Calling, Keeping it Simple for Success

A successful coyote hunt
By Duane Fronek

So what does it take to be successful at calling coyotes? Which call is the best? Which E-caller should I buy that’ll call em’ all in, what’s the best camo or rifle or decoy? And the list goes on. There is a ton of info out there today on predator calling from DVD’s, internet websites to YouTube. Sometimes I think it’s too much for a person just getting into calling, it causes confusion and hopes and doubts and sometimes misinformation especially from novice callers making simple mistakes that they don’t realize at the time and then passing that info on. But on the flip side of it there is a lot of good info out there and you have to sift through it to see what the real deal is, using common sense when taking all the info in helps. Think about what your reading and watching and compare it to your area. I tend to shy away from those that use the two words “never” and “always”, those words are the downfall of most callers. There is no cut and dried reaction coyotes will exhibit or calls that are “thee” calls or stand setup, etc. Coyotes are coyotes with free will, they don’t read manuals or watch DVD’s or test calls before there sold. There just coyotes and anything can and will happen, they do what they please.

The best thing a new recruit to predator calling can do is, keep it simple. The worst mistake I’ve seen is, novice callers depending too much on what I call add-ons the gizmos and gadgets out there today, thinking it will make up for their handicap of being new to this type of hunting. But keeping it simple, I believe, will help you reach success faster. It forces you in a sense to pay attention to what really makes a stand produce, like location, wind, time of year and setting up unnoticed to name a few. There are no really big secrets to being successful, predator populations and terrain will determine that.

But there are two secrets that are over looked, those are “Patience” and “Persistence”. Those two words are keys to being successful on stand. It takes patience, sure some will have luck first time out, much like that 12 year olds first deer hunt and bagging that “Booner”, but it’s not the norm. I’m not saying it can’t happen, because it does. Some areas of the country have high numbers of coyotes and success at calling them in is higher than in areas with lower numbers like the upper Midwest or the east where not just lower predator numbers are a factor but more importantly terrain. Sound travels differently depending on land features and vegetation. Big woods, hilly country or big ridge country tends to make your sounds travel not as far or head a different direction, wind currents are trickier, such as the main wind can be coming from the north but with the lay of the land could swirl and actually come from the south depending on how the hills and ridges are and even vegetation with heavy cedar or balsams. It is my opinion that mouth calls actually shine in these scenarios because of the volume you can get out of them, they can penetrate and travel further than e-callers. Don’t get me wrong though, e-callers are a good tool to use, but if you’re using one to compensate for your inexperience you’re using it the wrong way. Take decoys for instance, there just another tool, but if you’re using them to compensate, then again you’re using it in the wrong context. If you think about it, the decoy is setup within your eyesight, and in reality if that coyote see’s the decoy, chances are you’ll see the coyote as well. Decoys aren’t really meant to draw in a coyote from afar, but more to distract his attention off you. An artificial coyote set up can draw them in though to a point but chances are he’s within shooting range, but maybe sneaking in staying hidden. I’ll use a Rezno coyote cut out decoy sometimes, but it’s usually toward the end of winter when coyotes are getting wised up. Take for example a stand I called in 8 coyotes in and shot 7 off of one winter, the first 5 came pretty easy, but the 6th one would not come out and play, it would stay hidden in the thick balsam and I could only catch glimpses of it. So the next time in to that stand I took the Rezno coyote and set it up, it worked slick, the 7th and 8th coyote I killed there were fixed on the decoy and pulled them out of hiding, I think that type of decoy can put a pressured coyote at ease and make them present a better shot.

Another simple thing that can be done and will greatly increase your chances of making a clean kill is to “woof” or “bark” once, when the coyote is moving in and is within shooting range. This simple trick will 9 times out of 10 will stop a moving coyote in its tracks, offering you a better shot. Too many times callers will attempt a shot on a moving coyote that’s coming in, and by doing that you lower your chances of a bang flop. And many times I’ve see the shot connect but the coyote runs off requiring another shot or a tracking job. By stopping them with a woof, the coyote presents a standing still shot, which in turn will up your chances of connecting. I have found though that the woof only works once, if you miss, there gone and the woof won’t stop them again, sometimes it will but the chances are lower. I’ve found in that scenario that switching to kiyi’s and really laying into them repeatedly in that situation can work better, in that you can get the coyote to turn around and come running in your direction, even the coyote that was shot at and missed. Just simple kiyi’s.

I think by now you get the idea of keeping things simple, at least I hope. Now, let’s look at “Persistence”. Persistence is a major factor in calling coyotes. The more you call, the more stands you make the better your chances are at connecting. But it doesn’t end there. Stand selection is important as is there needs to be coyotes there. Just because you didn’t call in a coyote, doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong, could be just as simple as there are no coyotes within ear shot at that particular stand. And the later into the season you get, the harder the calling becomes. The only coyotes left are the pressured veteran’s that have heard the death cries a few times. I notice where a lot of callers park and go say 100yds off the road and call, which I do myself, but late in the season that game changes and you need a better plan of attack. If you know your area well, you should know where the thick stuff is or the swamps or creek bottoms that are far off the road and these are the places go to avoid the pressure and that’s where they’ll stay. I’ve many times walked a mile or better to get into a good calling spot, experience over the years have taught me where to go when the calling gets tough. I’ve also found, that when you crawl way back in the sticks and call far away from the rest of the crowd, these coyotes come in fairly easy and fast. It’s just as if they’ve never been called to. I think with them being away from the normal haunts of the caller, the coyote lets his guard down and I put mine up. Because when they quite coming to you, you need to change tactics and go in after them. Being persistent is a key to success; ignore those that say it doesn’t pay to go after those pressured dogs, because it does, you just need to be determined. Do your homework, look at topo maps, and go in and find them, because they’re there and ready and willing to come to the call, you just have to go to them.

By being patient, persistent and simple, you’re sure to connect. Factors out of your control like terrain, coyote population and weather will determine how successful you will be and if you apply the KISS method along with being patient and persistent, you will be more likely to con a coyote out of his hide than the caller depending too much on gizmo’s and gadgets. Everything has a place, even the add on’s but first you’re better off building off the basic’s and bring the add on in down the road. Nothing works every time or all the time, but studying your area and your experiences on the stand will eventually show you what works for you and when. And before you know it, you’ll be knockin’ em’ down.

Good Luck and Happy Calling!

4 comments:

  1. Nice article, Duane. I particularly like your idea about going in deep late in the season. That's been my experience too; especially where coyotes are hunted fairly frequently. They're not dumb, that's for sure. They wise up when one goes down if they see it, or if you clip one. Going in deep means you're calling from an area where they've not likely been troubled before and that usually spells success. Great article.
    ~Dwayne Parsons, Twitter@IFishWrite

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  2. I'm new to coyote calling/hunting. I've been charged with eliminating coyotes within a 1200-acre enclosure and have used legholds, snares, and M44s but several elusive coyotes remain. I have a Foxpro e-caller that called in a pair of coyotes earlier this week, but we missed the shot. What are my chances of getting these same coyotes to come in again? I know that my combined efforts to remove these animals has also educated them - but they really must go! Any suggestions for me?

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    1. Oh - I should also say that I'm hunting in south Texas brush country...where it's a challenge to get a good place to set up with an opening for a shot on a coyote. I feel like its as likely the coyote will make me before I ever even see him.

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