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Thread: Coyote Calling/Hunting Tips

  1. #1
    Senior Member SSpengSS's Avatar
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    Coyote Calling/Hunting Tips

    This might be better off as a sticky, but I'm starting this thread as requested by a couple of members on here.

    Predator hunting, specifically coyote hunting, has become very popular over the last few years. If you turn to any of the hunting channels this time of year, you are sure to see predator hunting on at some point in time. I am by no means a pro, but I have put a substantial amount of time, effort, and money into coyote hunting over the last three years. I'm the type of guy that learns quick, adapts even quicker, and isn't afraid to change my plans on the fly based on my gut feeling to improve my chances of success. Keep in mind that hunting coyotes in the Midwest is not like hunting them in the west, which is what you usually see on tv.

    With coyote hunting, you will experience highs and lows that will just drive you crazy...but that's why we hunt, right? Just as it's rare to have a trophy class buck waltz right past your treestand, it's even more difficult to get coyotes to appear when and where you want them too. In my honest opinion, hunting coyotes has proven to be the most challenging hunting I've ever done. Hopefully you can take all of the information I'm getting ready to share, and use it to your advantage if you are seriously considering predator hunting.

    1. COYOTES ARE THE BEST EYES, EARS, AND NOSE IN THE WOODS. PERIOD.
    If you believe that hunting trophy bucks is difficult, wait until you start coyote hunting. I'm not saying that you won't have them running to your calls within seconds, because there are times that you will, but what I can tell you is that your odds of being successful or not begins before you even set foot outside of your vehicle. Playing the wind and being scent free is so much more important when predator hunting. Coyotes will circle downwind of your call/decoy 99.99% of the time. If you don't take the time to check the terrain, possible travel routes, weather (especially wind direction and speed), and come up with a solid plan before you even leave your house, the odds are stacked against you tenfold. You absolutely have to have a plan of where you are going to set up based first off of wind direction, then tailor your calling setup to get them downwind of your call/decoy before they catch wind of you.

    2. BE AS QUIET AS POSSIBLE
    This starts with closing your truck door. NEVER slam your door shut. Coyotes can hear a mouse squeak from 100 yds away, under the snow. Shut the door as quietly as you can. When you are walking out to your set, especially if you have buddies with you, ALWAYS WHISPER. Even better, talk as little as possible.

    3. MOVE QUICKLY, BUT DELIBERATELY TO EACH STAND
    You need to make it a point to get to each set as quickly as possible, but still moving and glassing in a manner such that you can spot coyotes that may be mousing about in fields or cruising creekbottoms. The bottom line here goes back to the plan that you need to have in place. Get to your set, set up your call/decoy as quickly and quietly as possible, then get set up and ready. You need to be comfortable with your equipment to do this. The last thing you want is fumbling about in a field for 10 minutes trying to get your decoy put together and set up. Know the height you need to have your shooting sticks when you're standing/kneeling. Also, I can't count the number of times that while moving to a set I've encountered coyotes on the prowl. You need to be alert at all times, and prepared to develop a quick plan to capitalize on any encounter.

    4. PAY ATTENTION TO THE VOLUME OF YOUR CALL

    Whether you are using hand calls or an electronic caller, you need to be very aware of the volume that you are calling at. One of the biggest mistakes my buddy and I made when we first started coyote hunting, was calling too loud. Remember when I said earlier that a coyote can hear a mouse squeak under the snow from 100 yds away? If you are blowing into a call as loud as you can, I can guarantee that you will be unsuccessful 99% of the time. Think of it this way...how many 300lb cottontail rabbits have you seen in your lifetime? A coyote has never seen one either. Don't expect a coyote to come running in to that. Unless the wind is howling at 30+ mph and that coyote is 1,000 yds away from you, you do not need as much volume as you think. Keep the volume appropriate for the situation.

    5. KNOW WHAT CALLS ARE APPROPRIATE

    This is tricky because each coyote can have their own reaction to calls, but a good rule of them for me has always been:
    A. Only howl if you do not see any coyotes.
    For example, on your first set up of the morning, either slightly before or right at shooting light, use some invitation or social howls. If it is mid-January through mid-March, don't be afraid to use challenge howls because this is breeding season and coyotes are territorial creatures and will especially want to protect their territory during breeding season. The times I've howled after seeing a coyote have generally not ended well and usually sends them running back from where they came from. Of course, it's possible that a different reaction might happen, but my experience tells me otherwise.
    B. Use distress calls when you see a coyote. If you have a coyote in eye-shot range, using a distress call is essentially like ringing a dinner bell. Again, volume control is important. I always call softer and then adapt to the reaction I get. Distress calls work great when you don't see coyotes as well. Predators hunt to survive, so it's very hard for them to skip an "easy meal". Rabbit distress and mouse distress are normally the calls that are the most effective, but don't be afraid to switch it up. Kitten cries are another great call to use.

    6. USE A DECOY
    One of the best investments you'll make. I use a Mojo Critter that spins around randomly. This is irressistable to coyotes. It will also serve to keep their eyes on something else if you need to make a quick adjustment to shoot. Always try to place the decoy in an area where they can easily see it, and depending on your hunting property, try to put it where they can see it from a few hundred yards away. I try to keep my decoys within 100yds of where I'll be set up, with direct eye contact. As I mentioned before, coyotes will almost always circle downwind to scent-check, so it is important to consider your decoy location.

