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Thread: Newbie to Predator hunting... need help

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    Member AKRecurveAssassin's Avatar
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    Default Newbie to Predator hunting... need help

    I live in fairbanks and I have occasionally shot a few predators while driving on the highways and just happened upon the critters, some lynx, a few fox, some coyotes, etc. Now I am wanting to get into it and get serious about it. I have a .243 Win Weatherby and a .17 HMR in the ruger m77. In the past I shot the 100 grain power points out of the .243 and the 20gr FMJ out of 17. the Many people I have talked to say that the 243 is not a good choice because it damages pelts pretty bad on the smaller critters, so i have been looking into getting a 22-250. Is the 243 a bad choice? and also, is there anyone who would be willing to help out a newcomer to the sport? I am a full time student and i do work two jobs to keep myself afloat but given the right circumstances I do have some mobility on availability. Any pointers on how to start out with what I have now? Any pointers on places to go relatively close to Fairbanks?

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    From what I've read you will probably do more damage with a 22-250 on smaller fur animals.

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    Very possible, that 100gr bullet tears stuff up pretty bad though. the last lynx i shot in unit 13 had a hole too big to repair.

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    The old standard .243 Win Mag is a good predator round if you load your own and get a FMJ slowed down. I'm not sure if you can get the weatherby .243 to slow down enough from that case though. I definitely would not get at 22-250 if you intend on salvaging fur. If you try to stay under 100 yards and don't shoot through brush, the .17HMR is a good little caliber for fox, lynx and coyotes. Areas close to Fairbanks are getting hit fairly hard this season it appears from what I've seen. There has definitely been an "explosion" in the number of predator hunters within the last few years. I never used to see people or signs of people calling, but am finding more and more. Play the game differently than what you think others would do and you might pick up some fur in areas already called.

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    Member sniper3083006's Avatar
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    Please feel free to correct if I am wrong but I think what AKRecurve is saying is he has a Weatherby in .243 Win. The only .24 something I know weatherby to make is a .240 Weatherby.
    I have heard good things about .223 and pelts so that is what I went with on my T/C Encore. Can't wait to find out.
    Snowcamoman how's your calling season been going?

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sniper3083006 View Post
    I have heard good things about .223 and pelts so that is what I went with on my T/C Encore. Can't wait to find out.
    Snowcamoman how's your calling season been going?
    I use a .223, and thus far through a handful of lynx, coyote, and fox pelts I am not really pleased. I'm not selling my furs, so it doesn't really matter that much - but I've had a few fist-sized holes using 55 grain fmj bullets. It's a laser accurate gun, so I'm not inclined to change...but I sure would like a little less pelt damage than I've been getting.

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    I've had great luck on a lynx and a coyote using a .223 with some hand loaded hollow point bullets at about 2400 fps, seems to produce mild expansion. Quarter to half dollar sized exits, easily sewen up!

    I suspect if you hand load for the .243 you would be just fine if you keep the velocity down around 2800 or so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    I use a .223, and thus far through a handful of lynx, coyote, and fox pelts I am not really pleased. I'm not selling my furs, so it doesn't really matter that much - but I've had a few fist-sized holes using 55 grain fmj bullets. It's a laser accurate gun, so I'm not inclined to change...but I sure would like a little less pelt damage than I've been getting.
    Brian, are you using factory loads? I suspect they are moving pretty fast, try slowing some down. I've been using a 69gr Sierra HPBT to get the results I posted below.

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    I didn't have any luck with the .223 factory ammo I used. A buddy rolled me some FMJ stuff at slower velocities and it does alright. I still grab my 6PPC when I'm headed out to call. I just love the performance and ability to cut through brushy spots when a lynx holds tight.

    sniper, you are probably correct about that caliber. I did not look into it, so it's highly likely that it is a Weatherby rifle in the .243 caliber. If so, that is a good predator caliber if you load your own or find some slower factory loads.

    My season has been slow, but that's mostly due to me not going out much. I took on a massive home project (converted house to radiant floors and put in a ground source heating system) that's kept me inside a lot. The uber-cold weather hasn't driven me to go out much either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by limon32 View Post
    Brian, are you using factory loads? I suspect they are moving pretty fast, try slowing some down. I've been using a 69gr Sierra HPBT to get the results I posted below.
    Yep, I'm using factory loads. I don't have a reloading setup, and while I know that would help out a fair bit, I've got way too many hobbies as it is. I just can't see taking the time to do it right given my two young sons and my other pursuits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    Yep, I'm using factory loads. I don't have a reloading setup, and while I know that would help out a fair bit, I've got way too many hobbies as it is. I just can't see taking the time to do it right given my two young sons and my other pursuits.
    Federal does produce them in a factory load coming out at 2950, I think they're about $30 a box though! Just an FYI...

