Shotgun Hunting in Heavy Cover

Shotgun Tactics for the Desert Southwest or anywhere else you can't see 40 past yards

Many years ago, while reading a coyote hunting club newsletter front page,  where the new president reviewed his qualifications for office and his commitment to put the best foot forward for the next year, I made note of one line in the middle of the page.  Well down his list of achievements was a tally for the past season, almost ninety, and the stated weapon for most was a shotgun. That astounded me.  A shotgun?   Visualizing his hunt, efforting to see it in mind's eye,  was not possible for me.  I drew a blank.

Rifle hunting has been moderately successful, so why get caught up in a new diversion?  Parts of the territory here are "shotgun only" by law.  As it turned out, others are shotgun territory by nature.

If this was such a great hunt, who else was doing it?  No one apparently.  A lot books, magazines, meetings and campouts later, I found no one with any comprehensive information or experience with shotgun-coyote hunting, no one except the single mention in the newsletter from Arizona.  Translate that - no one else  saw any benefit to setting up in the middle of thick desert cresote scrub where you can't see much distance in any direction as opposed to the more standard high ground sniping from a hide.  A few riflemen carry a shotgun as a secondary., but no one deliberately sets up where it's almost blind around the next two bushes for 360 degrees.  Then I read a very short description of a jungle bushmeat ambush used by the natives of Cameroon.  A bushman, armed with a spear, would camoflage himself and stand motionless for up to 36 hours over a waterhole, sometimes only 24 inches from his target zone.  No one on this continent, in it's extreme, uses that kind of ambush to hunt coyotes.   After that description, it was much easier for me to see in my mind's eye a close range weapon prepared to fire at a small window of brief opportunity.  If I proposed to apply that thousand year old hunt technique to a SW coyote and attempt to give a partial answer, would it work?  I had inertia, a shotgun, and a call.  I went hunting for five half-years of weekends and wrote everything down.

I didn't know it at the time, but the original article, the one that appeared on the front of that hunting club's newsletter, was total bullshit. I didn't find out until a couple of years later that the guy had lied. When the truth came out, he'd been trading tails for ammo with a local farmer and throwing them down at the check-in while telling everyone he was using only his shotgun.  Ironically, thanks to his lies, my hunting tactics changed permanently. Literally, it changed my understanding of hunting.

After a lot of false starts, I think I've come up with something. It isn't revolutionary nor is it totally original. It's just back to basic hunting, this time with a shotgun, with a sprinkle of common sense trying to prove a few original ideas in ways that very few had tried before. It eventually required me to throw out half of what I thought I knew about coyotes and all of what I knew about setting up a rifle stand.