Coyotes and fox generally mate across the country in February, and that means, like rutting whitetails, they'll be on the move. Predator hunters should take advantage of this bump in activity like a politician takes advantage of a cute baby.
Here are a few tips that might put an extra pelt in your wood shed in the coming weeks:
1. Spend more time looking for predators. Don't be afraid to set up in ambush sites. Rivers, creeks and streams are all major travel corridors, and a few hours spent watching a funnel may put a coyote or fox in your truck box.
2. Watch open fields for fox activity. They date and mate in open areas possibly, giving you a chance for a spot-and-stalk hunt.
3. Use coyote howls to lure-in lonely males or females looking for love. A simple howl is all that's needed to spark a coyote to search for your location.
4. Continue to use prey calls. But mix in howls at the beginning and end to double the attraction on a coyote setup.
My son Cole and I set up earlier this week and used coyote vocalizations to try and lure-in a lonely coyote. At the 20-minute mark I spied a coyote sneaking in and whistled to Cole 30 yards away to get ready. The coyote stopped for a long time, so I sent Sage (my decoy dog) out and her little circle jumpstarted the coyote our way again, but at 200 yards the coyote stalled again. Sage was still working toward the coyote when she started to bark, and apparently the coyote wasn't in the mood for a shouting match. It turned and disappeared. When it reappeared, I estimated the longer range, barked and shot. I estimated wrong.
Regardless of my shooting ability, the tactic worked, and you can be sure I'll be out for a howling good time very soon.