Coyote hunting is tough. Forget about the fact that you always see coyotes during deer season. When your mission is specifically targeting coyotes, everything changes. Don’t be fooled. There’s a big difference in coyote hunting and shooting coyotes while you’re deer or turkey hunting.
The moment you put a predator call to your lips, or punch the button on an e-Caller, the game will change quickly. Mistakes are easily made, and the odds typically fall in the coyote’s favor.
When it comes to calling coyotes, there’s very little room for error. Most hunters walk back to the truck without having the opportunity to squeeze the trigger on a coyote.
Here’s a look at the top mistakes coyote hunters make. They are the make or break moves that’ll determine your success or failure.
You Fail to Hunt Where Coyotes Are
Coyotes are everywhere, right? Well, not exactly. Coyotes make the rounds. Sure, you’ll have resident coyotes that stay pretty close to home. But you’ll also have transient coyotes that range much farther, showing up on the farm far less frequently.
You need to make sure your calls are falling on the ears of coyotes. This is best accomplished by scouting. Scouting is easily conducted by trail cam intel, or locating coyotes at night. You simply run the roads around the properties you’re hunting, and blow a coyote howler, or crank up a siren. If there are coyotes in the area, they’ll likely howl back at the sound of a howl or siren. You’ll also have every domestic dog in town howling, so be sensitive to your neighbors.
Make notes of where you have coyotes respond, and make plans to hunt these locations the following morning.
You Blow it on the Walk In
Consider the approach you make to your calling setup for coyotes. You wouldn’t just stomp into the woods, or across a field when hunting deer, so don’t do it with coyotes. Take your time. Sneak in to your setup. Coyotes will often be in or around the field you’re planning to hunt. Ease in with caution, and use your binos to keep tabs on things as you go.
You’ll also want to be cautious where you walk. Never walk across an area you expect coyotes to approach from. Your boot scent on the ground is a deal breaker most every time. They’ll smell where you walked in, and the game will be over.
You Ignore the Wind
The wind can make or break your hunt as well. Surprisingly, many hunters fail to consider the impact it will have on their hunt. As mentioned above, coyotes don’t give second chances when it comes to human scent. Many hunters ruin their hunt before they ever make the first peep on a call, simply because they allow their scent to be broadcast across the area they intend to call into.
The wind can also help or hurt your calling efforts. Wind can carry your sound a long way if it’s at your back. But it can also hinder your calling efforts if it’s in your face. The key is to find a nice medium. Let the coyote think it’s got the downwind advantage, and he’s much more likely to investigate the sounds of your call.
You Call Too Loud
Whether on your mouth call, or e-Caller, it’s really easy to call too loud for coyotes. Keep in mind, the lung capacity of a rabbit or rodent is super small. Loud, obnoxious wailing on a call is not natural and will quickly blow coyotes out if they are in close quarters to your setup.
Start off your calling sequence soft and subtle. Make the distress sounds quick and desperate. You can always add volume as needed to reach further and further out. But less is more when it comes to making a realistic calling routine.
You Don’t Use a Decoy
Nothing works to finish a coyote on your setup like the use of a decoy. They respond to the audible sounds of your call, but when they encounter the decoy, the visual confirmation is what seals the deal. Depending on the decoy and setup, you can place coyotes exactly where you want them for the shot.
Failure to use a decoy will often find coyotes picking you out from longer distances than you might imagine. Their senses are so incredibly sharp that they’ll typically have you pegged, to the tree. The decoy is a great way to shift a coyote’s focus and attention away from you as the shooter.
You Don’t Use an E-Caller
There was a time when I felt like using an e-Caller watered down the predator calling experience. I felt like a mouth-blown call delivered a sense of accomplishment not found with an electronic device. However, I’ve gotten past that mindset and now employ an e-Caller with most every set I make.
The e-Caller allows you to broadcast sounds away from your setup. As previously mentioned, a coyote’s incredibly keen sense of hearing allows him to pinpoint the source of the sound. Placing the call away from your setup allows you to go undetected like never before.
It also allows you to put the caller upwind of your location, placing an approaching coyote right in your lap as it circles downwind.
You Don’t Use Shooting Sticks
There are hunters who have superior shooting skills and can make off-hand shots at critters at extended distances. However, they aren’t the norm. Most hunters rely on some type of gun rest when making long shots at big game. However, when it comes to hunting predators, you’d be surprised at how many hunters fail to utilize some type of shooting stick or bipod. And it’s a mistake.
Shots at coyotes will often come at longer distances, and routinely while on the move. These shots can be tough to pull off. Put a shooting stick, bipod, or a tripod to work as a foundation for your gun, and you’ll watch your success skyrocket.
When it all comes together and you pull off a successful coyote hunt, you’ll know you’ve discovered one of the most adrenaline-packed hunts of the year. Hunting opportunities for coyotes are typically year-round, with unlimited bag limits most everywhere across the country. But again, they can be tough. Success won’t come easy. So be sure to eliminate the mistakes mentioned above to boost your success the next time you step into the woods to go head to head with the #1 predator to roam the woods.