The Top 7 Strategies and Advice from a Skilled Coyote Hunter

Coyotes, foxes, and bobcats are all wary animals, and their caution only grows under intense hunting pressure (if you have ever gone after one of these predators under duress, you are aware of the challenges involved). However, there is a misconception that predators are extremely difficult to kill, which is frequently untrue if you know how to hunt them. To get the best shot, it’s imperative that you understand the best locations to hunt, how to approach a stand, when to hunt them, calling techniques, and how to set up the e-caller. When you combine these factors, there will inevitably be more pelts on the sled. All you need to do is keep in mind a few basic strategies and steer clear of costly errors. If you use these tactics, your success rate will increase dramatically.

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1. Looking for Places to Stand

The key to improved hunting is having numerous locations to summon predators, thus you must survey and secure areas in order to set up more stands. While I will hunt on public land, my preference is to hunt on private tracts where coyotes are typically under less strain. An excellent resource for e-scouting is OnX Maps. Search for locations bordered by woods near farms raising chickens and turkeys, or, if you’re in the West, concentrate on huge tracts of land that could contain pastures or cattle feed yards. I’ve killed a lot of coyotes in all of these locations. Additionally, try to learn as much as you can from landowners. Inquire as to where they have observed coyotes. This will be your greatest opportunity to alert a predator.

2. Position Is Important

Consider the direction of the wind before blasting into one of these areas, and attempt to find a suitable spot to sit where the wind is blowing directly in your face. It would be ideal to have a little elevation change in the terrain so that you can have a better view of coyotes approaching. It is less probable that you will detect the coyote before he does if you are seated in a low position. Locate a cover or a background that will serve as a break in your layout.

3. Simplify Things for Your Quarry

Orient the e-caller such that the predator coming will have the simplest and fastest route to reach the call. Similar to a turkey, they possess an instinctive capacity to locate the source of a call or sound and will quickly approach it if it is simple to locate. Coyotes are bred to circle downwind of their intended prey, but if you speak to them directly, they’ll probably come right up to you and offer you an easier shot.

4. Issue the Call Sequence Command

I watch people calling coyotes, and one of the worst mistakes they make is to play simply the noises of the rabbit or bird in distress. Offering a range of sounds on a stand seems to be essential, in my experience. With my FOXPRO X2S, I have access to more than 800 distinct sounds. Why are there so many? For the same reason that your tackle box is brimming with various fishing lures. A critter’s attention is usually piqued by variety, or anything different, whether it’s a large bass or a coyote. To elicit a reaction, I can provide varying cadences, frequencies, and loudness. Play noises that a predator has never heard before, too. Don’t be scared to do so. The fact that there are no jackrabbits in Pennsylvania doesn’t matter to a coyote; however, I still play a jackrabbit distress call because it has been quite effective for me.

If your stand goes well, keep imitating that calling sequence until it no longer serves your purpose. To try to generate a response from a nearby coyote, one of my go-to methods is to make a “Coyote Pair” call and play it loudly for around 35 seconds. I’ll be silent for sixty to ninety seconds before responding. I wait till they cease wailing if I receive one. This is significant because, once they stop wailing, you usually have their whole focus. I will then start “Lil’s Cottontail” on the FOXPRO and adjust the volume up and down for a duration of about two to three minutes. I’ll play “Nutty Nuthatch” for two or three minutes and then switch to “Smacked Rat” for an additional two or three minutes if I still can’t get a coyote to come.

After receiving that initial answer, I almost never stop or mute the call for fear that a coyote may stop, take advantage of the terrain, and wound me. I’ll play “Yipping Coyotes” at maximum power for around 45 seconds if, after 10 minutes on the stand, I still haven’t called in a coyote. I’ll then instantly switch to “Coyote Pup Distress” and play it for an additional three to five minutes. This puts you on stand for around fifteen minutes (the first four minutes are when most of the coyotes I call in show up).

5. When to Fire the Shot

A fox or coyote is a tiny target that needs accurate shots because there is just a 3- to 5-inch margin of error. I use Hornady ammo in my Ruger RPR chambered in either.223 or 6mm. For me, it works best, but it might not work for you. Choose and adhere to a rifle/load combination that you are comfortable with. When a fox or coyote comes to the call, it usually confronts you directly. In this case, I maintain my center of mass on their chest; if they turn around, I aim for the top of the shoulder. These two shooting locations provide for the prompt and moral elimination of a predator.

One common error I see hunters do when standing is to turn their rifle or pistol to face the right way before they make a call. I’ll constantly be aiming my weapon at the person who sent the email. This lessens the amount of movement on your stand in the event of an approaching predator. The optimum moment for you to move if you’re in an unfavorable position and a coyote approaches is when it does.

6. The Optimal Period for Hunting

You can bet that coyotes are moving when other creatures of prey—like owls, hawks, eagles, and even house cats—are hunting. Predators become more active during a cold front—or any other type of weather front, really. I concentrate on the twilight hours when on day hunts. Naturally, the hours right before dusk and right after dawn are ideal for killing predators. I hunt during the day when there is a full moon because I have seen that the prey animals are more active during the day. When it’s really light at night, prey animals usually avoid engaging in excessive activity. Generally speaking, nighttime darkness is preferable. When the moon is waxing, I concentrate on hunting after midnight, when it appears to be the darkest of the night. I will be able to hunt during the darkest portion of the night in the early morning hours as the waxing moon rises sooner and sets just before midnight. When the moon is declining, I will hunt from the moment it becomes dark until it rises, which usually happens about midnight, and reaches its brightest in the early morning. When I hunt is also influenced by other variables, such as cloud cover, chilly temperatures, or significant weather fronts.

I have always had more luck night hunting in the East. Daytime calling works better out west. Additionally, predators become more competing with one another for food at larger densities, which can lead to some really profitable stands.

7. Utilize Thermals and Lights at Night

One of my favorite techniques to summon coyotes and fox is to go night hunting. Day hunts and their fundamentals are extremely similar. I seek for high spots and try to angle the wind to my advantage. The only true distinction is if you use thermal or night vision equipment or a light to see them. The main errors that individuals make when using a thermal imaging system or running a light are turning it off or stopping to take a break (you can’t photograph what you can’t see).

Because predators will respond to calls fast, it is critical to remain on the lookout for inbound targets at all times. The FOXPRO Gunfire is the light I use while I’m utilizing one. I’ll cover a space and look for eyes to look back at me. I’ll maintain the light on them or just above them as they go closer to the stand after I get a pair of eyeballs. A fast lip squeak or bark will get them to apply the brakes and present a nice opportunity for a shot once they are in range and I’m ready to take it.

I switch on the light or thermal scanner as soon as I get out of the truck, look for predators’ eyes, and move to a stand. I never turn off my light or thermal scanner until I get back in my van and go on to another stand. Please note that you may attract a variety of animals to a stand at night, so make sure you have a clear picture of your intended target (it’s possible to call in domestic animals or an out-of-season wild animal).

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