Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Last Stand

Two weekends ago I was hunting with Ken, my usual predator calling partner. We had very good luck calling in animals at night but our day stands were rather disappointing.

The day stands should have been successful because all the factors for success were there. For instance, on Saturday we were rolling down this country highway with pastures on both sides of us. The pastures had trees, rolling hills, and better yet, what looked like streams running through bottom land. We wheeled over to the side of the road, parked and quietly got our gear together. We held the barbed wire fencing apart for each other and began to trek out (through cover) to what looked like a good area around some Aspen trees.

As we worked our way quietly through the bush, we stumbled on what appeared to be a den and some coyote scat. Mama Mia! Not just a few random turds but a crap load of them. I mean we were in the coyote turd capitol of the nation. And even more exciting, the turds were big and somewhat fresh. We looked at each other and smiled. This was definitely a hot zone and we stepped right into it.

We found a perfect place to call, set out a remote caller and a remote controlled furry bunny decoy, spread some coyote urine and bile scent around, hunkered down, waited about 10-minutes for birds to resume chirping and began to call softly.

In my mind I can already see the big coyotes charging in and falling to the blasts from our shotguns. Oh, and they are big ones too. My imagination is really running wild with anticipation. The setup was perfect, the terrain was perfect, the lighting and wind was in our favor, there were BIG piles of scat around and there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that this was going to be a stand to remember. After 5-minutes passed, I upped the caller volume slightly and then backed it down. I turned the caller on and off as well as the decoy. I played this stand carefully because I knew our chances for success were excellent. All systems were go and this was a no-brainer kill fest for sure.

So much for the things dreams are made of. After 40-minutes, we packed it in and left……empty handed. So what happened? With everything so absolutely perfect, why didn’t my fantasy come true? Why weren’t we fending off the charges of 15 hungry coyotes, hot shotgun hulls flying through the air, #4 buck rolling coyote after coyote? It’s sad to say…….I don’t freaking know. They simply did not come. The dream slipped through our camo gloved fingers like water through a sieve. We trekked back to the truck, heads down in sadness. I felt like a kid that found no Christmas presents under the tree on Christmas morning. Seeing pile after pile of scat on our way back to the vehicle did nothing but depress us more.

If someone asked me the thing I hate most about predator calling it would have to be the “not knowing why” factor. When a stand does not bear critters, most times you’ll never know why. Then, without fail, the questions begin to swirl around my head. Did they bust us on the way in? Were they watching us all the time? Were they out hunting in another area? Did we break the stand too soon? Was my partner picking his nose, farting, moving, sleeping, etc.? The absolute worst part is we will never, ever know why any particular stand was not a success. The coyotes never tell. It sure would lessen the pain if we knew for sure what happened. Like most efforts, we can always learn from our mistakes. In the case of predator calling however, we are not afforded that benefit when things don’t pan out.

If your beginning to get interested in this sport and have tried calling without much success, don’t fret my friend because it happens to all of us. You just never know what will happen. Sometimes you’ll be calling an area that is not the perfect set-up by any means and ol’ Wiley will come a runnin’ right into the decoy. It is truly a roll of the dice each and every time. After all, a lot of factors are in play here.

For success to happen:
Animals have to be where you are calling
Animals have to be hungry, interested or curious
Animals have to get up and boldly answer the call
Animals have to be seen by you or your partner
Animals have to react within the timeframe you have set for your stand
You and your partner must have a good hide for the ambush
You can’t make any mistakes (busted)
Your partner can’t make any mistakes (busted)
Luck must be on your side too

I will say that perhaps it is the uncertainty of this sport that makes it so much fun. You have to stay positive at all times and always believe that the next stand will be “the one”. If you don’t, you can be sure that when things do happen, you won’t be ready. Oh, and that really hurts because I have been guilty of that mistake. The bottom line is stay ready. Follow the basic rules of the game and ALWAYS expect the unexpected. Most important of all, enjoy your time in the wilderness. Relax and enjoy being away from work, family pressures, computers, cell phones and everything else that crowds our lives these days. Oh….and always stipulate your field of fire with your partner.  Don’t shoot each other. That’s a bad thing.

Monday, December 28, 2009


OK, I admit it.  I am kind of a gun nut.  Just like most other guys, I read the nice glossy magazine ads, drool on the photos depicting beautifully machined steel and polished hardwood and the next thing I know, I am at the local gun shop spending more money.  It’s like I’m in some sort of Zombie trance.  I just love hardware that goes BANG.  It’s beautiful, feels nice to the touch and I want it.  Yeah, that’s right, “I want it.”

I tell myself (and my wife) that it’s not a sickness and my proclivity for new rifle purchases can easily be compared to a golfer and his bag of clubs.  I explain that just as it takes different clubs to hit the golf ball accurately to suit the range of the hole the golfer is playing, the same holds true for hunters that hunt different game under varying conditions.  Well…..sort of.
The truth of the matter (not that truth has anything to do with my desires) is that if need be I could easily whittle my long arms down to two rifles and a shotgun.  OMG!  What am I saying?  Yeah….it’s true, I could probably do that.  I never would, but I probably could.
Paring down the rifle locker makes perfectly good sense.  Taking into account the many bullet choices available to reloaders today, one can reduce the number of rifles owned by tailoring the rounds of a particular caliber to a variety of game.  Taking that fact into consideration, I could indeed keep and shoot just two rifles.  Hmmmmmm, maybe I’d hold on to my Howa .243 (with a faster twist) and my AR in 6.5 Grendel.

