After high school ceremonies some of you may have yearned for more learning; a higher education if you will. Your hunger may have been appeased with a technical school, but just as common is a college education. When it comes to hunting, the main road to becoming a better hunter is the school of hard knocks. Would you like to skip the school of hard knocks when it comes to coyotes? Consider signing up for college; the Coyote Craze College to be more specific.
Coyote hunting enthusiast Geoff Nemnich came to the sport of coyote hunting a bit later than most, but his coyote-hunting addiction today includes conducting the Coyote Craze College based in his home state of Nebraska. It’s been helping newcomers understand the comprehensive pursuit of coyotes while honing the skills of seasoned coyote veterans. Are you ready for class?
Nemnich was born and raised in western Nebraska. He grew up in a hunting family with a focus on waterfowl, upland game and deer. Coyotes weren’t high on the list then, but he did call in a coyote when he was just 16 between other pursuits with his father and brother.
After high school Nemnich decided to jumpstart his post-high school education by enlisting in the Marine Corps. After an honorable four years as a Marine, Nemnich took advantage of the G.I. Bill for even more education through nearby Chadron State College. Nemnich’s focus on college soon became distracted with what else — coyotes!
It was between classes and even skipping out that the coyote craze addiction started to take hold. With the determination of a Marine, Nemnich now has more than two decades of coyote experience behind him. He taught his family members the “coyote ropes” and has been coyote crazy himself since 2002.
“In 2008 I started the Coyote Craze DVD series” explains Nemnich. “It sold in Cabela’s stores and Walmarts, and was the beginning to helping others achieve coyote-hunting success.”
In 2009 Nemnich launched the Coyote Craze College as a business venture and to share his love of coyote hunting. It’s been going strong now for nine years and he has no intentions of closing the college doors. About the only obstacle that he works around when setting instructional dates are coyote contests he plans to enter. He’s won the World Championship Coyote Calling Contest in 2014 and 2015. He also competes in three to four contests every year including the Colorado Predator Classic that he won in 2017.
What makes Nemnich’s Coyote Craze College unique is the fact it includes classroom and field instruction. Nemnich researched other instructional courses offered and tinkered with his own curriculum. He determined the missing factor in nearly all instruction was the classroom aspect. Without a proper classroom foundation the field experience wouldn’t have the same impact.
“I know several other coyote hunters that offer a coyote education. They call it an instructional hunt and it’s basically just that, two to three days of hunting,” says Nemnich. “I discovered there is only so much to teach in the field and so much more I can do in the classroom. This gives you the best of both worlds. I explain it situationally in the classroom and then students get to see it in the field. Most guys enjoy the overall experience, especially those students from the East. They get to see the big, open country and witness coyote behavior in real time.”
Nemnich’s course includes a day of classroom coursework, a visit to a firearm range and a day of coyote hunting. For those students that travel an extraordinary distance he also offers an added day of hunting for a nominal fee. Attendees receive a study booklet that guides them through every aspect of coyote hunting. It’s a lesson plan that has evolved, but ensures that attendees get the basics to hunt coyotes successfully anywhere in the country. Plus, it includes insight into hunting specific regions or scenarios that might not fit the typical coyote hunting situation.
“Essentially, I want to cover every aspect about coyote hunting and my course includes five main parts,” describes Nemnich. “We start the course with coyote characteristics and behavior. After that, I break the course into what I call the four Ps.”
What Are the Four Ps?
Nemnich’s four Ps start with place. This emphasizes how to line up ground and evaluate it for coyote success. The second P is positioning for stand opportunities, shooting windows, call placement and even where to hide our vehicle. The third P includes patience and he breaks down the time aspect of how long you need to wait and how far to travel between stands. The fourth and final P is practice. This includes everything equipment oriented, including firearms and gear must-haves to optimize your calling endeavors.
The fourth P, practice, includes an extended study period at a local shooting club. Nemnich helps attendees check the zero on their rifles and then offers instruction on shooting techniques that boost coyote-hunting success. It’s also a way for students to see what Nemnich uses, trusts and puts into play the next day during the hunt portion of the college. If they’re serious, they now see additional gear they may want to invest in for the future.
“Many of my attendees have dabbled in coyote hunting, but not getting the results they hoped. They feel they are wasting time and gas without results so they start checking out my course. Once they see that the price is right and they reach out to me, they quickly realize it’s a fast way to get on track, and save themselves headaches down the road,” Nemnich says.
According to Nemnich he sees a huge interest in the first classroom topic of coyote characteristics and behavior. Attendees seem quite intrigued by what makes a coyote do what it does. They also appreciate the strategizing that takes place and how coyote hunting is a game of making educated guesses that leads to success. Everything he offers in the course provides critical input to make the best educated decision for successful setups.
“A lot of guys are shocked at the information I present and the light bulbs start going off during the coyote-behavior section,” says Nemnich. “There seems to be more questions after that section than the others, but the patience section also generates an incredible amount of questions including: how long to stay on stand, different sounds to play and how long to pause between sounds. There are lots of variables while calling coyotes and we try to cover as many as possible.”
