Coyotes have a natural tendency to investigate howls. They may not be prodded every time they hear a cousin calling, but in the right situation a howl sounds more inviting than the fifth time they hear a rabbit getting tromped.
If you want to find success with howls, consider using them when coyotes feel comfortable traveling to investigate. Dawn and dusk are perfect. Howling in the dark just a few minutes before shooting light builds confidence in coyotes that may want to investigate the visitor under the cover of darkness. The same is true of dusk. Howling 45 minutes prior to the end of shooting light, particularly on a cloudy day, shadows a coyote just enough where it may sneak in for a peek.
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Start with howls
Begin your setup with several lone howls, mimicking the tone of coyote seeking out others in the area. It consists of a lonesome wail, not the yipping-style howl associated with a family group and pups. Its basic message is “I’m here. Are you there?”
After a brief series, wait 20 to 30 minutes, keeping a sharp eye out for coyote investigators. Some may answer your howls, but in pressured regions expect a coyote to show up silently. After 20 to 30 minutes end your setup with another series of lone howls. I tend to wait another 15 to 20 minutes or leave in the dark after shooting light when on a dusk setup.
Stay a little longer
Staying longer is better when howling. Your message is extending a mile or more depending on terrain and weather factors. My coyote log clearly shows that I’ve shot more coyotes on the 30-minute mark than on or before the 15-minute mark. Most of my hunting is done in open-country settings, so your response time may vary depending on the coyote habitat you hunt.
Expand your range
If you plan on making howls a major play in your playbook, you’ll eventually want to master challenge howls, group howls and the yipping that young coyotes are particularly fond of. Aggressive and dominant coyotes may approach your howling setup site using the challenge howl, and adolescent coyotes may seek companionship after hearing a group howl.
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On much of the public land I hunt, my go-to ruse is a lone howl. I tend to add in some magpie chatter for confidence, but if I see lots of tire tread along the trails I keep it simple. My first setup of the year last season was a series of lone howls. Thirty-five minutes later I was Nikon-ranging a coyote peeking over the sagebrush at 200 yards. I barked back, but this time it was with my Bergara speeding along a V-Max bullet.
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