Uhhhh…no, maybe my 223 AR and my Grendel.  But the Kimber .308 and my Husky/Mauser 30-06 would be good to have too.  They both offer varied bullet weights and versatile loadings.  Oops, I almost forgot my Tikka 25-06 that dropped those Antelopes like a brick.  Now that’s one rifle I would not want to do without.   Hmmmmmm…..but wait…what about my light calibers.  Yeah, my CZ in .17 Remington really kicks butt with those 30-grain Berger hollow points jamming at 4200-fps.  It liquefies coyotes.  And it is such a fun rifle to shoot.  Yikes, I can’t forget my Howa in .204 Ruger.  That’s another one that really is fun to shoot.  Dang, but how could I ever give up my Tikka T3 in 22-250.  It is such a sweet shooter and what could be more versatile than the trusty, classic 22-250 caliber.

OK, let’s see….plinking, we all love plinking.  Well that’s .22LR territory for sure.  I gotta keep one of those handy.  Ok then, the 10-22 is a keeper.  Plus, I have so much money in that stupid 10-22, I can’t afford to sell it.  Sure, but that Marlin in 17 HMR has got to be one of the most accurate and fun rifles I own.  How could I part with it?

Come to think of it, my C&R rifles are really worth holding on to also.  The Enfields in .303 British really have some smack-down power.  My Enfields in .308 kick butt too.  Even the Nagants in 7.62X54 Russian can slam a deer well.  In a pinch, what military rifle is more versatile than my old M1-Carbine.  I could never part with that.  Nor could I give up that old, collector’s classic 8MM Mauser with Nazi markings.

You’ve heard the saying, “Beware of the man with only one rifle”.  Because of the fact that he owns only one means that he knows its limitations and shoots it very well.   Amen to that.  Maybe I’ll only keep one rifle and wring all the accuracy I can out of it.  One man, one rifle.  Yeah….that’s it.  Just like the saying goes. NOT!!!
I can assure you that any suggestions that I sell off some of my arms would be met with laughter.  Why….because they’re fun and I enjoy each and every one of them.  They all have individual character, shooting characteristics and memories attached to them.  Nope, I ain’t selling even one of them.  Come to think of it, they may be a gittin’ lonely fer some new company.  I don’t own one of them there short, fat calibers yet.  I may just have to amble down to my buddy’s store and have a look see.  Not that I need one….dang…here come the Zombies again.               

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Leading American bullet manufacturer Nosler ( has done it again. Nosler has developed a revolutionary, environmentally friendly, non-lead bullet that promises extreme accuracy and the elimination of all lead bullet environmental concerns.

Their latest eco-friendly offering, called the SBCS is manufactured using a top secret proprietary process that has been many years in development. The real news is that the SBCS contains no metal at all. The Nosler acronym SBCS stands for “Soy Based Condor Savior”. In essence, as a result of advanced technology, we can now grow our own ammunition.

Naturally, Nosler is pretty tight-lipped about the manufacturing process but rumor has it that Nosler and French nuclear company Singe Puant are partners in the “heavy-soy” research project. Nosler and Singe Puant are not officially commenting but there is word that the manufacturing process enlists the use of pre-processed, French power plant radioactive waste to transform food grade soy into “heavy soy”, therefore suitable for nano-compression and bullet manufacture.

It is believed that the combination of simultaneous exposure to radiation and nano-compression (super-compressing the radiated molecules of the soy product in a space-like vacuum) has produced a bullet product that is heavier than lead and twice as dense. The SBCS is also relatively frangible and will not ricochet as a result of striking hard objects such as rocks, etc.

Preliminary tests have shown the new projectile to be devastating when striking ballistic gelatin. Upon impact, the nano-compressed molecules are released from their radiation-bonded, molecular-cohesive state and instantly expand to one hundred and fifty times their compressed physical size. The instantaneous expansion of form coupled with the traditional ballistic spin causes unimaginable terminal damage and promises a small entrance wound with no exit wound.

Other claimed advantages to using the new Nosler SBCS are:

• Environmentally friendly, 100% biodegradable
• Glow in the dark much like tracer ammo but will not start fires
• Stray bullets actually grow soy plants (germinate in 6-months)
• Rifle ranges actually become eco-friendly feed lots for deer and other game
• Lost hunters can eat their ammo to survive after boiling for 35-minutes
• Contain no trans-fats
• Easy to find your ammo in the dark
• Smaller calibers effectively kill larger game

“The legislators of California have spoken and Nosler has listened”, said Tad A. Charlatan, Nosler’s California legislative liaison. Look for the SBCS Nosler bullets to be on the shelves of California sporting goods stores by May of 2008. They are packaged in a sporty, black, lead lined box and should not be stored near children’s living areas.

OK, so it's a joke article. I hope you had a laugh. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Food for thought....or...your legislators in action.

