Saturday, December 24, 2011

New Issue of PHJ Available

Issue 5 of the PHJ is now available:

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

New Issue of PHJ Ready

Issue 4 of the PHJ is not available from my website.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Next Issue of PHJ is available

The latest issue of PHJ is now available on my website:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Latest Rumor

I heard a great rumor about me this morning, so I thought I would set the record straight.

The Rumor: I got fired from Predator Xtreme because I was a stakeholder in Kanati Tek.

The Truth: I am not a stakeholder in Kanati Tek. After testing all the e-callers for Predator Xtreme, I chose my favorite, which happened to be the Kanati Tek CX-1. I bought two Kanati Tek e-callers (CX-1 and PX-2) and had them dipped in M2D Camo. Later, after I was fired, I bought another Kanati Tek e-caller (PX-1).

Because of the legality of posting emails, I will withhold names and parts of the email. However, I will post a section of an email dated 3/11/10 from someone at PX. If anyone at PX says any different about the reason, I will no longer be legally required to withhold any email from PX regarding the matter.

"From my understanding, the deal with PX was due in large part to a major advertiser being unhappy. While I was not in talks or discussions about any wrong doings, it seemed that the unrest was focused on something you had done to upset the advertiser. That’s the extent of my knowledge of this subject. I don’t believe any of this stemmed from Ralph, but more so from publishers and sales."

Because this "major advertiser" (read that as FoxPro...I got proof...all I need is PX to deny that it was them) got me fired, I decided to help out Kanati Tek in any way possible. So I went on a TV show and used a Kanati Tek e-caller. I shot a few short video clips that Kanati Tek subsequently turned into a short commercial. I found out about the commercial a little while after it aired on WildTV and the Sportsman's Channel. I was happy to help, and it was completely gratis.

Monday, October 25, 2010

New issue of PHJ available

The next issue of PHJ is available on my website:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Recent Visitors

Every now and then I check out who hits the website with an IP capture tool. I got a lot of hits from the usual suspects but yesterday I got a new one from Key Tech Inc.

Key Tech Inc. does a lot of custom work, but in particular, I noticed they do RF and CAD work. I wonder whose new e-caller is being designed by Key Tech Inc. My guess is that it is the new e-callers that HS has the Fuhr boys working on.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Special Fall Issue of PHJ

I just added a Fall 2010 special issue of the Predator Hunting Journal to my website. Check it out:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Predator Hunting Journal Now Available

A new and free e-magazine is now available from called the Predator Hunting Journal. Download it, check it out, and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

FoxPro's Prairie Blaster

Well, at least the mold was designed in the US.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Red Fox Pups

After the hunt in Leadore, ID, I got a chance to take some photos of some red fox pups.

Red Foxes and Coyotes

I was fortunate enough to be able to visit Legendary Outfitters in Leadore, ID and hunt with M2D Camo's Sparky Sparkes for prairie dogs and predators. The hunt was filmed for an upcoming episode of Sparky's TV show called "Living the Dream" which can be seen on the Sportsman's Channel and WildTV. The hunt was great. I saw more moose than coyotes (which is exciting if you are after moose), elk, mule deer, whitetails, antelope, red fox, and coyotes. All the coyotes were observed through a mil dot scope set at 24X.

Here are a few trophy photos of the hunt.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Cete of Badgers

I was traveling to a wind farm in central Washington when I came across three badgers hanging out on the shoulder of the highway. I had my camera and stopped to snap a few shots. Two of the badgers went down into a nearby den, but the remaining one decided it was a good time to work on the homestead. It really didn't seem to mind my presence and allowed me to take about 170 photos of it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Hunt & Shoot Network

I've been lucky enough to be able to contribute to Keith Drain's Hunt & Shoot Network with a weekly blog that covers optics. If you like optics and/or Australian hunting and politics, check out the site:


I'd like to set the record straight. On the Predator Masters Forum, I responded to a posting about Wildlife Tech e-callers and said that I was not sure if they were ICC certified but was fairly certain that FoxPro wasn't. A subsequent post by FoxPro pointed out my mistake. They are in fact ICC certified. My mistake. What I should have said was: The last time I checked in Sept. 2009, they were not ICC certified. FoxPro was certified in Oct. 2009, about a month after I last checked. I guess certifying late is better than never certifying at all.

After doing a bit of probing, it turns out that FoxPro seemingly got certified after another company turned them in to the ICC. This was also about a month after I spoke with Steve Dillon and asked him if FoxPro e-callers were certified in Canada. At that point in time, they weren't, and Steve confirmed that to me.
Nonetheless, FoxPro is ICC certified as of late 2009. I still have not seem an ICC sticker on any of their remotes, but I'm sure they must have it on newer production runs. The ICC is a little stingy on that rule!
Anyway, my apologies to FoxPro regarding my statement. I should have re-checked the ICC website before posting my response on the forum. It was a classic case of foot-in-the-mouth on my part. I would have posted an apology on the Predator Masters Forum, but they banned me shortly after I posted it.
I wonder if Predator Masters removes banned users from the members count that they send to potential advertisers. After all, I cannot even go to their website. How are advertisers going to sell product to all those people if they cannot see the site? If all the banned users were counted and subtracted from the member role that Predator Masters sends to advertisers, I wonder how many people would be left?
Anyway, I digress. My humble apologies, FoxPro. Congrats on your ICC certification!

