38 Special Coyote Killers


#1

Was at a gun show today and bought a box of mixed ammunition and this box was in the bottom. I thought it might be interesting. As you can see from the photos this is a box of, I believe, cyanide cartridges. As a kid I remember ranchers fields being posted “Keep Out Cyanide Guns In Use”. I believe these were the cartridges for these guns. I believe the guns being similar to the “Taylor Fur Getter” gun which was planted in the ground on the end of a stake and had a very short barrel loaded with these cartridges. The gun then had a long trigger that extended in front of the barrel and bait was wired onto the end of the trigger. As a coyote pulled to get the bait free the gun discharged firing cyanide in his face. Below are some photographs, though the box is a Western box, the cartridges are Peters and REM-UMC. The cartridges have a black substance just below the case mouth. Anyone have any further insite into these?





#2

Remchester,

Nice find! This one came up recently here: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=9425&p=69257

Dave


#3

Neat!
Are these devices still used in the States presently? Just in case I bump into one in AZ or NV. I am pretty certain that paranoid NY banned it a long time ago


#4

I think you should be very cautious about handling those rounds.


#5

There is a sealer on the top of the load which keeps the poison away from being touched in casual handling, but it may be degraded somewhat from age. Probably the worst thing one could do would be to handle them rough and poke at them, and then subsequently rub their eyes.


#6

Vlad (and any one else having these cartridges)–I would [color=#FF0000]highly[/color] recommend keeping them in an airtight zip-lock bag. The poison in the cartridges is Potassium Cyanide. It is a dark gray powder that volatilizes to an extremely poisonous gas. This gas is heaver than air and will settle to the bottom of your storage cabinet or to the floor where it is especially dangerous to pets. The gas has the odor of almonds. If you detect that odor, ventilate the area well. I have worked with Potassium Cyanide for many years, using it as an insect killing bottle agent (I used to be an Entomologist). It does not take much to kill you. Once in the lungs, it is VERY hard to expel it and it is readily taken up by the blood. I always followed the rule that more than 3 deep breaths of it and you will be dead before you can reach medical aid.

In my case, the cartridges in my box have become corroded with grayish white crystals of cyanide because the black seal (I think it is pitch) has lost it’s seal. Even though I keep the box in a zip-lock bag, I take it outside on a warm day (cold retards the forming of the gas) and open it to the air for at least an hour every year to vent any gas.


#7

To be honest, I would get rid of the cartridges somewhere safe and keep the box.


#8

Not sure about the ‘Taylor Fur Getter’ but I have been researching the ‘Coyote Getter’ which was patented by Ethel Marlman who ran (with her Husband Fred) the Humane Fur Getter Inc and later the Humane Coyote Getter Inc. These devices were used by both private and Government trappers until the late 60s. I am not certain but think that all jurisdictions would have banned their use around that time. The Pocatello Supply Depot of the US Department of Agriculture also manufactured these cartridges until 1969 or so. Later ones were probably plastic cased.
Not sure about any diffference in the cautionary information from Ron Merchant but these could be SODIUM cyanide or Potassium cyanide. The USDA ones are marked as being sodium cyanide. The patent lists both. The caution that Ron states is well founded there was one recorded death of a surveyor in Texas after he accidentally set off one of the set devices. It caused a wound and he died three hours later. A boy also lost an eye from one after being hit by the solid chunk of sealant.
There is a more modern version of the ‘coyote getter’ called the M44 ejector which uses no cartridge but rather a spring loaded piston and a plastic capsule of sodium cyanide (also used with 1080 here in Australia).
The black sealant is roofing tar (not something we use here in Aus so not sure if it is the same as pitch).

I am currently writing an article on these for the Journal so would appreciate any pictures of different boxes or variation in the shells themselves. Also chasing examples of boxes for my own collection.
Will post up some pics later.


#9

Left to right: ‘Coyote Getter’ set and ready to go, complete with lure soaked rag attached to top. The tube like stake is hammered into the ground before the rest of the device is attached.
'Exploded view’
2 setting tools.

Reproduction of US Gov label produced at the Pocatello Supply Depot. I guess the code may mean made in Feb 62.