What Students are Saying
Seth McCarty hails from Harley, Iowa. The 32-year-old coyote hunter was on the hunt for ways to up his coyote-calling game when he stumbled across Nemnich’s college during an online search. Already an accomplished coyote hunter, McCarty’s success was mainly from spotting coyotes while cruising the flat farm country of northwest Iowa. After spotting a coyote the spot-and-stalk game ensued. Even with an admirable count of coyotes every winter from simply stalking, the appeal of calling coyotes brought McCarty to Nemnich’s college.
“I read through Geoff’s stuff online and saw he was a world champion caller, plus sponsored by great companies like Cabela’s. That told me enough,” says McCarty. “I discussed the college with my buddy Jacob and we signed up immediately.”
Specifically, McCarty was hoping to learn how to call the abundant coyotes out of the large Conservation Reserve Program grasslands throughout his nearby farm country. He also just wanted to increase his overall knowledge of coyote hunting, especially since he had been thinking of traveling someday further West to experience coyote hunting on the vast reserves of public land. McCarty wasn’t disappointed.
“As far as the classroom time goes the best was the calling section,” relates McCarty. “The workbook Geoff supplied included everything, but I was amazed at how he dissected the amount of time you should stay on stand using information like how far a coyote can hear and fast a coyote travels. His technique of using three different sounds and spacing them about six minutes apart was also interesting. There were so many aspects I had just never thought about while calling coyotes and how to optimize your time afield.”
Despite McCarty’s excitement over the classroom it paled in comparison to being in the field and seeing it all come together. Subzero wind chills and less than ideal calling conditions greeted them on their field day, but Nemnich was able to take the classroom lesson and convert it into a trio of coyotes for the students. McCarty anchored a double on one set capping a successful step into higher education.
“For sure I got my money’s worth out of the college,” McCarty said. “Just knowing things like how long to stay on stand will save me a lot of time in the future and make my coyote-hunting trips more constructive.”
McCarty added even more praise for the college due to Nemnich’s personal advice on how to hunt northwest Iowa. This isn’t Nemnich’s first rodeo so he quickly realized some of McCarty’s frustration resulted from competing hunting pressure from pheasant and deer hunters. That makes coyotes skittish and less likely to show themselves. The pair discussed the various seasons and Nemnich suggested calling before those seasons kicked off and possibly switching to a night-calling regimen.
“Geoff knows coyotes like nobody’s business,” relays McCarty. “He’s been doing it a long time and because of that he is a good teacher. He’s that helpful and told us at the end of the course if we ever had questions to text, or email him, He’d get right back. I’d recommend the course to anyone looking to become a better coyote hunter.”
Nemnich plans to continue his college for as long as there’s demand. For the near future the demand for higher education in the sport of coyote calling appears to be high.
Shooting Range Stopover
After the classroom and before the day of field instruction Nemnich plans a visit to a local shooting range. It’s a chance for attendees that flew in to check the zero on their rifles and for Nemnich to illustrate shooting techniques. He also stresses the P section from the classroom that highlights practice.
“After checking zeros, the second thing I focus on is making the shot,” Nemnich explains. “Coyote hunting is a game of guesses and there is nothing worse than missing that coyote after you’ve done all the work. I run them through some shooting drills like shooting at balloons the same size as a coyote’s vitals and even having them shoot at life-sized coyote targets.”
He advises attendees to use 20 percent of a box of ammunition or the first six shots, to shoot two groups, each consisting of three shots each. He then recommends they shoot the remaining 14 cartridges at targets that are approximately eight inches in diameter or the size of a coyote’s vital zone. During this exercise he instructs them to swing and re-set their shooting sticks, or bipods to emphasize the changeups required on a fast-approaching coyote. It’s all targeted to get students away from a solid benchrest and practicing in real-world situations.
Coyote Craze Signup
Beginning late in the fall and extending into late winter, Nemnich offers four Coyote Craze College courses. Slots are limited and each college only has three spots available. This allows Nemnich to personalize the classroom and provide firsthand instruction in the field. If he tried to expand the college it would require him to hire additional help and he wouldn’t be able to spend as much time with each individual student.
“I offer 12 spots a year and it’s already in high demand due to that low supply. That’s perfect for me to provide hands-on help to every student,” says Nemnich. “They come from every corner of the country to better themselves on killing coyotes. What I really enjoy is that they oftentimes arrive as strangers, but because of their bond over coyote hunting the students soon become lifelong friends, some even start hunting together.”
The cost for the two-day college is $650 and that includes the course workbook for the classroom portion, plus travel and lunch for the second day in the field. Nemnich allows anyone 18 and under to attend free with a paying adult as long as there is availability. If you want to hunt an extra day after the two-day college it’s an additional $150-per-day fee.
Featured image: Geoff Nemnich