Have you ever been so frustrated with downwind, circling predators — especially coyotes — that you wished for a fence to funnel them your way?
Don’t head to Home Depot. Predator-proof barriers come with a high price tag. Instead, take a good look at your hunting property. Look for terrain features that can direct predators in your direction. Coyotes, bobcats, fox and other predators have a knack for slipping through the nastiest of vegetative tangles. Then they’ll disappear in the slightest folds Mother Nature holds.
Nevertheless sometimes terrain, flora and even man-made features can direct sly predators to expose themselves when working to gain the downwind advantage, as they come to your predator calls.
Consider the value of a waterway Or anything anything wide or deep. Cats aren’t known for their Michael-Phelps abilities and — although coyotes can dog paddle — they’d rather not in big-water. A set-up featuring an upwind, opening that’s bordered by water can direct a predator to circle in an adjacent opening as it avoids going for a dip.
Steep canyon walls, sheer precipices and extreme canyons are also great for channeling travel patterns as a predator arrives on site. Even if a predator can travel the nearly-unnavigable terrain, it will ultimately seek flat land. Steep country scrambles winds, but flat ground generally provides a consistent wind direction for them to test.
And, yes, while I did say fencing can be prohibitive, some fencing may already be in place. If so, use it. Sheep-style woven fence can prohibit easy passage from one side to the other. In some regions of the country, ranchers erect large series of windbreak panels that may act as a funnel. In suburbia, large industrial compounds use chain-link fence that may siphon a predator right into your lap.
Lastly, thick cover can actually work in your favor. Some vegetation is just too thick for a predator to move about freely. Drilled varieties of sorghum, dog-hair briar patches and even cattail borders of marshes can deter a predator enough to walk on outside edges, exposing it.
Your own experience will help you inventory terrain features. Popular hunting apps like ScoutLook Weather are helpful. This app incorporates Google Earth maps and a scent-cone graphic designed to display a hunter’s anticipated scent as it disperses downwind of any location. You can review aerial features for setup possibilities and — just before a hunt — compare winds at a particular site to other hunting locations. This app also allows you to make notes in a specialized predator program for a palm-sized hunting journal.
Fences, funnels and barriers exist throughout predator country. Use them as a conduit to push a predator into your scope sight.