Is It Game Over if a Coyote Sees You?

A coyote has spotted you. Does it mean your hunt is totally busted and it's time to go home? Mark Kayser's proven tips may help you hunt longer.

Is It Game Over if a Coyote Sees You?

Mark Kayser with a coyote he fooled with a cow moo. What might be considered oddball calls sometimes work when a coyote busts you or you need to throw a curve ball. (Photo: Mark Kayser)

How many times have you been hiking to your next coyote calling spot and suddenly you see your target sprinting away in front of you?

It happens to me. Sometimes it’s due to the open environment where I typically hunt. Other times it’s merely bad luck. Regardless of your Las Vegas success, sooner or later you’ll bump a coyote outright.

Is it game over if you trip upon your next furry objective? Oftentimes you might be better off turning back to the truck and investigating a new calling site.

But here are some reasons to possibly continue on and put forth a good effort.

Consider Coyote Density   

First, consider the coyote density in your area. Some areas are so overrun with coyotes that bumping one is no big deal. There could be several more within calling distance of your digital caller waiting to show up. On the flip side, you may be hunting an area with a low or dispersed density of coyotes. That means your odds of calling in a coyote decreases significantly with the departure of the coyote that saw your form. I routinely hunt areas where aerial gunning is the norm. If I spook a coyote under these conditions, I typically head to another calling site realizing I may have just bumped my only possibility.

What's Your Distance?

Next, how far are you hiking into an area to call? Maybe you just left the truck and you have another mile of hiking to go when a crafty coyote spots your upright outline. Although that spooked coyote may tell another coyote about your intrusion, it’s doubtful they can communicate that well. Plus, it will take you a good amount of time to travel that distance and once you put a mile, or more between you there is a high probability you hiked to the edge of another coyote’s territory. Let the games begin.

How Spooky are You?

Are the coyotes in the area used to a human presence? Maybe you hunt on the edge of suburbia or in an area where coyotes see ample human hustle and bustle. A coyote that scuttles into cover from your sight could simply be waiting for you to disappear again. Find a downwind hide. Wait a few extra minutes and release your favorite sounds. I was hunting a busy farm recently and called in a big male after just five minutes of calling. He was holed up in a woodlot less than 150 yards from a farmyard humming with tractors during morning feeding.

What Did it See?

How good of look did the coyote really get of you? Due to habitat, terrain or even climatic conditions like fog, a coyote may not have gotten a good look at you. They may have just seen movement. While crossing an opening recently I was partially hidden by a creek bank when I spotted a coyote trotting away ahead. On autopilot I mooed like a cow as the coyote ducked into a timbered draw. In an attempt to confuse animals that may have seen my movement I routinely use animal sounds to add questions to what just occurred.

Cow moos, turkey yelps, deer snorts and others work in the moment. After the encounter I continued with the setup and sat the caller on a large sandbar. I leaned on a fall tree on the opposite side of where the coyote disappeared and soon began calling. Less than three minutes later a coyote trotted out of the same draw where the escapee disappeared. I turned down the squeaks as I readjusted my rifle in slow motion. The coyote’s closeness, now at 100 yards, required me to turn down the power on my riflescope.

Out of curiosity it stopped. That was my signal to commence the meet-and-greet with a Hornady hello. Was it the same coyote? I can’t be sure, but if I were a betting man I’d go with “yes.”

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