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Thread: Missed Opportunity (of a lifetime?)

  1. #1
    Member cod's Avatar
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    Default Missed Opportunity (of a lifetime?)

    Wow. I'm sick tonite. Took a quick ride out to do some coyote calling this aftrnn. Came across a pack of fresh wolf tracks instead on the way out where I been seeing coyote tracks. Looks like all the coyotes were splitville with the wolves in town. The back was moving into the wind and had entered a open swampy area. I left the wheeler and walked to the edge of the swamp and called the lone wolf call for about 10 howls every 5-10 min or so. Kept it up for about and hr. -no luck. So hopped on the wheeler and headed up my normal trail which was sorta the direction that they had headed. Moved to another calling position about 3 miles ahead. After analyzing the position I had I felt really quite confident. Wind just right. New one inch of snow from nite b4. Great line of sight around me. Nice place to sit complete with a nice stump just at the right height for a rifle rest. So I start my calling sequences again. About an hour into it I hear the pack back in the swamp area answering in earnest. I give two more sets of long howls then shut up. They know where I (the caller) am. I know where they are. It is now about 4pm. Plenty of daylight left. They were howling from behind a rise between us, I figure maybe one mile away. If they do come from the right of the hill between us they will come right down the snowgo trail to me. If they come out from the left of the hill open swamp with only a completely logged out area between us.
    About 6 pm here they come. Left side of hill and fanning out across the swamp. 1,2,3,4,5, I'm loosing count as they fan out. Two veer off my way a bit, and I change the ecaller to a snowshoe hare distress at half volume. One sits on the swamp edge maybe 300 yards out in the clear. I try the ecaller again but for some reason it wont go. So I pull my hand caller out and blow 5- 10 seconds of rabbit distress. One peels off and enters the logged area coming up a small ravine almost directly at me. I estimate 100 yrds and I have just a few small pine trees between us as he stops broadside to me. I could shoot but I know he is gonna come further up the ravine with my wheeler sitting right on the trail about 150 ft ahead of him. He comes some more. Hesitating, he stops in the wide open broadside again to me. My scope is set at 9x and he takes up nearly three quarters(?) of my viewfinder. Bang! He trots leisurely quartering away. He doesnt know what/where/anything. 30 ft further away and pauses. Bang! Trotting away again. Bang! Why has he not fallen? One more bang? I dont know. Maybe. .......What??? Over a small knob he goes. He seems to tip awkwardly every now and then b4 disappearing. I HAD to have hit him. No WAY I could have missed a 70 yard shot, right? Broadside? At least twice? No way! Plenty of daylite left. I watch some of the pack scatter directly across the swamp in front of me and 10 minutes pass as I ponder things. The 223 had to do more damage than that, dont they, I ask myself. Surely there has to be a blood trail and he's laying right on the other side of the knob. A wolf calls from the left end of the swamp. The pack answers from straight across the swamp. I join the howling for a few minutes by mouth until we all calm down.
    I make the long walk to his tracks. Yep, no mirage, he was a standing right thar...... and NO blood. Wow, there has to be a blood trail.........nope. I follow his trail the couple hundred yrds to the edge of the swamp where he made a hard left and stayed in the treeline. Not a drop. Wow! Unbelievable!
    I hang out at the edge of the swamp and throw a few more howls in the air. No answers. With light dimming I retrace my steps and analylize what happened. No explanation is found. I'm just dumbfounded.
    I hop back on the wheeler and head home. Cussing myself outload about every mile. I pull into my garage still pondering HOW can one miss when practically your WHOLE reticle has hair in it??
    I turn on the lights and undress after hanging the gun on its peg. I cant stand it. I take the gun, wondering if something is obvious. Yep! There it is. Both adjusting knobs have been turned. The up/down, sits on the #5. The windage....2.5(?). Not good! A quick review of the book shows an eighteen inch difference at 100 yrds. Wow. I cant believe this!
    In retrospect with the 3 or so hrs I had sitting comfortably sitting and calling I NEVER did check my knobs after a horribly rough ride out on the wheeler with the rifle on my back. Son of a &%(^*$#! Got stuck several times trying to break a new trail on the way out and now I learned a lesson the hard way. One I soon wont forget, too.
    First time I actually used the wolf howl call on my wildfire. First time I ever actually shot at a wolf. Bummer! Might just be the best opportunity I'll have in my life. 70 yards broadside with zero brush between us.
    On the good side, was awesome to have the plan come out like I thought it could. Cool to watch the pack for a few minutes. I was surprised that the shot(s) didnt make him instantly hit high gear! I'm guessing there were about 7-9 in the pack. Back to the drawing (shooting) board, I guess.
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

  2. #2
    Supporting Member Hoyt-Hunter's Avatar
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    Sounds like a good reason to not own turret dials on a rifle that is being slung. A good ol fashion capped dial would have alleviated the problem.


