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Chasing antelope with a rifle has become one of my favorite hunts. Not because its a rifle hunt, but rather the change in landscape and pace after charging hard in the mountains all of September. Its nice to be able to see as far as the next horizon and look over a lot of animals.

montana, gumbo, mud, antelope

Pronghorn country.

I was fortunate to have drawn a rifle tag in 2016 and I was relieved to know I would have the chance to put meat in an empty freezer. I brought my shotgun as well, hoping to add a little upland bird meat to the menu.

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The trusty 870.

After filling the truck and a couple hours on the road, I was in the heart of antelope country. The recent downpour of rain had left most two-tracks closed and gumbo was in full force. This was actually a good thing, because the road hunters had to stay on main roads and couldn’t access some land that they may be able to if the roads were in better condition.

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Gets ya stuck real quick.

I scanned and glassed vast amounts of country, looking for a buck that caught my eye. I peered deep into the horizon through my spotter, instantly seeing what looked to be an army of white butts. One of the largest groups of antelope I had seen while hunting was feeding deep in an untouched zone. I decided to drive a large loop around the group and approach from a direction that I felt would provide more cover.

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Searching for ‘the one’.

I finally spotted the group of speedgoats 900yds out and bedded. Out of the 6 antelope I could see currently, there appeared to be one particular buck with great prongs. I decided to get closer, but with no other options I had to get dirty and army crawl. It was one of the longest army crawls I have had to do and in no way was it joyous trying to avoid cactus. A few sharp needles found a new home in my soft knees. At this point I had crawled to within range, and decided the buck I had my eye on was going to be worthy of a shot. A couple discharges of the rifle later and I had successfully filled my tag.

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Its all hair.

The best part was that the hunt was not over. I spent the next 24hrs attempting to jump shoot birds with my good friends Tyler and Cole. We took Charley the supposed ‘bird dog’ along. What you need to know about Charley is he is not the best bird dog. To be honest Charley is a horrible bird dog. Charles is the dog that flushes all the birds 100-150yds in front of you and the moment a shotgun goes off he hides behind your heels. After Charley had his fun for the day, he went back on the leash.

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Charley sad about his bird dog performance.

After getting Charley under control, we had a very successful day shooting pheasant, partridge, and sharptail grouse. The recoil of the shotgun and the flush of birds is definitely addicting. I felt like a fire was re-lit for upland birds and hopefully I will be loading the shotgun with more 2 3/4″ shells soon.

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Roosters in full force.

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Sharptail feathers.

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-Travis

Here is the latest of our hunting edits.  Zack did an amazing job filming and editing the footage. Check it out! More awesome hunting edits in the near future!

-Travis

We started up the truck and finished grabbing our gear.  Camo on, calls ready, and a full clip of bullets.  It was day one of a three day trip to Central Montana to become the hunted.  We would be calling coyotes in open coulee country in hopes of capturing some sweet winter hunting.

coyote hunting, Montana, Montana Wild, predator hunting, MT, calling, howling, distress calls, Primos, Nikon, Remington, Sitka

Silver and Gold

That first morning we got to our second stand only to spook a coyote just as we were pulling up to park adjacent to a deep coulee.  We called that stand but drew a blank.  Over the course of the next few stands we had one hang up at 700 yards that didn’t come in and another that we spooked walking into a promising stand.  A little discouraged with the conditions we headed to a spot that has produced in the past.  Sure enough after about 4 minutes of calling we saw a coyote charging to our left at about 400 yards.  Before we could swing the camera and shooters into position we lost sight off him.

coyote hunting, Montana, Montana Wild, predator hunting, MT, calling, howling, distress calls, Primos, Nikon, Remington, Sitka

Waiting for a shot

I knew as he would get closer he would catch our wind before popping back up into sight of Tyler and Travis.  Sure enough about 2 minutes later we saw him running in the other direction.  Running away over numerous finger shaped ridges left us no chances at a shot.  We finished that evening with no luck and looked forward to the next day.

coyote hunting, Montana, Montana Wild, predator hunting, MT, calling, howling, distress calls, Primos, Nikon, Remington, Sitka

End of Day 1

Well all I can say about day 2 is WIND.  All caps because it was so damned windy we couldn’t even think about calling.  Wind speeds were around 30mph and gusts of 50mph were common.  Combine that with a windchill of 15-20 below and let’s just say we bought a case of beer and watched some football to pass the time.  Forecasts for the following day were ideal.  They were calling for no wind and a daytime temperature of 4 degrees.

coyote hunting, Montana, Montana Wild, predator hunting, MT, calling, howling, distress calls, Primos, Nikon, Remington, Sitka

