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Guns & Shooting Shotguns

The Best New Shotguns for Predator Hunting

by Skip Knowles   |  February 13th, 2014 0

People have been killing coyotes with shotguns forever, but a huge spike in predator hunting with shotguns has occurred recently for a lot of good reasons, besides an overall increase in interest in the sport and the fact it’s a lot easier to hit a sneaky coyote with a shotgun than a rifle.

A few things have happened that have nearly doubled the effective range of shotguns. In fact, you can no longer really call them scatterguns. Superior lead loads for coyotes and non-toxics like Hevi-Shot Dead Coyote, even more effective than lead, have come along. Better chokes, better barrels, and, in particular, the improved quality and acceptance of red dots and holographic sight systems have made a difference.

Many shotguns don’t shoot true to dead center of pattern much past 40 yards, but with a red-dot sight, you can adjust for that out to 80 yards, a huge advantage. These easy-to-use sights also allow you to fully view your target with no barrel/sight covering half the critter, and allow fast target acquisition and both-eyes-open shooting.

Additionally, e-callers have also made shotguns more effective. Before, mouth calling, if you didn’t kill a coyote before it got close, you probably weren’t going to because they are so keen at pinpointing the caller. Now, you can take the coyote’s focus off you  with e-callers and decoys, making for a lot more of those lethal 20-yard shots with a scattergun.

More and more of us have come to see that the perfect coyote gun is a shotgun. My amigo from Mojo, Terry Denmon, stones coyotes at 50 yards or less and feels like that it is the coolest way to do it, though he would never criticize others for shooting coyotes at great distance.

To him the fun is getting them close, and to do otherwise is like killing turkeys with a rifle: you can do it, but it’s just not as fulfilling. Call ‘em close and have that skill or don’t shoot.

But truth is, shotties are murderously lethal, not a handicap. With a rifle, you must have a stationary target clear of all brush, and you must not rush the shot. Even deep grass will deflect that tiny high-velocity rifle bullet. With a shotgun, you can shoot a moving target in heavy brush in a snap second. Hunt predators much and you’ll see why that’s important!

Case-in-point: My brother-in-law Kenny tried calling for the first time in Wyoming last year. He and his rookie partners spread out, and shot a dog right away as three came in. The other two charged straight and fast despite the shot. One of them streaked right past the guys (too close and fast-moving for a rifle shot) and the third ran straight into the end of Kenny’s rifle barrel, knocking him backward!

He never pulled the trigger. If one of them had a shotgun, they would have smoked both those other dogs. It is moments like this that make us love predator hunting. (By the way, we always advocate the use of both a rifle and shotgun if you are in open country or have a partner).

The only way to kill that dog would be with a shotgun…but you have to see him first! Pumps are OK, but you have to make sure you don’t have one with a loud, loose forestock so common in shuckers. With the hard-kicking loads we like, the softer recoil and silent, faster reload of a semi-auto is the way to go. Here are a few of the best new shotguns for predator hunting in 2014.

For more exclusive coverage of all things predator hunting, check out Predator Nation.

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