If it weren’t for some grass and the occasional yucca plant, I could have swore I was staring into the middle of the Saudi Arabian desert. Let’s just say whoever named this part of northwest Nebraska probably didn’t ruminate long before landing on “The Sandhills.”
As our guide, Greg, ran the electronic caller from my left, I monitored the morning horizon for any sign of our targeted prey — coyotes. I couldn’t help but wonder how anything could hide in this country. All I could see was miles and miles of sand.
Using my Bushnell Fusion 1600 ARC binocular/rangefinder, I scanned the hills for any signs of movement and ranged the most likely predator approach lanes in hopes a coyote would soon answer the howls now erupting from the call.
With little to slow the wind down, I felt fortunate it was merely a light breeze I was staring into. John Vaca, the national trade manager and national pro staff manager for Final Approach/Bushnell, monitored the backside of the hill for coyotes trying to sneak downwind of the caller.
My trigger finger itched to test the new Thompson/Center Dimension rifle resting on my shooting sticks. The rifle was smooth shooting and accurate in .223 on the range, and I had only begun to question the folks from T/C on the interchangeable bolts and barrels that allow the rifle to become anything from a .204 Ruger to a .300 Win Mag. My mind wandered with all the possibilities an interchangeable rifle presented.
A single shot rang out from the backside of the hill just 12 minutes into the stand.
Greg immediately broke into a ky-yi coyote distress call as my eyes darted to the right in search of a coyote running around the hillside — no sign of any. There were no follow-up shots either — a good indication John’s first shot was on target.
A couple of minutes later, with no coyotes in sight and no more shooting from behind us, Greg whistled to signal an end to the stand. As we crested the hill, John pointed out the fallen song dog — a mangy female that trotted within 100 yards in the bottom of a saddle before she met a single Hornady V-MAX bullet and dropped.
It was 6:56 a.m. This was our first stand on the first day of a three-day hunt hosted by Les Johnson of PredatorQuest and Spring Meadows Hunting and Fishing. Things were looking up, and the rest of the hunt didn’t disappoint either.
Keep an eye on future issues of Trapper & Predator Caller for more on our Nebraska Sandhills predator hunt.