Control Criminals, Not Guns
By Walter E. Williama

Every time there's a highly publicized shooting, out go the cries for stricter gun control laws, and it was no different with the recent murder of Philadelphia Police Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski. Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, in a letter to the state congressional delegation demanding re-enactment of the federal assault weapon ban, said, "Passing this legislation will go a long way to protecting those who put their lives on the line every day for us. … There is no excuse to do otherwise
Gun control laws will not protect us from murderers. We need protection from the criminal justice system politicians have created. Let's look at it.
According to former Philly cop Michael P. Tremoglie's article "Who freed the cop-killers?" for the Philadelphia Daily News (May 8, 2008), all three murder suspects had extensive criminal records. Levon Warner was sentenced in 1997 to seven and a half to 15 years for robbery, one to five years for possessing an instrument of crime and five to 10 for criminal conspiracy. Howard Cain was convicted in 1996 on four counts of robbery and sentenced to five to 10 years on each count. Eric Floyd was sentenced to five to 10 years in 1995 for robbery, rearrested in 1999 for parole violation and later convicted in 2001 for two robberies. If these criminals had not been released from prison, long before they served out their sentences, officer Liczbinski would be alive today. So what's responsible for his death: guns or a prison and parole system that released these three criminals? Tremoglie cites other examples of criminals, with convictions for violent crimes ranging from robbery and assault to murder, who were paroled and later murdered police officers.
A New York Times study (April 28, 2006) of the city's 1,662 murders in 2003-2005 found that 90 percent of the murderers had criminal records. A Massachusetts study reported that on average, homicide offenders had been arraigned for nine prior offenses. John Lott's book, "More Guns, Less Crime," reports that in 1988 in the 75 largest counties in the country-region, over 89 percent of adult murderers had a criminal record as an adult.
A few days after the murder of Liczbinski, Gov. Rendell told a news conference, attended by state elected officials and top law enforcement officials, "The time has come for politicians to decide. You have to decide whether you're on their side – the men and women who wear blue – or whether you're on the side of the gun lobby." Instead of saying "whether you're on the side of the gun lobby," Rendell should have said "whether you're on the side of the criminal and the courts, prosecutors, prisons and parole boards that cut soft deals with criminals and release them to prey upon police officers and law-abiding citizens."
If there is one clear basic function of government, it's to protect citizens from criminals. When government failure becomes so apparent, as it is in the murder of a police officer, officials seek scapegoats, and very often it's the National Rifle Association and others who seek to protect our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. We hear calls for stricter gun control laws when what is really needed is more control over criminals.
There are many third-party liability laws. I think they ought to be applied to members of parole boards who release criminals who turn around and commit violent crimes. As it stands now, people on parole boards who release criminals bear no cost of their decisions. I bet that if members of parole boards were held liable or forced to serve the balance of the sentence of a parolee who goes out and commits more crime, they would pay more attention to the welfare of the community rather than the welfare of a criminal. You say, "Williams, under those conditions, who'd serve on a parole board?" There's something to be said about that.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


This is a Great Idea!!
When doing your Christmas cards, take one and send it to this address:

A Recovering American Soldier c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue NW; Washington, D.C. 20307

If we pass this on, think of how many cards these wonderful special people would get.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Why HAWKE Optics?

As many of you know, RedHunter LLC is a proud dealer of HAWKE Optics.  Who is HAWKE and why did we choose them?  Well, because we literally spent days at the last Shot Show in Orlando, Florida just looking at optics.  There were manufacturers from all over the world showing their scope, binocular and spotting scope lines.   Everybody was there boosting their wares.   Small factories were there as well as all of the premium big name brands.

Our goal was to sort through them all and determine what we thought represented the best value for the dollars spent.  After examining them all, and I mean all, we settled on the HAWKE line of optics.  HAWKE has been in business for 30 years in the United Kingdom and the British designed HAWKE Optics have just been introduced here in the United States.

Here is a bit of news for you regarding rifle scopes.  Just about all of the rifle scopes made today are made and/or assembled in Asia.  Almost "all" of the lenses are ground there and the only determining factor betweena cheap scope and a more expensive model is the "quality" of the lens grind.  What it comes down to is, "How much quality control do you want in your lenses?"  Better brands should be spending more money on quality control than the so-so brands.  The scope's mechanical engineering may be done by the different brand manufacturers but many share the same basic parts and proven design features.

So, at the shot show when we compared  the HAWKE rifle scope optics and features next to the most popular premium brand, we were very impressed.  Same for the HAWKE spotting scopes.  During a recent Antelope hunt, we did a side-by-side comparison of the HAWKE Frontier spotting scope (Under $225.00) and a $3,000 Swarovski Spotting Scope and the results astounded the hunters and guides.  They were amazed at the clarity of the HAWKE spotting scope and could not see any apprecible difference in quality between the two.

Same for the HAWKE HD binoculars.  When the professional guides looked through them, they were impressed.  The HAWKE HD binos cost $400. and we put them side-by-side against a $1000. pair of Leupolds....the HAWKE binoculars won hands down for clarity, light weight (Titanium body) and brightness.  Needless to say, the Leupold owner was not happy.  But, he did buy a spotting scope from us.....LOL

It was never our intention to put any other brand down.  Our quest was, and continues to be, to find the best products for our customers (and ourselves) and offer these field tested products at a reasonable price.  I can honestly say that I have replaced three of my rifle scopes with HAWKE Optics and I love them.  John and I presonnaly use all of the products we sell.  If we don't believe in them, we don't sell them.

Speaking of rifle scopes, I just got word that the new HAWKE tactical line (built on the Sidewinder 30 chassis) is due out next week.  I have already ordered a 4.5 X 14 X 42 Illuminated with an SR6 reticle for my .223 AR Rock River Arms Coyote rifle.  I will be testing this new, smaller offering and write a review on it soon.

Here is a sneak peek........


Friday, November 13, 2009

Where are all the coyotes?

I live in the communist state of Kaliforniastan, sometimes referred to as Commiefornia.  Life here is very interesting because we have a never-ending supply of big brothers and big sisters that are always taking care of us little people.  They care so much about our every need and thank God, they know what is best for us or we would have to resort to thinking for ourselves.  Ha!  And you know how people get in trouble when that kind of "independent thought" begins to take place.  OMG!  Anything can happen.

Thanks to our elite class of rulers, many, many restrictions have been passed down and legislated to help govern us, the great unwashed, you know....keep us in line so we don't hurt ourselves, the planet or the Three Toed Tit Mouse.  Unfortunately, these abundant helpful rules and restrictions have caused businesses (you know, those evil businessmen that hire employees and pay taxes) to leave the state in droves.  Hmmmmm...could the coyotes be leaving too?

The last three years have proven to be pretty dry for us Southern California desert coyote hunters.  I am speaking of the weather and the coyote population.  The bottom line is that there seems to be a declining coyote population in the desert areas that were once quite fruitful.  So where have the coyotes gone? 