The Rest of the Results

Since my dismissal from PX magazine due to FoxPro, and in light of my recent ban from Predator Masters, also the probable result of FoxPro, I've decided to post the results of my e-caller testing for my E-Call Box column that appeared in PX. Some of the fields are blank, a result of my not finishing all the tests. However, all tests that required some continuity in conditions were completed during the same time period. These results are not quantitative as much as they are qualitative. Use these results as a comparison rather than an absolute value. The test tone I used is different than other tester's tones, and environmental conditions were unique to my test. Different humidity, temperature, elevation, etc. would change these values. However, I did try to control my variables. I even went so far as to find a Fresnel-free zone. You can Google it.

To access the spreadsheet with the testing results, click on the "E-Call Box Testing Results" link on the bottom of the following page:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Wolves and Tapeworms

According to a new study available in the October issue of the Journal of Wildlife Diseases, three-millimeter-long tapeworms known as Echinococcus granulosus, are documented for the first time in gray wolves in Idaho and Montana. And the authors didn’t just find a few tapeworms. It turns out that 62% of Idaho gray wolves and 63% of Montana gray wolves tested positive. The researchers wrote: “The detection of thousands of tapeworms per wolf was a common finding.” This leads to the interpretation that the E. granulosus parasite rate is fairly widespread and established in the Northern Rocky Mountain wolves.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Wolf Advocate Tries to Cheat System

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) -- The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has confiscated a wolf carcass from central Idaho wolf advocate Lynne Stone.
Stone put a wolf-hunting tag on the carcass after it and other Basin Butte pack members near Stanley were killed in November by state officials in a control action.
Officials say Stone tracked down the alpha female and attempted to claim it as her own kill. Officials say she took the carcass home and called the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to report it as a kill.
Reporting the kill meant it would apply to the hunting quota for that area.
But Fish and Game officials disagreed that it qualified as her kill and confiscated the carcass in December.
Regional Conservation Officer Gary Hompland tells The Times-News that wolves killed in control actions become the property of Idaho under state law.
Stone says she first called state officials to make sure she could claim the wolf but received inconsistent answers.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A Tough Sport

I used to think that the deer hunting industry was competitive and that egos got the best of some people. Turkey hunting competitions were also bad. There were a lot of assholes out there and a lot of backstabbing occurred. Then I competed in waterfowl calling competitions. It was ten times worse. But I’ll tell you what, the predator hunting industry is 100 times worse.

These are not my words but rather a paraphrase of a conversation I had with a well-known predator hunting “expert” who was kind enough to speak with me for about an hour during SHOT. We had a nice conversation, and I believed we had established a good rapport. We spoke about coyote hunting and about the predator hunting industry in general. A few hours later I learned about a conversation he had with another predator hunter. My name was brought up in passing and this same guy said that I was a smart kid, but I was not a hunter. It only got back to me because of how absurd that statement was. This other predator hunter and I had a good laugh at the “expert’s” expense. You see, this other predator hunter knew about my obsession with coyote hunting. The industry “expert” had no idea of my hunting experience but was eager nonetheless to make that statement to a near stranger.

I’ve had worse directed toward me. I have thick skin, the result of being a young Ph.D. I even crack a smile when I hear such things.

I’m not going to tell you that I have killed more coyotes than the “expert” in question. I probably haven’t. I may never kill as many, but that really isn’t the point. I’ve hunted for many years. I’ve killed my fair share of animals.

What separates me from this “expert” is that he is paid to be in the industry. His job is to hunt. I’m like you. I have a job that doesn’t involve hunting. Hunting is a hobby. Coyote hunting is my passion and obsession. I do it whenever I get a free moment. Sound like you?

Perhaps it is my demeanor that is misleading. Perhaps it is my style of dress or my speech. Maybe I need a southern twang, a cowboy hat, and a fistful of colloquial phrases to fit in and be accepted as a hunter.

Perhaps it is just me and my history, but I try not to judge a person’s hunting ability by how they look or sound or by their age. I’m nearly 29, and I have been hunting for almost 20 years. Many of those years were dedicated to marksmanship and the pursuit of coyotes. Does that make me a hunter? Despite my nickname of “gran cazador blanco,” probably not, especially to someone who has hunted for 30 years.

My point is simple. There is no standard by which someone can be elevated to the label of hunter. There is no panel of judges or wise hunting guru to bestow such an honor.

It is simply a matter of perspective. I know a few military snipers who think you aren’t a hunter until you have put crosshairs on a man knowing that you will determine when he takes his last breath. The people who perform such deeds look at our sport and laugh when we swell with pride from our hunting accomplishments. Over the top? How about the USDA animal control officers who literally kill thousands of coyotes over the course of a career. They see these “experts” on TV and video high-fiving each other after calling in a triple and only putting one in the truck, and they are appalled. I know they are…they tell me about it.

My humble advice to my “expert” friend would be to be careful about what you say about other people. It might make you look foolish in the eyes of others. Worse yet, it may provoke someone else to make that same statement about you. Maybe this is the hunting lesson of the day for my esteemed predator hunting colleague.


I got an email from this expert yesterday asking me for free advice on how to improve their company's products. I politely declined. Had he not spouted off about me to someone who has hunted with me, I would have been more than happy to help.

No Les No More

After a brief courtship, Les Johnson and Kanati Tek have gone their separate ways. Kanati Tek continues to grow and has had a very good year. Predator Quest remains a fan favorite. The separation was reported to be amicable.

