Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer even though the real deal doesn’t kick off until June 20. Despite this easily ignored discrepancy, warmer weather often minimizes the drive of predator hunters including coyote aficionados. You may not want to rethink that attitude, especially if you hope to save a few fawns that are hitting the ground as I type. The kickoff to grilling season is also the time when coyotes boldly switch their diet from rodents to fawns. Wildlife officials from coast to coast are now dealing with coyote predation as a major issue in sustaining mule deer populations in the West and now whitetails in the East.
If you’re feeling the “Bern” to get out and burn a coyote this summer you may want to alter your attack with a summertime attitude. In addition to sunscreen and mosquito repellent, consider these elements to make your summer coyote hunt a success.
By June a coyote den is bustling with more activity than a Walmart on Black Friday. Coyote pups are being weaned and that equals more hunting for mom and dad. Most predator calls work during this time period, but as noted earlier and from numerous studies, coyote diets switch heavily to fawns, even as much as a 70 percent of their intake.
With this fawn factor in play a bawling or dire bleat call imitating a fawn in distress draws the attention of most coyotes trying to fill the stomachs of hungry pups. Although locating a den sight would be beneficial, simply setting up in an area known to harbor lots of deer will work since coyotes will be visiting it regularly to waylay an unsuspecting fawn.
Of course summer-like weather is characterized by heat and humidity. It annoys most mammals like you and me, plus coyotes. Many coyotes switch their work schedule to a nocturnal shift to limit daytime movement when temperatures spike. Make note of this revision and be set up and ready to shoot well before sunrise to pull the trigger on a coyote at first light. Do the same in the evening as the sun sinks.
In addition to an early or late hunt, scout for shady locations with water nearby. Although coyotes will be abandoning dens for hunting forays, they oftentimes stay in the same general area. Research has shown that most dens are within 1 mile or less of water so target riparian zones, reservoirs and any water suitable for wildlife. Small prey distress calls still work well as adults labor to feed pups and themselves. And if you do find evidence of a coyote domicile, howls and barks can create concern for nearby adults that pups are threatened. Add in some pup in distress calls and you could be charged by a coyote in pure parent defense mode.
You won’t make any money with the fur from a summer coyote, but you may save some fawns in your area for a future deer hunt. That’s reason enough to add a summer coyote hunt to your to-do list.