Any of us that have hunted coyotes have a great respect for their intelligence.  I think the coyotes have figured the game out and the smart ones have moved to "no-shoot" areas surrounding suburban housing developments.  It is the perfect coyote habitat.  Lot's of tasty cats, small, delicious dogs and plenty of food left out to feed on during the evening hunt.  Even better, some of the compassionate humans have actually begun feeding the local coyote population.  Yup, suburban areas surrounded by foothills are truly a coyote's paradise.  It may even be a part of Obama's "No Coyote Left Behind" program.  Yeah, that's it....the new ACORN logo wil be a coyote giving up his paw.

As I mentioned in a prior post, we scoured areas on our last hunt that were usually good areas for calling coyotes.  However, no sign was evident and we had to keep scouting instead of hunting hard.  The drought has definitely taken its toll because we saw no jackrabbits or rodents.  Where there is no coyote food, there will be no coyotes.

So, as I sit at my desk and look at "Ralph" my skinned coyote friend, I contemplate the location of his former companions.  I spend hours (when my wife is distracted on Facebook) searching Google Earth in hopes of finding some hidden "honey hole" and striking the mother load on my next series of stands.  All too often however, the Google photos are old and what looked great when the photos were taken is dry as a bone when we get out there.

As most of you know, the key to successful hunting is scouting.  Well, that is where the reality of our daily lives takes its toll.  All week long I am a slave to routine.  By day I sit behind a desk and attempt to solve engineering issues (OK, I may daydream a bit about having a triple on a stand).  In the evenings, time must be devoted to family and general welfare, personal tasks.  That doesn't leave much time for serious scouting.  (Those damn retired guys have all the luck)

So, I guess I will continue to seek out unincorporated, sparsely populated areas where it is legal to hunt and shoot.  I won't have time to scout those areas but I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts that coyotes will be there.  In this time of drought, I believe that those places will bear the most fruit.  It worked last weekend and for the limited amount of time I have to hunt, those areas seem to have the best calling odds.

So, stay legal, hunt around rural homes (as per DFG and local laws) and never take a shot in the direction of a house or road.  Good luck and keep the faith.      



Wednesday, November 11, 2009


DRT bullets must be made from Uranium enriched gold or “Unobtainium” or some other substance from another galaxy far, far away.  They are waaay too expensive for most of us working stiffs.  It may be a great product but manufacturing limited numbers gets expensive and I am not one that will pay that price…not yet, anyway.

My buddy tried the Varmint Grenades (.223) on a bunch of ground squirrels up in Cedarville and did not notice any “grenade-like” results. It killed them but most passed right through. More “explosive” results were achieved with standard hollow points and Nosler Ballistic Tips.

I won some non-lead Dead Coyote bullets (.224, 70-grains) in a club raffle and loaded up some.  They were very accurate from my .223 RRA Coyote AR at the range and I will try those on the next coyote hunt and see how they perform.

I have tried the Barnes TSX rounds from my 22-250 Tikka and although they would group two touching, I would always get a flyer. I’ll try them from my AR and see what happens.  I am not a Barnes fan though, mainly because they were a player in this whole Kaliforniastan non-lead ordeal. It’s like trying to forgive a wife that cheated on you. No matter how good the product is, I can’t forget their role in that mess and I don’t “trust” the company.

Thinking back to last weekend’s coyote hunt, I am amazed we called in as many animals as we did….considering the reeking oil odor from my rig. I recently noticed my valve cover leaking so I had the gasket changed about a week before the hunt.  After I got the rig home (a short drive from the Jeep shop), I cleaned all traces of leaked oil from the engine.  However, after an hour of driving, as my hunt buddy and I were riding on the freeway heading to our first hunt spot, I mentioned to my buddy that I could smell burning oil again. Gauges looked great so when we stopped for gas, sure enough, oil was leaking from the valve cover again. So we hunted all weekend, smelling like smoldering crankcase oil, leaving a trail like a stunt plane at an air show. I never noticed oil was blowing out of the dipstick area too.

On Monday, I dropped my FSJ hunt rig off at my mechanic’s place and he mentioned that there was excess crankcase pressure. Fortunately, the cause was diagnosed as a bad PCV valve (cheap fix) and now my baby is back home awaiting another post-hunt clean up, air filter cleaning and engine scrub. She’ll be ready to hunt real soon.

I just got word that HAWKE Optics will be introducing a new line of tactical scopes for 2010. That will be a perfect excuse for me to buy new glass for my RRA AR Coyote rifle. The tactical line will be built on the very successful Sidewinder chassis. Demos units will be here at the end of November and RedHunter LLC should see some serious inventory by mid-January. I don’t have pics or specs yet but I’ll keep ya’ll posted. The HAWKE Sidewinder 30 scopes have been very popular and really perform in the field. Every customer has been thrilled with their purchase.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Things have been real busy around the ranch and last weekend I finally got an opportunity to get out and call some coyotes. On Friday afternoon I packed the hunt rig with my gear, food and guns and picked up my buddy Ken. We forged our way through the usual crappy California traffic and headed out to some desert country to catch up with ol' Wiley Coyote.

We scouted some of our favorite calling areas in one zone and found no sign whatsoever. No tracks, no scat, no nothing. We saw no rats, mice or jack rabbits either. WTF? I guess the dry weather we have been having for the last several years has taken its toll on the desert dwelling animals.

I decided to break out my call and give one area a shot, just for the hell of it. I was using our RedHunterLLC Backstabber call (one of my favorites) and after calling for only about 30-seconds, out of the cover came 4 dogs. Ken's trigger finger was twitching and I yelled WAIT! They were not coyotes but just some wild dogs. Three took off and I used the coaxer on the back end of the Backstabber to bring him right up to us. He was a cute little pup about 2-months old. He looked like a cross between a Lab and a Pitbull. Big paws and big jaws but he was a bit on the friendly side. He was skinny as a rail and real hungry.

