Spring Coyote Calling Deep Snow

Spring time can be a slow time of year for allot of hunters. Turkey season isn’t quite here and most other game seasons are closed. But there is a silver lining in that dark cloud hanging over us this time of year, Coyotes! In the north coyotes are paired and females are bred for the most part, but haven’t yet had their pups. Hunting coyotes this time of year can help curb deer depredation for the following winter and even the current up and coming fawn crop by taking a few of these coyotes out. Also the fur can and is still usable this time of year and can be tanned for hanging on your wall or even a hat.

The above video was filmed with the author in early March in Northern Wisconsin. It’s a long unedited clip but we wanted to show new hunters the frequency and variety of calls as well as the duration of a typical hunt.  You will see the entire call set from the time we got in place through the final shot.

For the most part this time of year coyotes have been pretty much burned out if calling is popular in your area, but there’s still a few tricks you can pull out of the hat to put a coyote on the ground or should I say snow if you had a winter like we did here in northern WI. One of the most difficult things to deal with is the deep snow thats accumulated through the winter. For one, the temps are warming and the snow gets soft and crystalized making each step you take a workout that’s rival to anything a treadmill could throw at you, but its also difficult for the coyotes to get through it as well. To combat this I like to concentrate my calling to early mornings where the previous nights cold temps freezes the snow making it easy to walk on top and in turn easier for the coyote to travel and respond as well, before the mid-morning temps start turning the snow to quicksand again.

What makes these coyotes vulnerable this time of year is the fact that even though the snow is deep, it’s going down in depth, which they depended on to slow deer down earlier in the year, but they could stay fairly on top to chase these deer down, because the snow wasn’t crystallized and slushy. So the coyotes after eating well are now getting a little growl in their belly. Even small game such as rabbits and hares are getting tough to come by due to it being easier for those critters to get around faster, plus their numbers are down just because its the cycle of nature and multiple factors of predation, die-off, hunting, etc. Most game populations are at their lowest this time of year just before the spring baby boom.

So where do you find the coyotes? Well coyotes are creatures of habit and oppurtunity, and they will still be holding close to the deer concentrations here in the north,looking for an oppurtunity to take a weakend animal or feeding off an old kill even if it is just bones. They’ll also hang on the rivers that are still frozen with water starting to open because deer will be there as well. The deer are browsing these areas for plants just starting to pop under water and buds on tags etc that are starting to plump. Everything out there in the wild has a cycle and knowing whats going on out there will put you where you need to be.

When I call this time of year I like to just hit the howler once or twice, then wait about 10 min. Coyotes this time of year are now paired like I mentioned, but also have staked their claim to a piece of ground and usually wont tolerate another on their turf. If I dont get a response off the howl, I’ll switch into a few deer distress bawls to sweeten the pot or a short series of bunny cries, then silent for a few minutes. Still if no takers I pull out my little trick that has worked beautiful this time of year and works on that territorial instinct just a tad more. I scream a short YIPE! Then go right into the distress I was using for just a few seconds, then stop.

I’ve had coyotes pop out just like that on that combo that were reluctant to show because of being burned out and call shy to the usual sounds they’ve been accustom to thru the winter. I like using an open reed call thats easy to blow for the combo, because you can switch from yip to distress without missing a beat. I believe it gives the impression the coyote just suffered a kick or bite and the the instant distress is from the instant retaliation the prey just recieved. I’ve been playing with that combo the last few years and have had excellent results from it in tough calling conditions like late season. And when you get that coyote coming in and your zeroed in on him/her and ready to shoot, BARK! if it’s running in or moving. The coyote will come to a stop increasing your odds of a well placed shot that connects and puts it to the ground. So if you want to kill the late winter blues and spring turkey fever, go harass a few yotes, it”ll brighten your day

Home Tanning your Coyote

If you’ve been hunting coyotes long enough or just getting started there will come a time you’ll want to have one tanned. Whether its your first coyote or a particular one you were after or just a unique color or hunt, you’ll want one for yourself. But some questions arise. Where do I get it tanned or can I do it myself and how do I go about getting it tanned either way.

You can take it to a taxidermist if you want, but for some you’ll want to try your hand at it. Tanning really isn’t all that difficult and with all the info out there today which is easily accessible you can do it yourself.

I’ve been tanning my own pelts for over 30 years now and have a nice simple way of going about it. I’ve tried and used many different tans over the years and each have their own pluses and negatives. Negatives being difficulty in having just the right amount of ingredients and also toxicity.

For now this article will focus on the simplest of tans that is great for a wall hanging and both work quite well for that purpose.
To get started you’ll need to prep the hide for the tan. After skinning the coyote you need to flesh or remove the fat and excess meat from the pelt. This can be done by scraping it off by placing the hide flesh side up on a fleshing beam and using a draw knife to scrape the fat and meat off. I know of others that will just use a big knife and lay the pelt over a 2×6 or similar and scrape the hide so it’s clean of meat and fat.

