I like to concentrate my coyote hunting efforts in areas that hold a decent amount of small game or livestock. Look for birds, mice, rabbits and any type of rodents. Cattle and sheep are an attractant as well, but it’s primarily their offspring or leftover feed that’s the draw. Those table scraps, if you will, attract the aforementioned critters, which is a bonus for the ever lurking coyote and you. Coyotes like cover, so scout along fence lines, brush piles, thickets, ravines, really any place that provides shelter. The key is, these shelter belts need to be adjacent to an opening that you can call them into. Be on the lookout for tracks and trails, primarily cross trails. Whenever I find a fresh hot trail that intersects with another busy coyote route, that is where I’m going to set up shop.
Be patient and strategic in your stand placement. Your effective hunt zone, or field of vision, is going to be roughly 180 degrees. So, try to optimize your setup with a good vantage point that lets you survey the cover you’ll be calling them from, but also limits a coyote’s ability to slip in behind you. Trust me, if a coyote can sneak up on your six he’s going to every time. Don’t give the coyotes the upper hand, stay undetected and don’t rush. Secondly, make sure your ATV, Side-by-Side, truck, or whatever you drove, is completely out of sight and downwind, or even crosswind, from the coyotes.
Dress for Success:
Coyotes have extremely keen eyesight, so proper concealment is a necessity. And when you’re calling coyotes in, it’s ideal to have your camo match the terrain and time of year you’ll be hunting them in. However, getting close is now good enough in horseshoes, hand grenades and coyote hunting. I have found that full body concealment trumps matching concealment, so be sure to have your hands and face covered, too, to avoid shine and being detected. Pay close attention as to not skylight yourself and try your best to stay in the shadows. For the camo pattern I wear, I’m smitten with the Cabela’s O2 Octane. From the Cabela's MT050 Whitetail Extreme GORE-TEX Parka and Bibs for super cold temps to the Cabela's Men's Space Rain™ Full-Zip Jacket and Pants with 4MOST DRY-PLUS® for soggy wet weather, that’s all I wear.
Speak the Language:
Vocalizations are determined by several factors including time of year and hunting pressure. If coyotes have been hunted hard and conditioned to the call, as is almost always the case come February, prey distress sounds need to take a back seat. As breeding season ramps up, stick to coyote vocalizations like howling, fights and breeding sounds.
It’s important to know that cold temperatures can a big factor because they quickly zap the life out of the batteries in an e-caller. To combat this, I will take extra batteries and easily burn through a 20 pack of AA batteries in 2-to-3 hours. Quick tip: Keep hand warmers in your calling case and place them near the batteries to combat the drain cold weather brings on - it works well.
I hear a lot of coyote hunting pros say that if they don’t see visual coyote sign or hear them respond in the first 15 minutes of a stand they cut bait and move to another location. For me, I have better success sitting at each stand for 45-to-60 minutes. This enables me to get situated and settled in before I start calling. I gradually work into my calling sequence instead of cranking the volume all the way up from the get go. If you listen to coyotes they slowly get worked up before they go all out, so try to mimic them and achieve as much realism as you can.
Silent & Static Stand:
Once you’re in your stand don’t fidget, squirm or play with your phone. It’s called being ready and committed. All too often I see where a guy or girl will start their call then adjust the way they’re sitting or move back and forth to scan the area. That’s when a coyote you didn’t know about will pop up, spot you and take off. Get your wiggles out at your truck and leave them there, they don’t belong on your coyote hunt. Let your eyes do all the work. I’ve never had an animal detect my eye movement, perhaps a turkey could, but certainly not a coyote. Slight head movements, hand gestures, etc. are a no-no, simply sit still and be observant.
Sit back and relax:
In my stands, I sit positioned against a tree, a dirt wall, rocks, fence post - anything that gives support and comfort. Secondly, this affords me to sit with my rifle in position. My rifle butt will be in my lap and the forend up on my shooting sticks. If I see a coyote slowly creeping in I will bring my rifle to my shoulder and wait. Most of my shot windows are fleeting so seizing the opportunity when it presents itself is imperative. This, as well, gives me the ability to shoot one handed and keep my freehand to run the call. I recommend you practice your stand setup at home and build muscle memory. This will aide you in speedy sight acquisition and lead to more dead coyotes.
I hope y’all get out and hunt hard and smart! Coyote hunting is the absolute perfect way to introduce someone young to hunting. It’s fast paced, there are a lot of moving parts and it’s always a rush. So, be a mentor and help foster a new generation of hunters.
Go smoke a yote!