Sergeant who? has anybody heard of him? How long has he been SF? Just a few of the comments heard while we waited for the arrival of our new team sergeant, Master Sergeant Parrish. Our previous team sergeant had been with us for over the past two years and everyone had a lot of respect for him and would follow him into hell if he asked. We knew he was up for promtion and we all wanted to see him promoted to Sergeant Major. What we didn’t know was that he would be reassigned into a Headquarters position, were his expertise could be better utilized. What a waste of a born leader, the wisdom that the Army displays at times is a real puzzle. A combat tested and proven NCO is now pushing papers instead of leading men. We had just returned from Cambodia when we had learned of his promotion and transfer. We would meet our new team leader later in the day. The anxiety in the team room was was running high as we awaited our new leader. The door opened and in walked this giant of a man, about 6′4″ and 200 pounds of muscle, he had on his dress uniform and I couldn’t understand how he stood upright. My back would be slumped over from all the medals and decorations that hung on his uniform. What caught everyone’s attention was the Distinguished Service Cross and Silver Star, not one – two! He immediately had everyones attention. As time went on and we had the honor to train under this man we soon began to realize how fortunate we were to have him with us. We also came to learn that he was a POW during the Korean conflict and could have avoided Viet Nam service because of it, however he volunteered to serve, not once, not twice but three times. Old Sarge had more welts, scares, bullet holes and broken bones than all of us combined. He also had, well more stories to tell than I do, but when he told them they were not for entertainment but for learning and learn we did. It was probably on our third or maybe fourth trip back into Laos when things went a little wrong. Out on a night patrol we ran into an ambush and got pinned down for a rather long period of time. The firefight went on through the night and in the morning Sarge told us that an extraction Huey and a couple of Cobra gunships would be in to get us out. We’ll be back in base camp for lunch. When the Huey was a few minutes out they radioed us to mark the LZ with smoke, which we did. As they approached they took a great deal of small arms fire, which was quickly returned by the circling Cobra’s and the door gunners on the Huey. Once they touched down we all made a mad dash for it, smoke was billowing all over, the Cobra’s were firing as was the door gunners and we were running and gunning, talk about madness! Sarge would not get on-board until he accounted for everybody then he hopped in and slid across the floor as the pilot took off for home. The Co-Pilot asked if everyone was ok and did we need to be met by a medical team, that was when we noticed the pool of blood smattered on the floor. Who got hit someone asked, after a short pause Sarge said he “thinks” he did. We pulled his pack and shirt off and sure as hell — he had another hole in him. He assured us it was nothing serious and we should just go back to base camp and “don’t call the medics.” We told the pilot to take us to the nearest hospital, which he did. We should have known better, after a brief wait the doc came out and told us it was nothing serious and that he would be returned to duty in about a week or so. Myself and another team member stayed with him at the hospital and the rest of the team went back to base camp. The following morning we called back to base camp and our commander told us to stay with him as long as we wanted to – as long as it wasn’t for more than 3 days. The first day we just sat and talked and wrote our after action reports. That evening as we were about to leave we asked him what we could get him for tomorrow. He replied “How about some AJ&G.” I looked at my buddy with my best what the hell is AJ&G look, he shrugged his shoulders and we both looked at Sarge. He smiled and said “Apple Juice and Gin.” On the way out I asked my buddy “how in the hell can anybody drink applejuice and gin.” He grinned and replied “Well, you know Sarge.” When we got back to our rooms we had a message that we were going to be picked up early tomorrow afternoon, we would not be staying the full three days. We went out and found a bottle of BeefEaters Gin rather easily but had a hellva time finding applejuice, but find it we did. The next morning founds us at Sarge’s bedside with the “supplies” he had requested. The nurse had already been there and left a clear cup for his morning urine sample and said she would be back shortly to pick it up. Sarge picked it up and filled it about two thirds of the way full with gin and topped it off with a little applejuice, took a good sip of it and placed it back on the bedstand. When she came back to collect it she made the comment “Looks kinda of weak this morning Sarge.” He took it out of her hand as to study it a bit then told her “Yeah it does look weak, let’s run it through one more time.” and with that he chugged it all down. I thought she was going to faint as she ran out of the ward yelling “Your all crazy, all of you guys are crazy.” The doctor came out a short time later as did the hospital commander and we all got read the riot act. Ole Sarge was on the Huey back to base camp with us that afternoon
I awoke to the sounds of helicopter blades whirling and men shouting out commands. I immediately reached for my AR and flak jacket, but they were not within reach, they are always beside my bedroll, why not now? Then I realized, hey I’m not in some far away land but here in Arizona. The helicopters and the men however were real. The Border Patrol had begun a sweep of the moutain side that we live on. The hillside was aglow from the spotlights on the copters and we could see illegals and BP Agents all over the mountain. From our vantage point on the back patio it looked like someone had kicked an anthill. Don’t know how many they ended up with, but we heard one Agent call out “Nine-two and counting.” With all three Presidential canidates willing and anxious to grant amnesty our borders are being assualted like never before. So folks when you hear our political hacks say “we have the border under control” you tell them “your a damn liar.”
