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Land of the Monster Hogs - Stasney's Cook Ranch in Texas

The Stasney’s Cook Ranch Has Plenty of Coyotes and Bobcats Too

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: The Stasney’s Cook Ranch, near Albany Texas, is the land of the monster hogs. One of the reasons there are so many older, trophy-class hogs on this ranch is because unlike other ranchers, Johnny Hudman, the ranch manager, isn’t on a mission to eradicate hogs. “We kinda like to have them around,” Hudman says. This week, we’ll tell you what a Texas hog hunt for monster-sized hogs is like. In many states, like Texas, Alabama, Florida and South Carolina, you can hunt feral hogs all year long almost any way you want to hunt them. In some southern states, there’s no season and no bag limit on wild hogs. However, before you plan a trip to hog hunt anywhere, make sure you know that state’s season rules and regulations for hunting hogs. Hogs provide a great off-season sport for gun hunters, bowhunters, and handgun hunters. When there’s nothing else to hunt, often you’ll find hogs are available. . Today we’ll talk with hog guide, Joe Barrington of Throckmorton, Tex., who has been guiding on the Stasney’s Cook Ranch for about 15 years and also has a metal sculpting business.

Question:  Joe, how long have you been hunting coyotes?
Barrington: Since right after I got out of high school. I’m 51-years old, so that means I’ve been hunting them 35 years.

Question: What have you learned about coyote hunting?
Barrington: Coyote hunting has changed a lot from the time I first started until now. Back then we had just heard about people calling coyotes, but none of us had ever done it. My buddies and I got us a Vernon Brothers coyote call and decided we were going to go call and shoot coyotes. Of course we didn’t know what we were doing. When we would sit there and blow that call, we were expecting a coyote to come running. However, of course they didn’t. And we felt kind of stupid. But we kept on doing it, and one day a coyote did come. The first coyote that came in to me came within 15 feet of my stand. Seeing that critter in that close shook me up so bad that I couldn’t even get off a shot. I really wasn’t expecting anything to come to the calling, because up until that point nothing had. Then I began to learn how to call and hunt coyotes and had a great time hunting them because there was hardly anybody else hunting them. Today there are plenty of people hunting coyotes in Texas. There are very-few places in our area where no one is hunting them. We have low mesquite trees and rolling hills, which makes coyote hunting here at the Stasney’s Cook Ranch a great place to hunt coyotes. Also because of the large number of pigs, deer and other wildClick to enlargelife here on the ranch, the coyotes have plenty to eat.

Question: In an average day of coyote hunting, how many coyotes can you take?
Barrington: If I get four coyotes in a day, that’s a really good day for me. But the best day I ever had, my brother and I took 19.

Question: What made that day so good?
Barrington: We had a snow that had been on the ground for about a week. My brother and I got up before daylight, we covered a lot of country, and we hunted until dark. The coyotes were really hungry. We took a lot of them out of wheat fields. Late in the evening right at dusk, my brother and I sat up. We were able to take three coyotes from the same stand.

Question: What gun do you shoot when you’re hunting for coyotes?
Barrington: I like a Thompson-Center .204 with a Leupold 3x9 scope. And I shoot the Hornet A 42 grain B-Max bullet and factory ammunition.

Question: What call are you using for coyotes?
Barrington: I change calls all the time. But right now, I’m using a Randy Anderson coyote howler. This is an open-reed call, so I can vary the tone quite a bit. Instead of using the howler as a howler, I use it to give prey and distress calls. I can make that call sound like a real high-pitched cottontail or really raspy like an ole jackrabbit. This call is really loud, and that’s what I like about it. I start off calling really soft, but if no coyotes show up, I can increase the volume and reach out and touch those coyotes. Most of the time I wear Mossy Oak camo, but in February and March, I’ve found that a brown Carhartt jacket works best when I’m hunting coyotes.
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Question: What happens to coyotes when you have a major snow storm?
Barrington: The first 2 days of the storm, the coyotes will usually hole-up. But if we get some warming weather on that third day, the coyotes will have to get out and feed. And that’s then they’re easiest to take. The best time to take coyotes is the first sunny day after bad weather. As a general rule, when bad weather hits, the coyotes will lay up for no more than 3 days. And regardless of the weather on either the third or fourth day after bad weather moves in, the coyotes have got to feed. Then they’ll come to the call more regularly. If I can pick the perfect weather to coyote hunt under, I’ll want 2 days of either snow or rain and the third day clearing and warm. That third day is when you’re really going to get the coyotes. The other reason this day is so good is that the coyotes will be out and moving all day long.