A Sad Goodbye

I arrived at SHOT Show in Las Vegas, NV and had a quick chat with two employees of Grand View Media. After exchanging some pleasantries, I pried for information regarding my status as a writer for Predator Xtreme magazine. I had a good idea of what the answer would be, and I was right. Perhaps I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s back up.

It all started at SHOT Show 2009 in Orlando, FL. My editor tasked me with an e-caller roundup and capabilities test. I eagerly undertook my task and began hounding manufacturers for test units. Many were very interested and agreed. Some were hesitant but desired the free advertisement. Others were dead-set against it. After several months of prodding and checking the mail, I had most of my units. One of the companies that balked at the idea was FoxPro. They wanted more information regarding the testing process. While at lunch with my wife and a friend, I received a call from Mike Dillon of FoxPro. After some small talk, we got to the heart of the matter. I explained the e-caller test and he questioned my ability to test them properly. As further due diligence, he wanted to schedule a conference call between a cohort from FoxPro and myself. I agreed knowing that this call would be a vetting process. The conference call never happened due to Foxpro’s scheduling conflicts. I eventually got word from PX that FoxPro had declined to be involved in the e-caller test. I was actually relieved having heard stories about FoxPro’s mafia-like tactics with writers and editors. I thought the problem was over and smooth seas were ahead. For a time, they were.

My editor had been invited to attend the World Coyote Calling Championships (WCCC) in Cortez, CO. Unfortunately, he had scheduled a deer hunt and would be unable to attend. I got the nod. The event went well. I hunted the event and killed a few dogs. I covered the ceremonies for PX and took photos. I got the chance to speak with several notables from the predator hunting industry. I thought the event went well. As soon as I got home, I got an email from PX stating that Mike Dillon had pulled FoxPro’s advertisement from Predator Xtreme because of something I said at the WCCC. Knowing that nothing was said, I played the game and asked what I had said. I was told that I would know what I had been accused of saying as soon as anyone found out. A month went by with no word. Finally at SHOT, I found out that in order to keep FoxPro as an advertiser, I had to be fired. Let me rephrase so there is no misunderstanding about what happened. FoxPro threatened to pull its $250,000 per year’s worth of advertisement unless I was fired.

So, the question you may be asking yourself is, “What did Charles say to make them do that?” I hate to let you down, but the truth of the matter is that nothing was said. When pushed, Mike did not come up with anything that I said. Then Mike’s issue with me became my articles. He said that he had an arm’s length list of errors in my “Intro to E-Calls” article. Despite several requests from PX, no list was ever received. Nevertheless, it was determined that I should be let go to keep the advertiser happy and the money flowing.

It is a sad truth in the industry. These are troubling economic times and print media is struggling. Editors are losing pages, advertisers are rolling back ad size, and the money belt is tightening. Some titles have been abandoned, and everyone is feeling the crunch. Advertisers wield more power than ever. Companies like FoxPro control content with their dollars, which is why articles have turned into glorified product placement ads.

So, why would a company like FoxPro want me fired? On the surface, it makes no sense. I didn’t review their products, and I have never made public statements about FoxPro. I neither mention them in radio interviews nor during my seminars. There must be a reason…and there is, but the truth will have to wait a little while longer.

Mike’s course of action puzzles me. It would have been much easier for them to control me had I remained with PX. I would have simply remained silent and loyal to PX, its readership, and Grand View Media’s general interests. When FoxPro forced PX to set me free, it liberated my obligation to the magazine and its publishing group, and best of all, it loosened the gag.

As a result of my liberation, I have established Science of the Hunt Outdoor Writing (, a place where you can find information regarding shooting and hunting products. It is intended to be a place where consumers can get the info they need to make informed decisions. So I’m forced to say goodbye to PX. Onward and upward.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Kanati Tek / Predator Quest

Predators Beware

Two young boys from Nebraska grew up farming, hunting and trapping. Both graduated from the University of Nebraska and started businesses. After two decades, their paths have crossed once again, and a new partnership has been forged.

Les Johnson’s Predator Quest airs on The Sportsman’s Channel, WildTV, and the Pursuit Channel and is the only show dedicated to the pursuit of predators. Predator Quest has won multiple awards including The Sportsman’s Channel Viewer’s Favorite Hunting Show. Les knows predator hunting and is the only person to ever win the coveted Triple Crown—winning the Midwest, National and World Calling Championships and all three in the same year!

Jeff Lewis has been in the electronics industry for over 20 years, and his companies have produced numerous circuits for products ranging from cell phones to water purifiers. Jeff has even designed digital game calls for several companies. His latest venture takes his e-caller experience one step further. Kanati Tek produces electronic game calls in its 60,000 square-foot, turn-key manufacturing facility to ensure the highest quality and fastest delivery possible. The Kanati Tek line of digital game calls offers unmatched battery life, crystal clear sound reproduction, a quality sound library, and accessories including decoys and scent dispensers.

The exclusive alliance of Predator Quest and Kanati Tek will jointly market Kanati Tek’s digital game calls and Les Johnson’s Predator Quest line of mouth calls. With their combined efforts, Les and Jeff are already at work on the next generation of competitively-priced hunting products. It’s not just sound…anymore!

