Coyote hunting has become a popular pastime within the last 20 years. Much of that is due to the recent coyote-population boom. But even with all these coyotes, it’s still never easy to call them in.
Clay Belding of Banded and Dead Dog Walkin' and Byron South of Convergent Hunting are both coyote hunting experts. And each of them offered tips on how to call in more coyotes. Take heed. This is straight from the guys who know what’s up when it comes to coyotes.
1. Practice What You Preach
The Convergent Hunting Bullet HP is a great electronic call for calling in more coyotes.
Electronic calls are great. So are hand calls. But neither will come easy to you. They take practice.
“If you're hand calling, get out and do it,” Belding said. “The best teacher is doing it yourself and failing. If something doesn’t work, try something a little different. Then you’ll know what works for you in your area. It’s different depending on terrain, prey, and other factors.”
2. Mind the Truck
As with all game, you can’t kill something that is aware of your presence. Odds aren’t great when they do. However, remaining completely undetected is crucial.
“Park your vehicle where [coyotes] can’t see it,” South said. “[Also], park it where they can’t hear it.”
3. Bring the Arsenal
When hunting coyotes, different scenarios call for different firearms. Hunters need to be prepared for whatever they might face each day they go. One way to do that is by carrying multiple weapons on hunts.
“Bring a shotgun and a rifle on every stand,” Belding said. “You never know how a coyote might react. You need a shotgun if they come rushing in, but a rifle for long shots. So, essentially, you need to practice running shots and pattern your shotgun. Because they’ll be running 20 to 30 mph.”
4. Walk into the Wind
Coyotes have exceptional noses. They’re canines. And canines are infamous for their ability to sniff things out, including people. That has to not only be considered but also dwelled upon in order to be consistently successful.
“Keep the wind in your face,” South said. “You can’t call a coyote that knows you’re there.”
5. Pick a Vantage Point
“Pick a vantage point where you can see the coyote when it responds to your call,” South said.
You can’t kill something you can’t see. The only way to make sure you see approaching coyotes is to get somewhere you can. Get up high on a hill, or somewhere else where you can see the landscape around you. The last thing you want is a coyote sneaking within a few yards of you and not even realize it’s there.
6. Conceal Yourself
Concealment is everything when it comes to hunting any species. It’s no different with coyote hunting. Good camo is a must-have.
“Use good camo,” Belding said. “We use the new MAX-1 XT. Tuck in somewhere you aren’t silhouetted. They know where the sound is coming from. Don’t move. Scan with your eyes, then move your head. Don’t have a bobble head when looking around or they’ll see you long before you see them.”
South had much the same to say. “[That coyote] is focused on where you’re at,” South said. “Get comfortable. It could take as long as 15 minutes. Also, put something behind you to break up your outline.”
7. Mind Wind Direction When Setting Up
“Know that most days will have some wind,” Belding said. “Always keep your downwind side open. Those coyotes will use the wind to their advantage. Use that to your advantage by giving yourself a window to shoot. If you don’t, they’ll smell you. If you keep it open, you’ll likely have a shot opportunity."
That couldn't be any truer.
8. Deal with Windy Days
Most days it will be windy, especially in the western half of the country. That is no reason to throw in the towel. Stay after them.
“People often don’t call on windy days,” Belding said. “Once it gets to 30 mph, it’s pointless. But you can work with 15 to 20 mph. They almost always do, but they especially come in downwind on windy days.”
So don’t quit just because it’s windy. Instead, be even more careful with the wind and set up a little closer to where you think dogs are lounging so they can hear you call.
9. From Stand to Stand
Give each stand 20 to 30 minutes to produce. Most times, coyotes will respond within the first five minutes. But that isn’t always the case. Give each stand time to work.
“Typically, in our neck of the woods (Reno, Nevada), we go ¾ of a mile to a mile between calling setups,” Belding said. “But on windy days — working into the wind so they don’t smell you — you can set up more frequently and get close to them. They can’t hear you coming. You can use this to your advantage.”
For those hunting in the eastern states, you also can set up a little more frequently. Rolling hills, dense cover and other factors prevent sounds — and calls — from traveling quite as far. That’s something to consider when choosing stand locations.
10. Be Patient
The biggest thing to remember when it comes to hunting coyotes is to be patient. It isn’t an easy endeavor. It takes both skill and patience to kill a coyote. So take these tips, apply them, be patient, and your hunt for a ‘yote will likely end in success.
[Editor's note: This post was first published Feb. 24, 2016.]