I also use this strategy when I’m deer hunting. I like to hunt wheat fields for deer on the third day after a snow or a rain front has moved in because that’s when the deer will be on the wheat fields. Having said that, I also realize that predator hunting is much like fishing. You go when you can, and that’s not always when the weather’s right. I hunt in coyote tournaments. And I’ve learned a lot from hunting in coyote tournaments. For instance, I used to never hunt on a windy day. But when you’re hunting in a tournament, you’ve got to hunt even if the area has wind. What I’ve learned to do on windy days is to hunt in thicker cover. When I’ve had to hunt in that kind of wind, I’ve learned I can call up coyotes even in a 40-mph wind.

Question: There are two problems of hunting with the wind. If you’re hunting into the wind, your call doesn’t go out as far as it will if the wind isn’t blowing into your face. If you call downwind, your call goes out farther, but the coyotes will smell you when they come in to the call. How do you solve these problems?
Barrington: I hunt into the wind because I’ve learned that the coyotes can hear the call a long way, even if the wind is blowing into my face. I believe with a 20-mph wind, coyotes can still hear the call 1/2-mile away. Another solution to the wind problem is to hunt across the wind. But you’ve got to pick the right spot to hunt cross wind. I’ll often hunt upwind of a hill. This way, the coyotes, when they hear the calls, will come around the hill to you, if they’re coming to the downwind side of the hill.

I used this tactic a few years ago in a place I knew I could call from across the wind. The coyote came in running from downwind right to me. And I took him. After I took him, I wClick to enlargeanted to follow his tracks in the snow to see from where he’d come. I followed the coyote’s tracks for 700 or 800 yards and could tell by his tracks that he’d been running from further than that. I’m convinced that the coyote started running when he heard my calling. So I believe he came from at least 1,000-yards-or-more away.

Question: How far are you comfortable taking a coyote with your rifle?
Barrington: I don’t hesitate to take a shot out to 350 yards. And I have taken coyotes out to 400 yards, but I’m not real comfortable with a 400-yard shot. I know how my Thompson-Center .204 shoots out to 350 yards without looking at a ballistics table. And I feel comfortable that I can take a coyote anywhere from 0-350 yards with my T/C.

Question: Do you ever take a shotgun with you when you coyote hunt?
Barrington: Yes, we’ve taken shotguns with us before, but I’m just a rifle kind of guy. I’d rather have my T/C .204 than fool with a shotgun. I like a single-shot rifle, and I have taken two coyotes with my single-shot T/C and had time to reload in-between. I just like the Thompson Center Encore in the .204 caliber.

Question: What predator hunt do you hunt?
Barrington: I hunt the Graham Predator Hunt held in Graham, Tex., where they have three hunts, one in January, February, and March. There will be up to 100 teams entered in each one of these tournaments. My partner and I won the second hunt 3-years ago by taking five coyotes and three bobcats.

Question: What’s the secret to calling up a bobcat?
Barrington: Being patient and being able to see them when they come in to the call because they come in really slow. With a coyote, if I don’t see him within 15 minutes of when I call, I’ll leave. But if I’m hunting a bobcat, I may wait on him for 30 minutes. The biggest cat I’ve ever taken weighed about 27 pounds.

To learn more about the wildlife tours and the photography, click here, or you may contact Johnny Hudman by phone at (888) 762-2999 or e-mail at For more information about Joe Barrington’s metal sculpting, go to

Check back each day this week for more about "Land of the Monster Hogs - Stasney's Cook Ranch in Texas "

Day 1: The Russian Boar – the Big Lie
Day 2: The Two Types of Hogs at the Ranch
Day 3: More about the Stasney’s Cook Ranch Hogs
Day 4: Yes, You Can Call Hogs
Day 5: The Stasney’s Cook Ranch Has Plenty of Coyotes and Bobcats Too


Entry 451, Day 5