Kanati Tek and Predator Quest believe in buying local and manufacturing the highest-quality products all within the USA!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New Changes to WA Coyote Hunting Laws

The new coyote hunting game regulation states that you cannnot hunt coyotes using dogs. To find out if this applies to tolling with a dog, I called the WA Fish and Game Dept. No one could answer my question and I kept being passed around to different offices until I finally got an answering machine. I left a polite message and never heard back from them. I am going to guess that it is still okay to toll coyotes using a dog since no one has been able to say no. If I were you, I would call your local Fish and Game Enforcement Officer and ask his opinion since he is the one in the field. I talked to the head of enforcement for the state, and he could not give me an answer. That does not make it legal to toll, but it sure brings up an interesting point that the WA Fish and Game Dept. needs to do a little more research before implementing a rule. There are all sorts of hound hunting of coyotes. I believe that tolling still falls within the spirit of the law. I still plan to do it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Final Count

Twenty-four teams competed, and 19 coyotes were harvested. The first and second place teams were responsible for 8 of the 19 coyotes: 42% of the total. Congrats to all the teams who harvested a coyote. Ranchers thank you for your efforts to help reduce predation on livestock. Thank you to every team to who participated. It was a huge success, and I am looking forward to coming back next year to defend my title! :)

Stringing Them Up

A coyote getting prepped for hanging from the scale. Every coyote was weighed for heaviest and lightest dog prizes.

Closing of the Tournament

My team checked in a little early. We ended up with 5 coyotes (should have been 6). That was good enough for first place honors. This was the heaviest male coyote of the day. It was just over 31 pounds. To help spread the prize money as far as possible, teams could only win once. I believe my team had a male close to this weight, although I am not sure if we could beat the weight of this coyote. However, since my team won first place of the competition, we were not eligible for the prize for heaviest male.

More Success

We had more success that day. We jump shot a couple of coyotes, and I called in a double a little later in the day. One of those got away after I initially dropped both. It is a good reminder to always make sure they are down for good before celebrating. After a minute of celebrating and high-fiving, the coyote that I shot first got up and took off. We gave chase for an hour or so and never could finish the deal. My shot placement was less than perfect on that first dog. It probably came as a result of anticipating the next shot on the second dog. Be sure of one before you go for two. I forgot that simple rule, especially after my first shot dropped the lead coyote. I violated two rules of coyote hunting, and I paid the price by losing a dog and what could have been the difference between winning and losing the tournament. Moreover, I still feel bad for not sealing the deal with that lead coyote. The shot was not long (maybe 50 yards), and I should have made a better shot. Because of my terrible shot placement, I've run the risk of leaving an injured coyote that cannot hunt as it normally would and now must turn to stock or domestic animals for food. Please learn from my mistake. Make good shots, make sure of the first one before you try for a second, and when a coyote is down, keep you eye on it just in case you did not kill it with your first shot. Follow up on your shots.

The Three-Legged Coyote

...It was a three-legged male and was probably the coyote that I observed hanging back from the rest of the pack. The leg did not look very good. It was an old injury that had healed over. I did this dog a favor. The death was quick and honorable. It was as fair chase as it gets. I snuck up on him and got close enough for a handgun shot, which I would have used if I had possessed one at the time.

I continued on to the stand location and called. I did finally get one to come in to about 300 yards. It had a mouse or vole in its mouth. It was not interested in the call so it took off and I allowed it to go unharrassed. I gave a follow and found where it had gone. there was a group of three coyotes (probably the same three from that previous pack of four). This coyote made the fourth for this group. I watched and tried to get closer. However, they spooked. I watched for a moment and then I realized why they spooked. Another group of hunters were calling from a good distance away. The calls were rabbit squalls. It sounded good, but the coyotes did not think so. They headed the opposite direction. Perhaps they had been called before and were educated, or perhaps the loss of a packmate earlier made them want to avoid any noise for the rest of the day. Either way, they were gone from my sight and were headed for ground that I had no permission for.

The First Stand and Our First Dog

The day began with a walk to our first stand. Before we got too far, we heard several groups of coyotes howl on the opposite side of the road from where we were hunting. We decided to go to that side instead. We got set up, and I began calling. After 20 minutes, nothing came. I was just getting ready to begin another series when a vehicle drove up and started driving around the field. They came fairly close to us. This ruined that stand, so we left the area and headed back to where we originally intended to hunt.

I split with my team and sent them around a canyon to set up to intercept coyotes that hang up from my calling site - staying just beyond rifle reach from my position. I would go to my calling spot and begin calling. Well, just after they got out of sight, a group of 4 coyotes jogging over the hill in front of me. One of the coyotes was an obviously dominant male. It tried to breed a female that was probably just coming into heat. That female resisted initially but one swipe from his paw submitted her to his will. The other two coyotes spent their time scent marking the area. One of the coyotes remained back from the other three. It looked injured, but I could not tell for sure. It did not move as quickly as the other though. The coyotes kept coming toward me and then finally went out of my sight as I was laying in the middle of a side-hill road and the embankment was higher than I could see over. After the coyotes were out of view, I climbed up over the embankment and began to go after the coyotes. After a few yards of walking, I found a coyote staring straight away from me. It was only 25 yards away. I aimed carefully from an off-hand position and shot the coyote in the back of the head for an instant kill. The other coyotes were several hundred yards away and ran off before I could get set up for another shot. Irritated that I did not get off another shot, I collected my coyote.

