As you speed down the local byways in your neighborhood keep an eye out for deer crossing signs. You likely don’t even notice them as they’ve become so commonplace along today’s highway systems, but the bright yellow signs may be indicating more than deer densities. They could be showing you a major clue to follow for a future coyote setup.
How you ask? Not only do these signs mark a route of high travel for ungulates, but these areas also represent a high incident rate for deer and auto collisions. What results from an accident like this? You guessed it. It delivers a coyote-scavenging buffet throughout the year and especially during the autumn rut when deer activity explodes.
The high incident rate of deer and auto collisions occurs just as coyotes become prime across most regions of the country. Deer collisions are three times more likely in November than during the entire period from February 1 through August 31. With 18 percent of all deer and auto collisions occurring in November you should consider a highway hunt as a starting strategy when furs are prime. But you don’t have to limit your highway setups to the month of November. Pre-rut activity begins in mid-October and solid rutting activity takes place through mid-December. In the Deep South you can see breeding through February. Mark your calendars accordingly.
Once you find several signs with coyote country nearby switch gears to acquiring landowner access. Programs like OnXMaps will speed the search with landowner information interfaced with GPS mapping. After acquiring access permission switch to scouting. Coyotes still need the security cover for bedding. This could come in the form of timbered hallows, wetlands, overgrown pastures and rugged hills. Once you locate likely sanctuary you can begin to map out possible travel routes from the refuge to nearby roadways. After you note several likely scenarios add in prevailing winds and you should have the location of several new set-up sites for calling.
Be aware of the legal shooting distance near highways as you look for setup sites. You may find a location a mile from the road or you may be within several hundred yards. Coyotes, like many game animals, find refuge in busy highway settings as long as the traffic keeps buzzing along and doesn’t routinely stop.
Consider these facts as you prepare to call a highway setting. First, coyotes are preying on the misfortune of deer so if you want to sound like one of the unfortunate ones use fawn bawls or pleading doe bleats. It could ramp up the arrival of any nearby coyotes. Next, consider roadside coyotes may already be full, so instead of using the prey sounds consider coyote vocalizations. Any coyote clan that has taken up residence along a deer-worthy road will likely be feisty in their authority over the area. Howls, dominant barks and fighting sounds may spark coyotes to guard their domain.
Regardless of your coyote approach stay alert for deer crossing signs as you scout. It could be the best coyote clue you find this coming fur season.