Hadn’t realized how long it’s been since I posted something here. For those that sent me e-mails and pointed out my lack of blogging I promise to try and do better in the future. For those that make this space available to me at no cost I sincerely apologize. This past season (I stop calling and killing coyotes in March and bobcat and fox season closes the end of March.) was an exceptionally good one for me with plenty of fur on the ground. However, the best part of the season was that I made two new calling partners – Sarge and AZBuckeye. Sarge and I had been out many times and we always seemed to be able to call them in – just never able to put them on the ground. Either he or I would not see them soon enough or they never presented themselves for a decent shot. That finally ended on our next to the last calling session. I set the Scorpian (gofoxpro.com) out about 30 yards in front of us and started with the jackrabbit in distress. About 5 minutes into the call I heard a shot and then saw a coyote do a nose dive into the dirt. Although he was dead he obviously didn’t know it as he got up and ran about another 40 or so yards. The other highlight of the season was with AZBuckeye. He and I didn’t get out near as much as Sarge and I did – but – I had the privilege of calling in his first ever coyote. As a matter of fact three came into that stand. And yes he did shoot and yes he did kill it, not only his first Arizona coyote but in fact his first ever coyote. I also learned that when we go out again I had better be on the ball, as his young eyes and quick reflex are a lot better then these old eyes.
When I retired from the Army, 23 yeas ago, I told my wife that I would never again pick up a military type rifle. I hated them, hated the M-1 Garand so much that I bought one the day I retired and set it out in the backyard. Every morning I would wake up and run out and pee on it — just to watch it rust. Then ole Zumbo had to go and make his silly statement about AR’s being a terrorist rifle and not fit for hunting. Well that did it, I went out and bought an Armalite (www.armalite.com) and dressed it up with a Weaver 6-20×40 Grand Slam (www.weaveroptics.com). I then started to buy factory ammo: Remington (www.remington.com) Federal (www.federalpremium.com) and Winchester (www.winchesterguns.com). All 3 shot satisfactory and were more than capable of hitting a coyote or bobcat at 100 yards, but just not quite as good as I wanted. Off to the reloading bench, I have always liked and used Sierra (www.sierrabullets.com) and Accurate (www.accuratepowders.com) or Winchester powder, so I bought some 55gr Sierra HPBT’s and some BlitzKings, along with CCI BR Primers. All my new reloads shot fairly well, but again not as good as I wanted. Back to the bench, this time with some 60gr Sierra HP’s, Winchester cases, CCI BR Primers and 748. Back to the range were I found out that this is the load for this rifle – - 3/4″ @ 100yards.