Coyote Hunting Contest Info Meeting 10PM

Twenty-four teams signed up for the 1st Annual Pomeroy Coyote Hunting Tournament. Most of the teams were from Pomeroy, but a few came of surrounding areas. The rules were simple: teams of three, one vehicle and one 4-wheeler allowed, no game violations, no trespassing, and don't be late for the 6PM deadline. The informational meeting was ajourned at 10PM, which was the official start of the hunt. Many teams decided to spotlight through the night. My team elected to start the next morning and hunt throughout the day.

I spent the night in my truck. It was not a good night's sleep. Teams drove by all through the night spotlighting fields (in WA it is legal to spotlight from roads, but you must be off the road to shoot). Several teams spotlighted my truck and I could hear them indicate that they knew that I was in the area. That helped keep a few people from hunting my area that evening, which was nice since I was not actually hunting at the time. I did manage to get some sleep though until the alarm went off at 5:30AM, the start of my team's hunt.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Obama Asked to Cut Funding of Predation Control

Several groups of conservationalists asked Obama to stop the funding of the USDA's Wildlife Services Dept. This request was countered by both the sheep and beef industry. In 2007, $117 million was spent on killing problem animals. Of the 121,524 animals killed, a little over 90,000 were coyotes. Only 340 gray wolves and 511 black bears were killed. My real problem with the spending of taxpayer money on this program is that hunters would gladly pay for the right to hunt these animals. Let hunters pay a nominal fee to hunt problem animals and save taxpayer dollars.

The conservationalists are being completely hypocritical on the issue. They do not want taxpayer dollars spent killing problem animals, and they do not want hunters to be allowed to pay to hunt them. It really comes down to the fact that the conservationalist groups do not want any killing of wildlife to occur, at least by human hands. To them, it is perfectly acceptable for cougars to decimate mule deer herds in Nevada and for wolves to wipe out populations of elk in Idaho.

Upcoming Blog Series

I have been invited to participate in a coyote hunting contest in eastern WA. It will be my first such contest, and I am hunting with two other people (three-man teams are allowed) for the first time ever. I am thinking about blogging my experiences and taking some photos in support of the blog. It is my hope to shoot for photos than cartridges on this trip. I would rather my teammates do the shooting so I can pack a little lighter for the trip! Stay tuned for more.

Good Luck Mike

Mike Schoby, hunting writer and now editor, has written his last blog for Predator Xtreme magazine. His blog will be missed. I enjoy reading all the blogs on PX's website, and I hope they find someone who can fill the shoes that Mike has left empty. The sooner, the better since PX only comes out every other month.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Lots of Coyotes, No Fur for the Shed

I went out last weekend to call in some coyotes using a Kanati Tek electronic caller. The caller worked flawlessly (as expected) and coyotes responded (also as expected). however, for one reason or another, all the coyotes hung up at over 400 yards. This made me 0-3 for the weekend in terms of shots. I had a great time and it was great to get to hunt with friends. I look forward to doing it once again.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Camo and Motion

A lot of people have been talking about what is the best camo pattern to use and whether or not it is really a camo pattern issue or a movement issue. In my opinion, it is both. however, I still think movement is the key. If you can remain still, then you can wear almost any article of clothing and kill coyotes. If you move, I believe it is better to have a camouflage pattern that helps hide your movement. This is why I like lighter patterns. If you are trying to be a rock, then you cannot move. Rocks don't move. CRP in the wind moves, so this is not likely to cause a coyote to run away...for the most part. It really depends on the amount and type of movement. That being said, the right pattern for your area is the right pattern for your area. I get annoyed at the in-fighting that goes on about what pattern is the best. There is no one pattern that will work best. It is a question of the pattern that works best for your situation and your hunting style. Some patterns make me look like a dark blob at moderate distances. This is okay if you are hunting rimrocks or something similar. If you are out in a wheat field, a dark blob may not be beneficial. I hunt the lighter colored agricultural lands. This means that I need something lighter in color and something that breaks up my outline. You may have something that works well for your area. However, be careful when you suggest that pattern to someone else. It may not work well for them.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Stats

Here are the stats for these two coyotes:

Female Coyote:
Time: 8:30 AM
Temp: 24F
Conditions: breezy and cloudy
Barometric Pressure: 28.92 inHg
Elevation: 955 ft.
Set Up: Along a fenceline sitting position
Calls Used: None (Spot and Stalk)
Time from 1st Call to Sighting: N/A
Shot: Bushmaster Varminter .223 using Hornady 40-grain V-Max Moly bullets
Age: ~1 yr.
Notes: 200 yards, 11.5 mph crosswind

Male Coyote:
Time: 12:40 PM
Temp: 27F
Conditions: light snow and breezy
Barometric Pressure: 28.55 inHg
Elevation: 1,296 ft.
Set Up: Prone in the open
Calls Used: Lil' Dog
Time 1st Call to Sighting: 22 min.
Shot: Bushmaster Varminter .223 using Hornady 40-grain V-Max Moly bullets
Age: 3 yrs.
Notes: 15 mph crosswind, 200 yards

Interesting Scent Post

During my last hunt of this property, I found an old two-point rack, probably from someone who thought it was a three-point. Oops on their part. Anyway, I moved the rack to the side of the road. This photo was taken on my next hunt of the property. As you can see from the photo, the coyotes in the area are using it as a scent post. This photo shows you what they think about deer!

Young Female Coyote

This girl was hunting near some cows. Notice her ear has been torn up, probably a bite during her early life as a pup.