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    Sorry to hear it end that way Cod, I had a chance at a decent caribou that I screwed up this fall, would have been my first big game animal and I was carrying an heirloom rifle to boot, I feel your pain!

    Never the less your tactics are working and I have no doubt you'll get another opportunity one of these days, keep at it.

    See if you can get some dog pee and go spread it around in that swamp, I bet you could get them to patrol that territory a bit more sternly and come into that again.


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    Outstanding post, thanks for the thrilling read.

  5. #5
    Member cod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoyt-Hunter View Post
    Sounds like a good reason to not own turret dials on a rifle that is being slung. A good ol fashion capped dial would have alleviated the problem.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Yep, Just changed out my 3x9 vxIII regular reticle for a wider tubed 3x9 with red dot vxR Patrol 40mm last month. With the lousy snow conditions this yr I havent been out but a few times with it lately. You're right tho, I never had that problem with the other scopes. Love the scope and I'll never ever forget to check out the turrets again. Not that it matters but I wonder if I been running around with it like that (turrets off) the last couple trips or did I get them turned with all the off and on the wheeler I did on the way out pushing it thru the snow? No matter at this pt I guess. Boy no doubt a pack of woofs drove the yotes away. A week earlier I had 2 diff packs of yotes answering my calls at the same time at 3pm in the spot I first came across the wolf tracks. Not a single fresh track from the yotes after the wolves came strolling.
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

  6. #6

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    Did they appear to have good fur.........???

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    Opportunity of a life time Possibly but if you live in & hunt in wolf country long possibly not. The part about it not high tailing it out of there at the first shot probably you will never see again so make the first shot count the next time around.
    meats meat don't knock it till you try it

  8. #8
    Member cod's Avatar
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    Yeah the fur looked good. The one close to me was a lighter grayish color almost head to toe. Not one of the real big ones. Guessing I'ld say they sent the rookie to check out the rabbit call. I made note on org post that he looked like he seemed to 'tip awkwardly' when leaving. That was caused by him punching thru the snowpack every 20 ft or so with one of his legs.
    Otterman, I hope u are right and probably are about more chances. Its just that in this case I was pretty confident that I had every advantage with the situation as soon as I set up. Even WHEN U have all those advantages I thought I had, you still have to be a bit lucky to have it all pan out.
    Just got back from sighting rifle back in at the beach. Yep, as suspected both knobs back to zero did the trick. Although one was on 5, the other was a complete rotation and another 2.2 around. Initial shots fired b4 moving anything was 24 inches from center aim, hi and right. Lucky dog! Back on the black again now tho.
    I love a fresh one inch snowfall.
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

  9. #9
    Member cod's Avatar
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    This is what there fur looks like close up--last year for u AGL.
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

  10. #10

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    sounds like a crazy fun day of calling. Ironically its days like that we'll remember and share for years to come.

    I had one happen twice on cats night calling. ended up going with quick detach mounts for some dumb reason, and they came loose. Couldn't figure out why I was so far off. I still laugh about it. 2nd one was a cheap scope issue. I'll leave it at I knew better when I bought the dang thing and still did it anyways LOL!

  11. #11
    Member cod's Avatar
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    Got out on a late start yest to see if I could cut the pack of at the proverbial pass. I was pretty sure I knew where they were heading--their more traditional 'home' territory. They have fairly regular 'pass thru' areas that they use. So I cut their tracks on the main trail just a mile from where I took my shots. They followed the main trail for a mile then down into some tough country where there are anothe series of swamps. I stayed on the main trail that eventually swings across the swamps they were headed thru. When I got there, sure enough they had already passed thru. I followed those tracks to the end of that swamp but I discovered those tracks were windblown so they must have been there early in the day. There is one more 'pass thru' (but is in their home area already) that I wanted to check but ran out of daylite before I could get all the way there.When did cross one or two (I was in a bit of hurry so didnt overanylize) sets of fresh woof tracks and even several yote tracks near the wolves home area. I called there for about an hour but got no responses. Like most set ups, I didnt really totally like the feel of the spot but thats kinda what one runs into when calling. When u do find a 'good' spot, it 'feels' good. At any rate, it looks like the pack made it 'home' safe. Their home area is hard to ambush them and they know it.
    One other note... the spot I shot at the wolf from the day b4 had fresh sets of coyotes that had come in from my blind side. Maybe the rabbit distress was too much for them to resist and snuck in where I wasnt looking. Or.. maybe they made a mental note and came much later when the comotion died down.
    cheers and good hunting all....
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

  12. #12

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    That's quite a story. Keep after it!

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