How Long Do You Wait for Coyotes to Show?

How long should you stay during a coyote setup? The answer has more answers than you’ll find in the Bible, but you can break it down based on several key elements. And if you have nothing else going on, why leave?

How Long Do You Wait for Coyotes to Show?

How long you wait on predators to arrive depends on several factors, but if you can stay longer then do so because it may pay off. (Photo: Mark Kayser)

It’s the coyote hunting question I get asked the most and you’ve likely pondered it many a time. Whether I’m presenting a seminar at a Cabela’s store or whispering in the dark to a partner the question is always the same: How long should I stay during the setup?

The answer to that one has more answers than you’ll find in the Bible, but you can break it down based on several key elements. And if you have nothing else going on in your life other than coyote hunting, why leave at all?

One of the first considerations to your answer is when are you going to be hunting? If your area typically holds an average density of coyotes and you have the luxury to hunt in early fall, you may want to speed hunt. The traditional 15-minute stand has merit since its likely young coyotes have seen minimal pressure and should respond in this timeframe. Mature coyotes that may have forgotten a calling incident a year earlier might also fall for your early-season ruse with Viagra-like vigor.

Fast forward five months and your 15-minute stands could fall as flat as Flat Stanley on his way to his next appearance. By this time period coyotes have been chased, shot at, called to and harangued incessantly. Unless you have access to a large, gated property, you better stay longer.

That gated reference opens the door to your next consideration. Are the coyotes on the properties you hunt unpressured? You may have the combination to the lock on one of Ted Turner’s massive ranches, but most of us don’t.

I was reminded of that last winter walking in to a public parcel and eyeing reverse drag marks along the trail with blood indicating someone removed a coyote since the last snowfall. If you hunt virgin country, stick to the 15-minute rule. But for the rest of us, 30 minutes or longer is best on pressured ground.

Consider the Terrain

Terrain plays a huge role in how long you stay. Rough, rugged topography that includes lots of sound-grabbing brush restricts the distance your calling sounds carry. Steepness stops sound from escaping and vegetation absorbs sound. That means your sound may carry less than a mile.

On the flip side, hunting wide-open spaces, like the Great Plains, allows your sound to carry further, possibly two to three miles. A coyote in the right mindset could cover that ground easily, but it would take considerably longer than one walking 1,000 yards up a canyon. Stay longer in open ground as compared to rough country with plant décor.

Consider the Weather

Following a similar mindset, if the weather includes howling winds or a fierce moisture scenario your sound hits a roadblock quickly. You don’t need to stay as long since the sound is only covering a limited area in front of you. Of course on a dead, still morning your sound again could cover miles of country. That’s incentive enough to stay an extra 15 minutes if your schedule allows.

Even if your schedule allows a longer sit, your personality may put up a battle with your butt. Some of you simply don’t have the patience wherewithal to put in the required bum time. Whether an achy back prevents your stay or you have the proverbial ants-in-your-pants syndrome, staying put for more than 30 minutes may not be in your future. Even so, stick it out for as long as possible when conditions warrant.

Contest Hunting?

Finally, you may be a contestant in a calling contest. Ignore this one if you’re coyote hunting in states like Arizona, New Mexico or Oregon in the near future as they have taken steps to outlaw coyote hunting competitions. From numerous interviews with calling champions one aspect stands out — they call fast and furious. That equals a strict adherence to the 15-minute rule to win.

So how long do you stay on stand while calling coyotes? You may have to look to the Bible for the true answer, but it never hurts to stay a few extra minutes.

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