 

Once the fleshing is done you can do one of two things. You can lay the pelt out flesh side up and salt it with canning/pickling salt non-iodized. And then leave it sit over night, this helps set the hair on the hide and prevents spoilage, especially if the hide isn’t fresh. If the hide is spoiling already, no amount of salt will stop the fur from falling out. That’s why is important to start on the hide as soon as possible after skinning or freeze it after skinning. If you’re using a hide thats been frozen then thawed and fleshed, it’s best to salt over night. The other way way is to get the hide in the tan or pickle right after fleshing and washing.

Before placing the hide in the pickle bath/tan it’s important to wash the hide after the fleshing and/or salting. What I do is put a little dawn dish soap in a 5 gal. bucket and fill with cold water and immerse the hide in it and slosh it around until the water is dirty. Then I’ll dump the wash water and refill the bucket with cold water only and rinse the hide, plunging it in and out of the water till the water is dirty again. Keep refilling and rinsing until the water is fairly clean, this gets rid of blood, dirt etc. in the fur and makes for a good clean pelt. After you wash the hide hang it and let it drain for a half hour, somewhere cool and out of the sun.

While your hide is draining it’s time to mix up your pickle or tan. This step is done prior to the actual tanning but is also considered a tan or acid tan. Chemicals today are more enviromentally friendly and safer than they were 20 yrs ago. So take a 5 gal. bucket and dump in 2 gal. of white vinegar and 2 gal. cold water and 4 lbs. of pickling canning salt. Mix this solution thoroughly with a something like a broom handle or something similar made of wood or plastic. What you have now is a pickle bath or an acid tan depending on what you do later. Now that this is mixed up and stirred well, take your drained coyote hide and immerse it in this solution and stir it around until all parts are submerged. You now leave the pelt in this solution for 72 hrs. or 3 days, stirring it a couple times a day. After the 3rd day you can check to see if its done by pressing your thumbnail into the flesh side of the hide, if the indentation stays, it’s done.

 

Now it’s time to neutralize the hide. Take the coyote pelt out of the pickle/tan solution and rinse in cold water for about 5 min. then hang outside to drain for a half hour. While your hide is draining dump in a cup of baking soda gradually into the pickle/tan solution to neutralize. Add slowly as the baking soda will make the solution foam. Once the baking soda has been added and the foaming stops, discard the whole solution and rinse the bucket. Now add 4 gal. of cold water and 12 oz. of baking soda or 3oz. of baking soda per gal. of water. Now take your drained coyote pelt and add to the baking soda water and agitate it by sloshing it around and do this for 15-20 min.(no longer) this will neutralize the acid in the hide.

Once the time is up, remove the hide and rinse again in cold water and hang to dry. At this point you can either mix up the tan from the link I provided above and follow its directions. Or you can continue on with finishing the hide as an acid tan. First I like to wash the hide one more time using woolite. Just get the fur wet and rub in woolite into the fur side to wash the fur, then rinse in clear cold water a couple times until the soap is gone. Then hang and let drain another half hour.

Once the hide has drained of excess water you need to oil the flesh side of the hide with a tanning oil. You can get the tanning oil through the link I provided. Its special in the sense that its water soluable and will mix with water and soak into a wet hide. I usually mix the tanning oil with water 50/50 using water I boiled and adding to the oil. You can make your own by using neatsfoot oil from a farm supply store thats used for oiling saddles and tack. When using this oil you will have to mix in dawn dishsoap with the oil so that it will mix with the water, about 2 tbs of soap to a pint of oil, then add hot water. Its a little messier than the premade tanning oil, but does work. Once you have your oil hot by adding boiling water, take and lay your coyote pelt out, fur side down. Then pour little amounts of the heated oil onto the flesh side of the hide, rubbing it in by hand. Once the hide is covered in the oil let it set until any puddles and excess oil has soaked in, usually a couple hours.

Now it’s drying time and breaking time. Breaking the hide is what makes the leather soft. What you do is continue to let the hide dry. As its drying the thinner spots of leather will dry first, the spots will feel slightly dry and stiff to the touch. On those dry spots, take and stretch and pull the hide on those spots with your fingers, you’ll noticed these spots will immediately turn white when you stretch them, this is called breaking. What you’re doing is breaking the fibers in the leather to make it soft. Only work on spots that are drying, as the wet spots will only get hard if you work them when wet. The reason is when its wet, it doesnt break the fiber, it only compresses them, so when its dry it’ll be stiff. It’s a slow process, but the good news is you only have to break the dry spots for a couple mins a couple times a day then leave sit inbetween, then eventually the complete hide will be done and broke in time. As the dry spots become larger you can run them over a boards edge to help break the hide. Each spot you break will have some dampness to it after breaking which will dry again, you’ll know when its done breaking when the hide stays soft and pliable after not being worked for a while.

Once the hide is broke or close to it, I like to take and lay the hide out fur side up and dump corn meal on the fur, then rub the corn meal in for about 15 min. of non stop rubbing. Then take and shake out the cormeal, this removes any residual dirts and oils from the fur and makes the fur feel soft and silky. The dusty residue will fluff out of the fur on your final hide breaking sessions.

Once you’re done you’ll have a nice hide to hang on the wall next to the fire place or gun rack or in the man cave. And a satisfaction of doing something yourself with a fur you took yourself.