Now to find some coyotes and/or a bobcat. On my very first stand, using my FoxPro FX3 (www.gofoxpro.com) set on kitten in distress I had Mr. Coyote come over a ridge at about 500 yards. This old guy was in no hurry, I assumed he had been called and shot at before. He stopped right below the ridge line and sat down, looking over the landscape. I would hit the call and he would take a step or two in my direction and again stop and check things out. This went on for some time and at about 200 yards he again stopped and sat down, surveyed the area, got up and started back from were he came. I decided to take the shot but first I would try to stop him. I have a Primos Bulb Squeaker (www.primos.com) taped to the forearm of my rifle so I hit it a time or two and stop he did. But he wasn’t looking my way, he was looking off to his left and was at full attention. Then out of the bush a few yards below him came two coyotes hell bent for what they thought would be a free meal. I don’t know how he did it but that slow moving old coyote caught up to those two and bowled one over as the second one continued on her quest for what she thought was a kitten. At about 25 yards I tipped her over and swung to get on at least one of the remaining two. Both were still there, in an eye-to-eye stare down, growling and fangs showing. I lined up on the intruder and put him down, the older guy looked my way turned and started to WALK off. I put the crosshairs right behind his front shoulder and was ready to squeeze off a round when he stopped, turned around sat down and looked my way. He then proceeded to give me a few barks, as to say “Thanks, but I could have handled that young’un by myself.” I smiled, put the rifle down and watched him walk over the ridgeline.
The Black Rilfe had done the job in a very fine and admirable way. I may just have to retire the Sako Vixen as my primary predator gun and move the M15A4 to the front of the safe.
P.S. Did I mention I have been looking at the AR-10 (.308) to replace one of my deer rifles.
As some of you know we live in the SE Corner of Arizona and within spitting distance of the US/Mexican border. We all are affected by the masses of illegals coming through our pourous border and with the US governments refusal to do anything substanial about it. It has had a dramatic effect on all of us here on the border and although you don’t probably see it on a daily basis it has had an effect on all the tax paying citizens of America. However now it is really getting personal, and I don’t mean them turning on our water and letting it run all night, or cutting our fences, or even using our backyard as a bathroom. One highlighted sentence in the Arizona Hunting Regulations states: “Homeland security issues along the international border may affect the quality of a person’s hunt.” I recently purchased a new AR, developed some loads for it and got it shooting -1″ MOA at 100 yards. Decided that this morning it would get it’s baptism under fire. Loaded up the truck before daylight and set out for one of my favorite spots. Pulled into the wash, hid the truck best I could and hiked a short way up a little knoll. Set my “improvised” Whirling Woodpecker (www.outfoxedproducts.com) out about 30 yards hurried back up the knoll and turned on the FoxPro. I couldn’t have been there for more than 5 minutes when two Border Patrol Agents came tiptoeing up the dry wash. I stood up and wavd then started walking down to them. They wanted to know what I was doing in the area, don’t know why I said what I did but I was kinda pissed-off that we now have to explain what we (US Citizens) are doing on the border. I told them that as far as I was aware we still lived in a free country and I could do as I well pleased as long as I wasn’t breaking any laws, which I wasn’t. We had a bit of a stare down and they then told me that this was a favorite passage way for illegals and I might be considered in the obstruction of them (Border Patrol) doing their duties. I gave them a smirk and walked back to the truck and left the area. On my next stand, about 5 miles away, I set up same as I had before. After about 10 minutes I spotted a coyote about 500 yards out coming straight into the call. Put the AR up and got ready, at about 300 yards he stopped and sat down. I knew he didn’t smell me as the breeze was coming from him to me. After a minute or two he got up and trotted back the same way he came. It was then that I heard some sounds in the canyon below me, you guessed it — about 6 or 7 illegals making their way down the canyon. I packed everything up and headed home. “Homeland security issues along the international border may affect the quality of a person’s hunt.”
Just about that time of year again, predator callingis about to get into high gear! Time to hit the range with the new rifle and some new loads and optics on an old friend. I recently bought a new AR, ArmaLite M15A4 (www.armalite.com) and am anxious to see how well it shoots with my hand loads. I had it out once and was impressed with the factory ammo but I know I can do better with hand loads, or so I hope. I also had a rather ”cheap” scope on it and have since upgraded. My old friend is a Sako Vixen, a gift from my wife, way back in 1981. Both rifles are chambered in .223 and both now have new Weaver Grand Slams (www.weaveroptics.com) on them. The Sako has accounted for itself rather admirably in the past 26 years from roe deer and chamois in Europe and from ground squirrels to mule deer here in the USofA. Don’t know if the new kid on the block will live up to the old timer but it will be my primary weapon of choice for this forthcoming predator season. I have worked up five different loads for the AR and will sight in the Sako using the same load I have for the past 15 years: Winchester Brass and Primers (www.winchesterguns.com) , Nosler 55 grain Ballistic Tips (www.nosler.com) and Accurate 2230 powder (www.accuratepowder).
