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Everything You Need for a Tactical Predator Hunting Setup

predator hunting setup
All photos courtesy of Northeastern Bowhunter

With a predator setup like this, the game won’t stand a chance.

The perfect predator hunting setup means different things to every hunter, as it should. We all hunt different terrain, which causes shots to differ greatly.

Here in Central Texas, when I’m out coyote hunting, I need a rig that works with large fields, tight cedar woods, and every other type of terrain in between. Central Texas is not a cookie-cutter area to hunt, as the terrain changes over nearly every ridge.

For me, the ideal predator hunting firearm setup is something semi-automatic, lightweight and suppressed. Don’t get me wrong, though I have a bolt action setup for predators, the current area that I hunt makes semi-auto much more desirable. Personally, I can take a faster follow-up shot with my AR than my bolt gun.

The Caliber

predator rifles, suppressors, ar-15
Northeastern Bowhunter

Having the right caliber for the game that you’re after is critical on any hunt, especially predators. Though a heavy round will absolutely do the trick, it will also ruin the hide in a heartbeat.

My preferred caliber for coyotes and bobcats is a .223, because I would rather preserve the hide.

The rifle shown above has an 18 inch .223 Wylde barrel, which is spiral fluted to reduce weight. It shoots flat enough to reach out well past 300 yards, which is honestly tough to do in the area that I hunt most. However, the range is there, should I need it.

The Platform

predator hunting
Northeastern Bowhunter

I find a semi-automatic AR setup tough to beat. It allows me to fire a shot, remain on target and continue to fire, regardless of how my body is positioned. In the timber, it nearly seems like time is cut in half between shots due to brush, trees, and ridges that allow predators to escape follow-up shots.

Typically, I like to hunt with a polymer 10-round magazine; that’s plenty for each stand, yet light enough to not weigh the rifle down on all-day hunts and it isn’t long enough to get in the way.

Not to mention, this type of the AR-15 platform gives you the ability to add accessories like a bipod and night vision or a gun light in less than a minute.

The Optic

predator hunting rifle, nikon
Northeastern Bowhunter

One of the most important pieces to any firearm is the optic. For predator hunting, having something that matches your rifle is absolutely critical. I’d say that having a quality piece of glass is the number-one priority when shopping for a new scope.

Next to glass quality would have to be comfortable eye relief, and of course, that’s something that differs for us all.

On my AR-15, I run a Nikon PROSTAFF 4-12 x 40mm scope, which is fixed to the rifle with an American Defense scope mount. This scope is fantastic quality for the price, has outstanding glass, and has some of the best eye relief that I’ve experienced.

Almost as important as the scope is the mount, which is often overlooked. The American Defense scope mount is built for extreme durability and won’t move a centimeter once locked down. The best part is that it can be quickly detached from your rifle if you store it in a case where it won’t fit.

The Suppressor

suppressor, predator hunting
Northeastern Bowhunter

If you’re hunting coyotes, more times than not you’re going to see at least two dogs come in at once. If you don’t, there’s a good chance that there is another lurking in the tree line.

Having a suppressed rifle will not only muffle the shot sound, it will also make follow-up shots much easier.

On this particular setup, I run a Dead Air Silencers Sandman L. This can is extremely versatile and is multi-caliber, which is great if you like to run a suppressor on your other rifles up to .300 Win Mag.

If you’re planning on running your setup with a suppressor, do yourself a favor and pick up a wrap for the outside; it will make twisting it off much easier after it’s gotten hot.

coyote hunting, predator hunting
Northeastern Bowhunter

My suggestion when building a new predator hunting setup is to consider the average shot distance, terrain, and position that you’ll shoot from most often. Once these variables have been determined, it’s much easier to choose the correct platform, caliber, optic and accessories to help make kill shots hit home every time.

NEXT: HUNTER LIGHTS UP 70 HOGS WITH LASERS AND 00 BUCKSHOT

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Everything You Need for a Tactical Predator Hunting Setup