How to make a fur hat from a coyote pelt

Finished Coyote Hat

A lot has been written about predator hunting, but what about the fur. What do you do with it. Do you sell it or have it mounted or tanned? How about making your own hat, any style you want. Its really not as hard as one may think. Making a hat out of a predator you fooled into thinking it was coming to a free dinner can be rewarding and another way of enjoying the hunt even more with a keepsake and a story.

If you’re thinking of making a fur hat for yourself this is for you. The following article with the pics and a little studying you’ll be able to make a fur hat fairly easy. First you’ll need a tanned pelt. You can have your hides tanned at various tanneries or a local taxidermist can have it sent out to get tanned for you. Normally it takes about one coyote or fox for a hat and getting one tanned varies by tanneries and taxidermists. Price can range between $25-$75 depending on who you have do it, with an average of around $45 which covers shipping etc. Moyle mink and tannery out of Idaho is a reputable tannery and does a lot of tanning for trappers and hunters. If you don’t know how to prep a hide for shipping, you can contact them and they will give you instructions or you can take it to a taxidermist that can do it as well for a fee.

Once you have your pelt tanned you’ll need a few other materials to make the hat. I like using upholstery thread for sewing, it’s heavy duty and durable, you can use dental floss as well. You’ll need a couple good needles, some utility razor blades, scissors, a fine tip marker like a sharpie, a measuring tape, a ruler, Fabric glue like Bish’s tear mender, a large paper grocery bag for making the pattern and something for the inside liner of the hat. For lining I’ve used everything from felt, polar fleece or quilted material like you find in quilted flannel shirts. Most of these materials can be found in any sewing sections of most dept stores.
Mountain Man Style Hat

Now you need to determine what style of hat you want to make. I make 3 different styles basically. They are the Mountain Man with feet and legs on it or the easier one the Daniel Boone with just a tail, then there is the Trooper style with ear flaps and a front flap and a woman’s style that’s a basic hat with a rim of fur around it and a tail off the back, the pattern of which I got by taking apart a woman’s dept store fake fur hat and made a pattern out of it. You can basically make any type or style of hat you want just by using old hats and using them as a pattern, even a bonnet.

Once you decide what type of hat you want to make, its time to get some measurements. The first measurement is the circumference of your head, then a measurement from just above your eyebrow over your head to the base of your skull. This will give you a good fit and a starting point to laying out your pattern. Of course if you’re using an old hat that fits you as a pattern it isn’t necessary, you can just use the store bought hat as a pattern (fig 3, 3a,3b). Now back to measurements,the circumference measurement you divide by 2 which will give the width of your pattern for say a Mountain Man style hat (Fig. 1, 1a at the bottom of this article). So for ex. your measurement is 22” your pattern width would be 11” (see dia.) The other measurement would give you the length of your pattern, usually 15”-16”. With those measurements draw a rectangle on your grocery bag, that will be the pattern to lay on your pelt when you’re ready. For the trooper style or Daniel Boone style you basically would make two rectangles (A) 11” long and 3.5”- 4” wide, which would be the pattern for around the head and then a circle (B) with a circumference of 22” which would be the top (see Fig 4, 4a. at the bottom of this article)

Trooper Style Hat

Once you have the style and pattern you want figured out and drawn out on the leather side of the pelt (note: when doing ear flaps, make sure you flip the pattern over to draw the other flap,or you’ll have two ear flaps for just one side) it’s time to cut the pieces out using the utility razor blades, just carefully cut on the lines you have drawn, taking your time.

Once your pieces are cut out, lay them out fur side up to see how the fur lays and arrange them to where they are going to go when sewn together. At this point you can mark on the leather side numbers or letters to correspond to which piece gets sewn to which piece, like A to A , B to B etc. Now its time to sew the pieces together. When I sew I basically use a loop stitch. I start by butting up the two pieces I want to sew at the moment up to each other. Then start on one end. When I sew, I sew so that it’s fur to fur and the leather side is on the outside. Basically sewing the hat with it inside out (Fig 5 and 3a at the bottom of this article) . This keeps the fur out of your way when sewing and also hides your stitching when your done with the final hat. The sewing is the most time consuming part. At the end of each stitch run when you need to tie off and start with new thread, dab a little fabric glue on the knots you tie off, it helps to keep them from coming undone over time if you’re not the best seamstress. After you have the hat sewn together, try it on before you make and sew in the liner. If it’s snug thats fine, the leather stretches and will fit like a glove in no time. If it seems loose, you can take it in a little by re-sewing the side seams by cutting the seam out with the razor on both sides of the stitching, then sewing up again, you shouldn’t have to do this if you measured right.

Once you have your pieces sewn together at the seams etc, your hat will basically be done as far as the fur part goes, it’ll just be inside out. Now is the time to flip it or turn it so it’s fur out. You should have a nice hat taking shape. What you want to do next is make the liner. For making the liner you just use the basic pattern you used for the hat and trace it out on your fabric and cut it out and sew it like you did the fur part. This will be a lot easier sewing for the most part. Once you have your liner made, it’s time to slip it inside the main hat and positioned so it sits inside evenly all around the edges etc. Once you have it positioned you can use a little fabric glue in a few spots and let dry to hold it in place, then sew the liner in all around the edge where the liner and leather meet to seal it up. If you want the face of the animal on your hat you can basically cut the face from the pelt just behind the ears and tack sew it to the front of your hat. There’s many other ways to incorporate the head into the hat with this way being the simplest and easiest for a first timer.

