The title pretty much says it all, I really truly enjoy predator calling under a full moon in the winter provided there is sufficient snow cover. Such was the case this past February. A year prior to last February my oldest daughter got remarried. Her husband is a cattle rancher in central North Dakota. My son in law and daughter had been telling me that they have a coyote problem, in fact the one morning when they went to feed their calves there was a dozen coyotes in the cattle yard.
Due to my wife's illness I was not about to get out to Central North Dakota until February. However my daughter had called in a taken a Coyote under the full moon in January. I arrived in the afternoon and promptly my son in law and daughter showed me around, where they have seen Coyotes, the directions they come from and the direction they leave to. We laser'd a few land marks to get idea of the shooting ranges.
My son in law also showed me a location where they had been dumping Calves they had lost during the winter so far. My son in law went on to tell me that typically the coyotes will have a dead calf to nothing more than bones in a matter or a couple days.
Now I am no expert coyote caller by any stretch of the imagination but I have called in and taken my share over the years. I had been watching the full moon charts and solunar tables showing what times of the night would produce the best moonlight and had the highest potential for game activity. We decided we were going to start calling that night just before 11PM.
The first set was a bust, we had numerous coyotes answering us but after sitting for over an hour nothing showed. I have been intermixing the Coyote Female track and the Male Coyote track on the IcoTec GC300 Electronic caller. We decided to set up on the other side of a basin to the west of the ranch yard and call again.
We called a couple other areas within a couple miles of the ranch yard to no avail so decided to slip back into our first spot. Just as we got into position my son in law started to say what are you going to call with and I whispered we are not alone. We had 6 coyotes milling around the bone pile that was left of the dead calves that the coyotes had cleaned up. I then made my first mistake, I didn't use my laser rangefinder but rather tried to go from memory from the afternoon. I lined up thinking the coyotes were 117 yards. I held low on the chest and at the shot there was coyotes running everywhere headed for cover. I had no more than shot when I remembered the bone pile was 117 yards from the other corner of the field and it was 237 yards from where I was shooting from.
Oh well we snuck out of that area and headed south a few miles. By now it was just about 12:30AM. We called the next stand and did not get a response so we were about ready to calling it a night. On the way back to the house my son in law said lets go back to the first spot and give it one more try. I had no more started howling when a coyote popped out onto a huge snow bank on the edge of a shelterbelt almost 1/2 mile north of us. I called on and off and the coyote just sat there. Then all of a sudden there was a second coyote with the first. Before we knew it they were breeding. We watched and kept calling softly to no avail.
All of a sudden one of the two coyotes was gone and neither one of us had seen where it went. Then my son in law spotted it and he said it was straight north of us sneaking up on us (crawling on it's belly like a cat). From my position I could not see the coyote until it reached a certain point in the terrain and then I saw the Coyote. We watched the coyote work it's way east to west along a fence line and ended up at the bone pile. I made ready for the shot but the coyote must have smelled us from when we walked out there to look for blood on the first shot I missed and headed northeast. Once up on top of the snow bank next to the shelterbelt the Coyote stopped and sat down.
Using the Reticle in my Bushnell Trophy XLT 1.5x6x44mm Riflescope I estimated the range at 350 yards, held accordingly and squeezed the trigger on the 16" AR-15 sending a 55gr. Nosler Ballistic Tip on t's way. At the shot the Coyote collapsed stone dead. The next day we laser'd from the blood spot where the coyote was laying to my shooting position / location. It laser'd 343 yards.
I am convinced no other rifle would have performed any better than my 16" AR-15 did.