One, Two, Three Coyote Punch

Try this three-tier calling sequence to increase success on your calling stands this fall.

One, Two, Three Coyote Punch

The onset of every predator calling season brings a plethora of questions concerning the best tactics for killing coyotes. At the top of the list is the all too familiar, “What sounds and sequences are working right now?” If I had a dollar for every time I read that post on social media, I could upgrade my thermal scope yearly. I find it interesting to see how coyotes respond from year to year. Will they approach the same sounds and sequences that worked the prior season? Or will it take a new set of calling skills and sounds to bring them into range this year?                                                

The fall of 2021 shed some light on these questions. While the opening night’s offering of prey-in-distress sounds brought two coyotes to a quick demise, rabbit sounds failed on the next three nights. So I went to the drawing board and came up with a new plan that delivered excitement, pleasure and a true sense of accomplishment, as I pulled off a successful double on the fourth night of the calling season. The fact that I had put a lot of thought and planning into developing a coyote-specific calling sequence added to the thrill of success. And the fact that it worked not only on this hunt but on repeated others, gave me confidence in my new creation.                                                                                                     

Do we really need another predator calling sequence? Well, yes! Due to the hunting pressure we put on the coyotes, our strategies and tactics must evolve if we want to enjoy continued success. This calling sequence was born out of an immediate need to turn things around. What I came up with was eclectic, simple and, most importantly … effective!

This coyote-specific sequence is a three-tiered calling strategy that can be performed with electronic calls, mouth-blown calls or diaphragms. A hunter could even use a combination of these types of calls to perform the sequence. By doing so, it’s possible to truly personalize the sounds used. Since I view myself as a “push button guy,” I simply let my arsenal of Foxpro e-calls handle the task. If you have a different brand of electronic caller, substitute the sounds mentioned in this article with similar sounds on your caller.

It is always thrilling when a coyote comes to your call. To have it come to a sequence that you orchestrate makes the hunt even better.
It is always thrilling when a coyote comes to your call. To have it come to a sequence that you orchestrate makes the hunt even better.

Tier One: The Lone Howl

The first sound to use is a lone howl. In my experience, it doesn’t matter if it’s a male or female howl. Simply fire up a lone howl and then wait in silence. Rocker Tom Petty once sang, “The waiting is the hardest part.” I’m not convinced Tom was referencing hunting but waiting in silence for six to 10 minutes after the lone howl comprises the first tier of this sequence. The idea here is to simulate the presence of a coyote so a real coyote investigates the scene. Patience comes into play at this point. Sitting in silence is tough when you have access to hundreds of sounds at your fingertips. However, once a hunter experiences the power of silence, he will resist the temptation to call too frequently.                                                                        

The lone howl serves two purposes. First, it draws coyotes in to investigate. Due to the territorial nature of these canines, they might approach another coyote’s howl to determine who’s invading their turf. The second purpose of the lone howl is that it can act as a locator for determining if coyotes are in the vicinity. Just like springtime tom turkeys that gobble heartily to your calling efforts, vocal coyotes add an extra thrill to any hunting situation. It surely raises anticipation when you know coyotes are in the area.      

                                                                                                                  I am not alone in my “howl and wait” technique as a sequence opener. Alabama predator hunter Chip Dillard starts each season by hammering coyotes and he does it almost exclusively with coyote vocalizations. “I don’t really use prey sounds during the early season,” he explained. “I save those sounds for colder winter months when coyotes need to increase their caloric intake.” Dillard starts 90 percent of his sets with a lone howl and relies on the social nature of coyotes to bring them in. He says coyotes will howl back 50 to 75 percent of the time after he howls and that 25 percent of the time they will come in silently. He then adjusts his wait time according to how far away the coyotes appear to be. “What is amazing is that the coyotes will move right toward the remotely placed e-caller, even though the howl might have been made 10 minutes prior,” he said.                        

When using howls, hunters often overdo it. Use only one or two howls to begin the sequence. If you have personal favorite lone howls you can use them here. Hunters looking for recommendations and use the Foxpro library of sounds can use male howls (sound C34 in the library) or long female howls No. 1 (sound C19 in the library). If no coyotes are seen or heard after the lone howl and the allotted wait time, move on to the second portion of the sequence.