Two plastic shells that I have been informed are ‘getter shells’ from another forum member. Anyone else have anything like these?


#10

I haven’t yet got any direct proof in so far as acquiring a package with cartridges, but I have a strong suspicion from reading a few things that the Velex (aka Velet - exploder bullets, etc…) company repackaged some of the coyote-getter cartridges into 5rd or 10rd packs and marketed them as something called the “Last Gasp” for self-defense. It would have fit right in for them with their line of gimmicky exploder bullets and “Mercor” bullets which supposedly had a mercury core bullet. Anybody ever see a Last Gasp cartridge to confirm if they look the same as these with the tar sealer?


#11

I agree with Vince, and the warnings about this stuff from Ron. I would keep the box, record all information
from the cartridges either in writing or photographically (without hot lights) and then safely get rid of the cartridges.
I have no suggestions for safely getting rid of them. My impulse would be to find a place where no one is likely to ever dig, and put them about four feet underground. That might be poor advice - I am not a chemist or expert on getting rid of poisons. In the interim, I would certainly volume Ron’s advice. This stuff is nothing to play with. I
wouldn’t even allow them in my house.


#12

If you want to keep them stored safe, but still visible for collecting purposes then you might go with this: http://www.riverconnection.com/waterproof-storage-p-527.html It is air-tight, waterproof, and indestructible according to the caption

It’s internal dimensions are 6" x 3.3" x 1.3" and this might fit the whole box, or certainly some cartridges which you could secure inside it from rolling around if you mounted them somehow?


#13

What sort of view would the courts take on you using a cyanide round against someone? Also, wouldn’t there be a danger of inhaling some of the gas yourself?


#14

[quote=“JohnMoss”]I agree with Vince, and the warnings about this stuff from Ron. I would keep the box, record all information
from the cartridges either in writing or photographically (without hot lights) and then safely get rid of the cartridges.
I have no suggestions for safely getting rid of them. My impulse would be to find a place where no one is likely to ever dig, and put them about four feet underground. That might be poor advice - I am not a chemist or expert on getting rid of poisons. In the interim, I would certainly volume Ron’s advice. This stuff is nothing to play with. I
wouldn’t even allow them in my house.[/quote]
Its environmentally safe to dump them in deep water in a fast flowing river. The cartridges will break down over time and the chemicals will leech out slowly but will be so diluted as to be of no consquence to humans or wildlife.

Its probably not legal if you asked permission first.


#15

The cyanide would be very easy to remove from the cartridges just add water, but getting rid of the tar plug could be fatal, so as hard as it would be, unless you have access to a friend who is an expert and a high quality fume hood, best get rid of them by taking to your landfill site which handles hazardous waste.
Sorry no real good answer to save the cartridge from me. Vic


#16

Who knows back then. You’d probably get sued for dispensing a listed chemical toxin without permit at the very least, sort of like crop dusting without a permit. Beyond that, reckless-endangerment seems an obvious charge. The fact that the gas or capsule could blow back on you is a relevant concern. I think the Velex company only distributed several hundred of the “Last Gasp” cartridges, sort of like their Mercor cartridges.


#17

Unfortunately, firms like Velex did much to fuel anti-ammunition feelings. The first real ammo laws that effected cartridge collectors were against explosive bullets. Too bad some of these companies don’t engage their brains before they push the start button on their loading tools.

Edited for spelling only.


#18

I doubt they would have given it a moment’s thought. A profit in the short term was probably all that mattered to them.


#19

I am reopening this topic in the hope of getting further information on the plastic shells pictured earlier in this topic. Some other pics that might help.

and the original picture again.

The measurements are very roughly similar to 38 special however the ‘chamber’ used in the coyote getter is not precise like a normal chamber so that would not necessarily be an issue. Headstamp on both is U U S S at 9, 12, 3 and 6 positions which seems to be US read left to right and up to down.


#20

Both are made by CCI Lewiston Idaho. The green was for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Pocatello ID branch ca. 1969. & used cyanide powder in a spring propelled coyote trap
Think the white one is a later variation.