Hunting Trips

Some Mistakes That Coyote Hunters Should Avoid

Whether you are a new coyote hunter or not, you will make some mistakes that you do not identify on a regular basis. To get a better result in the hunting range, you should know and avoid these.

Choose a wrong stand location

Coyotes are hard to make a call to appeal them, so it will be a nightmare if you select a bad stand location. You will never have a complete call to attract and hunt them. Most of the hunters hurry to blow a call and assume that coyotes will come to their standing points promptly.

On the flip side, a great stand location will support hunters have a smooth and careful hunting range. You need to have a place to hide your hunting tool to mislead other coyotes when you catch one of them.

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Hunting Trips

Practice Makes Perfect

While guides stress the imperative of physical conditioning before a hunt, few emphasize the need to improve shooting skills. Most of us sight in our rifles from a bench. We can do pretty well from a supported rest. But what happens when there’s no convenient rest to steady your rifle? It’s a shame to lose a trophy bull because you had to shoot offhand.

Once or twice a month in the last few months before your hunt, visit your local rifle range and practice shooting from offhand, kneeling, sitting, and prone positions. If you can find a range with running-deer targets, try them. Also, seek out a range that allows shooting from 200 yards or more. You’ll learn to coordinate breathing, sight picture, lead, and trigger squeeze. And, of supreme importance, you’ll develop that intuitive ability to hit what you see.

There’s one final element of pre-hunt conditioning, and it’s the toughest one of all: mental attitude. Despite what we’re told by outfitters, in our mind’s eye we always picture fair-weather hunts with plenty of game and comfortable, if primitive, accommodations. The reality is often quite different. It can be cold and wet, game can be moving in unusual patterns, one of your tent-mates might snore like mad, and the terrain can be much more rugged than it looked in the video. Knowing that you’re in pretty good physical shape will give you the confidence to weather these discomforts.

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Hunting Trips

Hunting high: physical and mental preparation for high-country hunting trips (P2)

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Shape Up!

Every outfitter I know tells clients to “get in shape” before heading out west to hunt. For us of the chair-imprisoned, 40-plus brigade, this can be a daunting challenge. Our lives are hectic. Finding time to exercise rigorously every other day during every week is difficult. Yet it takes stamina to climb 2,500 feet from camp to an elk park before dawn, then drop down a thousand feet to glass a wallow and climb again to a perch along the tree line. You have to go to where the elk are and, occasionally, you have to do it on the run.

The next call you make after booking a high-altitude hunt is to your family doctor. Schedule a full physical if you haven’t had one in a year. Ask him or her to prescribe a stress test. Do it as soon as you can.

A decade ago, I decided to get in shape. My wife, a bright lady, suggested a physical first. My doc ordered a stress test, and when my heart reached 180 beats per minute, an irregular rhythm showed on the scope. We were living in Minnesota at the time, and the doctor called a friend at the Mayo Clinic. His pal discovered that I, like millions of others, suffer from a slight deformation of one of the valves in my heart. It’s not dangerous and doesn’t worsen with age, doctors told me. But I shouldn’t push myself past a pulse of 150 or so.

Based on nay doc’s advice, I shoot for a pulse rate of 135 when I work out. I wear a monitor to keep track of how well I’m doing. These are my suggestions: Start with a gentle warmup of three minutes, then move on to two to three minutes of hard exercise, followed by equal periods at an easier pace. As your conditioning improves, lengthen the periods of exertion and shorten those of relaxation.

Remember that the goal is twofold. You want to be able to sustain a high rate of exertion for a period of thirty minutes or so, but you also want your pulse to return to normal. The stress test you took before beginning your exercise program will help you develop cardiovascular targets that match your personal physical condition. Heed your doctor’s advice.

It’s best to start these workouts four or five months before a hunt. But we hunters are quintessential procrastinators. Although it’s already June, there’s still time to get in shape. Your conditioning strategies will be determined by where you live and how much time you can invest in breaking a sweat.

