Mangy Madness

July 30, 2017

-Jordan Seitz-

*Disclaimer: I generally only take calculated, high success rate shots. With big game this is an absolute. But in the occasional case of varmints, especially deer killing coyotes, calculated estimation on a lower percentage shot has to do!

It was about 8:15am and I had family visiting. Looking window, I saw a canine crossing the pasture and said, “is that a coyote?” My uncle said, “Naw that’s a dog.” It was manged up and had a scrawny tail, so it wasn’t an easy ID right away. I took a second look and decided it was a coyote!

I ran out the door, grabbed my .17hmr out of the truck along with a predator call, and sprinted to my yard fence. I rested my stock over a crosspiece, and squalled on my call. Earlier in the summer it had brought another coyote right up to the pasture fence, 30 yards away. The ‘yote looked back at me, paused, and then mosied further into the pasture, sniffing at prairie dog holes and glancing at the pronghorn it was approaching. In my haste, I’d left my range finder in the truck, so estimated the ‘yote was almost 200 yards away.

When she stopped broadside atop a dirt mound, I had to sled to my left for a clear shot through the fence. Aiming high, I squeezed off a round. A second or two later my bullet hit and took out the coyotes elbow! It growled and immediately began spinning circles while my uncle hollered from the window that I’d hit it. My second bullet missed and then I realized my clip was empty and the rest of my shells were still in the truck!

I ran back, grabbed shells, and loaded a second clip as I ran back to the fence. By the time I jammed the loaded clip into my gun the coyote had stopped spinning and was licking its wound. I rushed my third shot and the song dog sprinted to my left about 100 yards before it stopped next to a patch of sagebrush to survey the situation.

I settled into my shot, held high again, and squeezed off another round. This time I focused through the scope as the bullet whistled across the pasture. I saw the coyote collapse and heard a whop! My uncle hollered “You dumped it, you dumped it!”

I was wearing crocs at the time, so I went back to the garage again, got some shoes, and grabbed my range finder. I discovered my first hit had been 250 yards, and my second 215.

I climbed through the fence and circled around towards where the coyote was laying. In the back of my mind I was thinking that my tiny bullet shouldn’t have dropped it so hard at that distance - it just doesn’t have that much energy. I should have really slowed down, maybe even crawled, because suddenly the coyote jumped up and sprinted across in front of me, disappearing from view in some deep grass. Behind me I could hear my little boy yelling that “It’s running dad, the coyotes running!”

I ran up, rifle at the ready, and scanned around trying to see where it had gone. I didn’t see it exit the pasture, so I wondered if it was just holed up hiding. I spotted a culvert and glanced into it as I passed. The silhouette of the coyote looked back at me from inside! Dropping to my belly, I fired a final 10 foot head shot.

There is a saying that “If you don’t have a picture...then it didn’t happen!” So I needed to crawl into the shoulder wide culvert and drag the mangy varmint out. A person has to really block out the feelings of claustrophobia in those situations! A funny note was that I had to remove my good jeans before crawling in so that I wouldn't get them dirty since they were brand new! It ended up being  good sized female, but mange had really taken its toll.

I’d traded off my .223 for this .17hmr in the early spring, so this was the first big varmint I’d had a chance to shoot with it!