Hunting Coyotes in Windy Conditions

The wind can be your friend or your foe. Learn to use it to your advantage when hunting paranoid predators.

Hunting Coyotes in Windy Conditions

A few minutes into our calling sequence, my attention was on my guide, who had made a small noise, hoping I would hear him. I immediately realized he had spotted a coyote 40 yards to our right. With little hesitation, I turned slightly and made a successful shot. 

While we were recapping what had taken place, another member of our group approached us. He had been sitting on a higher point of the hill where we were set up and told us he had watched the coyote respond from 1,000-plus yards to my electronic caller!  Although it is always encouraging to be able to call a predator from that far away, the reason he was so excited was that we were in western Oklahoma, it was midday and the wind was blowing 25 to 30 mph. How had that coyote heard us from that far?   

That day of calling predators was impressive as well as educational. For years I have hunted the Midwest and have learned that when hunting in high winds, it’s a struggle to get predators, especially coyotes, to respond to calls or to even hear them. With that coyote responding from such a long distance in such a strong wind, I asked myself how many times have coyotes responded to me before without my knowledge. Had I been missing something all of these years, or was it something that these coyotes have adapted to because they live in an area where high winds are common?

When talking to other predator hunters, the topic of wind always seems to come up — wind direction, no wind, crosswind, high wind, etc.

I recently posed several questions about hunting in windy conditions to Foxpro’s Abner Druckenmiller, hoping to gain knowledge regarding how hunters can better use the wind to their advantage, and he shared several tips and tactics that he has used while hunting all over the United States and Canada.

Proper Wind Direction

Druckenmiller says he prefers to have the wind in his face if possible. “If I have a general idea of where a predator is going to come in at, having the wind in my face gives it no opportunity to get downwind of me.” He added that coyotes have several different receptors in their nose, and by the time they get downwind they have already caught the hunter’s scent and waste no time vacating the area. 

“Many hunters set up to call with a crosswind and I will, too, if I have to,” Druckenmiller said. He added, though, that when he does, he prefers to put his e-caller a little farther away than when the wind is in his face so he can intercept coyotes as they circle downwind.  

As mentioned earlier, in some regions of the United States, a strong wind is a daily occurrence. So, do coyotes adapt to the wind? From personal experience, I say yes. After all, coyotes are known for being one of the most adaptable animals on the planet, which is why you find them practically everywhere. I think coyotes adapt to whatever it takes to survive in a specific area.  

“I have had the privilege of hunting coyotes all over North America,” Druckenmiller said. “I have hunted in all conditions, and you will find places such as Oklahoma or West Texas where the wind blows high and they will not respond at all.” 

But Druckenmiller says the worst thing for a predator caller is a swirling wind, such as those he encounters when hunting the hills and mountains of Pennsylvania. When hunting in these types of areas, Druckenmiller says a hunter must be aware of rising thermals and wind direction at all times. 

If hunting in an area where high winds are uncommon, Druckenmiller says that when gust gets above 25 mph, a hunter is often better off waiting for better conditions before calling.

Foxpro's Xwave e-caller has two speakers capable of producing high-quality sounds that cut through high winds.
Foxpro's Xwave e-caller has two speakers capable of producing high-quality sounds that cut through high winds.

When Hunting Is a Must

Even though Druckenmiller suggested that a hunter waits for better calling conditions, he says there are exceptions when hunting is a must no matter what the wind is doing. For example, when a landowner calls and says he has a coyote problem that is affecting his livestock, Druckenmiller says he wants to get in and take care of the problem quickly to help him out. 

In situations such as these, hunters cannot wait for ideal conditions. When hunting is a must, Druckenmiller says this is when a hunter’s shooting ability comes into play. “If a predator comes to the call, hunters must respond quickly and make a successful shot before that problem coyote has the chance of picking up their scent.”  

Another example is predator calling contests, which typically span one to two days. With a specific time limit to be able to harvest as many predators as possible, hunters must do anything it takes to keep grinding through whatever Mother Nature deals them. Druckenmiller recalls staying awake for 48 hours straight, hunting throughout the night while participating in a contest in his home state of Pennsylvania. “When hunting in a contest, you have to hunt in the rain, wind, snow or whatever the conditions might be,” he said. 

Savvy Scent Control

Over the years, I have become a scent control fanatic — scent eliminating sprays, ozone technology, cover scents, etc. I enjoy being able to boost my chances of fooling a deer, elk or predators by defeating their No. 1 defense mechanism, their nose.

Even though I am a firm believer in these products, coyotes can be a challenge when it comes to scent control. Druckenmiller says he also is a believer in scent control because of his roots growing up as an archery hunter. However, he says that when dealing with coyotes, it is equally important to be mindful of wind direction. 

“The wind plays a factor in almost everything that I hunt,” Druckenmiller said, “[but] I don’t use scent control products when hunting coyotes. I tell people, no matter how much you try to eliminate human odor, your body is still breathing out odors and sweating out odors, so you’re never going to hide your scent from a coyote.” 

Druckenmiller agrees that using scent control technologies such as ozone reduces the amount of scent that is being emitted into the air. However, he explained that a coyote has a million different sensors in its nose to pick up on multiple types of smells. “If a coyote were to walk into a restaurant, it wouldn’t just smell one thing, it is going to smell what cologne you have on, the french fries cooking, the hamburgers cooking — he’s going to smell everything.” 

Druckenmiller also suggests paying attention to a bear or a coyote when they are in their natural territory. “A bear or coyote is constantly smelling the ground, or smelling this or that, always being aware of scent in the area they are traveling, which is why it is hard to fool their nose because they are mindful of scent all the time,” Druckenmiller said.

Abner Druckenmiller after a successful hunt.
Abner Druckenmiller after a successful hunt.

Benefits of the Wind

Although lousy wind directions can make it challenging to hunt, some benefits can come from wind that a hunter can use to his or her advantage when hunting coyotes. Druckenmiller says that it is a predator’s instinct to want a little breeze to help them smell prey, such as mice or rabbits. As a predator hunter, he likes a little bit of wind — around 10 to 12 mph — when calling predators. 


Having the Proper Gear

Druckenmiller has been with Foxpro Game Calls for several years, I had to ask about the advantages of having an excellent electronic caller and what sounds he uses when battling the wind. He suggested that when hunting in high winds in those must hunt situations or when calling areas that have strong winds daily, high-pitched sounds such as birds help cut through the wind. 

“Sounds such as (Foxpro) Nutty Nut Hatch, Woodpecker or Titmouse Tantrum are all sounds that will cut through the wind better than prey-in-distress sounds such as Jack Rabbit sounds,” Druckenmiller said.

He also suggests using a high-performance electronic caller that has speakers capable of producing high-volume sounds.  

When hunting in harsh conditions, quality equipment is a must — high performance clothing, boots and first-class electronic callers that can withstand the weather. Yet, paying attention to the wind is arguably the most critical factor in closing the deal.


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