The author and Boy Scout Troop 650 celebrating a double on an early December stand.
It was early December and I was calling coyotes with Boy Scout Troop 650 of Belgrade, Mont. The long awaited “coyote campout” was finally in full swing. We started locating coyotes at 4 a.m. and the boys were having a blast. Our expectations were high as we had several groups of coyotes howling before daylight.
It was almost 9 in the morning as we headed to our third stand. We carefully selected our positions to try and hide several scouts in a mixed array of camouflage. Michael Barday was the designated shooter on this stand. He was sitting right in front of me so I could offer instruction. I started with a few lonesome interrogation howls followed by several sequences of jackrabbit distress. After several minutes, two coyotes appeared out of a thick sage-brush canyon. One more short sequence of rabbit cries gave them our location and the lead coyote charged at full-speed. Michael killed him at less than 20 paces. After several minutes of coyote distress cries the second coyote appeared. Michael was shaking from excitement and I was skeptical he could make the 200 yard shot. I quietly whispered, “pick a spot and squeeze the trigger.” The shot went off and the second coyote went down. By this time the excitement level was so high there was no hope to continue calling. We exchanged many high-fives as we gathered up Michael’s coyotes and headed for the pickup.
We could have celebrated the first coyote and never killed number two. Our patience and persistence paid off. Here are a few things I’ve learned that help me kill multiple coyotes on stand.
I never stop calling just because I kill a coyote. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had additional coyotes appear. I follow each shot with a few series of coyote-distress cries then continue my regular sequence. I frequently remind myself that where there is one coyote there are more. I know that if I am patient and continue calling it will eventually pay off.
The author and Boy Scout Michael Barday with two beautiful Montana coyotes.
When I’m calling areas with dense coyote populations I try to call the close coyotes first. I like to start each stand with a soft call to reach only the coyotes bedded within a few hundred yards. I have found that rodent squeaks from a coaxer work very well. In many cases this allows me to call and kill close coyotes before more distant coyotes hear my calls. I slowly increase the volume for several sequences until the midway point of the stand. Then, I work back the other way, lowering the volume and waiting longer between sequences. My theory is to keep reaching a little further each time. As the distant coyotes are approaching I’m lowering the volume to keep it at a believable level.
For a tournament, a coyote hunter shooting the back coyote first is like a golfer reaching a par-five in two shots during the final round at Augusta. It can be risky, but it can also pay big dividends. I will take the back coyote first if I’m confident I can make the shot.
This technique is extremely effective when you have a good calling partner. I prefer one person doing the calling and holding a shotgun with their rifle as backup. The other is ideally positioned where they have a vantage point for longer shots. If the coyotes come close the caller is ready with the shotgun. If they hang up the rifleman is ready. In either case, no one makes un-necessary movement switching guns. If you get a mixed bag the rifleman takes the back coyote just as the others reach shotgun range. It’s important to remember that one in the hand is worth two in the bush. Be sure to make the first shot count.
Consistently killing multiple coyotes on stand comes with experience and practice. It requires persistence to continue calling after the first coyote is dead. If you’re hunting with a partner it’s important to know what each other is doing under different circumstances. I am a firm believer that all of the rules for calling coyotes have not been written yet. Be creative and unafraid to try new things. You are sure to find tricks that other predator callers haven’t thought of yet.
Dustin has been calling predators for nearly 20 years. He has competed in coyote calling contests around the Western U.S. for more than a dozen years and has consistently excelled including many wins and top finishes. He enjoys sharing his knowledge of predator hunting with others through calling seminars and magazine articles. To learn more about Dustin or the equipment he uses visit www.predatordown.com.