The eyes of the incoming coyote glowed brightly under the illumination of my red headlamp, when the coyote got to what I thought was good shooting range of my .17wsm, I brought the ATN X sight 2 day and night vison scope up to my eye and found it in the screen.
The reticle settled on the coyote and I squeezed the trigger, the coyote immediately collapsed to the ground.
We were on the board!
After using the earlier ATN traditional night vision scope for a while I had decided I wanted to upgrade both the gun from a .22wmr to a 17wsm and update the scope so I could use it day or night. What to do? Enter the ATN X sight 2.
I saw an ad for this ATN Smart HD Optic and was interested in the capability to not only use it day or night, with full color during the day, but to record my hunts. One was soon on its way.
I got it mounted up and zeroed in in no time thanks to the one shot zero feature, and was soon hunting squirrels, one of the reasons I wanted daytime ability for this rifle.
The more I used the scope the more comfortable I got with it and was soon taking it out at night for predators.
In October we had a get together and tournament in the Upper Peninsula here in Michigan and this was going to be my go to gun at night. (We were limited to rimfire and shotgun at night here at that time). This event was as much of a casual get together as it was a tournament, but it was still a tournament.
My buddy Matthew Schalk and I made the 5 hour journey north and met up with the other hunters.
The upper peninsula of Michigan in the fall is beautiful, the leaves changing color, cool temps, rivers and lakes all make for a great time in God’s country.
One added factor to hunting up there is the possibility of wolf encounters. (Which made me leery of only having the .17), with that in mind the clarity of the ATN X-sight 2 made target ID much more positive. The event coordinators stressed the importance of proper target ID (wolves are protected and could not be shot)
At the start of the event, Matthew and I hunted in the immediate area for a while at first, not seeing much, only one coyote seen, with no shots fired.
We then traveled a couple hours south to another property we could hunt that usually produces. This property is a large cattle farm that has predator issues, the landowner is always happy to have us help him out when it comes to eliminating coyotes.
We hunted several spots with little activity only getting some vocals with no sightings.
We moved to another area, set the caller out in the pasture in front of us and started playing some rabbit distress.
After a bit we caught eyes moving towards us in the tree line across the pasture headed our way, from the movement and height of the eyes we were confident it was a predator.
It made its way across the field, coming in strongly to the call.
At about 150yds I got it in the ATN X sight and I could clearly see it was a coyote; I let it continue to come, at about 80 yards I took the shot and dropped it in its tracks.
Being focused on making a good shot I completely forgot to record the moment.
We collected the coyote and continued the hunt, not getting any more opportunities the rest of the event.
So, we headed back to check in with our one coyote.
Upon arrival to check in we brought our coyote in to be weighed, this was a small coyote, the other competitors made a few jokes about the size, but we at least we had one to check in.
After all the animals were checked in and weighed, we had food and all gathered around and shared stories of our hunts and waited for the official results. The results were announced and while we didn’t place in the top, we did win for the smallest coyote taken for the event which earned us a prize!
That coyote ended up weighing in at only around 11 pounds and to this day is still one of the smallest coyotes taken at the event. It was an adult, but a young small one.
We had a great time and were able to be around other people that shared our same passion, while doing what we love to do.
Predator hunting tournaments have been around for a while. While they have their detractors, they have a place in helping with predator control while bringing hunters together for camaraderie and the love of the hunt. Fact of the matter is coyotes are so resilient, having not only survived but flourished and expanded, even with continued pressure from mankind, that it is all but impossible to seriously dent their numbers for any amount of time.
Management of predators serves multiple purposes.
One of which is reducing predation, whether livestock or pets, or even other game species, another is helping to reduce the spread of disease carried and or transmitted by such animals, like parvo, distemper and mange.
Animals taken during these events are often utilized, with fur buyers on hand to purchase the animals for use in the fur trade, something that has been going on for longer than you and I have been around.