New Benelli M4!
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I recently picked up a new Benelli M4 and retired the Ol Cat Swatter. I have been drooling over them for a long time and finally bit the bullet! Well after a week of drooling on her I finally had a few minuted to make a couple stands. I made 3 stands, called 3 Coyotes and shot 2. This Coyote came in with a buddy at about the 7 minute mark. DRT @ 53 yards, I was very impressed with the way this baby shot, handed and felt. It was a long poke with a lot of brush around. I was shooting Winchester HD Coyote and was using a MOD choke. I am very happy with the purchase, well worth the money!
It is sad to think that the season is just about over!
Good luck out there!

Calling Coati,
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Calling Coati,

Tips on calling our indigenous exotic.

As we started down the winding road that lead into the box canyon, we all said to each other ” this is some foxy looking country ” It had been a wetter then usual season and everything was looking healthy. Our first stand boardered a creek with a good looking little opening up wind from us, Neither of us could belive it was a dry stand. We continued down the canyon with every turn it looked better and better. As we rounded the next bend we noticed somethings out in a little opening, then it clicked; those are coatimundi. We Slid out of the truck and made our way to the edge of the creek where we could set up and start calling. not 30 seconds into it we had a grey fox on a dead run from our right ready to get it on. needless to say he didnt last to long aginst 50 grains of lead. After the shot, Coati’s were running everywhere, So we got back on the call and about 30 seconds later we had a couple of them making there way back to us. That was my first encounter with them and I had no idea they could be called in just like other predators. Ever since, we have been making a few trips a year to target them. It is a lot of fun mixing up our calling trips with something as exotics as they are. Plus calling in Coati country you never know what you might call in, they share the came habbitat as Fox, Coyote, Bobcat, Lion, Bear and Raccoons.

Many people have neither heard of nor seen a Coatimundi (pronounced koʊˌɑːtɨˈmʌndi). Also known as the Brazilian aardvark, hog nosed koon and on the other side of the boarder “Chulo”. The species we have here in AZ are known as White-nosed Coati.

Coatimundi are related to the racoon, but differ in many ways. They are diurnal animals, meaning they are active during the daytime. Which is one of the reasons I enjoy calling them. Coati, like many other predators we hunt are omnivorous, meaning they eat both animals and plants. It is said that they are insatiable, constantly in searching for food. Their tails are long and slender, used for balance and to communicate temperament. Coatimundi have sharp teeth and large claws, with Males being quite a bit larger than the female. Coati typically travel and feed in groups from 3 – 25 and make a ruckus while doing so; a kind of chirping sound. I have seen them in larger groups of over 35. Coatimundi are also regarded as an intelligent animal and are growing in popularity as pets. Being native to South America and southern portions of North America make them a interesting target for southwestern predator hunters. First reports of them in the states came from boarder area ranchers, with scientific reports popping up in the 1920′s. It is believed that they are slowly expanding their range further north of the boarder. Not all states that hold populations allow the hunting of them, so I recommend checking with you local and state laws prior to hunting them, as with any hunting. Here in Arizona they have a season and a bag limit of one per calendar year. I have noticed that when you find a good population of them you can typically locate them in the same areas year after year.

Where to find them,

Here in the states you’re going to want to look for them in the far south western states, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. They range from hot and dry areas to moist rain forests. Try looking for them around permanent water sources with rocky cliffs, dense brushy areas with trees. I have had my best luck around riparian areas and box canyons. Their habitat is going to be very similar to Raccoon and Grey Fox. I have found them nesting under rock overhangs at ground level, up in trees and up on cliffs in rocky niches, they prefer to nest in elevated places safe from other predators. When you do locate Coati habitat, rememder the location, more than likely they will continue to utalize the same area. Also, being as they will generally be found near the Mexico boarder, it is always good to be aware of your surroundings and if you see something that doesn’t look right get out of there and notify the local authorities. Drug running and illegal smuggling is a serious and dangerous problem in most areas near the boarder. Keep your possessions secure in you vehicle while away from it and make sure there is nothing of value that can be seen, even water!

The setup,

I like to setup as I would for fox, they both seem to like the same habitat, fox are a natural predator of the coati. Look for areas with water and shelter, like the areas mentioned above. When setting up for your stand try and make sure you have a semi open area to call them into, they like to feed and sun in the open. I belive they feel more secure with some visability. When ever possible play the wind and sun to your advantage, i dont belive they are as sensitive as other predators to scent but you never know what you will call in; wind in the face or cross wind and sun at your back whenever possible.

