Yes, hunting winter coyotes is fun and popular. Which is why success often depends on how well you can incorporate a few next-level tactics.
As more and more of you seek to experience the thrill of a coyote trotting in to the call, it is increasingly obvious the field is getting crowded. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that more of you are excited about predator hunting, but it also makes the final objective of a coyote encounter more challenging. With more pressure, your local coyotes are simply smarter. To experience success in this crowded playing field you need to set yourself apart; start by consider these proven coyote-duping strategies.Leave Them In The Dust. Grab a quick edge over the competition by beginning your scouting from home with your HuntStand app and its many helpful map layers. Your goal is to find property, public or private, where you can walk away from the crowds. Why? Regardless of what you might expect, most coyotes experience calling pressure. By hunting away from roads and remote corners, you may just call to an uneducated coyote.Walking away from the crowds is actually fairly easy if you are in shape. Make that your goal. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, less than five percent of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Only one in three adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week. That equals more than 80 percent of adults that do not meet the guidelines for muscle building and aerobic activities. Don’t be on the wrong side of such jarring statistics.
Coyotes do not require moleskin for their nimble paws and will quickly depart an area before daylight to reach refuge cover from expected human activity. They can cover miles in minutes, and that is why you need to hike farther. When coyotes feel pressure, they begin to act like deer. They travel in cloaked corridors, move more at night and lounge well away from danger.
As you look for those isolated, roadless parcels, note all that may include steep slopes, briar thickets or rugged river breaks. Nasty topography beckons coyotes that have felt the burn or “Bern,” depending on your leanings.An All-Access Pass. As more hunters go after coyotes, these fast learners understand vehicles and noise, not to mention human presence, all add up to danger. Make your access into their homeland as invisible as possible. Nothing gives you away more than approaching with the wind blowing into potential predator cover. Check your HuntStand app for future wind forecasts and take that into consideration as you plan the approach to every setup. And park far enough away so coyotes are not alerted by your vehicle noise—and never slam doors.
Next, stay out of sight. Use low spots, such as ditches or creek beds, for a hidden advance. Never silhouette yourself if at all possible. Instead of hiking over a hill, try to sidehill to give yourself a background to blend against. If you must silhouette, do it under the cover of darkness, or swiftly. In every approach it pays to eliminate your own scent with a quality scent elimination product like Scent Killer Gold from Wildlife Research Center. Give your boots an extra blast to ensure any coyote crossing your access path does not catch a whiff of you along the trail.
Finally, if your first set is in the morning, utilize the cover of darkness to boldly cross farther into good predator calling country.Own The Location. You will need to do a final onsite setup location assessment, but you can begin your initial calling site review at home. When you “own the location,” you set yourself apart from the crowd by never missing a coyote appearance. Here’s how that happens. Pull up satellite imagery of your hunting area on your HuntStand app. Next, take into consideration all the overlays provided, to help you decipher if you have an elevated location (a serious advantage) that offers several open shooting lanes, coupled with a wind advantage. Consider topographical contours, tree cover, property boundaries and predominant winds, among others, as you evaluate site potential with hunting app help.
Openings could be in the form of fields, woodland glades, cleared utility rights of way, farm lanes, senderos, old forest roads and the like. The only prerequisite is that the openings give you an ample view for shooting, yet do not allow a coyote a veiled avenue to get downwind.
You may also have to be creative in gaining high ground to spot incoming coyotes. In open farm country (see image above) that high ground may be a slight rise of less than 10 feet. It may also include setting up in the hayloft at an abandoned farmstead. In the Great Plains or West, you have options that include high creek banks, ridges, canyon lips and even deserted storage tanks from booms, and busts in oil country.
Sounds Of Success. As coyotes get more education from weekend warriors, become an advocate of switching up your calling game plan. You might even consider a silent ambush approach—and wait for the predators to come to you. Since that could be a low-percentage hunt, switch up your calls when playing in a crowded field. To give your calls more life, carry hand calls. Rocky Mountain Hunting Calls offers a large selection of hand calls to mimic prey, large and small, plus a selection of howlers for authentic coyote vocalizations.
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How do you know it is time to switch sounds? If you experience nothing on two to three sets, it is time to try something new. Most hunters use rabbit- and rodent-distress calls since these work early, and match the diet of most coyotes. Nevertheless, even those sounds will soon begin to fail, so switch it up. During the winter coyotes love a large meal, so the sound of a fawn in peril can grab attention. They also like easy meals, and distressed birds can provide incentive. Game birds like turkeys, or the distress sounds of a woodpecker, have equal appeal to a hungry coyote searching for fast food. Adding the sounds of aerial scavengers attracts coyotes as well. Think of jays, ravens, magpies and crows. Coyotes routinely use the flapping visual to key in on a new carcass.
Do not forget about domestic livestock. A variety of barnyard species live in all corners of America, and coyotes absolutely know their whereabouts. Cattle, horses, pigs, chickens, sheep and every other barnyard creature tempt coyotes hoping for a quick bite. Coyotes also cruise around areas where farmers occasionally toss farmyard critter casualties. Call or spy on these areas to catch a bold graveyard shopper.Deceitful Diversions. Finally, consider a decoy upwind of your carefully chosen setup location. This attraction creates a compelling diversion for coyotes to investigate now—instead of making a huge downwind swing behind you. Place your fake 100 yards or more upwind, next to your electronic caller, if that is your sound-maker. Even if you utilize hand calls, an upwind decoy can stall a coyote into investigating the bobbing and dancing jig of a furry, faux prey. Some electronic callers even have decoys built in. For stand-alone decoys, look to the pros at Mojo Outdoors; their Fuzzy Critter model comes highly recommended.Scents also work great in combination with a decoy. Coyote scent can make any approaching coyote stop for an investigative whiff, thus giving you a standing shot. Plus, it works great to mask your foot odor that may have been left as you placed your decoy or caller upwind of your calling site. Hang a soaked wick of Wildlife Research Center’s Coyote Urine or Coyote Juice near your decoy to complete your “trifecta of foolery” that includes calls, decoy and scent.While incorporating coyote scent and vocalizations into your setup you can also place a coyote decoy out in front of you. Coyote decoys come in all shapes, but Montana Decoy’s Kojo coyote is easy-packing light, and realistic enough to fool any coyote looking for the rival yapper in the neighborhood.
One final note on gear: The problem with acquiring a collection of great gear is transporting it all to the field efficiently. That means you will need ample room, plus some predator-focused details in your choice of backpack.Alps Outdoorz specializes in hunting packs and the Enforcer pack (above) is designed specifically for predator hunters with customized functions. This pack wears like others, but has built-in benefits for furry pursuits. First, you can forget about cold buns because the pack has a seat built into it. A cushy, 3-inch-thick memory foam seat folds up into the kickstand frame for comfort and shooting stability. Large swivel feet hold the chair firmly while you wait. When it is time shoot, the rigid back support steadies your aim.
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SIMPLE IS SAFE FOR PRESSURED COYOTES
A large cargo compartment holds your electronic call and decoy while front compartments give you room for hand calls, scents and other gadgets. Additional, removable pockets rest on the waistband adding even more space for your arsenal including loops for shotshells and extra cartridges. The pack is also hydration compatible. It weighs 7.5 pounds and is available at outlets like Bass Pro Shops or Cabela’s. The current popularity of coyote hunting is a no-brainer boon to the sport, but competition means you need to set yourself apart from the crowd. Think a bit outside the box, don’t be afraid to change it up, and you’ll experience consistent coyote success.