Box Blind Hunting Tips for Better Accuracy

By Glen Wunderlich

Any Michigander knows all too well that fair-weather activities are limited, and with firearms deer season on hand in five weeks,there’s no better time to sight in the big guns than now.

Most shooters know that a steady rest is a good place to start to minimize human error. Benchrest sand bags under the forearm and butt stock can minimize movement and are a must for determining the accuracy potential of any round.  But, repeating this accuracy afield can be problematic.

Obviously, pin-point accuracy is not as important at closer ranges, but when stretching the limits of a firearm across a field or through the woods, every bit of precision is required to minimize the risk of bad shots.

Here’s a tip for those that shoot from any type of box blind Read more

Michigan’s Deer Forecast

The Michigan DNR’s deer forecast in an abbreviated form.

Upper Peninsula

Within the UP, deer populations continue to slowly increase following a second mild winter in a row. Fawn production should be good, though predation may have produced some losses. Antlered buck numbers will likely be on the rise, as the increased production of fawns in 2010 should lead to greater antlered buck numbers this year. More deer will be found in the Southern UP near Lake Michigan, with fewer in the Northern UP near Lake Superior. Antlerless licenses are available in DMUs 022, 055, 122, 152, 155, 252, and 255 for 2011. Special buck harvest restrictions noted above are in place throughout the UP.

Northern Lower Michigan

Mild winter conditions for the second year in a row in the NLP should lead to increasing deer numbers. Deer numbers on many state land areas appear to be on the rise, though they are still below goal in some areas. In some NLP units, indications are that there is an overabundance of deer on private land but lower than desired populations on public land. Special antlerless seasons and private land license quotas are used in these units to target deer on private land even if abundant sign and sightings do not occur on public land. The number of antlerless deer licenses is the same as last year in eastern NLP multi-unit area DMU 487, while no antlerless permits were made available in four counties (Cheboygan, Otsego, Roscommon, and Kalkaska). Special buck harvest restrictions noted above are in place in DMU 487. Within DMU 487 ONLY, hunters may harvest an antlerless deer with a firearm or combination license within the Nov. 15-30 firearms season.

Southern Michigan

The deer population in southern Michigan is expected to be similar to the last few years. Abundant food and cover in the form of agricultural crops and scattered swamps and woodlots provide very good habitat across the southern Michigan landscape. This high quality habitat, combined with relatively mild winter conditions, results in an abundant and productive deer population. Deer populations generally exceed DNR goals and fawns generally come in sets of twins and triplets. High numbers of antlerless permits are available again this year, particularly in the multi-county DMU 486 (most of southern Michigan except St. Clair, Macomb, Wayne, and Monroe Counties). rm season or the Dec. 9-18 muzzleloader season.



Guns Being Considered to Control Coyotes


LAGUNA WOODS – After several coyote attacks and near misses this week, two small dogs are dead, and pet owners are taking to carrying sticks and golf clubs on walks in the gated retirement community of Laguna Woods Village.

In response, the Laguna Woods City Council is planning a special meeting Thursday afternoon to consider changing its law banning the discharge of firearms.  More here…

Court Challenge on Wolf Delisting Tuesday

The congressional rider removing gray wolves from Endangered Species Act protection faces a court challenge in Missoula on Tuesday.

The Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Clearwater and WildEarth Guardians together claim Congress violated the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine when it ordered the wolf delisted and blocked future court review of that decision.

In response, attorneys for Interior Secretary Ken Salazar say Congress has frequently rewritten laws…
Read more:

When Calling Brings ’em Calling

By Glen Wunderlich

Coyote hunting has always intrigued me and with all the sign we had been seeing on a parcel of land in Shiawassee County, it was time to see if we could lure one into rifle range.  Just about anyone will remark about the number of coyotes there are, but doing something about thinning the population is another matter altogether.  They have a nose that knows, and hearing and eyesight suited to their instinct to kill whatever they can. 

During daylight hours, the game laws permit the use of centerfire rifles for coyotes in southern Michigan, so my friend, Joe Reynolds, and I devised a plan in which we could both tote trusty long-range firearms.  Joe’s tool for the job is a real shooter:  a Ruger in .300 Winchester Magnum, outfitted with a Timney trigger, topped off with a 6.5 x 20 power Leupold scope, and fed with handloads of rocket-like 110-grain Hornady spire points.  It’s point and shoot without any need to consider holdover anywhere in the field we were to hunt.

I was carrying a dual purpose rifle suited for anything from bear to woodchuck:  a Browning model BAR, scoped with an Aimpoint Hunter.  This classic was stoked with homebrewed 110-grain Hornady V-Max verminators.

Our plan was to set up in the dark Saturday morning April 9th with only about a week left in the season.  (Yes, there is a season unless you are on private property and witness a coyote “doing or about to do damage.”  Then they can be taken any time, but since I can’t comprehend what a wild animal is about to do, I hunt during the stated season.) 

I set up our full-body Flambeau coyote decoy about 100 yards up wind of our blind.  Next to it, I poked a rod into the ground with a spring and imitation tail fastened to the other end of it powered by 4 “C” cell batteries in a plastic compartment.  It’s called a Predator Enticer ( and spins and bounces at timed intervals, thus adding some crazy motion to our set up.

