Why Your Predator Calls Aren't Working

Does it seem like you've hit a slump with your calling success? Veteran hunter Mark Kayser explains why your predator calls aren't working.

Why Your Predator Calls Aren't Working

It’s guaranteed to happen. Your coyote calling success will suddenly come to a screeching halt and you’ll be scratching your head why. Instead of returning to the couch consider the factors that could be squelching your success. Then, switch your game plan. Here are a few common factors that could suppress coyote success.

Comrade Competition

It’s not breaking news that the interest in coyote hunting is at an all-time high. With everyone decked out in new gear and landowners willing to allow some predator hunting access your local coyote population is receiving a doctorate in escape, and evasion. Couple the weekend warrior pressure with the mounting popularity of coyote hunting competitions and it doesn’t take long for most coyotes to ignore the sound of Bugs Bunny.

You do have options to overcome the negatives. First, scout for more remote locations that likely receive less hunting pressure. You can also schedule hunts to take place during weekdays over weekends. Lastly, change up your sounds of distress. Cottontail in distress has topped the charts for decades, but a more subtle sound like a bleating goat or squawking bird could cause a coyote to peek for one last look.  

Big Brother

Big brother is watching you and when they are not watching they might be killing coyotes. It’s still commonplace for animal damage control officials to kill coyotes with any means possible, especially in the West. The state of Utah even has a bounty for coyotes to aid big game species negatively affected by coyote predation. These and other government programs are joined by livestock cooperatives that also employ “hired guns” to reduce the coyote population in certain zones.  

What’s your solution? That answer includes more research on areas not being targeted by professionals. You may need to plan an overnight hunt to take advantage of the new area, but the wheel time could result in a fur bonus.

The Weather Channel

Weather elements affect your success immensely, with wind being a leading culprit of a no-show day. Your calls just won’t carry as far. Rain and snow events can also cause coyotes to hunker with no interest to coming to a call. The extra commotion could also suppress the range of your calls just like the wind.

Nevertheless, coyotes need to hunt to survive. They may lay low in a brief bout of bad weather, but when the weather passes expect them to be on the hunt again for their next meal. Use hunting apps that forecast the weather and plan your outings to take advantage of wind lulls and dry conditions.


More and more farms, and ranches are being sold as recreational properties. The days of small farms and the independent rancher are disappearing, and with it access to land. Controlled hunting access or refuge status often befalls these properties. Deer, elk and even predators soon find safety there with less hunting pressure.

If you stare at these sanctuaries with no hope to hunt them take solace in the fact you can call a coyote across the fence. Research public land and rights of way to get you close to the property. Now entice those refugees into your rifle sight.

Sorry, Wrong Number

You may not be using the right sounds at the right time. Coyotes are attracted to certain sounds depending on the season and hunting pressure. In the early season any distress sounds could lure in a coyote, especially adolescents. As the pressure ramps up coyotes could be educated to the sounds of distress. A few simple howls accompanied by the cawing of a flock of crows might be a better solution. And as the February breeding season nears estrus winds, female howls and even fighting sounds could prevail over the dinner bell.

Lastly, be persistent. Some days no sounds may bring a coyote running. On another day you could be overrun with the first 30 seconds of a dying critter. You never know when you’ll tickle the fancy of a coyote unless you head to your next set.


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