By now you should have yourself a hat you made yourself from a critter you harvested yourself. Hopefully these pics and writing will help you accomplish making you’re own hat. Don’t be afraid to try your own ideas, whats wrote here is just the basics on how to go about it. Good luck and have fun.

Custom from a store bought hat used as a pattern
Figure 1
Figure 1a
Figure 1b
Figure 2
Figure 3a
Figure 3b
Figure 4
Figure 4a
Figure 5
Hat Supplies

Six Coyote Hunting Tips For Beginners

Coyote hunting is one of the fastest growing hunting sports in America. Populations are strong, land access is easier to come by, regulations are liberal, and coyotes are challenging to hunt. For newcomers to the sport, the challenge can lead to frustration. These six tips will help smooth the learning curve.

Being Downwind Is Vital
The number one rule for coyote hunting is staying downwind. Coyotes are primarily driven by their noses. They find food and seek safety by scent. Ignoring the wind while whitetail hunting is costly. In coyote hunting, it’s devastating. If winds are swirling or your setups are no good for the prevailing wind, it’s a good day to do some scouting. If an approaching coyote looks uneasy, he is most likely trying to find a way to get downwind of you.

Wait For Mates
Where there is one coyote, there are others. If a coyote stops and looks around a lot while coming in, there is a good chance there is another coyote. It is a good idea to wait for the other coyote to appear before shooting. If the newcomer takes off running on the shot, hit him with a Ki-Yi call. The Ki-Yi is a distress call and it will often stop a coyote and give you a chance to shoot.

E-Callers Ease The Learning Curve
Electronic calls are illegal for many game species. But when it comes to coyotes, it’s open season in most states. Electronic calls or E-calls make it simple for novice hunters to call as well as a veteran. Most come with a wide range of calls including coyote vocalizations and prey distress calls like screamers. Remote control features make operating them simple.

Shooting Sticks Kill Coyotes
Coyotes are often shot at long distances. Shooting sticks will steady the shot and ensure accuracy. More importantly, if your gun is ready on shooting sticks, less movement is needed to prepare for the shot. Movement will bust you just as often as scent while coyote hunting.

Concealment Is Key
Head-to-toe camouflage is a necessity. Pants, jackets, gloves, hats, and face covers are not an option. Scent blocking clothing is big business in the whitetail community. Scent is even more important when coyote hunting. You should always play the wind, but scent blockers will help if a coyote circles around you.

Put Some Miles On
If there are receptive coyotes in the area you are hunting, they will come to calling within 15 or 20 minutes. Don’t spend more than a half hour at any given setup. On calm days on flat land, you may want to move a half mile or more to the next set. If conditions are windy or terrain is steep, you could move as little as a few hundred yards before starting to call again. Remember to always approach a new hunting area downwind of where you believe coyotes will approach.

If you’re getting started in coyote hunting, these tips should make finding success a little easier. The best way to learn the finer points of whacking ‘yotes is to hunt with an experienced coyote assassin. If that isn’t possible, the folks here at foremostcoyotehunting.com have you covered. Good luck!

So, you want to trap coyotes?

With the ever growing coyote population, predator calling has become a popular sport and useful tool in coyote control in some areas. But is it really totally effective on the whole for keeping coyote numbers in check? The answer is no. With the rise in predator callers out there, there is a rise in call shy coyotes due to novice callers making mistakes, which in itself is a given as with the guys that are good at it made the same mistakes while they learned the skill to calling. So whats another way of efficiently keeping coyotes in check? Trapping. Trapping coyotes can be a challenge for the novice just starting out. There are lots of things to consider or learn to trap a coyote. But the good news is,they are not as smart as some give them credit for, they are just another animal that lacks the thought process we have. They’re programmed for killing, eating and breeding, that’s it, and that’s what drives their thought process. And that’s what a trapper cashes in on when it comes to these critters.
Author Poses with a trapped coyote

here’s a lot of literature, media etc. that’s aimed at trapping coyotes. Some of the better books out there are Craig O’Gormans “Hoof beats of a Wolfer” or Clint Locklears “Eastern Wolfer” both excellent books on coyote trapping. You tube has some good videos as well, like yours truly “me” have some educational vids here.

One of the first steps is taking a trapper ed course. Most states have them now,just like hunter ed. Trapper ed is mandatory in some states before being allowed to trap. The main reason behind trapper ed,is just like hunter ed. To teach you the basic of trapping, the ethics, the laws and safety. It’s a good program. A lot of states have trapping associations that hold rondy’s that hold trapping demo’s with well seasoned trappers, and at the National level you have the Fur Takers of America http://www.furtakersofamerica.com/ and the National Trappers Association http://www.nationaltrappers.com/ both of which are excellent and fight for your rights to trap. And they also hold a yearly convention that brings in thousands of trappers from across the country. They have everything imaginable related to trapping plus demos all day throughout the whole convention with top trappers from across the country giving you there info and methods. It’s quite the learning experience.