A great sunset

Day 3 found us up early and chomping at the bit.  Conditions were ideal and we quickly got set up on our first stand.  We called a long coulee full of dead cottonwoods and sage but never had any takers.  Over the course of the next 6 stands we sat some beautiful spots but never saw a dog.  We new something was up.  Either the area had been hit hard by hunters on ATV’s or planes or the coyotes had moved down into the valley were the livestock and game was herded up.  Sure enough our first stand back down in the valley was a winner.  We set up to call at the end of a couple coulees that dumped into a prairie dog town.  After 10 minutes and just as Tyler was about to shoot a rock, Travis made a good spot on a dog standing on a ridge at 260 yards.  Travis was in search of his first coyote but couldn’t get repositioned quick enough.  Tyler made a quick shot with his AR-15 and dropped our first coyote of the day.

coyote hunting, Montana, Montana Wild, predator hunting, MT, calling, howling, distress calls, Primos, Nikon, Remington, Sitka

1st yote down

The next stand we switched up the call after about 7 minutes.  A few minutes later we stood up after not seeing anything and sure enough right behind us was a coyote.  He quickly spotted us and took off.  I turned the Nikon back on, switched to live view, and got focused.  This took place over the course of literally a few seconds, and just as I said I was on him Travis lit off a round.  The coyote dropped and Travis had his first coyote out of the way.  He made a quick shot on a running coyote at around 150 yards to top it off.

coyote hunting, Montana, Montana Wild, predator hunting, MT, calling, howling, distress calls, Primos, Nikon, Remington, Sitka

Trav’s 1st yote….ever

After checking out the second unlucky coyote of the day we walked another 800 yards and set up again.  Again, after about 7-8 minutes of calling I spotted a coyote walking up the bottom of a draw.  By the time I got the guys on him he disappeared into the sage.  We looked and glassed for 5 minutes but couldn’t see him.  We figured he had a den there and had went into it.  We had Travis stand up to see if he was still down there and would spook.  We saw nothing and of course as we all stood I spotted him begin to walk off in the same spot we thought he had disappeared in.  Within seconds I was on him with the camera and Travis made another great moving shot at 300 yards.

coyote hunting, Montana, Montana Wild, predator hunting, MT, calling, howling, distress calls, Primos, Nikon, Remington, Sitka

3 in 3 stands all within a half mile

We followed this up with another stand just another 700 yards away.  We had a coyote coming in at about 600 yards but he was spooked by a small herd of mule deer.  We had spooked these deer on the way in and our chances at 4 in a row were gone.  We headed back to the truck to relocate to a new location.

coyote hunting, Montana, Montana Wild, predator hunting, MT, calling, howling, distress calls, Primos, Nikon, Remington, Sitka

Off to a new area

We gassed up the Ford, filled up our bellies with a hearty gas station meal, and left to finish our day off strong.  After pulling off the highway we drove a half mile down into a vast open drainage spotted with sagebrush.  We quickly got setup and started wailing on the distress call.  Soon Travis had 3 coyotes spotted coming in from our right.  As the coyotes neared us I had 2 of them in the frame on the Nikon, and I tried to communicate to both shooters which coyote to take.  The coyotes wouldn’t stop running in and disappeared behind a small ridge.  Soon one popped up at 150 yards and stopped.  I was on him and Tyler squeezed off a round.  A burst of dust and the coyote was charging away.  Tyler narrowly missed him as he dodged and weaved his way out through the bottom.  We all were amped up even though we were leaving empty handed.

Lets just say we were definitely heating up after a rough morning.  To make a long story short, on our next stand we convinced a territorial female to come within range after 20+ minutes of calling.  We used 2 distress calls, howls, barks, and pup distress.  She even ate a field mouse seconds before Travis dropped her.

coyote hunting, Montana, Montana Wild, predator hunting, MT, calling, howling, distress calls, Primos, Nikon, Remington, Sitka

A 4th yote

coyote hunting, Montana, Montana Wild, predator hunting, MT, calling, howling, distress calls, Primos, Nikon, Remington, Sitka

With 4 coyotes on the day we decided to wrap it up with one last stand.  We were able to spot 2 coyotes out at 800 yards, but they just wouldn’t cooperate.  We think they had spotted us walking in.  We were able to coerce one into starting to circle downwind, but with light fading we couldn’t bring him in close enough.  We had an awesome day though.  Overall we saw 15 coyotes that day.  We called 7 into range and killed 4.  At the end of it all it turned into a very worthwhile trip.  I was able to capture Tyler and Travis over the course of those 3 days and get all 4 kills on film so throw on the headphones, make sure it’s in HD and enjoy!!!

I hope you guys enjoyed the video and we look forward to creating more soon.

coyote hunting, Montana, Montana Wild, predator hunting, MT, calling, howling, distress calls, Primos, Nikon, Remington, Sitka

Sunset on the last stand

Peace!

-Zack