Tier Two: Female Howls

During this phase, the sound intensity is ramped up slightly. My go-to sound is Female Yodel Howls (sound C28 in the library). What makes this sound so effective? According to Foxpro’s Al Morris, who uses this sound frequently, the actual sound file came from a mature female coyote in Wyoming and represents a dominant coyote. Al believes the sound says, “Come and see me” to younger coyotes that might be dispersing in the area. He also states that the sound triggers other mature coyotes to investigate because they do not know who the intruder is.           

Whatever the case, don’t go crazy when using these howls. I use the mute button on the remote to pause the sound after two or three howls. Allow for a minute or two of silence and then repeat the howls. Allow for more silence after these howls. This tier can take five minutes to complete. If you don’t see or hear any coyotes, advance to the third and final tier.

Early season coyote hunting provides a lot to be thankful for. Comfortable 	temperatures and eager coyotes make for an excellent combination!
Early season coyote hunting provides a lot to be thankful for. Comfortable temperatures and eager coyotes make for an excellent combination!

Tier Three: Pup Distress

To finish off the sequence, employ the chaotic sounds of pup distress. There are dozens of these variations available to hunters. Simply pick one that you have the most confidence in using. Play this sound non-stop, at an appropriate volume level, for two three-minute intervals. Speaking of volume level, if your sounds are echoing off nearby trees or other landscape features, they are probably too loud. Use this echo effect as a barometer as to how to judge your volume level.      

Here is a neat trick when using the pup distress sound. Instead of muting the sound completely, turn the volume down so it is barely audible. This low-volume approach seems to draw in curious coyotes toward the end of the sequence. Think about a dog that hears a low-pitch sound on the TV and comes from another part of the house to investigate. That is the effect of super-softly playing the pup distress sound during your sequence. Be sure to give it a try before wrapping up your stand.                                                                                                                          

Well, there it is, simplicity at its finest. Three sounds played with plenty of quiet time sprinkled in. While what has just been described will be productive, there might be situations when some minor tweaking might be required.


Going Off-Script

There are times when you might want to stray from the script. This is especially true when coyotes vocalize back at you at any point during the hunt. When this happens, you might want to “take the temperature” of the coyote to see what kind of mood it is in. Is it challenge barking? Is it answering back with lone howls? Or perhaps you hear some other type of vocalization. A dose of quiet is still effective, but I sweeten the pot by emitting a short series of coyote barks. As when using howls, don’t overdo the barks. Two short series of three barks is sufficient. It helps to lengthen the silence in-between the barks. These barks confirm that another coyote is in the vicinity. Hopefully, his follow-up howls/barks will appear closer, and you will know he is approaching. If this happens, sit tight and don’t call anymore. Prepare for the shot by positioning your firearm.                                                           

Another way to alter the script is to substitute sounds. To keep things fresh for yourself and your resident coyotes, develop a list of your favorite lone howls to begin the sequence. If you do switch, however, stay consistent on the stand. You want to sound like one lone howling coyote. Using several variations of lone howls at this point in the sequence could be counterproductive. Even though this sequence initially relies on a lone howl, hunters often find that sounding like a pair of coyotes is beneficial to begin the set. This is a tactic Dillard sometimes uses when the lone howls do not produce.                                                                                   

The female howls that comprise Tier Two can also be swapped. Sometimes, I trade female subordinate howls for the yodel howls. On any given night, both sounds can be productive. As when using the lone howls, stick with one type of female howl throughout the stand. Keeping things simple works in your favor during this sequence.                  

The pup distress sounds are probably the easiest to substitute. There are multitudes available from a variety of sources. Trial and error in the field will lead you to find your favorites. Interestingly, the popular den raid, heist and mayhem sounds are not part of this sequence. Although they might be worthy substitutes, I save them for other applications during the season.                                                                                                                        


As you read this article you might be preparing for the upcoming calling season. Part of that preparation should be filling your predator calling playbook with valid sound sequences that lead to success. I encourage you to start the season with the three-tiered tactic presented here. I’m betting the results will exceed your wildest expectations.


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