Do they work? I would say most probably do not. Take Scent-Lok clothing for example, supposedly impregnated with charcoal to absorb your scent. If it can cover your scent I wonder why the drug runners coming across our southern border aren’t wrapping their drugs with it. Well if you have ever seen a drug dog or bomb dog work you would realize that canines can smell through this stuff. If a domestic dog can smell through it what are the chances that a coyote can. Honed by generations of survival dependent upon his sense of smell. Cover scents also fall into this catagory. The only scent that I use is that of a lure and I use it in conjunction with a decoy. If I’m using my Jack-In-The-Box, Turkey Feathers, Rabbit Hide or whatever I’ll spray a little, very little, rabbit urine around the decoy. When Wiley Coyote comes into the call he will see the decoy moving, smell the urine and hear the FoxPro all at about 30 to 50 yards from my position. His eyes, nose, and ears are now telling him “food”. I think it more important to pay attention to the wind then pay $200 for clothing and cover scents. I truly believe most hunting products on today’s market are designed and marketed with your wallet in the crosshairs and not the animals we are hunting.
A recent blog by Desert Rat “Predators Killing Pets” reminded me of an incident I had a couple of years ago.
I was sitting out on the patio cleaning my Ruger 1B (http://www.rugerfirearms.com/index.html) when I heard all this screaming and yelling coming from the neighbors backyard. They are good neighbors, mind their own business, and are just very nice people. The only drawback is that she is kinda opposed to hunting, not a bleeding heart type and not vocal about it, but she is opposed to it. She also raises chickens, ducks, and has three little dogs, very little dogs. I joke with her all the time that I would like to use them for catfish bait, she doesn’t think it’s funny. Anyhow I look over to see what all the screaming is about and to my surprise I see a coyote trotting out of her backyard headed in my general direction but going up the hillside, not running hard, just kind of an easy trot. Now I’m not surprised to see a coyote as they visit our place on a fairly regular basis, but what surprised me was this this one had a little white mutt clamped firmly in his jaws. I quickly slapped a 117 grain 25.06 Sierra Game King BTSP (http://sierrabullets.com) round into the chamber and placed the crosshair of my Weaver GrandSlam 6-20×40 (http://weaveroptics.com) on an opening I thought he would be coming through. As he came through I touched off a round thinking that if nothing else it would cause him to drop the dog and run off. Much to my surprise he did drop the dog as he tumbled ass over teakettle dead as a doornail. When I finally got to the dog he was covered in blood and had several deep puncture wounds and I’m thinking he isn’t going to make it, should I just him out of his misery. I look back down the hillside and see our neighbor running up toward us, stumbling and crying for her little dog. She is in a real frenzy by the time she reaches us and wants to get the dog to the vet in a hurry. I was going to tell her that the poor thing didn’t have a snowballs chance in hell but thought better of it. We picked up the poor ragged, bloody little thing and headed to the vets office. Well that was about two years ago and that pesky little mutt is still around, much to my surprise. She still thanks me every chance she gets and has told me on several times how much she appreciated me saving her dogs life – then she added “Did you really have to kill the coyote, couldn’t you just have scared him into dropping my dog.” Some people just don’t get it.
With such a wide selection to choose from it can make your head spin! I firmly believe that you can hardly go wrong with any choice in today’s market. With all the competition for the sportsman’s dollar and with the help of the internet I don’t think a sub-par rifle would last very long.
I can remember years ago when I only owned one centerfire rifle, a Winchester 670 in .243. That rifle did everything from varmints to predators to deer and antelope and even accounted for one cow elk. It was just an extension of my body and I can’t ever recall it not being able to put “meat on the table” or take care of the coyote that answered my handcall.
