In 1963, Rick Orelli, a member of Orange County Predator Callers in California, experimented with rabbit urine as a cover scent. He and his partner, Gary Thomas, discovered that spraying the urine in an atomizer created a mist that made its way downwind. Coyotes called in would often remain in the vicinity a little longer, analyzing the smells and providing the hunters with a better opportunity for a good shot.
In 1967, Orelli and Thomas established the San Gabriel chapter of California Varmint Callers Association and over the years their misting technique was shared with other club members. At some point coyote urine was added to the mix.
In 1999, Leonard Bosinski, hunt coordinator of the San Gabriel Chapter, shared information about the causes and effects of misting with me and I began experimenting with different combinations until settling on my present recipe.
Misting is not a silver bullet that is 100 percent effective. It is, however, another calling tool that is, under certain conditions and with the proper technique, is very effective in keeping a coyote in the immediate vicinity long enough to get a photo, video or a good shot that would ordinarily not be possible.
I have had a fox approach from behind me, walk down my outstretched leg as if it were a log, and sniff my boots where the mist had settled. I have had coyotes approach close enough to reach out and sniff my boots from a couple of feet away. My son and I produced a video in which a coyote runs in under the camcorder, is pushed away with my camera tripod, and remains within a few feet of me for several minutes. On the same video, a male coyote allows me to crawl on my hands and knees to within 10 feet of it as it loudly protests my presence. I don’t believe any of those events would have been possible without the proper amount and combination of sights, scents and sounds.
Gary Clevenger of Orange County Varmint Callers joined me in calling coyotes to the camera and the mist for this article. Shortly after sunrise we approached a likely wash, checked the wind and watched the dust blow directly at a coyote 40 yards away at the edge of the wash. I began spraying mist as Gary set up the camera and I continued spraying while I made “estrus chirps” sounds on my hand call. The coyote quickly emerged from the wash and paced about for several minutes, straight downwind. Gary photographed it.
Editor’s Note: Those of you who decide to try misting will quickly learn to check the wind direction BEFORE spraying, and your wives will quickly teach you NOT to mix the mist in the kitchen.