Western hunters have the market cornered on spot-and-stalk hunting opportunities, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work on crafty coyotes everywhere. As hunting seasons kick off you may have opportunities to spot and stalk coyotes as you pursue other game.
Coyotes everywhere will hunt in agricultural or open pastures for small game. They’re also like your canine companion soaking up the sun on the porch, but they curl up on a field edge to feel the full power of the rays. Keep an eye on these open locations for coyote activity (or snoozing) and you may have the beginnings to a spot-and-stalk opportunity.
For a successful stalk you need to spot a coyote without being noticed. That means easing up to rises or over the top of grass and peering ahead hoping to find a moving or napping coyote. Just like a calling setup, elevation is desired for a commanding view. Hills, canyon rims, even old barns provide elevated platforms to oversee good coyote country.
Optics are invaluable regardless if you’re glassing a Pennsylvania dairy pasture or a Badlands basin in Montana. There’s a major debate among hunters on whether you need more or less power. In short, research has proven more people can pick out game using a 6X or 8X binocular than with a higher power. The Nikon EDG 8×42 binocular offers a wide field of view, 403 feet at 1,000 yard. That said, if you are comfortable with a 10X binocular as I am, use it. Just be sure to steady yourself and sweep your area in smaller zones to take advantage of the more powerful optic.
You can spot coyotes literally anywhere, but be especially focused on grasslands, valleys, rivers, creeks, near livestock and around brushy thickets. Coyotes focus much of their attention in these locations for hunting. If the weather is comfortable a coyote will plop down in any rugged or thick habitat for a nap. However, on cold, sunny days you may find them napping on south-facing slopes like a hound dog on the porch. You’ll need to scan carefully to pick out the small balls of fur instead of looking for a larger moving target.
Some coyotes may be within reach of your shooting iron while others may require a politician-like sneaky maneuver to put a Hornady V-Max into play. Stay out of sight. Keep the wind in your face and silently cut the distance. Once you believe you’re within range slowly ease up to look. A coyote busy hunting often misses activity in the background, but a coyote resting on its haunches will bust you every time if you’re not careful.
Take your time and you may be able to add a bonus coyote or two to your hunts this winter.