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Hunting Trips

Hunting high: physical and mental preparation for high-country hunting trips (P1)

They left camp in the dark, he and his guide, and climbed steadily for an hour. Every ten minutes the guide stopped and waited for him to catch up. He’d arrive, chuffing like a steam locomotive, breaths driven by his heaving belly. Above his left eye lived a dull throb, an incipient headache that had been with him since they reached camp last night.

The plate of eggs and bacon that the cook handed him at breakfast turned his stomach. He’d downed juice and coffee and stuffed granola bars in his pocket. Though he’d only had a couple of Scotches the night before, he felt as if he were in the throes of a monumental hangover. It was a hell of a way to begin a five-day high-timber elk hunt.

His guide thought so too, and with the aplomb of a diplomat asked his hunter how he felt.

“I’ll be all right when I get … my breath,” the hunter said.

Hearing the rasp in the hunter’s voice and seeing that he’d not yet stopped his open-mouth panting, the guide made a decision: They’d hunt close to camp. Chances of getting a bull, any bull, let alone a trophy, would be slim. But if the hunter had a heart attack or began to hyperventilate, the guide could get him off the mountain quickly and perhaps save his life. So much for the hunt of a lifetime.

Nothing ruins an elk, sheep, or goat hunt like the occasionally lethal combination of altitude sickness and exhaustion. Add the pain caused by little-used muscles and ill-fitting boots, as well as the unaccustomed discomfort caused by cold and wet conditions, and a $5,000 hunt could be over before the sun sets on the first day out of camp.

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Hunting Trips

Nice Guns

Imagine walking into Cabela’s or Gander Mountain and having your pick of shotguns for the next hunting trip. Browning made that happen for us in South Dakota. When I learned of the trip, I was told to leave my shotgun at home. It’s a good thing I did. I don’t think Browning representatives would appreciate me showing up with my Remington Model 870 pump action.

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Hunting Trips

Good potholes: a hunting trip for the ages

 Crisp, fall air blanketed northeastern South Dakota as my Ford truck rambled down a nearly deserted highway toward a little piece of hunting paradise. I rolled down my window to get a better view and take in the cool, fresh air that could only mean one thing: It’s waterfowl and upland bird hunting time.

I passed through one of the several small towns located in the region until I arrived in Veblen, S.D. I love small town America. Veblen totes a population near 300 and has your ordinary one stop through its city limits. After double checking my map, I turned down a gravel road and made one of my final maneuvers toward Prairie Sky Ranch. I was about as excited as a hunting dog loading up for another weekend trip to the duck blind. It was tough to stay bottled up in the truck as I passed slews (known as potholes here) loaded with waterfowl.
This was going to be a great trip.

After four hours on the road from my Minneapolis home, I had finally arrived at Prairie Sky Ranch. Thanks to a partnership formed by Polaris, Browning, Mossy Oak and Winchester, I was about to have the hunt of a lifetime.

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Hunting Trips

Priarie Sky Ranch

Immediately upon arrival, I was greeted by Bruce Prins and his wife. Corrine, who together have created a top-notch hunting facility. The Prins’ Prairie Sky Ranch is located in the Glacial Lakes Region, which means wetlands and lakes dot the area and wildlife is abundant. The ranch is located on the top of a ridge formed by glaciers thousands of years ago.

The Prins directed me to the cabin I’d be using to “rough it” in for five days. As I walked up the porch which has a terrific view of the hills and prairies and walked into the cabin, I realized I wouldn’t be coming close to roughing it on this trip. The comfortable cabin featured a stone fireplace and wonderfully designed pine interior. The cabin I would share with three others in camp featured a fully operational bathroom, two bedrooms and a loft for a total of five beds. A comfortable couch and chairs were spread out in front the fireplace and a dining room table was positioned nicely by a window with wonderful views of the surrounding landscape. In fact, the cabin was designed so nicely members of my hunting camp were plotting to build replicas after snapping off several photos.

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