Another successful trapping mission

So basically to get started trapping coyotes you need to educate yourself, do your homework so to speak. In future articles I will take you threw various stages to get started, how to get set up equipment wise, scouting, location, setting up a trapline etc. to get you on the right track to trapping ole wiley. He’s really not that hard to trap, you just need to be observant and a student of the coyote, let him show you what trips his trigger to put his paw on the pan.

Trapping for the most part is a very efficient way of controlling coyote numbers, it is probably the most efficient tool in taking coyotes period. Trapping has been villianized by animal rights groups for years, the 1970’s had quite an upswing in TV ads showing graphic pictures of animals distressed in traps, pets caught etc. What most people don’t know is a lot of it was staged, yes staged. They sacrificed animals to save the rest, their end justified their means so to speak. The bottom line with these groups isn’t saving animals, it’s lining the pockets with big salaries. In my opinion, the animal rights groups exploit animals for monetary gain. Trappers and Hunters are valuable management tools utilizing renewable resources putting their money where their mouth is compared to the AR groups that put very little if anything to their so called cause except their own pockets which drives their incentive, not poor animals as they put it.

In the upcoming articles I’ll take you through the different steps in pursuing the coyote by trapping and hopefully put you on to your first trapped coyote and a passion you never thought you had.

Taking Down a Coyote

Sounds easy enough, don’t it. It can be, but can also be frustrating at times due to a multitude of reasons. Coyotes are a tough animal, tougher than most give them credit for. When it comes to hunting them and at the cusp of squeazing the trigger there can be many factors that contribute to whether the next milli-second is going to do the deed. And that deed is dependent on the little details we tend to miss in the heat of battle.

There has been much written as to what’s the best caliber for shooting coyotes. The truth is they all work, some to a more destructive degree and some to a lesser extent. I won’t go into what’s best, because it’s a matter of personal preference and what your motives are for hunting them, whether it’s for fur or damage control. So your gun of choice is what works best for you. But…I will say this, in my experience is to stay away from rimfire’s. I know plenty of coyotes have been killed by them and in the perfect situation they work, but life isn’t always perfect on the calling stand. If you choose to use a rimfire, keep the shots under say 75yds and head shots. Anything else is going to be marginal and if you don’t have snow, tracking a coyote is gonna be tough, because chances are you will be tracking them if you go for a boiler room shot and it’s not quite perfect. I’m speaking from experience.

Head Shot Coyote

As for me my rifle it’s a .243 700 Rem action and barrel cradled in an HS Precision Pro series stock topped off with a Nikon Monarch shooting 100 gr Sierra BTSP Game Kings powered by 45.2g of H 4831sc hand loads. It works for me whether I’m coyote hunting or deer hunting and doesn’t tear up the coyotes hide. I’ve seen guys using 30-06’s , .270’s, 6.5-.284 and then most with in the range of the .204, .223 all the way up to the .243. Well you get the picture.

Now, which ever caliber you choose isn’t going to take down a coyote if you don’t pay attention to a few things. One of course is making sure your rifle is sighted in and you know where it shoots. But that’s only part of it. Even if you hit a coyote, it dosen’t mean he’s going down. Personally I like the bang/flop your dead scenario. And there’s a few things to consider to do that. The main thing is bullet placement, and I have my preferences depending on the situation.

First before you take the shot, it’s always best if that coyote is standing still, they have a lot of fur around that frame, and having a standing shot gives you a better shooting scenario and less chance of a rushed or not so on shot. If the coyote is moving, you’ll want to stop them, what I’ll do is bark at them in my own voice. This will usually stop em’ to give you a shot, if your ready and were tracking them in your scope.

Throat Shot Coyote

Now for the shot. The saying goes, aim small, hit small. A lot of hunters new to coyote hunting will tend to just shoot when the coyotes in the cross hairs instead of placing those cross hair on a specific area, usually resulting in a center body shot. That’s not good, I’ve seen many times coyotes taking off and you end up on a wild coyote chase tracking him down. Believe me a coyote can go a long ways like this, the furthest I’ve seen one go was a mile and a half. I’ve seen it many times, I happen to take quite a few new comers along so they can get their first coyote, shot by them, so have seen many mistakes over the years and have made a few myself. But the mistakes I’ve seen, taught me a lot.

On a coyote that’s standing broad side I like to hit right where you would if shooting a deer, right inline with the shoulder, this will usually drop them like a bag of rocks, too far back and you’ll probably be tracking a while. What I don’t like about a broad side shot is you have less margin of error at longer distances, all that fur makes them look big, but in reality you only have a depth of some where around 7 inches from the top of the back to the bottom of the ribs, and if you are shooting at distance of say 250 yds or better the shot placement is critical and knowing your bullet drop is of utmost importance. So depending on caliber like my .243 I’ll lay the cross hairs right on the top of the shoulders, knowing my bullet with take out the ticker when it gets there or close to it.

