Lessons Learned Coyote Hunting
Last winter, I got an invite from a veteran predator hunter. On his resume are over 80 coyotes in 10 different states, with experience in all topographies and seasons. I, on the other hand, could count the number of coyotes that I’ve killed without getting to my toes.
It was an eye opening experience – getting to learn from a pro – but the biggest thing I took away from the hunt was that his passion is similar to mine. As a diehard bowhunter, I realized that there are some interchangeable concepts when it comes to archery hunting deer and rifle hunting coyotes. Here are three things that deer hunters making the crossover to predator hunting should know.
Mind Your Entrance
With archery hunting, one of the earliest lessons I learned was that you need to have an entrance strategy. That means minding your scent and volume, trying not to disturb the area before the hunt begins.
This idea was new to me for coyote hunting, though. I assumed that the great distances you pull coyotes in from would cancel out any need for caution, but that’s simply not the case. Once I considered my previous encounters with predators, it all made sense. I’ve had plenty of deer and coyotes scent me, but it’s how they react that makes it so crucial you don’t allow your odor to blow all over. For deer, they often stomp around and attempt to use their eyes to confirm what their nose is telling them. For coyotes, one whiff of human odor and they bolt. If you’re reckless and arrive at your coyote calling setup with your scent already dispersed in an area, you might as well pack up and go home. The same goes for volume or noise, as there’s no better way to announce your arrival than walking over crunchy snow or snapping twigs.
The other way that volume can hurt you is with calling, something I’d been oblivious to with predator hunting my whole life.
When it comes to archery hunting, I rarely leave my grunt tube or rattling antlers at home. When I am looking to do some calling, I often have to remind myself not to overdo it, especially with volume. Nothing will turn a deer around quicker than rattling that sounds like it’s coming from a couple elk, or grunting that is deafening loud.
While it’s tempting to want to call as loud as possible with hopes of drawing in game from greater distances, it’s important that you go for realism. The same can be said for coyote hunting, where most beginners want to blare their sirens and e-callers as loud as possible.
Instead, start out quietly, only reaching the coyotes that may be nearby. After a few minutes, increase the volume to reach a little further into the valley, and don’t get any louder until a few minutes after that. Start out too loud, and you’ll blow your chances with the predators that are already in your lap.
Don’t Burn Out a Stand
With deer hunting, I’m constantly paranoid that I’m in an area too much. For my best stands, I dare not sit them in back-to-back hunts, or I envision my odds of killing a buck fade away. For coyotes, one should practice similar restraint and not call an area more than once a week. Every time you make a stand, you’re spreading your scent and noise around, lowering the chances that you bring a coyote in. If you are frequently hunting the same property, try not to set up in the same location too often, either. In the wild, coyotes probably don’t come across distressed jackrabbits on a regular basis. The odds of them continually showing up on the same hill under the same tree where you call from are even less.
If you think a property is burned out but want to continue to hunt it anyway, then try to do something different than what they’re used to. Going with a hand call rather than an e-call is one of the easiest ways to do so. This is also why the veteran predator hunter I tagged along with loved hand calls, because everyone’s style and rhythm is different, unlike the preloaded speakers the big box stores sell.