I've written in a previous post about how hunters can raise money for charities by offering varmint hunts and range days as sale items at the fundraising dinner/auctions that non-profits often depend on.
I normally do two of these a year, with my fall event being a 1-day Coyote Safari, which sold last month for $500 at a dinner. Last week we did the hunt, but not with the winner of the auction: That fellow bought it for his daughter, who, although she has almost zero experience with guns and has never been hunting, wants to hunt. I couldn't turn that down!
But it did leave me with the problem of managing a hunt with someone who has almost no experience. I found it can be done—it just takes a little planning, some careful coaching and a lot of good fortune.
I started by putting a gun together. I knew this petite 21-year-old had no hope of handling one of my rifles, so I modified my MDT LSS chassis. After removing the buttstock, I installed one designed for an AR carbine that’s adjustable for length. When reduced to its shortest dimension, I managed a length of pull just under 12 inches.
Then, in order to give the novice shooter the widest field of view possible, I removed the high-powered scope and installed the lowest power optic I had available, an ancient Bushnell 1.75-4.5X. Set at its lowest power, there were no worries about this neophyte not being able to find a coyote in the scope's field of view.
A Vanguard Equalizer 2 bipod and a couple of boxes of Winchester Varmint X ammo rounded out the rifle setup.
Then we had lots of communication about what she needed to bring (primarily warm clothing and lunch) and what I was supplying. I suggested videos for her to watch and websites, including this one, which she should browse and study.
On game day we met long before dawn and began with a safety lecture. That progressed into a speech about the importance of being quiet and scent control. I then let her handle the rifle, explained the necessary elements and let her dry fire it in the dark. When dawn's first light seeped onto the landscape we moved into position.
I set her up in an ambush position, and her first shot ever with a center-fire rifle was on a coyote at 174 yards. She performed like a veteran and hammered it face-down into the snow—it didn't even twitch.
I started calling right away after the shot and coyotes showed up from everywhere. I counted at least eight, and coaching her as to which ones to target became the hardest part. Running shots were out of the question, and although she could handle the rifle, she didn't have the speed of experience.
However, it didn't take long for one of the 'yotes to notice a dead buddy sprawled out on the snow. That stopped it long enough to get my pupil lined up again and another dog went down. Later, she helped with the skinning and kept the first coyote skin to get tanned as a trophy.
I'm was the guide—and I'd pay $500 dollars for a day like that. Instead, I got to do it for free and raised money for a charity in the process.
Christmas is about giving, and it came early for me this year.