Find Your Coyote First, Then Call It

A few of you may live in the land of plenty, with a coyote density that rivals Times Square commuters. For the rest of us, it helps to find a coyote before we call it.

Find Your Coyote First, Then Call It

Finding your coyote before calling to it may increase your chances of success if you live in an area with a pressured or low population. (Photo: Mark Kayser)

Some coyotes maintain a close-to-home mindset as everything they need to survive is within an easy walk. Coyotes in the Southeast sometimes cruise through life easy. Others live in environments that require them to maintain high-mileage lifestyles to survive like out West.

In either scenario you need to do your homework and find a coyote hotspot before you attempt to call one to within shooting range. Your random sets may produce haphazard success, but with a proactive approach to narrowing the playing field it could turn up the fun in a fur-winning way.

Listen For Clues

There’s no question the best confirmation comes from auditory clues. When coyotes feel cool, calm and relaxed they have no qualms about yapping and giving away their location. Dawn and dusk provide the best opportunity to hear coyotes howling to proclaim territory, gather the gang or simply to hear themselves croon to the moon.

It’s not uncommon in my Wyoming backyard to hear a pack of coyotes light up with a serenade at sunrise or sunset. Coyotes in other zip codes may not have the same Elvis tendencies to rock. Regardless of the reason, they believe it’s best to keep a low profile. This is when your calls can help you urge a coyote to respond.

lone howl would be best to try first, but if that doesn’t spark a response use group howls on your electronic caller in an attempt to locate nearby coyotes. Plus, if coyotes don’t answer you at dusk and dawn try again during the darkest parts of the night. If you get a response, mark it on a hunting app map and you have a good place to start at shooting light, or your next hunt.

The late Randy Roede shared with me in an interview once that howling a couple hours before sunrise and locating coyotes in the farmland of Iowa led to many successful, sunrise sets. The coyotes wouldn’t howl in daylight, but after they revealed their location in the dark he knew just where to start when the sun came up.

Coyote tracks can be easy clues to gain insight as to where they've come from or are going. (Photo: Mark Kayser)
Coyote tracks can be easy clues to gain insight as to where they've come from or are going. (Photo: Mark Kayser)

Look Around For Clues

Whether you’re out hunting or simply scouting, look down once in a while. I have a tendency to scan the distance in the open country I tend to hunt. I’m looking for a lackadaisical coyote I might be able to stalk. Nevertheless, I still look down so I don’t miss any clues telling me coyotes dig an area.

Coyote tracks, droppings and the coyote evidence found around carcasses add to your knowledge that coyotes have set up camp in the area. Finding sign is oftentimes easy. Simply walking roads and trails reveals whether coyotes are in the area. Coyotes prefer the path of least resistance too and use these routes whenever possible. They also make pit stops at fence corners, gates, stock tanks and other out-of-the-ordinary elements in their environment. Look around all of these for indicators of coyote inhabitants.

FoxPro staffer and world champion coyote hunter Al Morris explained to me in an interview his first course of action when looking at new country is to simply drive along roads slowly and look down. If coyotes are in the area they’ll be leaving tracks and droppings along the road like litter along an L.A. freeway.

Talk With Locals

Your last link to unearthing a hotbed of coyote action is to talk to the locals. Farmers, ranchers, rural mail carriers, conservation officers and even the country bus driver have insight on what they see daily during their routes.

Ask them where they routinely see coyotes and if they’ve noticed any patterns over months, or years of a repetitive itinerary. These sightings tell you either coyotes are hunting an area, retreating there for refuge or using it as a travel corridor. Whatever the reason for coyotes being in an area it’s a great place for you to set up for a future coyote rendezvous.

A few of you may live in the land or plenty with a coyote density that rivals Times Square commuters. For the rest of us it helps to find a coyote before we call it.

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