Steve DeMers - Master Predator Hunter
Becoming a Consummate Long-Range Shooter and Choosing the Right Equipment
Editor’s Note: I first met Steve DeMers of Whitehall, Montana, on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere after he’d just taken a coyote at 1,102 yards when I was hunting with Central Montana Outfitters of Great Falls, Mon. I couldn’t believe DeMers had made that shot until a friend of mine, Chad Schearer, the public-relations director of Black Powder, Inc., told me, “John, I was beside him with my binoculars. I heard the report of the rifle, and after what seemed like an eternity, the coyote just fell over. It was an incredible shot.” In 1974, DeMers began hunting coyotes for their pelts. Today he hunts them for the government as a wildlife specialist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reduce the damage coyotes do.
When I spoke with DeMers last January, I asked him about coyotes he had taken recently. He explained, “About 1-month ago, I called-in three coyotes at one time. I took the first coyote at 387 yards, the second coyote at 437 yards and the third coyote at 108 yards.” Although DeMers makes incredible shots, he’s not a natural-born shooter. “At one time, I was terrible at long-range shooting,” DeMers explains. “I wasn’t as accurate as I needed to be at 300 yards.” Then DeMers learned that having a stable gun rest to hold his crosshairs steady would improve his accuracy. He became the consummate student of long-range shooting. DeMers’ evolution into a top predator hunter shows how learning to make shots at longer ranges enables hunters to take more predators than they’ve ever dreamed of bagging.
Choosing the Right Equipment – Starting Out Big:
Steve DeMers’ job description consists of hunting predators and consistently taking predators. To perform his job well, he’s spent years experimenting to determine the type of equipment that best suits his mission in the terrain where he operates. With the equipment DeMers has settled on, he’s proven that he’s as efficient as possible at long-range shooting and hunting.
In the early days, DeMers realized he could take more coyotes if he used better equipment. Many of his friends suggested he shoot a .50 rifle. “The .50 rifle I wanted could take out a tank at 2,000 yards,” DeMers says. Since DeMers needed a range finder that could range distance at 2,000 yards, he purchased a battleship range finder at a military-surplus store. “Once I started shooting that rifle off a bench, I could hit a 2-foot target at 2,000 yards, but it weighed 45 pounds with the scope mounted on it. One day, while I was hunting, I spotted a coyote laying down at 500 yards. However, I had to make two to three trips to my truck to get everything I needed to set up my rifle and my battleship range finder. Then I shot and missed the coyote twice with my .50 rifle. The coyote ran toward me. I could hardly move my 45-pound-plus rifle to get a shot at the coyote when he came to within 50 yards. I realized I had too much gun and range finder.”
To learn more about Central Montana Outfitters, visit www.centralmontanaoutfitters.com.
Tomorrow: Bigger Equipment Isn’t Always Better