As the kids grew older and left home I found that we started to have more disposable cash than ever before — when all four left home — WOW. It was now time for the wife and I to start buying some of those “things” we wanted. Naturally I went to the gun stores. For a year or so I bought a new rifle or shotgun every month. The old Win 670 got pushed back further and further into the closet until it was completly dust covered and forgotten. Why shoot a cheap 670 when I could have a new Win model 70 or a Rem 700 or Sako or Beretta or any number of newer and better guns?
Today I have a rifle, shotgun, pistol for almost every occassion and enjoy using them. If I’m just out walking in the desert looking for a possible calling place I’ll have my little Anschutz 1518M in 22mag topped off with an Armsport 4X scope. This little rifle is super accurate and has accounted for many ground squirrels, jackrabbits and the occassional coyote in the 100 yards or less range. It will shoot Win Super-X 40gr JHP and Federal GAME-SHOK 50gr JHP into one ragged hole all day long at 75 yards.
If I decide to call in the thick cat-claw and sage and my shots may be in the 200 yards or less range I’ll be using my favorite, a Sako Vixen in .223. This is a full stocked rifle built on Sako’s L461 action and sports a Weaver GrandSlam 4.5-14×40. I have killed more game with this rifle than any other rifle that I own, to include a fairly decent desert mulie. I would like to add that this rifle was a gift from my wife to whom I will be forever thankful.
If I’m going to be calling in the open were shots tend to be a bit on the long side I’ll have my Rem 700 BDL heavy barrel in 22-250 wearing a Leupold. This rifle is extra special for me. It belonged to “The Colonel” a good friend of mine for many a year. He and I have hunted many a place for a wide range of vermin, not all four legged. “The Colonel” passed away some years ago and shortly thereafter his wife said she knew he would want me to have one of his rifles – my choice. I still miss the old S.O.B. and at times get mad at him for leaving us so early in life.
If I get lucky and draw a deer tag, as I did this year, I’ll use the rifle I’m going to hunt deer with. I’ll start my calling season with one of my 22 centerfires but as we get closer to deer season I’ll start using either my Win Mod 70 FW Classic in .308 or my Ruger 1B in 25.06. The .308 also has a Weaver Grand Slam in 6-20×40 and the Ruger sports a Bushnell Elite 4200 2.5-10×40.
It hasn’t happened in Arizona in the past 15 years but if I’m going elk or sheep hunting I will call coyotes with either my Win Model 70 FW Classic in 270WSM or use my wifes Sako Finnbear in .270.
I swore that once I retired from the Army I would never have a military type rifle again. One should never use the word never. I recently purchased a Armalite M15A4. I have only been to the range with it one time and haven’t worked up any reloads for it. However it shoots the cheap Win white box .223 ammo into a 1” group at 100 yards. It may be time to retire that little Sako Vixen and put the AR to work.
Sometimes you just can’t see the forest for the trees. Have ya ever been out calling and nothing seems to respond, then you get up to leave and right there in front of you a bobcat or a coyote takes off for parts unknown. Well if so you know your doing something right, one of the ways to cure this little problem is to sit in an elevated position. This way you should see anything that is coming in and gives you a better chance of getting into a shooting position. I normally do not use shooting sticks and/or a bi-pod when calling as I like to be a bit more flexable than what “sticks” provide. I also like to use as short of a barrel as possible. I just recently purchased a ArmaLite www.ArmaLite.com M15A4 in .223 with a 18″ barrel and may retire my little Sako Vixen. Both of these rifles have provided me with the ability to swing on a fast moving target and in tight brush. Another little tip is when you get to your calling location don’t slam the truck door, just kinda press it closed very gently. I have also covered all the chrome on my truck with camo masking tape. Try to park it up against a tree or large boulder or in the shade, or in a ravine if possible, but never on the skyline. Only a couple of more months than coyote calling season will be in full swing for me, hope to have plenty of pictures and stories for you all to read and hopefully enjoy.
I’ll be leaving this weekend for a four state road trip through some darn good coyote calling country – New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. If I can get some access to a computer while I traveling I’ll give ya all an update, if not I’ll see ya about the end of July.