Information on Hunting Coyotes

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Hunting The Coyote

 Becoming an effective coyote hunter doesn’t happen overnight. All the books, articles, videos you study can never take the place of experience. It usually takes a few seasons to become proficient at it, but once you learn the tricks of the trade, you will find few future hunts more rewarding. 

            Coyote hunters have never gotten much respect from the mainstream hunting crowd. This is probably because most hunters shoot their first coyote while pheasant hunting or from their tree stand and think it’s no big deal. Only a fellow coyote hunter can truly appreciate your accomplishments. I believe coyote hunters among the best all-around hunters and marksmen you will find anywhere simply because of the high demands that sport requires of you. A coyote hunter must bring to the field with him many different skills to be proficient. Among these are the art of camoflauge, tracking, stalking, spotting, and calling, not to mention a basic understanding of coyote vocalization and, most important of all, the individual’s ability to shoot. No animal will humble a hunter faster than a coyote. So whether you are a beginner or a seasoned professional, you can count on one thing. The coyote will always prove to be a worthy adversary.      

Hunting Equipment:

            Most experienced coyote hunters go through a lot of equipment before finding out what works best for them. It usually starts with the weopon. What is the best rifle to use for coyote hunting? Well, if you ask a hundred different callers that question, you would likely get a hundred different answers. There has been a lot of debate over what is the best gun to use on coyotes. Rather than getting caught up in all that, I would just suggest that you let the geography and hunting season regulations of your hunting areas dictate your choice of firearms.  


          A good word of advice in choosing your coyote weopon; it’s better to be overgunned than undergunned. Coyotes are very tough animals and possess a tremendous will to survive, so don’t handicap yourself by choosing a caliber of questionable capabilities just to save “a few stitches” or a couple of bucks from the local fur buyer. I’ve shot coyotes with everything from  .17 & 22 calber rimfires to Magnum Big game cartidges and have come to the conclusion that the best suited rifle rounds lay between the .223 and the 25-06 Remington. More important, whatever gun and load you decide on, stick with it. You’ve heard the phrase, “Beware of the one-gun man.” Well, the same holds true with coyote hunters. You will find most serious coyote callers are one-gun men. I believe in this concept wholeheartedly, because the more you shoot a particular gun and load, the better you will become with it, and with that comes confidence. This is one of the most crucial ingredients to any hunter’s success. 


            When hunting Coyotes with a shotgun, there are several key factors that come into play.  You have to call coyotes in real close to be effective with a shotgun and often will find that the use of decoys suits this role well.

Effective range: 60 yards and under with an extra full Turkey choke, and I would only recommend 10,12, & 20  guage in 3" or 3-1/2" #4 Copper plated BB's or # 2 Tunsten loads. Due to a Coyotes thick winter coat of fur, Buck shot with Lead pellets will often just flatten out bettween the skin and muscle. Unless you place a key head shot, be prepared for a follow up of a second or even a third shot to successfully down a large mature coyote...


            As far as the calls are concerned, There are two types: electronic and mechanical:

Electronic calls can offer the most variety of sounds in a single package and can benefit a hunters need for versatility over the mechanical style calls. However; up until technology advances in the recent years this required that we tote around a plethora of tapes to have many sounds at a stand, but with todays MP3 technology, one can have hundreds of calling sounds available to us in a compact and light weight package.

For the rifle shooter, that wants to target shots at distance a wireless remote caller is a great advantage as one can place the speaker far away from your actual stand location allowing the hunter an "out of site - out of mind" advantage.

One thing to keep in mind with electronic callers is volume level control, many hunters make the mistake of starting off calling too loud. Start out low, and increase the volume as you go, this way not to alarm any coyotes that are near by and just out of site. If there's one close by it will only take a minute or two before he shows up. Always allow yourself about 5 minutes before exiting a stand once you've stopped calling, allowing a coyote that's coming in from a distance time to reach your calling site.

Mechanical Calls:

 There are basically two styles of mechanical calls– the open reeds and the closed reeds. Most often, the advice given to beginners is to opt for one of the closed reed models, but not because the dealer believes that beginners are too incompetent to use the open reed style. It is because most closed reeds come pre-tuned and automatically give the beginner the desired realistic tones. The open reed models, on the other hand, do take more practice to learn, but once mastered, you can make a wide variety of sounds, which is often desired in more pressured areas. One great adavantage to using mechanical calls is their dependabilty in foul weather, nothing can ruin a hunt quicker than dead batteries in an electronic caller and a good mechanical call is an absolute failsafe to have with you in the field.

Field Tactics:

While in the field, you should go extra lengths to be cautious, because everything you do after leaving the vehicle will have a direct bearing on your success. Pay special attention to the way you approach your stand. Always sneak in using available cover and low spots. Skylining yourself is always bad news, but occasionally you have to in order to get into position. When topping a hill, remember to go very slowly, taking a couple of steps at a time and looking. This often pays off y your spotting a sleeping or mousing coyote before he sees you. 

            Often in the field, you will spook non-target animals such as pheasants, grouse, deer, and even cattle. When this happens, sit or lie down immediately and keep your eyes open. Any coyote in the area will be at full lookout, wondering what spooked them. On many occasions, I’ve spotted sleeping coyotes that have been awakened from the excitement. 

            Once you’ve reached your stand and have sat or laid down, take a couple of minutes to rest, because you usually don’t realize how out of breath you are until you start blowing on your call. Your resting time should be spent scanning the surrounding area, making sure no coyote or coyotes watched your approach. In the event one did see you come in, do not attempt to call: that will only educate the coyote. If you can make the shot, do it. If not, try to put the sneak on him or just move on to the next stand. He might not get so lucky your next time through the area. 

            There has been a lot written about what to do after you have called in and shot or shot at a coyote. Some say to keep calling. Others say to use the coyote distress sound. I’ve tried both with mixed results, but given a choice, I would go with the coyote in distress call for a couple of reasons. First off, if you’re like me and have a lot of competition from other callers or road hunters, the coyotes in your area are going to know what a gunshot is, and continue calling with a rabbit in distress call will probably just reinforce the coyote’s association of distress calls to man, furthering his education and making him that much harder to trick the next time. Coyotes are very intelligent animals and if you spook one too badly, you might not get another chance at him until the following season.