Chewed Up

This big male had some battle scars. The legs and the hind end in particular show signs that this guy has either been in some fights or really can't negociate barbed wire fences.


The big male coyote that I shot was particularly interesting. It had some serious canines. This coyote played for keeps.

High Winds and Lots of Action

Well, I was at it again. The wind was howling and so were the coyotes. I did my best to shoot through the wind and was able to score on two coyotes. I took some very interesting photos that I will upload to the next several posts, and hopefully you will find those as interesting as I did. For now, this is the traditional trophy shot. Notice that it was cold and windy. These coyotes are frozen stiff.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Calving Season

Calving season is under way in many parts of my state. I got a call from a landowner whose land I have hunted recently. The landowner just lost two calves to coyotes. Actually, mama had twins and while protecting one of them from coyotes, inadvertantly stepped on and killed the other. The coyotes had a feast. I will be heading there in the near future to try to take a few more from that area. They are thick in that neck of the woods. I thought that taking a few old dogs off the property would help out, but I think that I need to remove about seven more just to make a dent. Hopefully, I can get a few more with my limited time to hunt this week.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

SHOT Show Day Four

The final day of the SHOT Show was spent trying to see all the rest of the booths and talk to all the people that I had missed. I hope I got everyone. It was a busy day. I had meeting after meeting. I had one meeting where I spent the entire time walking around the booths to meet people for other meetings. It was fun but challenging.

Overall, the Show was a success. I did find out a few things about it that I found interesting.

1) "Famous" people in the industry are just people. It was great to see that most of them were not wrapped up in themselves. I had many good conversations with these people, and I hope they feel the same way.

2) This was a trade show, which is very different than a scientific conference. At a trade show, the people at the booths are there to sell product to distributors and retailers. At a scientific conference, the people are there to be scrutinized and defend research. Both types of gatherings are designed for networking, and I tried to network as much as possible.

3) Along the lines of the last point, the people working the booths are sales representatives. They are business professionals and not engineers. Their knowledge of their products is limited to what is listed in the catalog. Beyond that, it is hit and miss. This is fine for selling product to retailers. This is not so good for media personnel who must learn about products with enough depth to be able to communicate that product's vices and virtues to their readership. I think every company should bring an engineer that can answer almost any question regarding their products. This is especially true of optics companies, ammunition makers, gun makers, and electronics makers.

4) For the most part, the products at this Show were gimmicks that will sell well because of good marketing. I will not single out any products, but I will say that hunters turned engineers do not make great products. They have great ideas, but they should not be the manufacturers. Engineers turned hunters are much better at making quality products.

5) Optics manufacturers take notice: If you keep using Chinese makers, they will reverse engineer your products and figure out a way to make it less expensive. They will then create their own products that rival yours in terms of quality but with a lower price point. In a few years, they will be your competitor. Chinese optics are getting better and better. It is a matter of time before the days of having to buy German scopes to get top quality will end. No longer will consumers have to pay $2,000-3,000 for that quality. Imagine if you could get the same scope quality as the German big wigs for half the price. Why would you pay more just for a brand name? I know I wouldn't!

6) It seems that every industry has several industry-wide problems that can be masked but not solved. It takes real genius and know-how to solve these problems. The companies that solve the problems that the rest of the industry cannot will soon dominate the market until the rest of the companies catch up or copy the solutions. Innovation should be rewarded with your dollars. Companies that mask the problems with features and marketing should be denied your hard-earned money. When companies discover that marketing gimmicks and useless features fails to capture the consumer, real progress can be made toward better products.

7) Signature models of products are great for sales, but not for the wallet. I would like to see the end of signature models or at least be assured that signature models do not cost any more than non-signature models.

The SHOT Show is a wonderful event. I wish everyone could attend. Hopefully, I will be at the next one in Las Vegas.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Recent Kill Logs

I am going to report data for as far back as I recorded it.

Atmospheric Pressure:
27.58 inHg
27.48 inHg
27.06 inHg
27.18 inHg
27.65 inHg
27.47 inHg
26.80 inHg
27.18 inHg
28.59 inHg
28.21 inHg
28.70 inHg

28 F
82 F
45 F
48 F
28 F
17 F
33 F
60 F
22 F
14 F
43 F
40 F

Time of Day:
9:15 AM
11:30 AM
6: 20 AM
7:30 AM
9:45 AM
12:00 PM
1:15 PM
6:30 AM
7:00 AM
7:15 AM
8:45 AM
9:00 AM

2240 ft
2344 ft
2810 ft
2680 ft
2173 ft
2345 ft
3030 ft
2635 ft
1300 ft
1263 ft
1620 ft
1159 ft

Sex and Age:
M < 1 yr
M < 1 yr
M < 1 yr
M ~ 3-4 yr
F < 1 yr
M < 1 yr
M ~ 1 yr
M ~ 2 yr
M < 4 months
F ~ 2 yr
M ~ 1 yr
F ~ 4-5 yr
M ~ 5-6 yr

200 yd
125 yd
200 yd
250 yd
60 yd
200 yd
450 yd
310 yd
200 yd
200 yd
270 yd
40 yd
150 yd

SHOT Show Day Three

Day three at the SHOT Show was very productive. I had the honor of meeting Gerald Stewart of Johnny Stewart Game Calls. He spoke very candidly with me about coyote hunting. It is always a joy to learn about calling coyotes from a veteran hunter like Mr. Stewart.

