Returning from a business trip, I was reminded that spring is on its way. Driving along, I saw snow giving way to carpets of grass and every ranch had a pasture full of baby calves. Those newborn calves also reminded me that now is a good time to ask for permission to hunt predators this spring, especially if your region has a plethora of coyotes.
Now, more than any time of the year, coyotes move in and take advantage of the miracle of birth. Most ranchers calve in sheltered areas close to outbuildings, giving them quick access to needed shelter in case the weather forecast turns ugly. It also increases the likelihood that coyotes might shy away from a bold attack so close to human habitation.
Still, a few ranchers calve in remote settings and count on terrain to provide shelter to new livestock. Areas like these are less frequented by humans and coyotes can easily seek sanctuary nearby. That means —since the advantage goes to the coyote — these areas may see higher coyote predation on young animals. The latest data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service shows 220,000 cows and calves were lost to predation at an estimated economic loss of $98.5 million.
Related: 10 Ways to Kill More Coyotes
Most large livestock producers have few casualties directly from coyotes, but coyotes still stalk the herds. Their goal is to clean up any afterbirth, feed on stillborn calves and even attack weakly calves. And, for the first two weeks of a calf’s life, its manure is chalky looking due to its milk-rich makeup. Coyotes lick it up with gusto.
All in all, coyotes may not be the cause of a calf’s demise, but they certainly are opportunistic and their presence can create some discontent in the herd. They move in and out of the herds continually looking for any meal opportunity.
That’s where you come in. Your goal is to sell yourself as the answer to a landowner’s coyote problems.
Four Tips to Making Your Request to Predator Hunt
- Hunting Etiquette. Define your approach to hunting etiquette, your hunting style and emphasize your plan to hunt far from the herd.
- Safe Shooting Backstop. Promise to set up on the fringe with a safe shooting backstop.
- Circle Wide. Share your commitment to avoid the herd and circle wide to get to hunting grounds.
- Don’t Miss! And, most of all, promise to not miss.
Calling Strategies for Spring Coyotes
A variety of calls can work on spring coyotes positioned near a livestock herd. I tend to go with simple coyote vocalizations. They can raise the curiosity of local coyotes and irritate some bent on keeping their territory free of invaders. Lone howls, challenge howls and even the sound of pups in distress can cause a coyote to slink out of cover. Bawls and other prey sounds may have equal power in getting a coyote to show itself for the shot.
Regardless of your strategy, now is the time to locate additional property to hunt. You may be doing a landowner a big favor.
Related: Sounds of Spring Coyote Hunting