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    Quote Originally Posted by limon32 View Post
    Federal does produce them in a factory load coming out at 2950, I think they're about $30 a box though! Just an FYI...
    Good to know. I'm happy to pay more if it means less fur damage.

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    I should have clarified; I have a weatherby rifle chambered in .243 win. I have been shooting the federal 100 grn power point. It's still above 3000 fps and it puts big holes in anything closer than 150 yards. And I haven't shot anything with the .17 yet so I don't know how those 20gr FMJ's perform yet. Thanks for the info Snowcamoman, does the haul road get hit pretty hard north of fairbanks? I tried out towards central and circle hot springs a few weekends ago and saw one fox and a coyote after 20+ sets and I never got a shot at either of them. And also, as far as clothing goes, what are most people using for staying warm while sitting in the snow? Cuz it's really cold out there.

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    That's good you saw some critters, that always keeps the drive to go out high. I'm with you on the .243 Win now, it was my misunderstanding about it possibly being a weatherby caliber, which they do not make (.240Weatherby is closest type). If you get into reloading, you can get a really fur friendly FMJ load worked up that will perform great. I'm not sure how hard the Haul Road gets hit, but it's definitely getting hit more than it was in the past. The farther and harder it is to drive to, the less pressure you'll see (basic economics). Guys usually don't want to spend the money or have the time to drive 1000 plus miles for the chance at a few predators. The cold and wind north can be a deal breaker too lots of times. I hate calling in the wind. For staying warm, I have a custom two piece calling outfit. If you have overwhites, put on a down coat and good layers for your legs and you will stay pretty warm. The hands and feet are usually the first to get cold. Put chemical packs in the gloves and boots if need be to stay still on stand and fight off the pain of cold setting in. It's been pretty cold here in the interior lately though and I've been just staying put. The cold will move out eventually and I'll get back in the game.

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    thanks again snowcamoman, as I have been reading more and more forums, I see that you have what seems to be a plethora of knowledge on the subject. In this extreme cold do the predators seem to move more or stay put more? And also, if i was to get a 22-250 and shoot a bthp out of it and slow it down, how would those results look on the smaller game such us coyotes and lynx and fox if i was shooting them past 100 yards? any thoughts boys?

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    The dynamics that occur when the bullet strikes and enters the animal dictates that it should be traveling under about 2800 fps for smaller game like coyotes and lynx, diameter doesn't matter (relatively speaking). If you want a new 22-250 it will work just like my .223 IF you get the speed down. A .243, .270 or .308 will all perform (terminally) similar at similar speeds. There are plenty of guys over at PredatorMasters using downloaded .243s and keeping fur in good shape. Some are reporting good results with slower TSXs producing mild expansion and small holes.

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    thanks limon32, thats very good information.

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    Akrecurcve,
    limon hit the head of the nail on his explanation of velocity and bullets on fur. In the cold, I have noticed that I have a pretty low percentage of called in animals. I went through my logs from the past and have very few animals respond in the -30 to -40F temperature range. The animals that did respond did so in a relatively quick timeframe, usually within 4 minutes. That tells me a couple things from my experience. Animals that respond are close and willing to come into the call. Other animals farther away do not seem to want to exert the energy to come in to the call. I used to think that animals would surely be willing to come in at a distressed animal sound in the really cold weather, since they are burning more energy to stay warm and need the feed. My data shows the contrary though, so maybe they just like to sit tight and conserve. If anybody has logged their calling data over the years and tracked the percentage of animals called on really cold days, I'd love to hear what your statistics show. I am by no means an expert on anything predators, but have put a bunch of time (and money) into trying to figure out what works and what doesn't work up here. Our calling, relatively difficult access to animals, and environment is very different than most of the lower 48, that's for sure. Watching some of the predator shows or movies and expecting to replicate that up here simply doesn't happen. I have hunted with someone who used a 22-250 with paper shelled bthp's that were slowed down as much as possible and fur was still badly damaged within the 100 yard mark on fox. My guess is lynx would have similar results and coyote might be able to suck up the impact energy if hit in the right position without an exit. Unless you are calling big, wide open areas, I would not go with a 22-250. If you're in the interior, the percentage of places you'll go will more than likely give you shot opportunities in the 100 yard range or less.

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    Member AKRecurveAssassin's Avatar
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    So you think i should just stick to the .17 and keep the .243 along my side for the farther shots?

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    That's what I would do as opposed to buying a new set up. Spend the money on good reloading equipment and consumables and roll your own ammo taylored to your rifle and the task at hand.

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