The most obvious benefit to hunting early is the weather. Hunting in moderate temperatures should appeal to hunters who usually fight the frigid temperatures of January and February. Perhaps most important, predator populations are higher in early fall than any other time of the year. As winter approaches, coyote populations begin to drop. A third reason to get after the predators early is because you will be calling uneducated dogs.
Young coyotes approach more readily, which makes for fast action. As time passes, coyotes that have been bumped or shot at and missed are more likely to ignore the drone of a rabbit-in-distress call. At the least, they’ll take a cautious approach and survey the situation from deeper inside brush and wooded areas. If you have areas you know other hunters will access sooner or later, call there first.
Prey on the coyote’s maternal and paternal instincts and use coyote-pup-distress calls. The sound of young coyotes in trouble is often enough to bring older coyotes in on the run.
Another early-season tip is to keep calling after a successful shot. Family units have not yet broken up and that can lead to some exciting setups. It’s not uncommon to have a number of coyotes come in at one time. If you use a remote call and kill one, let the call play on. Then use a mouth call to emit coyote whines and ki-yi’s in addition to distress sounds. This combination can create a frenzy that keeps the other coyotes racing in to investigate.
Howling during the deer season is another technique that delivers results. Many hunters hold off howling until mating season in January and February. These hunters are missing out on the great action that howling can produce. Think in terms of howling for the sake of territorial rights rather than for breeding. Male coyotes don’t tolerate transient animals in their area and go to great lengths to get rid of them. Smart hunters use this to their advantage. Start a calling set with a subordinate male howl, wait a few minutes and repeat. Sit back and wait, but be alert because coyotes rarely howl to let you know they are coming. Keep a keen eye on travel corridors such as laneways and hedgerows.
Time afield is a key factor in hunting success. Get out early and you might be on your way to a record-setting season.