Coyote Hunting for Beginners - Tips for How to Get Started in Coyote & Predator Hunting
- 21 Jan, 2019
Learning to hunt coyotes takes time and dedication. Here are 3 considerations to get you started on the right foot.
Coyotes are part of the American landscape. Ever since human memory can recall, this small, sly, canine has roamed the land, filling its niche in the places it lives. Many Native American societies recognize this animal as “the trickster” for his sly and mischievous ways. Over time he also has worked his way into modern American culture through songs, charms, and, of course, cartoon characters. Although coyotes have always been part of American history, that hasn’t always been because of human’s love affair with the creatures. In fact, the last 100 years has seen resolute efforts to remove coyote populations throughout the nation. As much as we may try to remove them from the land, like water over a dam, they keep filling in. These days, wherever you may live, it is likely you can hunt coyotes in your home county.
Learning how to hunt coyotes certainly is not easy. True to their “trickster” roots, these can be some of the cleverest animals you can hunt. They are not only smart, but generally very cautious as well. If you plan to hunt coyotes soon, you might take these considerations into mind.
In order to hunt coyotes effectively, you have to be in the right location. Unfortunately, there are no clear-cut answers for where you need to set up. As with most other animals you’ll pursue, you need to look for good coyote habitat before you start your hunt. Start by looking for areas of high prey populations. While coyotes do kill fawns and rabbits, it’s also important to look for areas with lots of mice, voles, and snakes. These little creatures often go unnoticed by the casual observer but represent a quick meal to a hungry coyote. Generally speaking, these small prey animals live in areas of thick brush that provide them cover.
In addition to finding a good hunting area, look for a location coyotes could use for denning. In rural areas coyotes tend to prefer quiet, out-of-the-way places, like remote canyons, timber groves, or similar hard to reach locations. That doesn’t mean you have to reach the Boonies to hunt coyotes though. In fact, urban coyotes are becoming more and more a reality, just not so much in ranch country.
Once you locate a coyote’s hunting area, spend some time looking for sign. Coyotes travel all of the same trails people, deer, and other animals use. Examine game trails, hiking trails, and two-track roads. If you don’t see any tracks or scat, you might be looking at an area coyotes don’t frequent. However, if you stumble on some sign it might be worth a sit.
After pegging a good location, you’ll want to find a good spot to set up. As mentioned, coyotes are very cautious, and you can’t afford to sit in a location where they will see you as they come in.
Generally speaking, try to find a spot that is elevated from the surrounding country. This will allow you to gain a better vantage and hopefully see a coyote come slinking in. Additionally, it is important to find a location where you can blend yourself in. Backing into some brush can help blend you into the environment and break up your silhouette. After you are blended in, take a minute to get all of your gear ready. Once you hit the coyote call you’ll want to limit your movement as much as possible.
Today, people who hunt coyotes almost exclusively use coyote calls. These are used to stimulate some instinct in the coyote and draw him near to your position. There are a variety of calls out there, but here are a few the pros generally use.
Howler- Howlers are usually the first call used at a location. Most folks seem to open up a calling sequence using a locator howl. This tries to make coyotes think there are other coyotes in the area. Coyotes are extremely territorial and will come to investigate based on that fact alone. If nothing else, the coyote howler will get the animals listening and attentive for more calls.
Howlers can also be used to simulate a series of other coyote vocalizations, from pup-in-distress howls, to challenge howls. Learning the difference between these vocalizations takes time, as does learning when to use them. Sometimes the howler is the call that you’ll need to draw a cagey coyote into range.
Prey Calls- Perhaps the most used coyote call is the prey call. There are about a million different prey calls out there used by coyote callers that mimic everything from a distressed cottontail, to a fawn, to a watermelon that has lost its mother. Fortunately, coyotes aren’t picky with what they eat, so most prey calls can be effective (ok, maybe not a watermelon call). With prey calls you are trying to make the coyote think he will get a free meal of some sort. Coyotes are opportunists and if they think there is a free lunch they will come right in. On the other hand, if they think something is amiss, you might be lucky enough to see them heading the other way.
Electronic Calls- While you can purchase the two preceding calls as mouth calls, you can also get an all-in-one electronic call. Electronic calls generally come with a variety of sounds uploaded for every possible situation. Not only that, but some of the higher end models have sequences already programmed so all you have to do is press play and let the call do the rest. These are ideal for beginners and give you the best shot for success.
No matter what call you use, prepare to sit at least 20 minutes. Although we’d all love to see them come bailing in within the first two-minutes, oftentimes it takes longer that that. Some of the pros also suggest sitting as long as 40 minutes to give the more cautious coyotes time to move in.
If you want to hunt coyotes, make sure you have a good location, a concealed setup, and use appropriate calls. It’s also important to give your sit some time before giving up on a location. Coyote hunting is not easy, but a great challenge for those who choose to try. Although the topic of hunting coyotes seems to be controversial today (what topic isn’t controversial today??), hunting them has major advantages. You may be able to help a rancher or small farmer push the coyotes away from their livestock. You might be able to clear an area of coyotes long enough to allow fawns, hatchlings, and other game species time to survive. You might also provide people with a luxurious and valuable fur they desire. Whatever the reason is that you choose to hunt coyotes, you’ll have to learn how to fool one of America’s most famous tricksters of all time.
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