Chuck Megli of Custer City, Oklahoma is a big man. At first look, you wouldn’t necessarily think hardcore predator hunter, but after three long days of calling coyotes with Chuck, I learned that he has more “go” than I do. He also knows how to call coyotes!
Chuck is a predator-hunting fanatic. He’s been calling predators for the past 37 years and from December 7th through mid March, he’s calling about three days a week. He figures he probably calls in about 300 coyotes a year (not kills, but calls in). After calling coyotes for three days near Taloga, I can attest that there are a lot of coyotes in that area — and three full days of calling is rough on the body!
Representatives from Winchester ammo and Nikon optics invited me on this hunt. My mission was to connect Winchester’s VarmintX 55-grain rapid expansion polymer-tipped .22-250 bullets with any and all coyotes that I could. I used a Winchester Model 70 Coyote Light rifle topped with Nikon’s Active Target 4-12×40 scope with the BDC Active Target Reticle. This rifle/scope/ammo combination proved highly lethal on coyotes and hogs. I was also testing Nikon’s new Prostaff 7 Range Finder. For under $300, this was an exceptional range finder. I used it to quickly range landmarks at the beggining of each calling session, which allowed me to get on coyotes fast without guessing.
It was in the teens our first morning of the hunt. We called a couple stands with no luck and then set up half way up a cedar-littered ridge, with a thick creek bottom below us. With the sun shining bright by now, Chuck figured the coyotes would be down in the bottoms bedded up for the day.
He started his series of calls with a FOXPRO Prairie Blaster playing “Lil Jack.” He would play the sound for about a minute and then nothing for several minutes. I noticed that each time he turned the FOXPRO on he would play a different distress sound. The list proceeded as follows: Waning Jack, Male Cardinal, Freaky Squeaks, Luscious Lips and Vol Squeaks. This is the same sequence he ran for two days. Somewhere after the Vol Squeaks Chuck played the Cardinal call again. That’s when a coyote ran right in front of me at 15 steps and disappeared between two cedars headed right toward Chuck. I can only imagine the surprise on his face when this ’yote back peddles in his lap! Chuck wasn’t carrying a gun because he wanted Adam Goess with Nikon and myself to do the shooting.
Still learning the new rifle, I was fumbling with the safety — which is a lever-style safety on the side of the rifle — when the coyote bounced right past my narrow shooting window. The wind was perfect so the coyote never knew I was sitting in the shade of a large cedar, so when he came hightailing it back through my shooting lane I let out a “woof,” and he paused for a split second.
This was the first time I had used the Nikon BDC Active Target reticle. Using the circle reticle, I was able to place it quickly on the coyote’s shoulder and fire a shot. I instantly heard the 3,600-fps impact of the alloy-jacketed lead-core bullet on flesh, as the large male coyote melted into the knee-high brown grass.
I was beginning to like Chuck’s use of multiple sounds per stand. We continued hunting throughout the day, but the wind was howling by mid morning. We decided to head into the creek bottoms and call out of the wind. Around 3 p.m., we entered a long winter wheat field in a bottom. We called for nearly 30 minutes on this stand and just about the time we were getting ready to get up I saw a coyote’s head pop out of the creek bottom. The ‘yote was so focused on the decoy out in the field that he never knew we were there, he didn’t even realize the truck was parked just 30 yards from where he stood on the opposite side of the creek.
Again, using the circle reticle, I placed it center-mass on its chest and squeezed the M.O.A. Trigger System. The coyote did a back flip into the creek bank. With cattle calving all around this location, I felt good about removing this male from the area and I know the rancher did!
The next day of calling was very slow. My hunting partner that day missed a slam-dunk shot on a big dog at 90 to 100 yards. However, day three dawned a cold, windless morning and we picked up another local predator caller to help. Cory Megli is Chuck’s nephew. Chuck taught him how to predator hunt 15 years ago, and Cory has been at it strong ever since. Cory lives in Taloga, so he had some new ground for us to hunt. With it being late February, the coyotes were starting to pair up and breed, so we decided to throw in some coyote vocalization. That proved to be a good move, as our fourth stand of the morning produced three coyotes. However, they came in on stealth mode with the use of the coyote vocals. My shooting partner for the day had a quick shot at one of the dogs at about 200 yards. I was looking through my scope steadying for a shot when he fired — it looked like a clean miss. We were excited, but still didn’t have a coyote for the day.
We made more stands and had zero luck. It was a midday stand that we set up at and started with coyote howls and then proceeded into the distress series that Chuck typically runs. With the warm sun shinning on me, my mind was wandering big time. I believe I checked out the back of my eyelids a time or two even. That’s when I got the surprise of my life when I saw a coyote sneaking up the open draw right toward the FOXPRO. I quickly swiveled on my sticks, got on the coyote and “woofed” at him. The coyote froze in its tracks as I placed the circle on its shoulder. I yanked on the trigger instead of squeezing it and missed the easy shot — just left. I bolted another round, lead the sprinting dog and fired another miss. That’s when my shooting partner, Skip Knowles, got in on the action and rolled the running dog at 100 yards! Coyote down.
Skip ended up nailing another coyote that day. We also got into a group of feral hogs that were feeding in the middle of a winter wheat field. We got the wind right and made a ¼-mile stalk and took out four of the five adult hogs in the group. I was wishing I had my AR, but we worked the bolts fast and reduced some of the local damage to this farmer’s wheat field and creek bottoms.
It was tough hunting in Oklahoma, but we stuck with it and kept calling. When we weren’t getting responses we threw in coyote vocalization, which improved our odds the last day. The lessons I learned were to keep calling regardless the time of day. We had coyotes come in at high noon and others late in the morning. You can’t kill them if you’re not out there. I also learned not to be afraid to use multiple distress sounds. You never know what’s going to pique the interest of a nearby coyote. If you’re not having luck while out calling, change things up — it’s not like you’re going to do any worse.
Want To Hunt Coyotes In Oklahoma?
Contact Troy Cunningham at Legend Waterfowl. Troy has access to tens of thousands of acres of prime predator and feral hog country. We stayed in a nice lodge and ate very well while there.
You can also visit NRA Outdoors to find your dream hunt destination.