How To Outsmart a Mature Coyote

Mature coyotes are a different animal than the pups and yearling coyotes you normally shoot. Learn how to target these older, wiser songdogs.

How To Outsmart a Mature Coyote

Mature coyotes are a different animal than the pups and yearling coyotes you normally shoot. Since coyote mortality is high in most areas, oftentimes more than 50 percent or more from predator control, you may not be up against the smartest of the bunch.

When you do go up against a coyote holding a "Yale doctorate" it could make you look like a rodeo clown. To be successful on coyotes that are two years or older it takes abandoning tradition and using savvy tactics.

First, be invisible. Not only should you use the wind and scent-eliminating products, but be the Batman and use darkness. Darkness helps veil an advance into a veteran coyote's lair. Use a similar strategy in the afternoon.

Instead of going in at primetime when coyotes stretch and begin surveying where to hunt, slip in when midafternoon heat still has many coyotes holed up enjoying a snooze in the shade or a sunny, south-facing slope. Adjust your travel in and out of mature coyote country to take advantage of when they can't see as well or are still bleary eyed.

Another trick I've used to slip into coyote territory without suspicion is to use my horse as a decoy. Coyotes and livestock have a love/hate relationship, but full-grown farm animals rarely fear the small dogs, they just hate the annoyance. I'll walk beside my horse and use it to hide my form. After the setup I can ride out in comfort and if I've tipped over a coyote, hang it over the saddle horn to save me a backache.

Lastly, mature coyotes have a knack for showing up in the most unlikely locations on your setups. It pays off to have an extra set of eyes in the back of your head and that's possible by inviting a friend along on your next hunt. Make sure they are a veteran coyote hunter and not a novice.

Since coyote's inevitably circle downwind, a hunter covering the downwind position is a wise idea. Position the second hunter downwind 50 to 100 yards from the caller and you have a good chance of disrupting a cagey dog's plan.

Besides covering the downwind alley, an extra hunter should keep watch over any brushy gullies, deep ravines or hidden entrance routes a coyote may use. Also keep attentive for multiple coyotes approaching a site. Shoot the sure thing first, and then aim for the bonus pelts.

Being prepared is better than being played by one of nature's smartest critters.


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