    7. TAKE THE FIRST, GOOD SHOT YOU HAVE
    Things happen very quickly when you coyote hunt. When they run in to a call, you will only have a few opportunities to take a shot. You can bark at them to stop them, and then I always aim in the center of the shoulder. Obviously the gun and ammo you're using needs to be sufficient enough to knock a coyote down. I prefer a quartering-to shot. I use a .22-250 and shoot 55 gr sierra blitzking bullets. Hornady makes some great VMax cartridges as well. If you are hunting in thick cover, a shotgun shooting shot through a choke is appropriate. Again, always be alert and prepared. Use shooting sticks, trust me they are worth it.


    There is much more to share, and always more to learn, but those are my top 7 tips for calling and hunting coyotes (mostly I'm tired and don't want to type anymore). If you follow those tips, I promise you have more success!

    If you have any other questions you'd like me to answer or if you want to PM me for more information, please free to do so.

    -sspengss

  2. #2
    Senior Member mrbb's Avatar
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    great info
    I would like to add too, that on set ups, sit for at least 30 minutes too,
    over the yrs here any how with so many folks hunting them, they have become a lot slower at coming into calls even with decoys
    if you plan to hunt at night
    use a red len's
    I have and many folks I know have tried the green and white, and the red has been to date the best color, with spooking them the least
    but they too don't like a light shined on them
    use a light to scan, find and be QUICK when shooting

    and last
    pending the area's your hunting
    many times I have found that a first coyote will show up, but if I waited some, more would show up
    and end up with getting 2 or with even a few shots at a third
    I always shot at the farther one first, if I thought I could make that shot, as then it gave me a chance at the closer one on the run

    and last
    as FOX pro and many other callers have found
    MANY times after you shoot, if you call real fast the others will stop and look back(thus fox pro's Fox Bang on there calls now that does just that)
    and one other thing to maybe think about if legal
    up here in all the contest I enter for coyotes, the most successful hunters any more are using dogs, not sitting and calling, at almost 2 to one or higher rates?
    so seems having a dog can really UP your odds!, as long as the dog knows what to do LOl'

  3. #3
    Senior Member mrbb's Avatar
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    SSpengSS
    a question for you
    have you ever tried scents while hunting coyotes
    I have a few gusy I know out in SD, that have been having a ton of luck using pee from dogs in heat?
    just like a doe in heat for a buck
    as in mating season, they have told me it will bring them right in, as they use that wind so much to live
    so was just wondering??

  4. #4
    Senior Member SSpengSS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbb View Post
    SSpengSS
    a question for you
    have you ever tried scents while hunting coyotes
    mrbb, yes, I have used the Predator Buck Bomb and am planning to use the ConQuest Coyote Stick as well. I can't say that I have had a huge amount of success, because I haven't really had enough experience with them yet to form a great opinion, but from everything I've heard they do seem to work, especially on those yotes that would otherwise be "hung up". Just like with deer..."seeing" and "smelling" the sound only adds to the realism and is more likely to get them close enough to investigate and present a shot.

  5. #5
    Senior Member SSpengSS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbb View Post
    pending the area's your hunting
    many times I have found that a first coyote will show up, but if I waited some, more would show up
    and end up with getting 2 or with even a few shots at a third
    I always shot at the farther one first, if I thought I could make that shot, as then it gave me a chance at the closer one on the run

    and last
    as FOX pro and many other callers have found
    MANY times after you shoot, if you call real fast the others will stop and look back(thus fox pro's Fox Bang on there calls now that does just that)
    mrbb added some great tips above. I'm going to contradict his waiting and shooting the farthest yote advice a little bit, but keep in mind that this is based on my experiences and like he said, it really depends on the situation...

    If I have multiple coyotes come in, I will always try to shoot the female first. ALWAYS...and especially when they are in mating season. Shoot the female first and the male is more likely to stop and come back with a coyote distress call or woof. He is not going to want to leave the female behind. This tip right there will up your chances at a double.

  6. #6
    Senior Member mrbb's Avatar
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    I agree about shooting the female first too
    ONLY if you can tell which one that is
    many time I have them come in so fast, I just try to plan the shooting if more than one is there
    I always take the one fartherst away IF I know I can make the shot(or really think I can) if not I take the one giving me the best shot, no matter what the range is
    but over the yrs shooting the farther one has lead to more doubles for me
    but every situation is different
    and I also think a lot depends on if its your first time hunting them or not
    just like with deer
    after you kill a lot/get some kills under your belt, you tend to both learn what works best for you, and there isn't as much pressure to kill one
    and it become more , well to me, killing one on your own terms, what ever they be, and not just about a kill!

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    Good imfo, what hand call do you gents recommend ? I have one here that doesn't sound like the yotes I hear out back to mee

  8. #8
    Senior Member mrbb's Avatar
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    well as for hand call are you talking about mouth calls you blow into?
    or actual hand calls like a box turkey call?

    as for actual hand calls, I have had several, and to be honest, and this might sound wrong
    I have taken the squeaky things out of some of the dog toys I have
    there small durable and well, have called me in a few coyotes over the yrs
    But to be honest I mostly use an electronic caller these days just because I can set it up a 100 yrds or away from mem and mine also has the decoy with it
    if you have the chance to go to some outdoor shows this time of yr, I would suggest you go and look at calls, as these are great ways to actually hear and try them before you buy

  9. #9
    Senior Member SSpengSS's Avatar
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    As far as hand calls, I only use the primos randy anderson double cottontail. Highly recommend it.

    My electronic call is the primos alpha dogg. I don't think there is a better call than that for the money.

    A mouse squeaker comes in very handy during bowhunting season as well.

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    tnx guys, i'll look into the suggestions

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