Coyotes are beginning to prime and furs should be at full value shortly, especially for those living north and at high altitudes. That means coyote hunters will be in full pursuit soon. Anticipation is great, but exuberance may lead to mistakes. Here are a few mistakes my friends and I have made in the past and try to avoid at all costs.
1. FAIL TO HAVE OPEN SHOOTING. I could see the coyote’s head bobbing up and down in the tall grass as it raced toward me, but it wasn’t much of a target and when the coyote got too close, I blew the shot. Remember to give yourself ample and open shooting lanes to tag incoming coyotes.
2. START YOUR SETUP ON LOW VOLUME. I used to start out my setups on high volume, that is, until I about blew out a coyote’s eardrums that was bedded in a ditch below me one winter. Since then, I generally start out low and turn up the volume as the minutes tick by.
3. STAY ON STAND LONGER. I know it can be difficult to sit still for 15 minutes, but for coyotes I suggest sitting even longer. Many of the coyotes I shoot, especially later in the season, arrive after the 15-minute mark. Sit longer and shoot more.
4. TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Using a dying-rabbit call works, but don’t fall in a rut. There are dozens of great distress sounds out there and some great coyote vocalizations. Try something new. Mix and match. In your tests you’ll discover that coyotes love running to more than a cottontail in distress.
5. MAKE THE COYOTE HUNT YOU. You need to have open shooting lanes as noted above, but be sure to hide in vegetation, among boulders or lie prone in the grass. In short, make a coyote hunt for you. If you stick out or something looks amiss, a coyote will be gone faster than a s’mores snack at a campout.
Stay tuned. I’ll bring you even more mistakes as my coyote hunting heats up this fall and winter and I learn from the sneakiest predators around.