Coyote hunting can be tough in the last few weeks of winter. It’s no government secret that the past decade has seen an explosion in predator hunting popularity.
Walk down the aisles of any sporting goods store and see how large the predator hunting section has grown. When I was a kid, you’d be lucky to find two or three Burnham Brothers’ calls, a Herter’s call and a bottle of fox urine, along with a good selection of traps. Today, it’s just the opposite. Dozens of calls, a variety of shooting sticks, decoys and numerous scent options line entire sections, but you’ll be searching for the traps. Hunting pressure has exploded, creating craftier coyotes.
Are you looking for a late-winter option to call in one last coyote? Here’s a solution. Try picking a fight with coyotes. February is traditionally the breeding season for coyotes across their range in America. You can call in coyotes looking for love with a simple lone howl. Try it. It might be the answer to your calling blues. You can also use yips, whines and whimpers to imitate willing females. This can work in conjunction with lone howls or a standalone call. You can also pick a fight.
As coyote pair up and begin looking for denning territories, they become more defensive of the areas they plan to call home. By barging in and putting on a show of dominance, you might be able to bully a coyote into a high-noon showdown at any time of day.
Here are six steps to rile up a ruthless coyote:
1. Start out with howls. You can stick with a lone howl, but sounding like a pair mimics your invasive intentions.
2. Keep howling, but include barks in between. Yips signify a mellower signal of “we’re here.” Barks add a bit of bite to the calls and show aggression.
3. Stop and listen. You might or might not hear a response, but if you do, answer it with the same reply as what you’re hearing. It’s almost like talking back and shoving it in their face.
4. If you don’t hear a reply, stop and look. Coyotes that are inquisitive, but not fighters, could show up unannounced. I estimate 50 percent of the kills I get with this strategy arrive in silent fashion.
5. If nothing shows after 10 minutes, begin the sounds of fighting coyotes or pups in distress. This creates the illusion that a coyote fight is occurring. You can also add in the occasional prey-in-distress call to make it appear as if a meal is involved.
6. Lastly, end your setup with more howling. Be bold, be aggressive and give the setup at least 45 minutes.
This past weekend we used this strategy and it took nearly an hour for the first angry, vocal group to reach shooting range. On the next setup, a sneaky male showed up within 25 minutes and never made a peep. He didn’t want to talk, so I let my Hornady Superformance Varmint ammo bark back and believe me, its bite was way worse than its bark.
This late-winter coyote slinked into my setup and didn't make it out alive.
(For more great predator hunting advice, make sure you check out Al Voth's "Predator Professor" blog.)