CRITICAL COYOTE HUNTING TECHNIQUES
Coyotes are widespread and highly adaptable predators, and in many areas coyotes feed heavily on deer and other game species. One of the best ways that you, as a hunter, can help preserve wild game is to reduce predator populations. Coyotes can offer a challenging hunt after deer season has ended.
Unlike wolves and grizzly bears, which don’t adapt well to living in suburban environments, coyotes can eke out a living on the fringe of human habitation. In the spring, they are particularly adept at taking deer fawns and nested hen turkeys, so reducing coyote populations will help preserve wild game. But the coyote’s success as a species is due in part to the fact that they are cunning, secretive, and highly intelligent, and pursuing them is always a challenge. Here are three keys to success when hunting these elusive canines.
Find the right call
Coyotes are most commonly harvested by calling. There are a variety of calls on the market, and some of the top-end models offer remote speakers and a wide variety of programed sounds including rabbit in distress and coyote howls. But you don’t have to spend a lot to purchase an effective coyote call. Mouth calls that mimic rabbit cries are available for less than twenty dollars, and I’ve even seen hunters that used the recycled squeakers from old toys because they sound similar to a mouse. Even turkey calls work well. Set up in an area that offers plenty of cover near heavy brush or timber, conceal yourself, and be ready for a shot when you start calling. Coyotes can appear after a few seconds or it may take twenty minutes for them to show up.
PLAY THE WIND
Always set up so that the wind is in your face. If a hungry coyote comes looking for a meal, they’ll be testing the wind. If a ’yote happens to catch your scent, the jig is up. Also, be on the lookout for coyotes that are trying to make a wide arc to catch your scent; on more than one occasion I’ve had a coyote appear far to my left or right as they moved around my position trying to put the wind in their favor.
After you’ve made three or four unsuccessful setups, chances are you won’t be as focused as you were when you started hunting. This is a big mistake, as coyotes coming to a call will oftentimes only offer a short window of time for a shot. Watch for movement as the coyote makes its way toward your position, oftentimes through heavy brush. And, ALWAYS make sure of your target before you shoot. No coyote is worth taking a risky shot that puts others or property at risk. Identify your target before pulling the trigger.