I reached into the cook box of the rig and pulled out a sleeve of Ritz crackers. He was loving them but it seemed cruel to feed crackers to a dog in the desert. I reached back into the cook box (the dog's eyes were wild with anticipation) and pulled out a can of Spam. By this time, he was drooling with both front paws on my rig's tailgate. I chopped up the Spam into small pieces and fed him slowly. He wolfed the Spam down like there was no tomorrow. God knows when he ate last. I then took the Spam can and filled it with fresh water. He lapped up two cans and sat down and gave me that, "Is there more?" look. I tried to pet him but he was not into the affection thing. I don't believe he has had much human contact. He was pretty darn good though and I felt bad leaving him in the desert to his own devices. Ken and I joked that when he got back to his pack, the others would smell Spam on his breath and ask, "Hey! Where did you get the Spam?"

Anyway, sundow soon came and we began night hunting. The Backstabber did a great job and I called in fox after fox...unfortunately, they were Kit Fox and we can't hunt them here in Kaliforniastan. No coyotes came to the call. I tried some howls but could not get any to howl back. Truth is, they just were'nt there.

We decided to move to another location and hunted on and off as we traveled down remote two-track dirt desert paths. We heard nothing and saw no tracks or scat. We ended up throwing in the towel at about 3 AM and camping for the night.

On Saturday we scouted and still found very few paw prints and zero scat. These used to be good areas but for some unknown reason, the yotes seemed to have moved on.

By Saturday night we were in an area that I usually always hunt with success. We saw some tracks but none of the usual territorial markings of scat along the trail. Finally at 7PM on Saturday night, we called in our first coyote.

It was a big night for Ken because he was trying out his new Rock River Arms heavy barrel AR in .223 caliber. Prior to our hunt, Ken had loaded up a bunch of different ammo and shot for groups at the range. The new rifle seemed to like just about everything he stuffed in the tube. Just for kicks, he loaded up some 50-grain Barnes Varmint Grenades that shot very accurately at the range and packed them for this hunt. Barnes touts their "explosive" effect on animals so Ken thought he'd give them a try.

Coyote number one was young, dumb and hungry. He came right in from just about dead down wind and stopped about 100-yards from the rig. I had his eyes lit up with a dim red light and Ken put a round right between the red dots that were the coyote's eyes reflecting back to us. We set our green laser line out to mark the location and went out to pick up the yote.

We were surprised when we got there because the hit was good but the animal was not dead. It was wounded and suffering. Ken and I never like to see an animal suffer and we strive to make sure they're dead before they hit the ground. Using Nosler Ballistic Tips, Sierra Blitz Kings or Hornady V-Max bullets assures that once hit, the yote is on to the promised land quickly. As far as we are concerned, the Barnes Varmint Grenades are for ground squirrels, period. Ken had to shoot the animal twice more at point blank range, into the vitals before the yote expired.

So we learned a lesson that night. Stick with bullets that have demonstrated proven performance on the game we usually hunt. The Barnes Varmint Grenade was the first "lead free" round we have tried on coyotes and we were not impressed.

By the end of the weekend, I had called in ten animals. Four coyotes and 6 Kit Fox. Two smart coyotes winded us and high-tailed it out of the area and two fell to Ken's AR. I decided to do the calling for most of the weekend so Ken could bloddy his new AR. The Backstabber did a great job and when there were animals around, it pulled them right in.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Eyes Have It!

I have been working hard for a while.  It has also been very hot here in Southern California.  It’s way too hot to venture into the Mojave Desert.  There is no doubt about it, I have really got the itch to go hunting and I can’t wait to get out there again. 

Before I get into the body of this message though, I have to relate a story that happened while serving aboard the last vessel.  I was working aboard a ship that was doing training for errant young men.  It was a boot camp on the water where we drilled the boys hard in physical training, lifeguarding, CPR, ship fire fighting, and several other disciplines.  We also did several night operations to boost the boy’s confidence and challenge their fears. 

Unknown to the boys, some of the training staff is placed on the beach (as shadow observers) in full camo to watch the boys operate and give assistance if there is an injury.  On a moonless night, as several of us staff approached a remote beach by Zodiac on Santa Cruz Island, I was illuminating the shoreline with my super-bright green LED flashlight.  All of a sudden I see a big set of eyes, right in the tree line by the water’s edge.  I immediately get all jacked up and call out, “Eyes!  I’ve got eyes!”.  The instructors in the boat look at me like I’m nuts.  They have no clue what I’m talking about.  The eyes were big and shown bright green from my flashlight. 

As we beached the Zodiac, the eyes were about 100-feet away and beginning to move through the brush and up the hillside.  I explained to the guys what I was talking about and they began to get excited too.  The only guy that wasn’t too excited was the guy we were leaving on the beach alone to wait for the cadets.  He was a little freaked out because we couldn’t get a positive ID on the animal.  What ever it was, moved up the hillside slowly and kept looking back at us.  We guessed a deer, a goat, a pig, it was anybody’s guess what we saw.  That did provide a bit of excitement for me though and made me think that I had to get out coyote hunting again soon. 

Some quick coyote hunting tips for the new guys:

  • Wind Direction:  Always walk to your stand location into the wind.  Don’t let your scent beat you there.  Also, shoot your animal before he gets downwind or the game is up.
  • Range the area:  Use your rangefinder and range some key points in your field of fire. 
  • Anticipate:  Position yourself facing the most likely direction the coyote will come in from.  Have your partner cover your back.
  • Equipment:  Check your gear before each stand.
  • Decoy:  Use a decoy so the predator sees it and not you.
  • Camo:  Camo everything, especially your face and hands.
  • Comfort:  Get comfortable, stay still and have your rifle in position to shoot.
  • Sounds:  Be absolutely quiet walking into your stand and never skyline yourself.  Take the low route and avoid cresting hills.
  • Don’t overcall.  Learn to use a howler and appeal to all of the animal’s emotions.  Be patient and don’t break the stand until you’re sure there are no predators around.
  • If you make a kill, keep calling.  There may be others out there.
  • Hunt safely and always make sure your rifle is unloaded when you approach your vehicle.   

