By Stuart Hoegh
I have been coyote hunting for the last ten years now. I began going with my older brother when I was 10 or eleven, then started calling on my own after he went to college. I have used mostly mouth calls, but I have also tested out electronic callers as well. I have called in almost every type of weather and from October to March. Looking back on the hunts I have been on I realize that often times I was doing a lot of things right, but a few mistakes cost me a pelt. In my post I hope to define the key factors of success, as well as point out simple mistakes I have learned the hard way.
Start Quiet and Work Louder
I always begin with a quieter closed reed then move to a louder more versatile open reed call. My goal when calling is to be just loud enough for the nearest coyote to hear it. I want to do interest that coyote without alerting others. I believe this leads to a greater likelihood of calling in young, less dominant males, which are often less wary. If every coyote in the county can hear the call I believe that some will avoid the area due to the risk of other coyotes arriving.
Set your scope on a medium setting
I have had coyotes come blazing into 40 yards only for me to not be able to tell what I am looking at through my scope. I realized that the scope was on nine power when the coyote was coming in and I didn’t have time to shift down to a lower setting. Who knows what part of the coyote my reticle was on I could have been shooting at any four inch section on the coyote, or even a fence post near it. I use a 3x9x40 Nikon ProStaff scope that I keep on 6 power. I believe that 3 power isn’t enough to make a shot on a coyote at 150 yards, roughly the distance they often times circle. Additionally, I believe anything over 6 can make it very difficult to keep your scope on a coyote that is within 100 yards. Lastly, if a coyote hangs up at 300 yards most of the time they pause for a while. This allows you the time to turn the power on your scope up to 9, and the needed motion to do so is unlikely to be noticed.
Limit Areas Where a Coyote can Hide
Lastly, insure that you can see the entire path the coyote will take on the way in. I have rushed setups of stands and by the time I realized the mistake it was too late. Now I always make sure that there are not any rises, crevices or creeks that a coyote can use to circle downwind of me while remaining out of sight. A coyote trusts its nose before its eyes. Thus, it can rely on wind carrying your scent to it without needing to be visible. Most likely it will circle downwind at around 150 to 200 yards then stop to test the wind. It is best to lip squeal or whistle before this point to get a shot because once they catch your scent they are gone.
Let me know if you have any questions about how I hunt coyotes. I will post more advice soon. Thanks, Stu.