Now, my favorite shot to take on a coyote is a frontal straight on shot, especially if that dog is out there. I use shooting sticks most of the time because they really do make you steady for a shot, especially on the long ones. The reason I like the straight on shot, in my opinion is it gives you the most room in the margin of error dept in judging distance. And for connecting on your intended target. At least for me it is. My windage is pretty much dead center, and the only thing I need to worry about is drop, unless of course it’s extremely windy, then you’ll have to adjust accordingly. But when dealing with light winds and say a bullet like the .243 it’s not a problem. Anyway what I’ve found with the frontal shot is you have a little more area to allow for the bullet drop, like around 12 inches, and for me, I’ll just rest the cross hairs on top of the dogs head or on his nose depending on what I think or how far out he is. And this usually results in those nice bang flops, or those instant butt seaters then collapses. The main thing is, always make sure the dog is stopped and if not, stop him with a bark like I mentioned. Those furry critters don’t have a lot under that fur and it’s easy to miss.

Well, what about those quartering at you deals. Well for me I like where the point of the shoulder meets the neck, but here you have a little less room as you would for a head on shot but a little more than the broadside. This shot will anchor em’ in their tracks as well.

I hope this little write up gives you the basic concept to taking down a coyote. It’s not every scenario but it’s what I run into most, and you have to adjust depending on the approach, but keeping these things in mind coupled with more contact with coyotes and the experience it brings along the way, will increase your success of putting down those coyotes. I’m not saying you’ll never miss, because we all do one time or another, but you’ll be a more consistent coyote slayer. Good Luck.

Howling Up Coyotes

I am often asked, do you howl for coyotes and does it work? The short answer is yes and yes. But I’m going to try and break down the long answer. Now remember one thing though. There are no definites in this game and keeping an open mind and a willingness to give things a try, even things that pop into your head, even if you’ve never heard of it before. Calling coyotes is a never ending game of learning and your best weapon is your brain. Only you know your area, and the better you know it, the better you’ll become in knowing what’s gonna trigger a response.

I like to start using coyote howls in January for actual on stand hunting. In the fall I mainly use the howler as a locator tool. I use it the night before I hunt an area to get an idea of where the coyotes are, so I can plan for the next morning. Sometimes they are not where you heard them, but knowing the area and getting to know the coyotes routes and travels, terrain, cover, etc., you can have a pretty good idea where they went.

In January, the coyotes are moving around a lot, priming up for the breeding season, and some are already breeding and pairing up. So coyote vocals are very convincing this time of year to a coyote and often times prove fatal. A lot of socializing is going on and they are also defending territories a little more aggressively as time goes on into February. Another reason howls and other vocals are viable is due to the fact, that most coyotes out there this time of year, have either heard the rabbit distresses a 100 times now or was a witness to a less lucky buddy that fell to the bunny cries. Either your left dealing with the survivors, the smarties who are paranoid beyond therapy.

So what do you do? Well, first practice on an open reed call doing your best imitation of a coyote howl, the kiyi’s and the whines. There are a few tapes and videos out there that can teach you the basics. But the main thing is practice till you get a good smooth howl. How do you apply it to your stand? Just like anytime of the year pick your locations, keeping the wind and terrain in mind. Once your settled in make a couple short barks followed by a howl and immediately repeat it. Give it a few minutes and listen for a response and watch for any incoming coyotes, even if you don’t hear a vocal response. A lot of times the occupants of the area will come in silent hoping to catch the intruder. It’s been my experience up here in the north that’s what mainly happens, no vocal response, they just come. If there is no response either way, give it a couple more howls, then wait a few more minutes. Before we venture into this further, we’ll go to the scenario that there is a response by coyotes howling and yipping back off in a distance. What do you do now? Well you howl back, to see if those howls start coming closer. I’ve had a few different things happen when coyotes howl back. One, the howls get closer, which of course gets the heart pumping and things can get interesting here. As long as they’re answering, keep talking back. And if there getting closer keep it up. But keep your eyes peeled for an incoming critter at the trot. I found a lot of times while they are answering back, one will break from the group and come in to check things out. I’ve even seen where they are not getting closer, yet one comes in on auto-pilot, whether it‘s from the group or maybe the true resident. I’ve had it go both ways. I never say never and there are never any always when it comes to calling coyotes.

Here is a little twist. Let’s say your talking smack back and forth and they’re getting closer and they stop answering. Now what? Well a couple things can play out here. One, they hit a boundary that is the end of their territory and are afraid or leery of crossing that line. Or two, they’re coming in and you better be ready for some shooting. If nothing is coming in period and you’ve been on stand for 20 minutes and the trash talk just isn’t getting it done or you get no response whatsoever, it can seem like Death Valley out there. Well, you still have an ace or two up your sleeve. If your howls were convincing enough, you’ve established in the coyotes mind there is another coyote out there. What I’ll do is blow a few short distress cries, nothing long term, just a short series of the wah wahs. I’ve had a lot of times where that is all it took to trip their trigger. I think the thought of another coyote on their turf is irritating to them. But then for that coyote to have the audacity to kill a meal in their back yard is just too much for them to tolerate. It has to be dealt with. If that doesn’t seem to pry them from cover, what I’ve done is throw a couple yips or kiyis out there followed by a couple distress notes. A partner can help with this, one yipping and one throwing the bunny around. But don’t over do it. Make it just subtle enough to get ‘em coming. Or you can throw a couple squeaks out there with a squeaker instead. Just something to get their imagination going and coming in. I have seen all of these scenarios and these techniques work. But I’ve also had times they didn’t, because the coyotes just weren’t there.

