How many of you predator hunters have made stand after stand with no results? No matter what call you use, still nothing.
It could be any of these, or it may be as something as simple as the fact that there are no coyotes around.
A few years ago, I heard another predator hunter talking about this same topic. He said that making sure there are coyotes around is one of the most important lessons when it comes to calling in coyotes.
He asked, at first it seemed to be a stupid question, then I got to thinking about it. He plainly said, “When was the last time you actually saw coyotes there, last year or last month?”
As this hunter explained, just because you see coyotes in a certain place earlier in the year, that doesn’t mean they’re still there now. He then went on to explain that you should know that coyotes are there before you make your first call.
It wasn’t until a couple of years ago, oddly enough while running one evening, that I really started paying attention to knowing if coyotes are present before I hunt a particular area.
While at a local running track near my home, around 10 p.m., I started hearing coyotes howling on the land that bordered the track. It got me thinking, I should ask the landowner about hunting coyotes, since I know they are there.
A couple of days later I found myself hunting this particular land and within the first hour of hunting, we had called in three different coyotes and had seen two others while walking from stand to stand.
The key to that hunt was definitely knowing that there was coyotes present before going to hunt. The question now is how do I do this on all my hunts?
The answer to that being that there are several ways to confirm that coyotes are present. First, if I know I am going to be hunting an area, I try to go in a few days earlier and scout.
I begin looking for tracks, droppings, signs of past meals such as a carcass to a dead animal, etc., after a snow being the idle time to scout areas, due to the fact that you can see more tracks.
I like to look and see if there are tracks in a large area or do they just go in a straight line through the property. If they go all over I know coyotes are spending time there. If it is in a straight line a coyote may just be passing through.
Secondly, I like to take a good pair of binoculars with me and watch open areas; physically seeing a coyote is no doubt the most assuring sign that coyotes are in the area. I also like to ask landowners, farmers, mailmen, etc., if they have seen coyotes and if so, the location to which they witnessed them,. This, too, can help to find out if there are coyotes in your hunting area.
The third thing I like to do is one of my favorite ways to scout, since I hunt in Missouri most of the time where hunting coyotes at night is illegal. I like to scout for them at night, instead.
I will go in to a place where I am going to hunt, I then take my diaphragm call and/or my Johnny Stewart Calls electronic call and howl. By making a few lone coyote howls other coyotes will respond also with a howl. This gives me their location and tells me an approximate number of coyotes that are there. Once again, another way of assuring that there are coyotes present.
Actually, one of my favorite hunting tactics is to arrive at my hunting location an hour or so before legal shooting hours, then howl a few times to get the coyotes to respond, then use a similar to turkey hunting tactic of moving in close then when it’s time, try to call in with a different call such as a rabbit in distress.
After taking a little extra time to do my homework and find out a little more information on what I am going to be hunting, it has improved my success of calling coyotes.
I know it sounds like a simple question but knowing whether you have coyotes or not can be a game changer. Try it this winter and see if you, too, can improve your success rate.
By Heath Wood
(Heath Wood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)