Instead of speaking specifically about a product today, I thought I would offer an idea. Without getting into who does what, there are optics companies in the business who are applying coatings to their products that specifically focus on certain wavelengths. For example, one company focuses on the transmission of blue light as this is the primary light in the atmosphere at the crepuscular times of day. Another focuses on brown and red light transmission as this is the primary coloration of game animals. A third company focuses on green light transmission as humans are most sensitive to green light in terms of detection limits. In other words, human eyes are designed to detect green light the best.

Here is my idea, which could be a horrible idea. You decide for yourself. Instead of using anti-reflective coatings to specifically target a wavelength region, why not make some filters that thread into the end of the scope next to the objective lens that is lightly colored to optically correspond with the color on which you wish to focus. Such filters exist for cameras, so it is simply a matter of adapting them to riflescopes. This does come at a cost though. Whenever you filter light, you reduce its transmission. Your image will be color brightened but it will be darker overall. This could be a problem in low light.

I would also like to see a UV light filter that is removable, just like a camera filter. this would help reduce glare but it may be redundant as many optics manufacturers already use UV filter coatings on their optics.

It is just a thought. What do you think?

Friday, January 16, 2009

SHOT Show Day Two

Day two of the SHOT Show was just as eventful as day one. Instead of spending all my time visiting booths, I spent a good deal of my day meeting people. I was able to meet some very fine hunters and writers including Byron South, Jay Nistetter, Bob Robb, Jim Zumbo, Jim Shockey, J. Wayne Fears, and several others that escape my mind at the moment. My goal is to meet Tom Gresham as I am a big Gun talk fan. Hopefully, that will happen soon.

I saw a few more interesting products today. Some of them are niche market products that are useful and interesting but not worth singling out. One product that I have been looking at is the Ozonics HR 100 scent control device. This operated on a basic concept that has been in use for many decades. Scent molecules come into contact with ozone that is created by the machine. Ozone breaks apart the scent molecules resulting in scent elimination. I visited the booth and spoke to everyone in the booth. I was able to do the tech-speak with the right guy to get all the data that I desperately wanted to see. Unfortunately, I was not given any data. Instead, I was given anedotal evidence and a list of famous people in the industry that like the product. Well, I have always been told that famous people are just people. Since I believe that is true and I know that those people are not experts in the science behind the product, I must only trust the data. I was not given data or figures. This tells me that there is some reason that I cannot see the research. It is not IP. It is product effectiveness and claim verification.

Here is my doubt. It is generally thought, and research backs it up, that scent hounds have a 1-2 ppt scent detection limit. For this ozone product to be as effective as claimed, it must break up scent molecules with an almost perfect efficiency. It must not miss many molecules, and it must break the scent molecules it contacts efficiently. This is a tall order for any scent blocker or eliminator, and it is not very probable.

There are other problems as well. the unit must be placed at least 6 inches above your head in order for the ozone to be able to cover your entire scent stream. This is a problem for the coyote hunter who may not be able to hang this device in the open country.

If it is an especially windy day, the ozone will not descend as intended and will be carried roughly parallel to the your scent stream. The wind must be low enough to allow the ozone stream to fall to the ground to cover your entire scent cone.

Something else to consider: have you ever gone to the beach and smelled that wonderful beach smell? Guess what...that smell is ozone. Ozone from the air over the ocean rolls onto the land and can concentrate there under ideal conditions. Coyotes tend to be alerted to unfamiliar scents. If you are hunting beach bum coyotes, this is your product. for those of us who hunt the interior of this country, the beach smell may not be advantageous. If ozone kills your scent, what kills the scent of the ozone?

Don't use this product in an enclosed or limited ventilation area such as a blind. Ozone in large concentrations will kill you. Don't use it in your car on the way to your call stands.

In the end, this product is a gimmick that has a sound scientific basis. It is relatively bulky for a coyote hunter, runs for only four hours per battery charge, and may make you think that it is not necessary to watch the wind. There is no product that will enable you to ignore the wind when you are coyote hunting.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Deer Hunters

It must just be a personal thing, but I am a predator hunter. I am not a deer hunter. However, I do use the deer that I shoot. I was out in the field right after deer season, and I found this coyote. While I have no proof, I imagine that a deer hunter shot this coyote. I have no problem with that. However, I would have preferred that the shooter did something with the coyote. Tan or sell the hide. Do anything constructive with this animal. Don't let it rot. I looked the coyote over to see if the hide could be salvaged, but to no avail. I was coyote hunting on this day, and my selfish nature wished this coyote was still alive so that I could have called it. I would have used the pelt!

The Wrong Bullet

When you choose the wrong bullet, you get huge exit holes. It only took two coyotes for me to abandon the 55-grain HP for the .223 Rem. I now use a 40-grain V-MAX Moly bullet. The lighter bullet means less penetration and the construction of the V-MAX means instant disintegration. If you are looking to keep your fur, go with the lighter bullets.

Spring Den Work

Finding the entrance of a coytoe den in the spring can be a tough order, but it is part of the fun.

Camouflage for this Terrain?

How do you hide in this? No camouflage manufacturer has a print that matches pure white. Your best bet: a painter's suit, a white facemask, and a white gun.

Coyote Pistol?

I have a backup pistol that I carry in bear and cougar country. It is the S&W 460XVR. I have handloaded some Hornady 300-grain XTP HP that give me lots of penetration and controlled expansion. In a pinch, it can also take close running coyotes, but I would imagine that pelt damage would be of concern.