The sounds,

Coati are omnivorous but a little shy to the call sometimes. I belive a lot of the time they respond out of curiosity rather then hunger or a lot of both??. So I like to use sounds that arnt as intense as I might use on other animals. Cottontail rabit is a good one but make sure not to over do it if you are using a mouth call, try and keep the emotion down a a little. If you are using a electronic caller, use a mild sounding rabit. Bird distress is also a good sounds to use, again i wouldnt recomend anything to crazy sounding, you could risk just scaring them off. A great sound to use if the wind is down or are in a canyon where the sound will travel would be a rodent distress, It isnt to agressive and it is a sound they have experience with. Coati are meat eaters but you arent going to hear of one running down a jack rabbit, or fawn. So keep the sounds to smaller distressed animals that are there normal prey. Like Birds, rodents and baby rabbits.With mild volume. I haven’t yet, but I am going to do some experimenting with Raccoon sounds, being in the same family and making some similar sounds I figured it couldn’t hurt.

Most southern AZ mountain ranges contain coati and I have heard reports of them being sighted into northern AZ. But biologists arnt sure if they are expanding there breading ranges or if they are released animals. A few mountain ranges and general areas to start your hunt would be;

Santa Rita mountains, Patagonia mountains, Huachuca mountains, Dragoon mountains, Chiricahua mountains and Peloncillo mountains. Most of the southern AZ mountain ranges have good accsess and a lot of them are national forest land. Start by looking for perennial creeks and lush areas along with medium to large drainage’s as they provide great habitat for them and great sceanery while hunting them.

Its Time!
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The weather is cooling off and the days are getting shorter. I have been feeling it in my bones and my trigger finger has been twitching. Its time to dust off those calls and get after it. I am looking forward to a good season, but really looking forward to hearing all your stories. I will be finishing up the editing on our video and spending a little ammo soon. We are hoping to have it out before Christmas, but that’s if we find a few more sponsors. Look forward to a lot of great stands and some very cool film. We have footage from all over AZ, NM, TX & OK. Some interesting clips of Coyotes, Fox, Cats and some great clips with decoy dogs.

Distress sound basics/ Sound selection
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What sound should I use, Is a question I hear asked often. It may sound like a easy question to answer and certain times it is. It has a lot to do with what time of year it is, what kinda terrain you are hunting, what are you targeting and a few other variables like hunting pressure. Then there is the easy answer ” Confidence “, You will call more animals with the sounds you have personal confidence in then any others. The sounds you have confidence in are the sounds you are going to be using more often. No mater what you hear, there is no secret, magic or best sound. There are some sounds that are going to work better at certain times, places and conditions.
Every caller has a different idea of what sounds good, and there are a lot of opinions on what type of sound works best. Whether it be rabbit distress, bird, exotic distress or the targets distress. Every caller will adapt there own technique for the way they call and no two callers will sound the same on a call.
I recommend getting a few calls for each kind of distress you are planning on using and practice, practice and practice. As you spend more time in the field it will be like a switch being flipped and your confidence and success level will rise.

Rabbit
I have good success using both cotton tail and jack sounds. I do slightly favor cotton tail over jack, but that is just personal preference. I like a smooth, repetitive, mildly aggressive sound, while others prefer wild, loud aggressive sounds. Like I said, its personal preference and has a lot to do with confidence. The reason I prefer a milder sound is because in my eye it will call aggressive animals in and still have a good chance at bringing in a more timid animal. I recommend getting out there and finding what works for you, try a little of everything.

Bird

Bird distress is a great sounds for cats, coyotes and fox. It is usually a more busy sound, which I believe cats prefer. A bird sound is typically a great sound to use in areas that receive pressure and most likely it wont scare off or intimidate sub dominant animals.

Other distress
Sounds like fawn, chicken and exotics are good sounds to use in pressured areas and for bigger targets, like lion and bear. I will rarely use these sounds (Deer/ fawn), almost only when I am targeting lion and bear. There are a lot of guys that swear by them and use them often, I am just not one of them. Give them a try and find out what works for you.