Good luck to all and remember that safety is always your first concern.  Never let the excitement of the moment override your basic hunter/safety safety rules.   And check out RedHunterLLC.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

How to Improve Your Night Vision

As humans we are gifted with an amazing set of senses.  One of the most amazing is our sense of sight that allows us to focus and see in near darkness as well as bright sunlight.  When night hunting predators, our night vision is very important and we should do everything possible to preserve and protect it.
A key factor for effective night vision is a chemical called Rhodopsin.  The text book definition is as follows:  Rhodopsin, also known as visual purple, is a pigment of the retina that is responsible for both the formation of the photoreceptor cells and the first events in the perception of light. Rhodopsins belong to the G-protein coupled receptor family and are extremely sensitive to light, enabling vision in low-light conditions.”
To give you a better understanding of the mechanics of the eye and night vision, you’ll have to bear with me and dive into this a bit deeper.  So, hang in there as we take a little trip inside our eyes.  Understanding how the abovementioned chemical and the mechanical aspects of our eyes work will help you to be a more effective night hunter.
The door to our eye’s engine room is the pupil.  It automatically expands and contracts (just like a camera lens) depending upon the amount of ambient light we encounter.  When the light is very bright, the pupil closes down and allows just the right amount of light for us to see well.  In low light situations, the pupil opens wide and lets in all the light available.
The light is then projected into our eye and on to the eye’s retina.  The retina has two different types of cells called rods and cones.  Cone cells perceive colors in bright light and rod cells perceive black and white images and work best in low light.  Rhodopsin, the chemical I mentioned earlier, is found in the rod cells.
Rhodopsin is the key to night vision.  It is the chemical that the rods use to absorb photons and perceive light. When a molecule of rhodopsin absorbs a photon, it splits into a retinal and an opsin molecule. These molecules later recombine naturally back into rhodopsin at a fixed rate, and recombination is fairly slow.
So, when you expose your eyes to bright light, all of the rhodopsin breaks down into retinal and opsin. If you then turn out the lights and try to see in the dark, you can't. The cones need a lot of light, so they are useless, and there is no rhodopsin now so the rods are useless, too. Over the course of several minutes, however, the retinal and opsin recombine back into rhodopsin, and you can begin to see again.  Simply stated, exposed to light, the pigment immediately photo-bleaches, and it takes about 30 minutes to regenerate to your optimum night vision again.
Keep in mind that the retinal used in the eye is derived from vitamin A. If a person's diet is low in vitamin A, there is not enough retinal in the rods and therefore not enough rhodopsin. People who lack vitamin A often suffer from night blindness and they cannot see in the dark.  So, a couple of weeks before night hunting starts, you may want to start pumping some vitamin A into your system.
The predators we hunt have several advantages over us humans.  You’ll want to even the odds as much as you can by taking good care of yourself and sharpening your senses the best you can.  Don’t forget to get your body in shape before the hunting season starts.  I guess Mom was right.  Take your vitamins and you’ll be a more successful hunter.  For your other hunting needs and tips for more successful hunting, be sure to check our RedHunter LLC.  Good hunting and shoot straight.       

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Mystery of Barrel Twist Rates

What is the ideal bullet weight to use with your rifle barrel’s rate of twist? If you know the rate of twist of your rifle barrel, something called the “Greenhill Formula” could be a big help when it comes to finding that magic pill.
For the majority of standard rifle cartridges, the Greenhill Formula is expressed this way:

T=150(d/r) (Note: For velocities in excess of 2,800 fps, substitute 180 for 150)
“T” is the twist rate
“d” is the bullet diameter
“r” is the bullet’s length to diameter ratio (bullet length divided by its diameter)

Let’s illustrate this formula by using a very common caliber and bullet. Suppose you owned a .308 caliber rifle and you were going to be using 168-grain Sierra Match King bullets. Using the formula above, you would arrive at a calculated twist rate of 1:11:.76. Since that’s pretty darn close to 1:12, let’s just call it that. The whole thing seems to make good sense because the typical twist rate for most of the classic .308 rifles is 1:12.

Let’s look at another example. Suppose you were using that same .308 rifle and you wanted to shoot a heavier bullet. This time we plug in the data for a Sierra 175-grain Match King and the Greenhill Formula equation looks like this: T=150 X .308/4.081 and that equation computes our optimum twist rate to be 1:11:.32. So, we have a difference of 0.44 of an inch. That may not seem like a whole lot but in this application, it is.

Check a lot of the custom .308 rifles on the market and you’ll notice that their twist rates are faster (1:10 to 1:11.25 range) than the typical classic .308s of old. The faster twist will enable the new custom .308 to shoot heavier 175-grain bullets well while the classic 1:12 twist rifles will max out accuracy wise around the 168-grain mark.
That’s not to say that the newer rifles with a faster twist won’t shoot the lighter weight bullets because they can, and very well. The lighter bullets don’t seem to mind being rotated faster so the faster twist is a benefit over the slower twist barrel. Therefore, you’ll get the best of both worlds with a slightly faster twist rate.
Having a Chronograph to check the speed of your hand loads can really help your load building efforts too. If you are on the cusp regarding your bullet weight and twist rate (bullet a tad too heavy for your twist) you may be able to pinch additional accuracy by going for the hottest “safe-load” you can build.
Can a bullet be over stabilized? Can it be spun too darn fast? Yes it can. If the exiting bullet is spun too fast, the bullet has a tendency to travel along its downward arc while its bullet tip points skyward. This attitude steals velocity and hence increases the bullet’s susceptibility to wind drift. If all factors are as they should be, the properly stabilized bullet tip should tip downward as the bullet begins its downward arc.
If you over stabilize a bullet, chances are you will never notice it. Unless, of course, the over stabilization is extreme and you are rotating the jacket right off the bullet. Typically though accuracy deterioration from an “over-stabilized” bullet will only be noticeable at very long ranges. For your average 100 to 250-yard hunting range, it’s not really much of an issue.

