Coyote hunting has become a year-round pursuit, but early-season coyote hunting has several distinct advantages over wintertime pursuits.
First and foremost is the density. At no time during the year are adult coyote numbers higher. Pups have matured, and, while they still have an adolescent appearance, they definitely look like their parents. Plus, these packs of siblings oftentimes travel together as they begin dispersing and setting up new territories. You’re just as likely to call in two or three together as a single.
Be ready for action and tote along your shotgun as backup on early-season setups. It’s not uncommon to call in a pack of pups, two or more per setup, as pups race to get to the screaming prize before their den mates.
And speaking of calling, your calls will work the best right now. Adolescent youth haven’t heard all the sounds, and even adults haven’t been exposed to much if any hunting pressure. You’ll be surprised at how well your setups play out as compared to after the holidays when most coyotes have heard wails from an electronic caller.
Another top reason to plan an early coyote hunt is fewer hunters. Other hunting seasons like upland, waterfowl, deer, elk and pronghorn grab the attention of hunters. Few hunters have a single focus on predators. I’m one of them, but last year after a grueling month of backcountry elk hunting I picked up my Nikon-topped Bergara and spent an afternoon calling coyotes near home. I had the public land to myself and the coyotes were gullible.
If you’re a fan of the fur and look to your efforts as a way to boost income, then hold off for a few weeks. Action-packed coyote hunting can begin as soon as furs prime in late October for northern locations and November for the remainder of the country. High-elevation coyotes also tend to prime earlier in response to earlier temperature changes.
I still tend to do the bulk of my coyote hunting with a white backdrop, but more and more I find myself forsaking other hunting pursuits to get a crack at coyotes that haven’t gone to the University of Hunting Pressure yet.