Several of us avid big game hunters also pursue predators in the offseason to hone our skills and stay outdoors during the winter months. I for one love harvesting coyotes by any means available and hunt them during my offseason as much as my wife allows. Coyotes are incredibly crafty creatures and only get more intelligent with pressure. I learned a long time ago to be successful coyote hunting and especially if your trying to call them you need to do some scouting ahead of time, lucky for me I do all my pre-coyote season scouting while guiding hunters all fall, taking lots of notes of possible locations, numbers, and activity in certain areas while I am out hunting other creatures.
One of the most important things to consider before going coyote hunting is how are the numbers, low numbers of coyotes, equals a poor success for your typical weekend warrior coyote hunter like myself. If I go out and see 2 or 3 coyotes working an area in the morning I get pretty excited and feel that more than likely the numbers are pretty dang good in the area as most of them are not exposing themself all the time during the daylight hours. I spend a lot of time scouting, I go sit on a high spot in the mornings and watch for coyotes, and figure out where they are spending their time early in the morning and where they head midday, and this determines where I decided to make my stand depending on the times of the day.
Once I have determined that there are good coyotes numbers in the area, and figure out some of their travel behaviors I go to the field with a gun in hand. While hunting stand location is extremely important, you want good visibility, but enough cover to hide in, and most importantly wind direction, with our heavy winds in my part of the world I typically call with a crosswind, with a nice shooting lane just before the downwind side so I can make a shot before they happen to wind me.
Coyotes like to stay low if possible, if there is a big draw near me I try to get into a stand position where I can see into the draw, if the terrain is fairly mild I stay a ways away from where I think a coyote may travel just to make sure he has an easy path to where I want him to go for a good shot opportunity.
Getting to a stand location is sometimes pretty difficult depending on the terrain you are hunting, but I walk as much as possible, the more I walk to a stand the better success I have had personally. Pressured coyotes hear a vehicle and get the heck out of the country pretty quick. I park my ranger or truck in the lowest spot can find, and approach my stand as low as possible and never sky-lining myself. Once I get to the stand I sit for awhile not moving not making a sound and get familiar with what is going on, did I bump some deer on the way in, cattle grazing nearby, or any coyotes in the distance that may be mousing or traveling that are unaware of my presence.
Join our good friend Ross Shores as he goes over some Trials and Tribulations of coyote hunting.
If I happen to see a coyote in the distance before I make a calling sequence this sometimes changes the way I approach my sequence. I have found it much easier to call in a coyote that I can see that is unaware of my presence then a coyote somewhere in the area I haven’t found lurking around.
Think small, I have had way more success hunting my country by thinking small. I set up for a smaller area, call a smaller area, and move on. This does 2 things in my opinion, gives me more stands on a particular piece of ground, pressure fewer dogs per set, and I hope that only 1 or 2 coyotes happen to come in so I can make sure I harvest them quickly and not leave anything out in the field that may be smarter the next time out, more wishful thinking than anything.
Get off the road! Scout your stand locations ahead of time, and go hunting. There are a million ways to harvest a coyote and some true professional coyote hunters that can call a coyote out of your backyard, but for the rest of us with some persistence, luck, and some boot time success will occur, sometimes I go a couple of days without a successful set and other days I call something in every set.
How much do you put into stand location?