When folks think about airguns for hunting, they generally think about small game like rabbits and squirrels. But there’s a lot more that modern airguns can do. Some PCP air rifles are approaching “firearm” performance levels, and more and more states are recognizing airguns as viable means for taking not only predators but also large game. This article will take a look at what it takes to have a successful coyote hunt with an airgun. There are many things to consider, so let’s get started.
Know Your Prey
Coyotes are a nuisance at best, and dangerous and aggressive at worst. They pose a real threat to livestock, small pets, and even people under the right circumstances. It seems that they are always around when you’re not holding your airgun, but the moment you head out, intending to thin them out, they are nowhere to be seen. They can be very hard to take with an airgun. They are very smart, suspicious, and never stand still. While all of this makes them challenging to hunt, it’s also what makes a successful hunt extremely rewarding.
Most coyotes are taken with high powered firearms at long range. It’s much easier to sit off at three hundred to four hundred yards with a thermal or night vision sight and take them before they even know what hit them. But that’s not how you’ll need to do it with an airgun. You’ll need to get them inside one hundred yards, and you’ll really increase your success probability if you can shrink that to within fifty yards. A kill shot can be a decent vitals shot or a head shot. Shot placement will be paramount as a wounded coyote can easily run off and travel a great distance before laying down to die. As ethical hunters, we don’t ever want to see that happen so let’s look at some ways to make the one shot kills we are looking for.
Gear for the Job
Generally speaking you’ll be hunting coyotes out in the field. Should you need to deal with them around your home or in a populated neighborhood, you probably shouldn’t try to shoot them. You wouldn’t want to go with a low powered airgun because the chance of simply wounding the animal is much greater. And to use a high powered field airgun out your back door presents a set of other potential consequences that nobody probably wants to deal with. So for this discussion, we’ll only focus on gear for hunting out in the field where there’s plenty of room.
Our suggestion for taking coyotes past fifty yards would be to start with a medium caliber, like .30 or .35, traveling as close to one thousand FPS as possible. Something like the .30 Cal Umarex Gauntlet 2 is a good starting point. Pushing pellets and slugs at well over nine hundred FPS and lighter options at over one thousand FPS, the flight time to the animal is minimal. Also, being so close to the speed of sound, the time between the animal hearing the shot and the impact of the round is tiny.
Additionally, airguns like the FX Impact M3, AirForce Texan, and options from Hatsan, and others, also fit the bill. The key here is the flight time of the pellet or slug. If you are shooting past that fifty yard mark, you want to get to the animal as quickly as practical. The margin for error with a medium caliber will be very small, so accuracy at whatever your estimated rage is, is going to be critical.
If you can get the coyote in closer, this can be done through the use of electronic calls and also baiting, but check your local laws to be sure, then your options really increase. You’ll have more options not just in the variety of airguns, but also caliber. Now .45 and .50 cal airguns start to become more viable. Airguns like the Seneca 909 or Dragon Claw produce more than enough energy for taking coyote sized game and the .45 and .50 caliber cast slugs cause more damage and increase the potential of a one shot kill. Other airguns that pop on our radar would be the AirForce Texan, Hatsan Piledriver, Benjamin Bulldog .457, and Umarex Hammer. Any of which, with the right shooter on the trigger, can easily get the job done.
That’s a Wrap
If you have a coyote problem around your property, or you just want to try a really challenging hunt and need help pulling together the right gear, just give us a call. See all our large game hunting air rifles and see which you like best. Whether you need help picking the right caliber, ammo, optic, or fill source, our team is here to help.