Coyote Hunting Basics

Coyote Hunting Basics

            Coyote hunting has been a recreational hobby that many outdoor hunting enthusiasts have been trying to prefect for hundreds of years. Coyote hunting is not as popular as upland bird hunting or deer hunting but it has many more challenges that you as a hunter may run into while out trying to hunt the elusive coyote. I will be going over the challenges you have to prepare for in order to have a successful hunt; This includes what you will need before you start your coyote hunt, how to prepare your coyote stand as you get set up, successful calling sequences through my very own experience, and problems that you may encounter with your first coyote hunts.


            The gear you will need to get started. Trying to figure out what you will need before you set out to make your first coyote stand may be the most stressful decision to make. What caliber do I need? Do I use a .223 or a .243 or a .308? Do I use an electronic caller or do I try to use hand and mouth calls? Do I use a Foxpro, Lucky Duck, or Primos Electronic Call? Which had calls should I pick to use? Do I need to dress up in Camo and use scent blockers? I will be answering all these questions from my own experience and preference. First off, the caliber I would recommend is a 22.250 or a .22 Creedmoor. Both of these calibers use very similar bullets that will easily take a coyote down, but the one thing both of these calibers have over many other calibers is the speed. Yes, a .223 will take down a coyote with the correct shot placement but more often than not it takes several shots to take those tough critters down. Pretty much any caliber has the capabilities to take out a coyote but ultimately it is up to your preference and what you are most familiar with to ensure a clean shot.

Now that we have the caliber information down, we can go into the next decision that you as a new hunter will make; What call do I use? The majority of coyote callers use electronic calls because they are very simple to use, but very few coyote hunters use mouth and hands calls because of the skill and practice you must put in to mimic the correct sound. For a new hunter I would recommend using an electronical call. This will allow you to place the caller away from you so the coyote does not pinpoint where you are set up. It also allows you to have a more diverse sound selection that a mouth call cannot do. As a hunter who uses both mouth calls and electronic calls, I can say that both set ups have their place but to keep it simple, I would stick with just an electronic caller. The brand that I recommend most is Lucky Duck. The Lucky Duck Super Revolt has a big speaker which allows the sound to travel farther than many other calls on the market, has a very realistic sound, and has a decoy that will have coyotes running into the call.

Lastly, a hunter who typically hunts deer will always ask the question if he needs to wear camouflage or scent blockers while hunting. There are many ways to hunt coyotes, whether from a blind, through some trees, or out in the open pasture, so this question of what to wear is dependent on the situation. Because a coyote’s nose is so sharp, the use of scent blockers will be unnecessary, I will explain more of this issue further down when I get into problems that hunters face while out in the field. To get back to the camouflage, I would recommend blending in with your surroundings as best you can. Although many coyote hunters go out with blue jeans and a bright shirt on, blending in with your surroundings will increase your success. Whichever path you choose, sitting still will be the best camouflage you can wear.

Now that I have talked about everything needed before you get out to the field, its time to talk about getting set up to make your first stand. Several things you need to take into account is land layout, wind direction, and visibility. You will want to get set up in a place where you can see the coyotes coming from a distance so they don’t sneak up on you. I would not recommend setting up in tall cattails or thick brush where you cannot see but rather somewhere that is open. You will also want to make sure you set up against something, that could be a tree, a bush, a patch of thick grass or even a large shadow. Setting up in positions like this will limit the coyote’s ability to see your movement as you adjust for a shot. It is also wise to have your gun shouldered and in a ready position as you start calling. Another thing to keep in mind is the wind direction. If you are setting up where the wind is coming from behind you and heading straight towards where you expect a coyote to come from you will not have a successful stand. Like I send previously, a coyote’s nose is foolproof. In most cases, a coyote will use its nose more than it uses its eyes. To prevent a coyote from catching your wind a smelling you, set up with a crosswind or set up with the wind blowing in your face so that your scent will not hinder your success. Lastly, before you start your stand it is important to get the caller away from you. Like I stated previously, getting the call away from you will allow the sound to be in a different direction from where you are set up. This again, helps you if you were to move too much, the coyote will not be focused on you but where the sound is coming from.


            Now that you are set up against something, have good visibility, your caller is where you want it, and verified that the wind is going in a good direction, its time to start calling. One thing many new hunters do is play the wrong sounds, switch sounds too often, or not play the sound loud enough. Although there are many mistakes you can make when it comes to calling, I will mainly focus on what sound sequences work in order to have a successful hunt. The best sequence I have found to have a successful coyote stand is to just keep it simple and play the rabbit, but also make sure coyotes that are a long distance away can hear it! Playing a distressed rabbit will have coyotes come running to the call, especially the young pups.  Coyotes are hunters and will most of the time not miss an opportunity to miss their next meal. When you see coyotes come into your stand and hang up out at a distance while you are playing a distressed rabbit, its time to switch it up. When this situation occurs, its time to try playing coyote vocals utilizing your electronic calls many options. If the coyote that hung up hears another coyote in the area it might cause its instincts to kick in and he will either defend its territory, try to get the rabbit before the other coyote, or come check out the other coyote. The last thing to do for coyotes hanging up is play pup distress sounds. This works well any time of the year and more often than not gets the coyotes on the move to see what all the commotion is about. More sounds that are more time sensitive are coyote breeding noises. These sounds can be used most effectively during the coyotes breeding season which runs from late January to early march. These sounds will allow you to be the most successful as you take on your coyote stands.


            The last thing I will discuss are the problems you may run into as you grind out coyote stands. I already discussed briefly what to do if coyotes are hanging up, but now I will get more in-depth issues such as this. I gave you several instructions for getting set up before you starting calling. Failing to do any of these things will result in coyotes hanging up and prevent you from having a successful coyote hunting stand. The most common mistake that people make is failing to set up with the wind. More often than not, a coyote will circle downwind and use its nose to find out what is making that noise. Improper precautions with the wind direction and caller placement will result in coyotes catching your scent and taking off in the opposite direction before you have a chance to take a shot. Another issue many people make is moving around too much. Just like its sensitive nose, a coyote’s eyes are very keen and will catch any movement you make. Blending in with the landscape and preventing as much movement as possible will prevent coyotes from suspecting anything suspicious. Coyotes are extremely smart, so its your job to take all necessary actions to outsmart them so you can prevent them from outsmarting you.


            To conclude, the easiest way to get started coyote hunting is to find a rifle that best suites you and has enough speed and enough power behind it to ensure a clean kill shot, you will want to get a Lucky Duck Super Revolt to have coyotes run over your call, and you will want to dress most appropriately with your surroundings so the coyotes do not see you. Playing distress sounds will ensure the most success coyote stand because coyotes love to eat and discover what is making a ruckus. Lastly, you will need to take all preventive actions necessary so coyotes don’t see you, catch your wind, or outsmart you.


Shane Hofer, with DakotaDogsDown.



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