Interesting Scouting Photo (Late Season)

This is an interesting find. A female coyote was resting here. There is some blood in the snow. This is most likely an indication of ovulation as it was the breeding season when this photo was taken. Note the very deep snow.

SHOT Show Day One

The Shooting and Hunting Outdoor Trade Show is a huge event in the hunting and gun industry. The scale cannot be adequately described in words. You have to be here to get a sense of the grand scale of this event. Every major company and many lesser-known companies are represented. I had a chance to talk with many representatives today, and each one has been very accommodating. I have a renewed appreciation for the people and products that are being offered to the predator hunting market. We are a niche market, but we are growing at such a rapid pace that manufacturers are paying attention. Our voice is being heard loud and clear, and the future is exciting for the predator hunter. I wanted to give a sneak peak of a product each day. I have no "dogs in the hunt" so I get to speak freely.

Steiner, a manufacturer of high-end binoculars, has a few new models that are being specifically marketed toward hunters. I got the chance to discuss specs on the models, and I was very impressed with the company. Without getting into the specifics of the various models, let me explain the technology being used. Ask yourself one question: What colors are most game animals? Well, tans, browns, reds, and yellows come to mind immediately. Keep this in the back of your mind as I turn to technical stuff. Hang in there with me on this; it will be short. Optics are coated with thin films that help transmit light into the glass. These films are known as anti-reflective coatings. Each coating covers a specific range of wavelengths. To get all the wavelengths of the visible spectrum, several different coatings must be applied to the lenses. a good true-color binocular will have all these coatings applied several times a piece. This can lead to 20-25 total film coatings and can up the price point considerably. Coming back to our color question, if the game that we look for is within a particular range of colors that are all in the same color spectrum range, we can focus on the coatings that work best on that color window. In other words, if you want to focus on transmitting as much red and brown light as possible, you have to apply as many red and brown anti-reflective coatings as possible. On the other hand, the anti-reflective coating that covers the green wavelength region is not as vital. Therefore, fewer total coatings need to be applied for that particular range. This brings down cost and helps your eyes focus on those vital wavelength regions. Imagine using binoculars where the coyotes pop out from the background better. Well, it is time to have your cake and eat it too. Steiner has several models tailored to the requirements of the predator hunter using this technology for much less than you might imagine for Steiner quality. For less than $200 MSRP, you can pick up the last pair of binoculars you will ever need for those long call stands in the open country. The aptly named Predator Pro comes in two flavors for the predator hunter: the 8x22 and the 10x26 running $180 and $200, respectively. For good glass and a company that stands behind its products like Steiner, this is an incredible deal. These models are lightweight, compact, but are designed for the hand (and the gloved hand for the cold-weather callers), and are extremely rugged. If you are in the market for some new glass, give Steiner a long look. They aren't just for those big-city hunters anymore.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Coyote UV Vision

I recently took some absorption/transmission measurements of coyote corneas to see their response to UV light. I wanted to determine whether or not coyotes can see in the UV, making it vital to wash your camouflage garments in a non-FWA detergent. FWA stands for fluorescent whitening agents. They serve as a color brightener and are found in most detergents as well as toilet paper. Under UV light, these phorphorus agents fluoresce in the blue spectral region. Because the FWA's fluoresce in the blue region, I am not sure why it is important that animals can see in the UV, but it is something to note just for science. From the results of the measurements and the plot seen below, it can be said that coyote corneas do not block UV light down to roughly 300nm. While this does not mean that coyotes can see into the UV spectral region, it does indicate that, unlike humans, coyotes do not filter out UV light using their corneas. This leads to the logical conclusion that coyotes may see in the UV since their eye biology does not exclude it using eye biology's natural light filter - the cornea.

Old Dog

I recently shot a coyote that had worn teeth. It was a male and was an old dog. One way to tell is by tooth wear and the other way is to look at its testicles. Young male coyotes have smaller testicles, but this one had large ones that were slightly hanging down from its backside. It looked like it had hemhorroids.

Bullet Performance

I am a big fan of the 40-grain V-MAX Moly bullets for use in my Bushmaster Varminter chambered in .223 Rem. This photo is the heart with bullet shrapnel lodged in it and the base of the bullet that I recovered from the animal's opposite side rib. There was no exit wound for this shot and there is usually no exit wound on any coyote that I shoot with this load.

Hunting Partners

Annie and I are truly hunting partners. She is exactly my type; she is quiet, listens, in shape, and blonde. While my wife is the latter two, she struggles with the former two.

Random Live Coyote Shots

Every now and again, I get a chance to take a long distance photo of a coyote. These are a few of the shots that I have taken. My wife took the one in the snow...that is probably why it is operator error!

Decoy Photos

When I feel like packing out a decoy, I will use one. I am not sure if they have really helped anymore than just calling, but it is fun to use one.

Interesting Scouting Photos

Porcupine hide left from coyotes carefully eating the porcupine without getting the quills.

Coyote scratch scent mark in the snow.

Fawn kill from coyotes in the early spring.

Urination scent-mark post in the snow along a territorial boundary, a dirt road.

Coyote tracks patrolling a natural boundary line, a farm road.

Tolling Training Photo

I like to use a coyote hide to introduce my dogs to coyotes. This gives them the scent and eventually allows me to use the hide to lay scent trails for scent training. Don't let your dogs play too long with the hide or they will get used to its smell and not be intrigued by it.