." All I was trying to do is help with a question.

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Great post Randy, your experience in the field is always welcome and appreciated here. Have you heard anymore about the wireless remote bill? I will start another thread here once we have actual bill numbers for the house and senate.

( that is all in relation to changing the regulations so that wireless remote controlled predator callers are legal for hunting coyotes, right now it is consider illegal. )

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RBuker, I've got about a 45 days "vacation" left to use up in the next 45 days. if you're looking for a calling partner, I have a access to a ton of land and am mostly available. I admit I haven't been doing much calling this winter, my preference is below -20 degrees, and that hasn't happened. Besides that the walleye fishing has not slowed up all year!! Brent

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There is now a bill in the Sentate It's SF0142. Pretty basic but well written.


I'd go hunting with you but I'm really just a "forum expert" and I don't really hunt much. laugh.gif

Actually, I'd love to go. I just have to find the time! I'm heading to ND in a week to hunt at night under the moon, I've got two guys lined up to go out with at night in the next week and I've got a wife who loves to fish for walleyes! I'm stuck!

But, the coyotes have sure got it easy this year. They can get all the food they need now so aren't responding well at all to the calls.

But, if we get nice weather one day I may be able to go on short notice. Just give me a call. You know where I work.


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Rbuker thanks for your comments, we all really appreciate them. When I said go large I mean from BB-F shot. I have never shot larger than F shot.

One question though, are you seriously saying you can kill yotes with a shotgun at 100 yards? I am just curious, I hunt fox in feb, and march. I can't trap anymore after Feb because there are some rubbed fox. When hunting them I can be choosy.

I use a .22lr if close, or a .17 at a distance of 50 yards 10 150 yards. over 150 I don't shoot. The .17 is REALLY affected by the wind we have out here. Do you use a shotgun out to 100 yards and if so I would really like to know your setup.

I reread your post and see that you said your max range is 65 yards, sorry i read it wrong. smile.gif

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Well Randy I never outright called you a "forum expert" now did I?? I think alot of people take other peoples opinion that they read on many different forums and think it's gospel. I do respect you and your opinion but please don't accuse me of calling you any names. What are you so pompous about? I read your accusation of someone smoking wacky weed on another forum simply because he thought Minnesota was "the west" and had never been here before. That's what's wrong with folks today just so eager to jump on other peoples case.

Now a "professional" in my mind is someone that does something for a living to pay the bills and put food on the table. When I was having the same problems of crippling critters I talked to my brother-in-law who is a trapper/fur buyer/houndsman and kills more coyotes a year (with the help of fellow hound hunters) than most of us including myself could only dream of. His weapon/load of choice? An old single shot 12 guage with #4 buck,this is what he uses to put money in his pocket as well as the rest of his party does and has been for the 30 plus years I've known him.

Now his opinion would be enough for me but I can talk from experience #4 buck does the dirties to coyotes. On a footnote,we both use single shots and don't have the option of firing untill it's down -don't have to. #4 buck has the shock and power to shatter bones.

Alot of things work differently in reality to theory but I'd bet anyone that had to bare thier arse at 60 yds. wouldn't pick buckshot grin.gif

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What you are referring to as Pompous behavior on that other board was me picking on Danny. I've known Danny since I was on the boards which has been a whole of years and it was good natured razzing between friends. Danny knows coyotes well enough to know that Minnesota isn't "west."

But, out of curiosity, do you think Minnesota coyotes are western coyotes?

And, I don't care what anyone does with hound hunting for the past 100 years or 200 years. That's far different than calling them in to shotgun range. If I were hunting with hounds I'd use #4 or 00 buck too. They don't need to drop them dead. One pellet in the guts will slow them down enough for the dogs to catch the coyote. One pellet in the butt will do the same thing. The 00 buck would give me a better chance of slowing the critter down at longer ranges. As callers we need to get them DRT! We don't have the luxury of a pack of dogs to trail them down when we only wound them because our patterns were too sparse. But, the larger shot sizes in those cases offer longer range in hopes of slowing the critter down.

