Hunting has been a major part of my life since the young age of 12. Back then I went mule deer hunting with my Grandfather and cousins. Since then I have taken up hunting coyotes. It didn’t take me long to get started, but calling in my first coyote proved more difficult than I thought.
The Addiction Begins
While I was working as a corrections officer at a county jail, I thought to myself one graveyard shift, I should start hunting coyotes. I went online and ordered my first electronic call, a Johnny Stewart call. This set up had a large speaker and a tape with six sounds on it. It featured a giant 12-volt battery inside the camouflage bag it came in. As soon as the call arrived I thought I would be slaying the dogs in no time! I’ve never been so wrong. This was the start of my addiction to hunting coyotes.
It turns out coyotes are above average in their intelligence. It took me more than seven LONG years to call in my first coyote. I begged others to teach me, too. I don’t understand why I kept going out and hunting coyotes all that time, other than it had become an addiction.
It was time to upgrade my E-call, even though I hadn’t called in a coyote yet. I went to Walmart and purchased the Primos Turbo Dog. I was in the COOL club now because I no longer hauled around a prehistoric E-call. When I managed to finally call in my first coyote, I wasn’t even the one to shoot it! I didn’t even see the coyote before my buddy shot it — not 15 feet from my new call and decoy!
We called in a total of three coyotes that morning. My addiction to hunting coyotes turned into a passion after that. I felt confident that I was a pro, even though I was just a novice at that time. This passion continued to grow as I called in more coyotes. I even upgraded from the Turbo Dog to a FoxPro down the road.
Hand Calls Work
A few years ago, I went with another friend who finally, after years of pestering, and begging agreed to take me on a quick stand or two as I was passing through his town. This close friend of mine used hand calls only, and within 5 minutes of calling I had witnessed my first double coming in. My friend was able to drop the first one with one shot, and of course the rookie (me) missed the other one. I was simply amazed that a coyote would come in blazing hot looking for a free meal on a sound made from the breath of a human.
About a month after that another acquaintance accepted my pleas to take me. This young man also used hand calls — and no decoy. We called in one that day, and got a road dog as well. The one we called in came right past my position, and gave me a broadside running shot. BAM…I did it! I killed a coyote that was called in with mouth calls. Now I was hooked on hand calls. I soon sold my FoxPro, and purchased several different hand calls to try.
From Novice To Pro
I now hunt about three days per week, as I have turned this passion and addiction into a semi profitable hobby. In Utah, you receive a $50 bounty per coyote killed inside the state’s borders. This literally helps fuel my passion by putting gas into my truck so that I can hunt more.
I’ve competed in two coyote calling contests this year, and my very first large championship was the recent West Desert Coyote Calling Championship hosted in Salt Lake City, Utah by Jered Gasser and John Bair. My partner (Chad) and I tied for third place in this competition, with four teams tied for third — each having killed 6 coyotes. Check-in time was the tie breaker, and Chad and I traveled over 250 miles to check in, so we were the third team in with six dogs, resulting in a fifth-place trophy. The second contest we entered, we missed three dogs resulting in not placing — rookie mistakes.
This journey has just begun for me, and I enjoy watching the Wiley E. Coyote coming into a hand call any day of the week. My personal goal is to become the best of the best within the next 12 months. Twelve months from now, my hope is I will be competing against the best in the world at the World Coyote Calling Championship.
Since I began hunting coyotes I’ve realized I have both a passion for watching the predator come into a sound made by my breath and the addiction for the adrenaline I get each time one comes in hot and hungry. Don’t give up trying to call in your first coyote. I bet you can do it in fewer tries than me!