Using this formula will most certainly help when planning the purchase of your next rifle. The preparation and homework will make it more likely that, in the end, you’ll be happy with the rifle, caliber and bullet weight that will best suit the intended purpose of the new rifle.  Another important accuracy factor is your glass.  For the best performance, choose a quality HAWKE rifle scope from RedHunterLLC.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Big Bucks Doesn't Guarantee Top Performance

Last year, before starting RedHunter LLC with my partner John Hunter, I bought a nifty, new tactical riflescope from a company internationally known for its quality optics. It cost me a good amount of money so I assumed that was an excellent quality scope.  I mounted it on my 25-06 and sighted it in at the range.  I achieved excellent results with teeny, tiny groups.  Naturally, I was very pleased with its performance.
As soon as I had a chance I loaded up my gear, picked up my hunting buddy and drove to the desert to do some coyote hunting.  My super-accurate Tikka T3 Lite with its new tactical scope was all sighted in and ready for business.
Our first two coyote calling stands were dry and we had just begun the third when at about 10PM, a nice coyote came into the call.  Mr. Coyote locked up at about 150-yards but thanks to the lighting skill of my buddy Ken, I had a bead drawn right on the coyote’s boiler room.  I squeezed off a round and heard that unmistakable sound of a bullet hitting flesh.  I looked up, confident that the Hornady 75-grain V-Max had done its job and the coyote was dead before it hit the ground.  NOT!  The coyote was up and starting to run off.  I fired again and he went down.  I was amazed that he could survive my 25-06 when I knew exactly where I had placed the rounds.
After checking around us 360-degrees, we set the laser on him and walked out.  Low and behold, the animal was still alive.  I had to put him down with one more shot.  I wounded an animal twice.   Something I consider inhumane and troubling.  But why were my points of impact not agreeing with my point of aim?  I was right on him and I knew where I placed the shots.  This really bothered me.  Naturally, Ken teased me about my marksmanship but I knew something wasn’t right.
The next morning I set a can out at about 100-yards and shot at it with my scope set at 3-power, our usual night setting.  I was resting on sand bags and held steady.  The round impacted about 4-inches low and to the left.  I fired again and the same thing happened.  Hmmmmm….the scope was dead-nuts on at the range.  Then I remembered that while sighting in at the range, I set the scope at 16-power so I could see the target better and shoot for the tightest groups.  So, I cranked up the power to 16 and fired at the can again.  The result was a clean, dead-on shot through the middle of the can.  Something was definitely wrong with the scope because points of impact should not change when you change power settings.
After we got home, I removed the new tactical, big name scope from the rifle and sent it back to the manufacturer for testing.  They tested it and concluded that the scope was bad.  They sent me a brand new replacement scope. 
Another lesson learned.  You can bet from now on when sighting in my hunting rifles at the range, I’ll be checking the point of aim at different powers.  You might want to check yours too.  Remember also that if you don’t reload your own ammo, purchase and use the exact brand ammo and bullet weight you originally sighted in with to retain a consistent point of impact.
Good sportsmanship dictates that when we shoot an animal, it needs to be dead before it knows what happened.  I did not enjoy dispatching that poor coyote after I had wounded it.  I hate to see any animal suffer.  Learn from my experience and check those points of impact at different levels of scope magnification.
At the 2009 Shot Show in Orlando, Florida, John and I closely examined every scope manufacturer there.  We wanted RedHunterLLC to offer the best possible optics for the dollars spent.  After two solid days of examination, testing and comparison, we determined the HAWKE optics line as the brand of optics we wanted to offer our customers.  HAWKE is new in the United Stated but well known in England.  HAWKE offers an incredible value for your hard-earned dollars.  MY 25-06 is now topped with a HAWKE 4 X 16 – 50 Sidewinder and I love it.  The HAWKE optics are clear, sharp, work great in low light and are reasonably priced.  The warranty is great too.
All of RedHunterLLC’s products are field proven by John and I and we don’t sell products we don’t believe in or use ourselves.  Side-by-side, HAWKE optics outshine the competition and perform like optics costing three times the price.  We don't show every HAWKE optic (rifle scopes, spotting scopes, binoculars, etc) in our RedHunterLLC web store but we can order any product you want and have it shipped to you quickly.    

Friday, August 28, 2009


Tomato juice has long been a folk remedy for removing skunk odor. 
However according to chemists who have analyzed the makeup of skunk “juice,” it doesn’t work. They say tomatoes only mask the skunky odor at the same time that our noses suffer from “olfactory fatigue,” a condition in which nasal receptors are overwhelmed and no longer detect particular smells  - perhaps that’s why you can’t smell your dog, but others can.
Without getting into the complex chemistry of skunk spray, de-skunking requires a product that neutralizes the smelly compounds. Fortunately, there is such a concoction (invented by a chemist) that you can make from readily available ingredients. In a bucket, mix 1 quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of liquid soap or detergent.
Soak your dog with water, work the mixture into its fur (keep it away from its eyes), leave it on for 5 minutes and then rinse thoroughly. Don’t try to store the de-skunking mixture; the combination of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda can blow the lids off containers. Note that skunk spray won’t permanently damage a dog’s eyes, but they might be red and painful. If inflammation persists, see your veterinarian.  RedHunter LLC The Coyote Hunting Experts


I wanted to own a dedicated predator hunting rig but any expendable cash I had would always be vectored in another direction.  That is, until one day when something very unusual happened.  I actually sold a boat and made money on it.

