Late-Season Coyote Hunting Quandary

Hunting predators that have been pressured for months can be a challenge, and often requires a change of strategy. Here’s a step-by-step process for anchoring those late-season veterans.

Late-Season Coyote Hunting Quandary

I pressed the button on my e-caller remote and sent a lone howl through the chilly darkness of the March night. Moments later, two white “blobs” appeared on my thermal scanner. As they cut the distance between us, I could tell I was dealing with a pair of coyotes and my heart began to race. The coyotes checked up, just out of range, so I switched to a coaxing sound and the larger of the canines committed. A well-placed shot anchored it while its partner escaped into the night. 

As I walked across the field to collect my prize, I couldn’t help but think about how many times I had hunted this field since the season opened in October. It had to be on average of three times a week for several months! If ever there was a farm that has been over-hunted, this was it. However, this setup still produced predators regularly. I attribute this to a change of tactics during the late season — using different sounds and calling scenarios as the season progresses. 

It would be nice to use one sound all season long and consistently kill coyotes. However, many sounds and calling sequences lose their effectiveness as fall turns into winter. This makes sense because the number of targets has decreased, and the remaining coyotes have been pressured for months. To deal with this, hunters have three main choices: Keep using their current calling tactics and live with lower productivity; get eclectic and try a new calling strategy; or quit for the year and swap their hunting gear for fishing tackle. I suggest applying the second option. 

Regular Predator Xtreme readers know I am all about using specific sound sequences at certain times throughout the year. In the Summer issue of this magazine, I wrote an article titled, “One, Two, Three Coyote Punch,” which detailed a nifty early season coyote sequence. To bookend the season, I will now discuss a sound sequence that is tailored for use during the late season based on what coyotes are doing during the later portion of the calling season — February through the end of March.

So much for Eastern coyotes not crossing an open field in the daylight. This big male could not resist fighting sounds played just after first light.
So much for Eastern coyotes not crossing an open field in the daylight. This big male could not resist fighting sounds played just after first light.

Late-Season Sequence

Even though this sequence is primarily comprised of coyote vocalizations, I often start the set by appealing to the animal’s stomach and that means using prey-in-distress sounds. The rationale here is simple: Coyotes are always looking for their next meal. For this sequence, play the sound for only two or three minutes before moving on to the next sounds. The real key here is to play distress sounds that are different from what you may have played earlier in the season. With so many prey-in-distress sounds available, it’s easy to save some sounds for the late season. After a little field experience, you will soon develop a list of favorite sounds to add to your late-season arsenal.           

After the initial distress sounds, it’s time to move on to the second battery of sounds in the sequence. During late season, when mating and defending territories occurs, the use of coyote breeding sounds can be ultra-effective. This is where the sequence gets fun and exciting. I start off with a single lone male howl. The key here is “single.” Many sound files contain multiple howls that play one after another. Use the mute button on your remote to play only one howl. Then, sit in silence. I usually wait three to five minutes to listen and look for responding coyotes. (I will discuss what to do when a coyote responds during any portion of the sequence later in this text.) 

After the lone male howl, I follow up with a female lone howl. This gives the impression that a male coyote has announced its presence and, low and behold, so has a female. This might not sit well with resident coyotes and, hence, they might respond. In any event, use the single female howl in the same manner as the male howl — howl once and wait things out. Remember, late-season coyotes have heard and seen it all. A healthy dose of quiet, which draws on the curious nature of the canines, is usually a better play than bombarding them with continuous sound. 

Now, it’s time to ramp up the intensity of the scenario by playing the sounds of coyotes breeding. For this I most frequently use Tony Tebbe’s (Predator University) original “Breeding Coyotes” recording. There are several similar sounds available, so simply choose the one you are most confident with. Torry Cook, from MFK Game Calls, recommends three sounds from his library to use in this scenario — “Female Breeding Growl Chirps,” “Girl Fight” and “Bump-n-Grind.” 