Late Season Coyote

About 50 yards closer to our stand, I set out a FoxPro FX3 receiver/speaker and headed back to the shack where I would dictate sounds with the remote control device in hand. 

Joe was already set up at the blind when I returned.  I then cycled the action on my semi-auto BAR trying not to make too much noise in the still, foggy early morning air.

When we were finally able to see across the field, I sent the first signal to the receiver, which imitated a rabbit in distress.  I altered the volume for a few minutes and nothing appeared so I mixed in some female invitation and challenge calls.  These calls are boomed out of the diminutive digital device and we were sure something would come running in.  Still nothing.

I paused for a while then tried a woodpecker in distress call – a bit odd, but maybe different enough to trick a cunning canine.

It worked.  I made the spot at over 100 yards on the edge of the field and moved my rifle into position and held on the chest of the wily one.  With the red dot centered, I squeezed the trigger.  Click!

I knew I was in trouble and I immediately suspected what had happened.  In my desire to be quiet when I cycled the rifle, I eased the bolt forward so it wouldn’t slam shut. Wrong! It didn’t strip a round from the magazine, meaning it never loaded one into the chamber.  The coyote was too close at 120 yards for me to recover, so I urged Joe to take the shot. 

Joe's Late Season Prize

The   mighty Ruger roared and the huge female fell victim to our ruse. 

I learned two valuable lessons that morning:  chamber a round before getting on stand and always take a friend who happens to be a good shot.

Hog On!

By Glen Wunderlich
Outdoor Columnist
Professional Outdoor Media Association

Down in the wildwood, sittin’ on a log,
Finger on the trigger and eye on a hog;
My hold was good, so I let ‘er go,
And that hog de-parted to Ohio.

That sure takes some doin’ from Lincoln County, West Virginia, home of General Chuck Yeager and Steve McComas. Since most people know a bit about ol’ Chuck, here’s a little of what I know of Steve, affectionately known as one of the biggest liars in the area. As a matter of fact, while we were at the Vandalia Gathering at the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, they held a liars’ contest as part of the weekend’s festivities and wouldn’t let Steve compete. Turned out, they had a rule against allowing professionals. Folks say there’s a dead giveaway to know when he’s not telling the truth, however: his mouth is open.

Actually, he’s a good ol’ boy who’s introduced me to some of the finest hunting land in the country. He knows the back roads and those who live among the hills and calls out their names and waves as he drives by. I couldn’t wipe that grin off my face as he sawed on his fiddle at a local get-together in Branchland Friday night, The Vandalia Gathering in Charleston on Saturday, at a Guyan Valley High School class reunion Saturday evening, and back to the final day of pickin’, fiddlin’, and singin’ at the Capitol on Sunday. Man, there’s nothing else like it, but it was time for a change of pace and some Southern style groundhog huntin’ was on Memorial Day’s agenda.

We searched high and low and found the orchard grass hay far too tall to spot a hog, so we headed where we could look down onto a field prepared for tobacco planting at the Stratton farm. Soon, I spotted movement on a distant log pile across the field well below us. Swinging into action I read 177 yards on my rangefinder to the logs from the vehicle. Steve obligingly offered the first chance to me and I opted for some serious horsepower: my Browning A-Bolt in .300 Winchester Magnum and Shepherd scope fed with 110 grain Hornady V-Max verminators. I eased on down the hill with Steve’s homemade blue jean sandbags and set them on the down slope. Soon, I found a second hog atop the pile, mere feet from the other one; Steve let me know there was a third one there, too, but I already had a plan.

The one on the left was nominated and his number came up in 15 one hundredths of a second from ignition. His associate couldn’t comprehend the quick disappearance of his pal and he sat there studying on it long enough for me to get another missile from my pocket. Another one de-parted to Ohio. I never saw the third one but I focused on the logs, while Steve checked out the low ground behind us. Before long, curiosity and my home-brewed charge got the best of the third hapless log hog and we headed to Cowhide Branch Road.

We met Jimmy working near the sawmill and he willingly gave us permission, although he was pessimistic about our chances. As we poked along the winding dirt road, we came across four people sitting at the back of a tractor setting tobacco plants. We safely distanced ourselves from them at the far end of the field, where I noticed movement in some high grass. I retrieved my .223 Thompson/Center Contender pistol with its factory 14-inch, ported barrel under a fixed 7-power Burris long-eye-relief handgun scope and chambered a zippy 40-grain V-Max bomb. Yardage was confirmed to be 117 and another one succumbed. Investigating the scene, we determined there were more hogs at hand so we got back into position at the same place where I had taken the last one. This time, Steve tried his hand with the Contender, as I watched through my binoculars. Unfortunately, Steve didn’t have his earplugs in securely and paid the price with a headache afterward, while the hog paid most dearly.

Before long, the farmers finished their chores and we had the place to ourselves. With room to boom, I confidently put the .300 Winchester back into action and took out a couple more pigs making it 6 for 6 on the day plus Steve’s contribution. I set the hogs out for the vultures, and before we drove off, they gracefully swooped in below the hardwoods’ canopy. When we returned the next day, they were still on the nourishing main course.
In a land where Republicans are as common as ugly girls competing in the Miss America pageant; where music is produced without electricity; where venison goes well with deer meat; where vultures always show up with buzzards; where woodchucks and groundhogs are despised equally by farmers, I was welcomed everywhere and always encouraged to return. I think I will.

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