By this time in winter, most coyotes have been called, chased and riddled by drive-by shooters (not literally). If you have access to a sprawling property or happen to live in the middle of nowhere, you may not have coyote-hunting challenges. But for the rest of us, Valentine’s Day — actually the entire month of February — may be our vindication.

Cupid doesn’t play favorites, and coyotes are no exception. Most coyote breeding happens in February and any coyote that doesn’t have a mate is susceptible to Cupid’s arrow. These nocturnal predators are eager to pair up. Their vocalizations have new power.

Then there’s the added dynamic of jealousy. It may not be jealousy as humans’ recognize the emotion, but here’s what it may look like: a male coyote finds its mate but isn’t necessarily settled. It will often rush onto another coyote’s space to challenge the animal and reclaim territory it perceives as its own.

How To Break Up The Coyote Love Fest

There’s always the chance that any call may work at any time, but consider these special messages when sending coyote conversations during the breeding season. Coyotes, especially males, have the same clouded vision in February as human adolescents do year-round.

Photo: Mark Kayser

Photo: Mark Kayser

Think Simple

Simple howls work to lure coyotes into range during breeding season. I use lone howls at almost any time during the year to effectively say “Hi” and “I’m here.”

This is where you start: one, lone howl. Maybe make it a bit higher pitched to represent a female. Then repeat several times, sit back and wait. If a coyote doesn’t respond after about 30-45 minutes, move on to the next setup area and try again.

Spice Things Up

If you’re feeling a bit more suggestive, spice it up. Although howls are most common, breeding-season females incorporate high-pitched yips and whines as they near estrus. This tells neighboring males their willingness to mate. Your digital caller likely has a library menu with this estrus whine on it. Use it. If not, shop for a mouth-operated call that mimics this sound, and watch an online demonstration to perfect your sensual dispatch.

Related: Best New E-Callers For 2017

Fool the Lovers

A final February play to consider is the combo use of a lone howl, estrus whines and then, after a pause, the sounds of coyotes fighting. This can fool a coyote into thinking there’s another male coyote mating nearby or  two males fighting over a female. Regardless of how coyotes interpret the commotion, a fight always perks up ears, arouses interest and motivates coyotes to appear.

On any of these setups, wait at least 30 to 45 minutes. During breeding season, coyotes — slowed by a lovesick fog — may stroll rather than rush into a setup.

Do you have any tricks when it comes to calling coyotes this time of year? What do you think of these strategies? Let us know in the comment section.