Transient Hunter: Stuart heads to Utah to hunt coyotes

As harvest wound down, I hunted daily for deer. I focused on completing one good hunt per day while getting a few hours of work in for my dad where I could. My plan was to leave Iowa Dec. 1 and head west. My brother Max told me the state of Utah pays for the removal of coyotes in order to protect their mule deer populations. I decided on Utah. Continue reading “Transient Hunter: Stuart heads to Utah to hunt coyotes”

The Keys to Calling Coyotes in the Midwest

By Stuart Hoegh

Growing up I read all I could on coyote hunting. In addition to books and magazines I owned several coyote hunting dvds. The material had useful insights, that placed me in a far better position for killing coyotes. However, oftentimes the authors were based in the western United States and, while the material was useful to hunters in their area, I realize now that some of their input did not pertain to where I lived. The goal of this blog is to explain those differences and provide advice for how to be an effective coyote hunter in the midwest. Continue reading “The Keys to Calling Coyotes in the Midwest”

How to Practice for Coyote Hunting

By Stuart Hoegh

My brother and I each missed several coyotes this year. I have realized that I must change the way in which I prepare to hunt coyotes. In the past I have focused on sighting in my gun out to 200 yards and being comfortable at 300. However, the issue with missing most coyotes is not distance. It is the difficult task of adjusting quickly and taking slightly off balance shots that causes coyotes to get away.

When I arrive at a stand I have an idea of where coyotes will come in; I focus on fence lines, draws and gullies. The problem is that my predictions are often wrong. They arrive from the opposite direction or over a random point on the hill, and I am forced to take an off balance and rushed shot at a fidgeting coyote at 150 yards. Much of my practice in the past has consisted of shooting straight on to the target or even off of a lead sled to sight in my gun. This style of shooting has little applicability to coyote hunting. For example, the final hunt of the year I heard a coyote coming through the grass next to me. I swung my rifle to the right and turned the scope down to 3 power (I usually have it on 6). A coyote trotted out into the field around 150 yards. I turned the scope up to nine power and prepared to take the shot. As the reticle centered on the coyote a second coyote ran through the bottom of my view at thirty yards. I adjusted down to the second, and a third trotted out at twenty yards. It dropped there. Thus, practice for coyote hunting should involve quick adjustments and slightly off-balance slightly positions.

Outdoor Life offers an online Long Range Shooting Course that does a great job of explaining how to shoot a rifle properly. Here are two of my favorite drills from the course. I will practice each of these both facing forward, to the right and to the left.

Rapid Bolt-Action

Tony Gimmellie

Setup: Four 1-inch targets.

Range: 100 yards.

Shoot: Using a bolt-action rifle, start with three rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber. At the start signal, attempt to place one shot on each target.

Begin with a par time of 30 seconds and work down to 15. Only a 100 percent score, with one hit on each target, is acceptable. The goal is to increase the speed with which this is accomplished.

Skills: This drill improves gun handling, and the ability to smoothly work the bolt and acquire the next target. It requires solid fundamentals in the prone position to prevent recoil from disrupting your natural point of aim.

This drill will build a hunter’s confidence. If you can hit four 1-MOA targets in 20 seconds, a deer’s chest will look as big as a blimp. This also teaches you to manipulate the rifle and successfully make multiple shots under stress.

The Grid

Scott Ballard

Instructor at the SIG Sauer Academy (

Setup: Draw a grid of 1-inch squares, six rows by six or five by five.

Range: 100 yards.

Shoot: This drill is best shot with a high-capacity magazine-fed rifle to minimize the need to reload.

At the start signal, fire one shot at the top-left box. Then fire a second shot at the box to the right of it, and continue across the top row. When the top row is completed, move to row two. Continue until all boxes have been engaged.

At some point, you’ll find you can’t focus on the reticle clearly and the shots will go astray. When this starts to happen, “reset” your vision by turning away from the scope, focusing on something in the distance, and blinking a few times.

Keep track of the time it takes to complete the grid with clean hits and how many shots you can make before needing to clear your vision.

Skills: The grid drill builds focus, concentration, and marksmanship. It demonstrates that there is a limited amount of time any shooter or hunter can stare through a rifle optic and shoot effectively.

Another One Down

By Stuart Hoegh

Sunday morning I climbed into the stand around 5:45 am and realized that I had hung the stand with a solid lean. Sitting the next hour before shooting hours became a battle to avoid drifting off to sleep and sliding out of the stand. I had hung the stand on an east-to-west fenceline in the corner of a field with a thick grove of trees about half the size of a football field. Around 8 am a couple does moved up the fenceline to the north then crossed a draw and continued around the grove I was sitting in. Another hour passed with nothing moving. Then, I caught the glimpse of a coyote tial moving into a thicket about forty yards out. Before deciding whether to shoot the coyote I thought of the possibility of a buck coming in, the pheasants and deer fawns that the coyote may eat in the next year, and of adding another animal to my goal of the Iowa Slam for 2016. I made a one second kissing noise and waited to hear the coyote moving. Nothing happened. I waited until I could hear the coyote walking again and I gave about a two second squeal. This is sort of like the kissing noise people make when calling to puppies. It imitates a mouse and can be super effective in getting a coyote to close into range. The key is not overdoing it. Keep the animal curious without going to the point of it becoming suspicious. If the coyote is not reacting, try sucking on the back of your hand. It is considerably louder and deeper sounding, more like a cottontail. The coyote came out on the north side of the thicket and trotted down a small creek bed before coming broadside at about fifteen yards. I adjusted the camera and raised my bow. I settled the pin onto the vitals and let the arrow fly.

The sound an arrow makes when hitting a coyote is much different than a deer. While a deer is hit with almost a thud or a punching noise, a coyote is more muffled. The thick fur dampens the noise and it sounds more like getting hit with a pillow. The coyote ran about thirty yards, crossing a fence and running about ten rows into a cornfield. It showed no signs of injury and only looked confused. I wondered for a moment whether I had been mistaken and the arrow had only skirted along the bottom of the coyote and not hit the animal at all. Then, the coyote wobbled and collapsed.

One of our main goals for the season has been to focus on building a better deer herd I took the coyote in order to promote the pheasant and deer populations on our land. With the addition of the coyote I now must take a duck, goose, turkey and deer in order to complete the Iowa Slam. This week marks the last week before shotgun season and I hope to take a doe off of public land. Additionally, throughout shotgun season we will be duck hunting as often as possible. Stay tuned. Thanks.

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