The one response that makes my gut twist up are those short bark and howls, that resemble a tied up barking dog when you walk by, to me that spells B-U-S-T-E-D. You can try to coax them in, but it is futile. It sounds something like a challenge howl, which is a couple abrupt barks followed by a quick short howl that breaks off abruptly. Which brings me to that howl, the challenge. I usually stay away from it. I’ve had it work, but a lot of times I end up talking smack back and forth. I’m not saying it doesn’t work, it does. But young coyotes have a tendency to hang back. They’re not to sure of themselves yet, like an old dominant dog would be. But if you happen to connect with a paired old couple you’re in business. Getting back to being busted, you can sit and talk tough back and forth if you want. But I usually back out and try not to stir things up too much so I can come back another time. If you see them hung up out of range, it is tempting to take a poke at them. But you’re better off getting out. If you take a shot you just educate them even more, which makes your next stand at that location even tougher.

I hope I’ve helped you get an idea of what goes on out there and passed along some knowledge on using howls and barks. Like I said, there are no definites in this game. You just need to keep at it, if something isn’t working don’t be afraid to try something different. Start out simple and don’t get discouraged. Oftentimes the coyotes just aren’t in that area. That’s just how it goes. Also read, watch, and listen to whatever info is out there on coyote hunting. Some of it’s BS and a lot of it’s the real deal. But it will increase your knowledge and awareness when on stand. Good luck hunting!

Coyote Callers Choosing The Right Coyote Call

FoxPro Mouth Call

One of the biggest questions we get from newbie coyote hunters is “Which Coyote Calls Are Best?” or if your from down south “Which Coyote Callers should a fella purchase?”  Coyote calls can basically be broken down into two categories-  Electronic Calls and Mouth Calls.

Electronic calls use a amplified speaker and a electronic device like a MP3 player to play back recordings of sounds that coyotes like while mouth calls typically look like a duck call and are put in your mouth and blown on to produce a sound that attracts coyotes.  Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each call:

Mouth Blown Coyote Calls

Pros Cons
Easy to carry around Can Freeze Up In Cold Weather
Require No Batteries Limited Sounds Produced By Each Call
Inexpensive to purchase Takes Practice To Get The Call Sounding Right
Waterproof Location of The Call- The sounds comes from You Not By The Decoy
Easily Control Call Volume

Electronic Coyote Calls

Pros
Cons
Won’t Freeze In Cold Weather
Expensive To Buy

Can make multiple sounds with one call
Requires Batteries
No learning curve to create sound
Not all electronic calls have volume controls

 

FoxPro Electronic Call

What to look for in an electronic coyote call-  A veteran coyote caller once told me “When it comes to electronic calls- Save up as much money as you can and buy the best call you can.  Then prepare to go by another call shortly”  I would have to agree with that statement.  Generally the more expensive the call the better it is.  My first electronic coyote caller was the cheapest model I could find at my local sporting goods store.  It sounded good and had good range from the transmitter to the battery but the first thing I noticed and didn’t like was that this call had no remote volume control.  In other words If I wanted to start off soft and then turn the call up as time progressed I would have to get up and walk to the speaker unit where the volume control was located.  That kind of defeated the purpose of a wireless call in my mind.    The more expensive of a call you buy the more sounds the call will be able to make as well.  My cheap call had 1 rabbit sound, 1 coyote howl sound and a coyote pup sound.  The sounds were on a short 30 second loop leaving it up to me to stop and start the call with my remote.  More expensive calls offer a lot more varieties of call sounds.

Important Note-  Using electronic calls is not legal in all areas.  Check your regulations before you spend your money on a call.

When is the best time to call coyotes?

The Best Time To Call A Coyote? When Ever You Can- Photo and Story by Duane Fronek

Seems the million dollar question when it comes to calling coyotes is “When is the Best time to Call Coyotes?” And the answer everyone has heard a million times over is “anytime you can”. Although that may be the case for most coyote addicts, there are certain times that are better than others. I’m going to attempt to break it down so that a guy can better look at his own area and apply the parts of that breakdown to his individual needs. For most coyote hunter’s we tend to develop a certain degree of paranoia when it comes to these critters, and it’s not our fault, the coyote is a skilled mind messer upper. And the only cure is to send anyone of them off to the great beyond before your wife has you committed and medicated by doctors orders. They don’t realize that the paranoia subsides once you start connecting with coyotes, but then you gotta deal with the whisperings of obsessive compulsive disorders or some such yammering in the background. Pay no attention to it and just stay on course, they know nothing of what they speak.

