There’s always been a hot debate about hunting predators in the heat of summer. Of course the antis don’t like it, but even diehard predator hunters oftentimes argue the fur fact. “If it ain’t prime it shouldn’t be harvested.”
I’ll leave the politics for the convenience store crowd, but you can’t ignore the success of hunting predators in the warm-weather months, especially if you incorporate decoy dogs. Professional predator managers won’t debate the effectiveness of summer coyote hunting over dogs, but they do stress if you want to be effective in keeping coyote numbers in check it has to be a year-round proposition: fall, winter, spring and summer. Do you need other reasons why you should coyote hunt during the beachfront months?
Statistics from the National Agricultural Statistics Service show that predators annually claimed nearly 234,500 sheep and lambs, or 37 percent of total losses. They chewed up another 220,000 cows and calves for a total economic loss of $98.5 million.
Add in sheep, goats, chickens, hogs and other agricultural livestock and you can tally hundreds of millions of dollars in economic loss due to predation every year. Coyotes rank highest on the list and their destructive nature peaks in the spring.
If you’re a sportsman and are wondering why deer numbers are down, consider this revealing and increasing fact. In spring, deer, pronghorn and elk birthing spikes. Coyotes take note and switch their diet from everything to a focus on young ungulates.
It’s a phenomenon that is occurring from coast to coast with an emphasis on all species of deer. Studies from Texas and Oklahoma, and east from Alabama to South Carolina confirm that coyote diets may include up to 70 percent or more fawn during the warm-weather months.
Levi Johnson, a Montana native and avid hunter, has completely fallen for summer coyote hunting with his dogs. It excites him so much, he seldom pursues coyotes in the winter period. You can view his coyote-dog action and clearly see why the pursuit of summer coyotes is so addictive with decoy dogs. For Levi, supporting ranchers and sportsmen is a key component for his summer pursuits.
“For ranchers, it’s a dog fight for calves and lambs to survive,” he said. “Mother Nature blows in cold temperatures, wind and snow. Lambs and calves have to survive that and then they have to survive predators. I do a lot of rancher and farmer work. Spring and summer is the time to kill coyotes. And not only does it help out the agricultural community, it helps sportsmen. You’re saving deer and antelope fawns, also birds. I’m keeping the predators in check and helping support the ranchers and hunters.”
Although coyote decoy dogs bring an entirely different aspect into calling, other than the presence of trained dogs, calling is similar to other seasons of the year, notes Johnson.
“The dogs bring a visual and when you run the lone howls, yips, rabbit distress, pup screams or hurt coyote, you’re saying I have come into your area and plan to take it over, or disrupt it. Dogs add another degree of attraction and when you add sounds it triggers coyote maternal and territorial instincts. It’s one of the most effective ways to hunt coyotes outside of using a plane or a helicopter.”