I’ll try and keep the story short and to the point.  I got a great deal on this neglected, classic boat, bought it and worked hard to refurbish it.  We used it as a family boat on lake trips for five years until my wife and son got tired of going to the lake.  Since they were no longer interested, I put it up for sale and make a tidy profit on the deal.   Yes, strange but true.
Certainly, the only logical thing to do was to buy an old full-sized Jeep Cherokee Chief and transform it into my concept of a California/Nevada coyote hunting rig.  Keep in mind that “bling” was not a consideration here.  The project focus was to achieve multiple goals.  When completed, I wanted a coyote hunting vehicle that was reliable, utilitarian, economical, comfortable and stealthy.  I am happy to report that old “Jezebel” does the job.  As they say, “This old dog can hunt.”

The photo below shows the added lighting. The driving lights for dark back roads and below the bumper are my "creeper" lights. The creepers are pointed down and give just enough light to run trails without spooking nearby coyotes, bobcats, fox or other predators.

The photo below shows some added backup lighting. There are two tractor lights pointing down and a rectangular quartz lamp in the middle. They come in handy when backing up in rough country.

The engine in the photo below is a straight six (258 cu. in.). It's not a powerhouse but it keeps the rig light and has a bunch of low-end torque. I ditched the old carb, smog pump and a bunch of vacuum lines when I yanked it all and installed a Mopar multi-port fuel injection system. I was forced to buy the fuel injection kit because the old gal would not pass the strict California smog test with the old electronic carb. Then, after beginning the fuel injection installation, the new intake manifold was hitting the brake booster.   So that meant I had to go for a Hydra-Boost braking system. The sucker will stop on a dime though and the increased performance from the fuel injection is worth the effort.  I also purchased a 3-core radiator and some other goodies to increase performance and MPG.  Right after I bought the jeep I had a rebuilt engine installed and most of the drive train rebuilt or replaced.

Below is a photo of the cab. It shows a gadget bag on the passenger side for my hunt partner’s coyote hunting odds & ends, a home-made center console for predator hunting stuff and some extra instrumentation, including vehicle attitude gauges and a dedicated charging indicator for the rear battery that feeds power to all of the coyote hunting related lighting and electronics.

Below, the photo of the roof shows the Nevada hatch, my spare fuel containers (8) and the rifle rest surrounding the roof area. Sandbags (6) are set all around for easy access when calling coyotes, bobcats, fox and other predators.  The rifle rest surrounding the hatch is made from lightweight, inexpensive plastic sewer pipe and attached securely to the old roof rack with stainless hose clamps.

This interior photo below shows the underside of the coyote hunting hatch, some of the rifle racks on the driver's side, a plywood roof console I made that holds the CD player & MP3 amplifier for the under-body coyote calling speakers, the top of the hydraulic predator hunting chair for the hatch (on a portable base so it can be removed for sleeping in the rear of the rig), easy access attractant and cover scent spray bottles, cow horn coyote howlers, red & white interior lighting and you can barely see the top of the auxiliary battery by the seat back.

Below, another interior view shows the spare water, cook box, cooler, and a better view of the battery behind the driver's seat. The underside of the roof console also has two 12-volt cigar lighter receptacles for coyote hunting lights.

Below is a rear photo of the passenger side. It shows the shooting seat base, rifle racks, a couple of coyote decoy sets hanging on the overhead, fire extinguisher, shovel, hatchet, and some Home Depot carpenter's aprons that I affixed to the side of the rig to hold small items like coyote tail cutters, rubber gloves, laser pointer, etc.  You’ll also notice an inexpensive laser pointer on a tripod and a white strobe light (used to find the rig again after walking away from it to find critters…yes, that’s another story). 
Below is a complete rear view. When hunting, the coyote lighting hatch is pulled off and bungeed to the bar that holds the cooler and cook box in place. All loose gear is stowed on top of the cooler and cook box and held there by the hatch. Everything is removed for sleeping. The rear is floored with 3/4" plywood, padding and carpeting.   It is very comfortable for two guys to sleep in.

There is a bunch of other stuff I didn’t mention such as under floor storage, a 4” Skyjacker chassis lift, coyote calling speakers under the front and rear of the rig; CD player, MP3 player, 50-watt amp for any predator calling input source, under-vehicle speaker controls, 110-volt AC inverter, gas stove and more.  Also, the only component that wasn’t replaced or rebuilt is the ash tray…LOL   I hope you new predator/coyote hunters will benefit from this overview of a California/Nevada style hunt rig. It’s not the Ritz but I love the old girl.  She takes me way out there into the Mojave Desert and beyond and always brings us home.
NOTE:  Night hunting coyotes and lighting predators from your vehicle is legal in designated areas in California; however, shooting out of a vehicle is not.  Also, the vehicle may not be in motion while lighting.  Nevada is a free state and it is legal to shoot from a vehicle in remote areas.  You can also light and call while rolling in Nevada.   
Check your local laws before attempting to night hunt.  Even where night hunting is legal, restrictions may apply.  Know your facts and be prepared to politely defend the legality of your actions. Sometimes local police and fish & game officials may be in error.   No matter what the situation, always remain polite, courteous and cooperative when dealing with any law enforcement officials or land owners.  Don’t ever argue or raise your voice.  Also, most importantly, never volunteer information.  When in doubt, keep your mouth closed and don’t make a “statement” to any peace officer.