I think the biggest question is the when, like time of day. And the answer is complex in a sense because there are a few variables to consider. Generally I’ve found mornings to be the best time as all around time to call. Coyotes are still out hunting and very active in the morning. The prey species that coyotes depend on for calories are also more active during this time of the day. The thermals are rising helping with scent control, etc. I can’t count the times when out checking my coyote trapline that I’ve seen coyotes out in fields hunting or just passing through. And many of those times I was able to kill them because they just can’t out run a .243 on a steady rest, many have tried and some succeeded but for the most part they just can’t. One would think a coyote you see in broad daylight just can’t be called while your truck is visible but I beg to differ, I have many times seen coyotes out in a field doing what they do and just pull over grab the rifle and a call and get into the field and start throwing puppy whines at them and bingo, ol’wiley turns around and starts trottin’ in, once he’s within range the shows over and he gets a ride to the fur shed.

Another reason that early mornings are a great time to call is because the busy world around a coyote like the farmers and suburbanites has been quite most of the night, so things are pretty settled. I think the coyotes are more relaxed this time of day because they’ve been undisturbed and are in natural coyote mode. There’s no new sounds out there that may distract them or keep them pushed back. I’ve hunted close to more populated areas and can tell you that calling is tough, the coyotes tend to be skittish or skeptical of calls anytime, and I think it has a lot to do with the high civilized population. As well as smaller or lesser areas to hunt and the areas you can hunt are more apt to be crawling with people from sunup till sun down. And I’ve found that either calling these areas at first light or at night are about the only viable option. Night time can be difficult unless you have a full moon and a blanket of snow because here in WI., even though we can use a light for night hunting coyotes, it can only be used at the point of kill, no scanning the field your calling looking for eyes. Anyway back to the morning. So I would say the best time to call in the fall and early spring is mornings, it’s quiet and peaceful things are settled down after a night of rest and the coyote is stealthily sneaking around this time of day looking for a victim who’s screams will shatter the early morning silence signaling the beginning of a bright new day, well maybe not for the bunny but for everything else in the natural world. Also the coyote has his winter coat coming in and still has it in the early spring, which is quit warm and being that mornings these times of year are cooler than any part of the day, they’ll tend to be more active because of that as well in my opinion. I’ve noticed even while trapping that those warm Indian Summer days of fall tend to be less productive, the coyotes just aren’t as active then, their coat is too warm for that weather and food is not that big of a concern then. Coyotes eat when their hungry, and when their hungry, they move.

My second best time to call in the fall or early spring is the early evening. If your in a lesser people populated area coyotes tend to get active a little early. How many times if you’re a bow hunter have you heard coyotes start barking and yipping an hour or so before sundown. Up here in the north woods I hear it quite a bit. And too me that signals they are out and about. There’s less human activity going on to a degree, things are settling down and the coyotes are more at ease. Closer to the suburban areas, not so much. Not saying it can’t be done, but it’s less probable. One of the problems with this time of day though, especially say on your last stand before dark, you can run out of daylight before wiley shows up for supper as opposed to early morning where you have the daylight in your favor. Another thing I’d like to mention with these times of day for calling. You need to know the area your calling in and take into account what activities are taking place. It seems to be more of an issue with the early evening calling than the morning but can still affect the morning. Is there bow hunting going on, four wheeler activity, late afternoon bird hunters etc. These can hinder a coyotes response, not that it’s an issue, we all have the right to pursue the activities we like. We just need to work around each other. With that said, choose your sets wisely so your not interrupted half way through your stand or at the crucial time of the shot and someone comes bumbling along and spooks what was suppose to be your next hat. Fall is a busy time of the year in the woods and evenings can be like rush hour compared to mornings but can be just as productive you just need a little more planning and insight of what’s going on in the area.

Now on to daytime calling. I find daytime calling in the winter to quite be productive in more rural and backwoods country. I love winter time calling, it may be more physical work with walking through snow and such but can be quite productive during mid day, giving relief to those mid winter blues. Temps in the winter can be quite cold and I have found that the colder it is, the better your chances at calling a coyote during the day. I’ve called coyotes in at 11am, noon, 1pm, 2pm, etc. During these brutal cold spells the temps are warmer during the day and with that it’s better not just for prey species to be out but for their assailants as well. Why? I believe it has to do with conserving vital energy and calories that are so important this time of year for survival. And this can for the caller can be advantageous. With that and the fact that a lot of outdoor activities have ended, about the only thing going on is cross country skiers, snowmobile’s etc. And I tend to stay away from those areas of activity. If you can’t get away from it, then your back to the morning calling scenario.. You can call all day in the winter in areas with minimal human activity, coyotes are out looking for the opportunity for a meal to get them through the much colder night so they can curl up and stay warm. Another reason daytime calling seems to be better in winter, especially come January and February, is the breeding season is on and coyotes are very active throughout the day. This is good time for taking a ride looking for coyotes out and about and when spotting one immediately set up a game plan for where to set up and call the critter in, it can be that simple at times.

In conclusion, I hope I’ve given you some insight as to what’s best to do in your area. Assess your situation as to what happening on a daily basis that would dictate the best time of day at what time of year that would make canis latrans more susceptible to your deceptive calling ways. By figuring this out for your individual area will put more coyotes in the back of the truck. What’s working for one guy in his area doesn’t mean it’ll work in yours and vis versa . There no cut and dried guarantee’s to success, it’s all up to the coyote and what’s happening in is world. The more you know what’s going on in his world, the more successful you’ll be bringing him into yours. Good Luck hunting!