Coyote hunting is a great way to spend the off season cutting down the numbers of these pesky dogs. It can help your deer herd numbers, help the small game population, and help farmers from losing valuable livestock.
It’s also just plain fun and can put a few extra bucks in your pocket thanks to government funded bounties in some states. But, there are pitfalls that the beginner can fall in to, and many who think this will be a fun easy hunt, quickly find out that the coyote is a very skittish, and smart animal.
Coyote Hunting For Beginners 101
In this article, I’ll be giving you some tips to make your first coyote hunt a successful one. This includes tactics, and what to know to outsmart your prey and get your shot off before they disappear.
Pay Close Attention To The Wind
First, you must understand how a coyote works. They use their nose for everything. My first tip would be to always pay attention to the wind. Do not approach them from down-wind, and don’t ever neglect your downwind side when hunting. It doesn’t matter what call you are using, if they smell you, you will have no chance often.
Don’t Be Afraid To Try Different Calls
Also, you must consider what call to use. Many people just grab an electronic call and play a rabbit distress sound and hope for the best. This can be very useful certain times of the year, but don’t neglect coyote vocals, and other rodent distress sounds, and bird distress sounds. The coyote doesn’t just eat rabbits, so naturally you should not just use rabbit sounds.
Choose a Good Spot and Be Patient
Be very still and be very observant. Sometimes they will come running right in, and other times they will take their sweet time, and come in very reluctantly. You have to sit very still and be concealed properly because at the first sign of something being wrong, the coyote will quickly start running away. Make sure that you can see the land very well, and that you are not in a spot you can be easily seen, and you will be set up pretty good.
Practice Makes Perfect
However, location isn’t everything. It’s also important to be a good marksman!
These animals are small, fast moving, and very smart. If you are not a good shot, you will more than likely be missing more coyotes, than you are hitting, and you will get frustrated.
Not only that though, you’ll also be educating the coyotes. They will quickly learn your tactics and become aware of how to avoid you! So, make sure you can shoot and hit your mark. Have full confidence in the weapon you are using on them, and practice, practice, practice before you set out to hunt.
Don’t ever think you have it all figured out. As soon as you think you have it down pat, and that you can call in and kill any dog, or that you have seen it all. A coyote will come along and teach you something new. Make sure you are always on top of your game and paying attention to every detail.
Coyote Calling Tips For Beginners
Now let’s talk about what calls to use. There are many options available.
You have open reed mouth calls, closed reed mouth calls, diaphragm calls, and electronic calls.
Pick the right call and learn to use it effectively
Each of these can be very effective and have their own uses. I personally like to use a diaphragm for vocals, and an open reed for rabbit distress.
I also use an electronic call at almost all times as well. Make sure whichever you use you are very effective with. Using it wrong can ruin a hunt, and yet again, practice is vital here.
Don’t call in the same location too frequently
Be wary of how often you’re calling in a certain place. If you call the same area over and over, you will quickly call out a place. The coyotes will become educated very fast, and will not come into your calls anymore, and you will be frustrated and not successful very quickly.
Scout locations ahead of your hunt
A great thing to do before a hunt is to scout. Go out and howl at night and find where the coyotes are staying. Keep tabs on where you are seeing coyotes, scat, or tracks. If a lot are in a certain area, that will probably be a good place to call. Knowing where the coyotes are is a very effective strategy to killing more coyotes.
Giving up to soon can be a pitfall as well. Stay a little longer on set, and your numbers will go up.
Sometimes the coyotes are coming from further distances, and sometimes they come in a little more on guard and a little slower.
So, staying a little longer on each stand will surely help you bag more.
Don’t be afraid to try new things
The last tip I am going to give you is that you need to be prepared to try new things. Coyote hunting is becoming very popular, with this means there are more hunters and more coyotes being educated.
To stay on top of this you have to be willing to go the extra mile. Call from directions most people wouldn’t think to. Use new sounds, and different animal sounds. Try out every new tactic you can think of or hear of.
Be willing to do everything that the normal person wouldn’t, and you will quickly find yourself killing more than those that don’t want to put in the extra effort. Most importantly have fun with it.
PS. If you need some help with your gear, you can check out this article we did on night scopes for coyote hunting.