I didn't make my statement going off what my brother in law or anyone else shoots. I made it based off of what I shoot. I started this game thinking bigger was better. I once killed a fox DRT at an honest 98 paces with 00 Buckshot. I hit him with one pellet in the head. I killed another with 4 buck at 92 yards on the run. One pellet penetrated both lungs and one lodged in his hind leg. Great performance? Nope. Just lots of luck. I could go on and tell you about all the foxes and coyotes past 40 yards that I only wounded. That is, until I finally switched to BB sized shot.

I also didn't just shoot a bunch of animals and then come to a decision. I also skinned each animal and looked at the wound damage. I noticed that penetration was deeper with BB's. I noticed that 4 buck picked up a lot more hair. I noticed that with BBs I was breaking a lot more bones because the pattern was more dense.

As far as shooting a single shot, my opinion is that is one more limiting factor to range. I can use my semi-auto and take that 60 yard shot. If the coyote doesn't stay down, I can shoot him again and if he doesn't stay down, I can shoot him again. Etc. With a single shot you likely have to limit your range to 40 or so yards and then you can get by with 4 buck. The responsible thing to do is either limit your ranges to where you are certain of DRT or get a repeater.

Now, as far as baring your arse and taking a shot at 60 yards, it would depend for me on how much hair I had to shoot through and whether I was shooting a single shot or a semi-auto. If it was my arse, I'd take the 4 buck because there's be less lead for the doc to pick out. laugh.gif

And, maybe I shouldn't have jumped so quickly on your phrase of "forum expert." But, I did take that personally considering the opinion you were opposing was mine and it was toward that opinion that you referred to "Forum Experts."

PS, professional wasn't my term and I clarified that I am not a pro. I agree that a pro makes his living doing something. I don't. I make a few thousand off of predator hunting between my writing, video, seminars, etc. Just enough to fund my fun!

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I didn't realize you knew each other and with that in mind you can understand why I thought you were being awfully rude..sorry for bringing it up.

By "western coyote" I assume you mean a coyote living on the west side of the Missouri. Do I believe they are the same critter? Yes a coyote is a coyote although the pelt on a western is in my opinion much nicer ie:finer/lighter/longer which I would guess is from the generally milder climate to our west and the effect of bleaching from the sun and wind. I don't think one is any smarter than the other although most would tend to think our eastern's are but I think it is greatly due to the fact that there are simply more of them to the west and odds are better your going to trick a few more out that way. Our coyotes have adapted to heavier populated areas and tend to not show their face much during daylight hours like they do to the west. Another factor too is due to the heavier cover around these parts many coyotes aren't being spotted before they detect danger or not being worked long enough due to not being able to see them coming.

Where you are very wrong though is assuming a hound hunter only needs to slow a coyote down enough for the dogs to catch it,not a real good way to cash a fur check my man. I've detected a little disdain from you towards houndsmen over the years as most callers do,I myself prefer to call them in too and seldom hunt with hounds but then I have no real desire to hunt with lights either although admittedly I've never tried it. But they have a right to hunt also. If you've ever seen what happens when the hounds catch a coyote I'm telling you it can be ugly for either the coyote or hound depending who comes out on top. These guys' have money and time invested in there hounds and love them like I love my bird dogs. They don't want this scenario playing out and shoot to kill quickly not cripple.

The first post that started this all was from someone losing coyotes at around the 20 yard range using goose loads which is in my opinion the heavier loads below the bucks. I've never had to run down a critter at that range with #4 buck.

Guess what it comes down to Randy is we should just be happy the way we shoot our own loads grin.gif

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Well, since I switched to Dead coyote, I've had no action the last 3 days. I've also picked up some buck shot. As soon as I get a shot with the dead coyote load, I will then try the buck shot. I'll keep everybody posted what my results are, hopefully it won't be that long. The next three days are supposed to be really windy, it might not be the greatest hunting.

Thanks for the posts, they have definetely been interesting to read, I appreciate all the opinions.


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