Like your favorite restaurant with a drive-up window, coyotes have favored lunch stops for their comfort food and these hotspots change by the season. As you plan hunts throughout the year you need to explore your hunting sites for these seasonal food choices.
Here are some diners that may see increased coyote traffic in specific seasons.
During winter, especially the end of winter, coyotes turn their attention from scavenging refrigerator leftovers and breathe a collective sigh of relief as livestock birthing begins. Breeding is wrapping up and paired coyotes begin to establish territories. They need a constant food source and before spring blooms, livestock can provide a wealth of nutrition. Some coyotes may prey on young of the year; others capitalize on the occasional stillborn baby.
Near big livestock operations coyotes can actually relish in eating afterbirth, plus they’ll dine on calf excrement, which is rich in cow milk and sports calories even after a trip through a calf. Your goal is to seek any livestock producer from cows to hogs and sheep to turkeys.
Coyotes cruise for these treats on the outskirts of a herd or flock, and you may see an uptick in your success by watching the flock and spiking curiosity with coyote howls. Get your Nikons ready for a security patrol!
Livestock producers have artificially pushed their birthing window back to ensure animals are ready for fall markets. Mother Nature still adheres to a stringent schedule of having babies when the weather is nice enough to support survival.
In spring deer, pronghorn and elk birthing spikes throughout much of the country. The research is irrefutable on this topic. From coast to coast the data is piling up that coyotes switch their diet from rodents to fawns in spring. Many studies indicate their fawn diet may run as high as 70 percent of their total intake in the month of June. In the Southeast, this may occur a bit later in summer as birthing times may be staggered.
Coyote pups demand that parents stock the refrigerator and coyote parents realize fawns can provide the meals for a short window as the countryside blooms. With this in mind, a bawling or dire bleat call imitating a fawn in distress draws the attention of most hunting coyotes. Set up near where you’ve heard coyote vocalizations and don’t be afraid to add pup distress calls to ramp up the action.
Summer coyote hunting often drops off the radar screen of many predator hunters. If you’re one of the diehards, keep in mind that coyotes are one of America’s most adaptable wildlife species. They can swap nutritional needs faster than Donald Trump can fire off a tweet.
During late summer and into early autumn, coyotes habitually switch from an all-meat diet to more of an omnivore lifestyle. Gardens, vineyards and berry patches become hotbeds of coyote activity. In addition to fruits, berries and vegetables, melons shoot to the top of the list for coyote desirability.
Keep in touch with gardeners, large and small. They know when someone has been raiding their crops and if they water routinely the tracks will reveal the marauders. Nobody has included vegetable or fruit calls on their electronic callers so lean towards vocalizations and pup distress calls. You may even be able to take a sniper watch and never utter a peep until you send a Hornady V-Max downrange.
Whew! Autumn has arrived and you can begin to settle back into your typical fur-gathering habits. Coyotes will begin to disperse, but a few youngsters will hang close to den areas. If you don’t find action by old dens, move your game to the most rodent-rich site you know.
Prairie dog towns, mouse-infested grasslands, rabbit-filled brush patches and others will be receiving the most attention from inexperienced young coyotes. Use simple prey in distress calls in these locations and you should score.
Coyotes have favorite drive-up windows just like you. As you map seasonal strategies consider where they may be dining during a particular time of the year.