No matter which sound you use, play it continuously for five minutes. Then, mute the sound for two or three minutes before playing it again for another five minutes. After another dose of quiet, play female coyote whimpers or estrous chirps. I do not play these sounds continuously. Instead, I mix in silence so that the pattern is this: one minute of sound, 30 seconds of silence. Repeat this for up to five minutes. Follow the breeding sounds with another five minutes of pure silence while scanning for approaching coyotes. They don’t always announce their presence by howling, so stay alert and scan in every direction, paying extra attention to the downwind area of the sound source. Just like when they’re responding to prey distress sounds, coyotes live by their nose when responding to these vocalizations.           

After the breeding sequence, move on to fighting sounds. These will be the most intense sounds used so far and that’s why they’re saved for last — well, almost last. Whether the battle is over territory or the courtship of a female, the powerful sounds of coyotes at war can lure others into the vicinity. Play your favorite coyote fight sound intermittently for five to 10 minutes. If you’re looking for sound suggestions, try MFK’s “PoundTown” or “Table Scraps.” Other great choices include Tony Tebbe’s “Territory Terror” or “Lite Fight.” 

If nothing shows up, move on to the final sounds of the sequence, which mimic a coyote that has been hurt in the previously heard fight. One example is Foxpro’s “Troubled Coyote,” which is a series of howls that reflect pain. Another is “Coyote Death Cry,” which sounds like a pup distress sound on steroids. It is the sound of a coyote that has met his match and is truly defeated. Both finishing sounds can be played non-stop for two to three minutes each. Customize, if you wish.

One benefit of hunting the tail end of the season in March is that in some locales much of the deep snow has melted 	and it is much easier to access hunting locations.
One benefit of hunting the tail end of the season in March is that in some locales much of the deep snow has melted and it is much easier to access hunting locations.

Fine-tuning the Sequence

So, that’s the late-season sequence I use. Simply follow these instructions and I’m confident you’ll achieve success. But you might want to use the main framework of the sequence and customize it to fit your style of calling. For example, the ratio of sound to silence can be easily altered. If you are patient on stand and firmly believe in the power of silence, that portion of the sequence can be adjusted to suit your needs. 

Hunters who are concerned with sounding like other hunters in their area can stray from the recommended sounds mentioned in the text and choose their favorite sounds that serve the same purpose. For example, there is a myriad of lone howl sound files available today. Simply pick one that you do not hear the hunters in your circle talking about, or mentioned widely on the Internet, and use that in your sequence. 

Hunters who use certain models of Foxpro e-callers (Shockwave, X2S and Xwave, specifically) have an advantage when it comes to customizing sounds by using the FoxPitch feature. This allows the user to raise or lower the pitch of any recording to make it sound different. In the sidebar, I have included four sound companies from which to obtain sounds. In each of these sound libraries, there is a wide range of sounds to choose from that are high quality and proven to be effective. 

Another way to customize the presentation of the sequence is to use mouth calls in concert with an e-caller. Hunters who are proficient with mouth calls can interject their use in the sequence, or the entire sequence can be performed with mouth calls. The use of diaphragm calls can be very effective, and hunters who are proficient with them can produce any coyote vocalization mentioned in this text.


Here Comes a ’Yote!

Now, imagine you’re on stand, going through the calling sequence and a coyote appears. What now? Do you go to the next sound? No! Abandon the sequence because it has done its job. It is now time to make a game-time decision. If the coyote is approaching, let it continue to come. Remember: Coyotes can pinpoint the last sound played from hundreds of yards away. 

If the coyote stops out of range, the best option is to use a coaxing sound to lure it in. While I realize that the “go-to” sound in this situation is some sort of rodent squeak, I opt for something different while hunting during the late season. My favorite sound in this situation is a coyote pup in distress. Playing these sounds at a low volume truly seems to work on a coyote’s inquisitive nature. If low volume doesn’t do the trick, gradually increase the output and switch to another variation of pup distress. 

If you do kill the coyote, continue to use the pup distress sound. However, increase the volume to appeal to other responding coyotes that might still be out of sight. The increase in volume will intensify the scenario to elicit a response.



There is something magical about predator hunting during the late season. Many fox seasons have closed, and it is a time to truly target coyotes. Fooling a mature coyote that survived all season long is a feather in any predator hunter’s hat, and the coyote-specific sequence presented here is perfect for doing just that! As mentioned, the sequence can be performed as discussed or tweaked to accommodate individual preferences. Either way, this will provide a proven framework for solving the late-season quandary of how to dupe educated coyotes.


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.