Coyotes can be perfect bow targets during big game season

October 2, 2012

Are you just a predator hunter? Probably not. Currently, I’m knee-deep in elk depression as I scour the mountains trying to find a bull willing to stand still long enough for my arrow to catch up with it. Across other parts of the country archery-whitetail seasons are opening or are about to, and with these early-season opportunities predator options also shine. As you acquire the correct permits for the archery seasons ahead, research options for predators as well. Your sneaky approach, stealth-mode skills and ambush setups offer perfect predator hunts when the stars and planets align.

The big kicker for taking advantage of predator encounters is to ensure you have the right permits. In many states coyotes are fair game on your big-game permit or no permit is needed at all. In a few states and provinces you do need to acquire the proper permits to shoot coyotes. You may need to purchase a furbearer permit or even a permit specific to the species you may encounter on your hunt. You can get more information at links like those supplied by Cabela’s (www.cabelas.com).

I run into coyotes from coast to coast so I always try to have the proper permit in hand for any coyote encounter, but occasionally I also have a sneaky bobcat walk under my treestand or past my ground blind. This species is heavily regulated in most states so be sure to check all laws before releasing an arrow on one.

Here are a few tips on tagging a predator with an arrow. First, coyotes have noses that even whitetails admire. If you don’t use the proper scent elimination steps, such as spraying down with products like Hunter’s Specialties Scent-A-Way (www.hunterspec.com), they’ll bust you every time. Be scent savvy. Second, coyotes have eyes on the backs of their heads. If you’re in a treestand you’ll be challenged to draw an arrow with a coyote in plain sight. Wait until they go behind some brush, turn away or dip into a low spot. Then draw and be ready to shoot fast. Third, do the same for bobcats, but be ready for a stare down. Bobcats often catch movement, but instead of bolting, they crouch to watch giving you ample time to aim and shoot.

A couple of seasons back I had a stellar day on stand. I didn’t bag a whitetail buck, but I used rodent squeaks to lure not one, but two young coyotes into range of my Mathews bow (www.mathewsinc.com). It still ranks as one of my favorite coyote hunts.

Archery seasons give you the experience of getting close to game. While you’re big-game hunting this fall use your outdoor time to also put a few predators in the skinning shed—the primitive way!