Part 2 – How to hunt coyotes

As promised in the January issue of the River Hills Traveler, here is part two of “how to hunt coyotes.”

On Jan. 10-11 I conducted two seminars at the annual Predator Classic at Cabela’s in Kansas City, Kan. While visiting with several predator hunters from all around the United States, I heard some of the same questions multiple times.

I took the top five questions that were asked and I’m going to go in-depth a little more than part one of this article, as promised.

During Cabela’s annual Predator Classic, I noticed several people hanging around listening to all of the seminars throughout the day. I even noticed multiple people taking notes.

It seemed that they were all thirsty for knowledge on the how to’s of getting started predator hunting. My deer and turkey hunting seminars at events usually average from 25 to 30 people and they last 30 to 45 minutes.

At this event, Saturday in particular, I had 47 people in my seminar and it lasted an hour and five minutes. Thirty minutes of that was questions and answers. This type of excitement level makes seminars enjoyable for everyone. Plus, we all learn more by listening to other hunters’ experiences.

The number one question that I heard was, “Do you hunt of day and/or night?” Being from southern Missouri, I do most of my hunting in Missouri where it is illegal to hunt at night.

Which means, I do most of my hunting in early mornings and late evenings. Although I like to hunt all day, my favorite is morning and evenings. This seems to be when game move the best.

Coyotes in particular will gather near their den sights at this time and then proceed to go out to hunt for the day. I have taken coyotes during midday, however, 75 percent of time it is within the first two hours of the day or the last two hours of the day.

The second most asked question was, “What type of calls do you use?” I use a lot of hand calls, open reed style calls and closed reed calls as well.

Open reed calls are good for doing a lot of your coyote vocals such as barks, yips, and howls. Closed reed calls are good for making your distress sounds such as rabbit in distress, rodent in distress, fawn bleats, and a lot of your bird sounds such as a flicker or woodpecker.

My all-time favorite style of call is a diaphragm turkey call style call, a plain double reed is my go-to call. You can howl, whine, and yip like a coyote or you can do pup distress sounds, as well as multiple prey distress sounds all from one call. All of this can be done hands-free which is one of the reasons this style of call is my favorite.

The other style of call I use is an electronic caller, which is probably the most popular call in predator hunting. This is due to the ease of use. Most of the electronic calls in today’s market are digital. This allows for a wide range of sounds, which is one of the reasons it is so popular.
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Some electronic callers can hold up to 150 different sounds. Electronic calls are also much louder than hand calls so you can reach out in open areas. For beginning hunters an electronic call is the way to go. Another benefit of electronics is less movement from the individual using it, which keeps them concealed.

The third question was, “How long do I call at each set up?” I spend an average of 15 to 20 minutes at each set up. If I haven’t called anything up in that time, I am moving to the next spot.

This is what I like most about predator hunting; it is a fast-paced style of hunting, there is no time to get bored. At each set up I will usually start off with a couple of soft subtle howls. I will then start using a cottontail in distress, rodent in distress, etc.

I will do this for about three or four minutes, then pause and wait about the same time. If nothing comes in, I will redo the sounds for another three to four minutes. Again, after 15 minutes if nothing shows up, I’m moving.

If I am strictly bobcat hunting, I will set for up to 30 minutes. Cats like to sneak in, so they take longer to make an appearance.

The next most asked question was, “Do I use decoys?” While coyote hunting I most generally do not use decoys. But, I have used them in the past. I have used battery powered rabbit decoys that move back and forth. A decoy is designed to bring animals in just a little closer for the shot. Plus, they keep the attention off of you. So, yes they can be effective.

The last question most often asked was, “Do I use some type of scent elimination?” And the answer is absolutely, yes! A coyote’s best defense is its nose. However, I will be the first to say, you will NEVER fool a coyote’s nose 100 percent.

A K9 has a very strong nose, but what you can do by using a scent elimination regime is fool them into thinking “was that scent from today or yesterday?” A K9 may smell your scent but if it is not a strong scent, they are not alarmed.

I use Scent A Way but no matter what brand you use, it’s the same way with deer hunting — you need to use a complete scent elimination system. A complete system is made up of washing your clothes in a scent eliminating laundry detergent, storing them in a scent safe bag, then taking a shower using scent eliminating soaps and shampoos, followed by spraying down with a scent eliminating spray when you get to the field.

Plus, I’m a big believer in wearing rubber boots. They keep scent off better than most boots, as well as keeping your feet dry.

As I mentioned in my seminars, to set the record straight, I’m not an expert on predator hunting. These tips are just some of the things I have learned over the past few years.

The best advice I can give is to get out and hunt; trial and error are the number one ways to learn.

I hope these few tips will help you out on your next predator hunting adventure.

– By Heath Wood

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