Vocals
Whether it be coyote, bobcat or fox vocals, they all will work. But some will work better at other times and in other situations. I have never really been a big vocals kinda guy. I do call a lot of coyotes in with howls, but I almost always use non aggressive howls.

Targets distress
Great sounds to use for the animal in question and sometimes other predators will come too. A few of the sounds that I use often are, coyote distress/ pup distress, fox distress/ fox pup distress and kitten cries. They all work well for me and I call a lot of animals with each every season. Coyote distress is a great sound to use after the shot, a lot of times it will bring in a second animal or bring back a missed coyote. Grey fox distress is a very good sound to use when calling in foxy areas, it works great and really brings them in. Plus you have a good chance at calling in anything from Lion to Bobcat.

Gun selection
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For those who only dabble in predator hunting it isn’t always necessary to have a predator hunting specific rifle. There’s nothing wrong with using the old deer rifle, in fact it is a great opportunity to build more confidence with that rifle. But if you’re looking to get out there and get serious there’s nothing like having the right tool for the right job. And that job usually requires more than one tool, most predator hunters find a need for a center fire rifle and a shot gun.

When choosing your center fire rifle the first thing to decide on would be the action. Each action has its pros and cons, depending on your style of hunting and personal taste will determine what suits you. Whether you prefer both action, semi auto, single shot, pump or lever action, a lot of the particulars will stay the same. Like barrel length, weight and caliber. I prefer a short barrel, and wouldn’t have anything say longer than 20 inches. Barrel length has a direct link to the weight of your rifle. It is also linked to the speed in which are bullet travels, and in predator hunting most times faster is better. As for caliber there’s no shortage of them out there, and a lot of them perform similar. In deciding a caliber one thing to consider would be if you’re going to reload for it or shoot factory ammo. There are more than a few great calibers out there that will require you to reload for, but if you do not reload you won’t have a problem finding a suitable round.

With that let’s start with action, I personally enjoy most actions out there. But there are a few that I’m more partial to, bolt action and semi auto are my two favorite actions. It is hard to beat the semi auto when you’re out coyote hunting and are expecting multiples. In semi auto I prefer the AR 15 platform, these days it can be had in an assortment of great calibers. On my personal AR 15 I run a 16 inch barrel which is lite and easy to swing. And in my honest opinion it is hard to beat the 223, ammo is readily available and it is very easy to reload for. In a bolt action rifle my personal preference is either the Remington 700 or model seven, both are reliable and inherently accurate. The 700 is more readily available and hard to beat, but the model seven is basically a lighter scaled down version of its big brother. Both can be had in an array of effective calibers. Your decision will come down to terminal performance, recoil, availability of ammunition and of course affect on fur. Now if you’re not going to be saving fur than your decision will be that much easier.

Here’s a short list of the calibers I use.

.243

A great multi use caliber with a lot of knock down power, good wind and brush bucking abilities. But a little hard on fur. It is a good caliber to own, best for game up to deer size. With ammo being readily available.

.223

My favorite of them all right now. Good stopping power and average wind and brush bucking abilities. The .223 or 5.56 is a good compromise on fur and stopping power. Most states will allow you to hunt deer with it, but I feel it is a litle lite. Ammo is also easy to come by.

.221 fireball

The .221 fireball is a great round with just enough stopping power for coyotes yet just light enough to be fur friendly on fox and cats. It is a good round but does have limits, you need to limit your range and be sure of your shots. This round is the easiest on the ears.

.204

This is a peppy little round, and just like the fireball has its limits. It is quickly gaining popularity in the predator hunting community. Being an alternative caliber for the AR 15 has helped.

Now on to a shotgun, just like the center fire rifle you probably already have a shotgun you use on clay’s or upland game. It will work just fine to use what you have already, but there are shotguns more suited for predator hunting. But I prefer a shorter barrel on my shotguns, my personal dedicated predator shotgun has an 18 and half inch barrel, and more than likely I wouldn’t use anything over 24 inches. Just as in the center fire rifle the shorter barrel makes for a lighter gun that’s easier to swing. As for actions I use a semi auto, but the pump action will also do the trick. I use a 12 gauge 3 inch loaded with either number four buck or anything from BB on up. There are people out there that have good luck with a 20 gauge, but you will need to limit you range and be picky on shot placement.

Infolinks 2013