If you fail to use terrain to your advantage, be prepared for defeat. For starters, most predator hunters realize a high vantage point offers visibility, but neglect to use it as a veil when accessing a calling site.
“Too many hunters give themselves away to predators before they even start calling,” stresses Guy Howell, an ardent predator hunter and owner of Center of the Nation Outfitters in northeastern Wyoming. “Driving instead of walking, banging car doors and the likes all gives your presence away to predators, but the failure to use terrain to hide your form blows many areas well before you call.”
Howell sneaks into many of his calling areas using ravines, creeks and canyons for concealment and even goes horseback for a quiet entrance that predators often don’t see as a threat.
Predator hunters can also use terrain to direct predator traffic. Use terrain features like steep canyon walls, cliffs and waterways to keep predators in a zone downwind of a remote caller, but upwind of your hideout. When done correctly, the predator should pass between you and the caller. That gives you the downwind advantage and a shot at a distracted furbearer.
Lay of the land helps you sneak into a setup and direct predator traffic. Unfortunately, failure to know the lay of the land may also cost you a predator, especially cagey coyotes. Coyotes characteristically follow gullies, coulees, ditches and other low spots to their end destination. This rule isn’t chiseled in stone, but look back at many of your past setups and recall where a coyote suddenly appeared. Do you see the pattern? If there’s a low spot, coyotes will oftentimes use it so stay out of sight. That means you need to stay elevated or at least be able to peer down into a section of canyon to look for any low-flying targets.
Terrain represents both bonuses and minuses to the predator hunter. Consider it for your concealment and understand how coyotes will use it for their concealment as well.