Predator Hunting Keeps Skills Sharp
There is no greater challenge than hunting the hunters. When taking on coyotes, foxes or bobcats, your game needs to be in top form. There’s very little margin for error.
While hunting predators, your top priority is fooling their senses. An errant gust of wind, an ill-timed cough or a small visible movement is all it takes to send these animals sprinting toward the next zip code.
The key is picking your setup and your camouflage with extra care.
Be aware of the prevailing winds in the area you plan to hunt and pick a spot downwind. But remember that predators often try to circle downwind from their prey, so chose a position that gives you visibility and shooting lanes to either side.
In hilly areas and bottomlands, winds can be variable. Carry a wind indicator with you—a small bottle with some talcum powder works well—to accurately read the gusts.
Effectively camouflaging yourself is a must. Beyond your clothing you need to make sure your gear is non-reflective. If you’re going to be hunting with the sun in front of you, use rubber bands to secure pieces of burlap over the objective lenses of your optics to keep them from glinting.
When picking the place you plan to call from, try to have cover both behind you and in front of you to break of your silhouette and to mask movement.
Use shooting sticks to prop up your rifle and get your muzzle clear of any rocks or vegetation you need to shoot over.
Check your gear to avoid metal-on-metal contact. Either add padding or change how you carry your equipment to avoid any “clinking” sounds, which is immediately identifiable as an unnatural noise and will spook predators.
Predator hunting isn’t only addictive, but it is a great way to improve your skills for general big game seasons. With long seasons and liberal (or nonexistent) bag limits, it is one of the best ways to become a better hunter.
Top 5 Predator Cartridges
When picking a cartridge for predator hunting you want something that flies fast and flat, hits hard, and has light recoil. These are the best out there.
.223 Remington: At the top of the list is the .223 Rem. Ammo is widely available and it is easy to find an accurate rifle in this cartridge. It’s hard to go wrong with polymer-tipped 55-grain bullets, but there are plenty of good choices out there.
.22-250 Remington: This is another cartridge that is easy to find ammo for and comes loaded in dozens of different types of bullets. It has virtually no kick and shoots flat. It’s a great choice out to 400 yards.
.204 Ruger: This speed demon sends bullets downrange in excess of 4,000 fps. It has so little recoil that spotting hits and misses is a snap. For coyotes go with 32- or 40-grain loads. Sighted an inch high at 100 yards, these bullets on drop 12 inches at 400 yards.
.257 Weatherby Mag.: As a multi-purpose round for deer, antelope and coyotes, the .257 Wby. is next to unbeatable. Yes, it has a bit more recoil than the other rounds on this list, but that’s the trade-off for a cartridge that can do it all.
.220 Swift: This is the granddaddy of all varmint cartridges and is still going strong after more than 80 years. Don’t be put off by its reputation as a barrel-burner. This hard-hitting cartridge is the quintessential long-range coyote round.