Coyotes inhabit most of North America from the thick, chilly forests of Canada, down to the hot, deserts and grasslands of Mexico. This range of habitat proves the adaptability of the coyote and poses a challenge for its hunter. Depending on where in North America a coyote hunter is, some of his or her strategies may change.
Locating prime hunting ground for forest coyotes usually involves standard scouting. Looking for scat, finding dens, and monitoring game cameras all give a hunter an edge that can be used to identify patterns in the local coyote pack’s activity. Monitoring deer paths, man-made trails, and roadsides can give an idea of the direction in which coyotes are travelling since they often use these pathways for their quiet footing and range of visibility. Once this area is identified, hunting strategies can be created based on those patterns and normal coyote behavior.
Using camouflage that allows the hunter to blend in with the environment well is essential as coyotes have keen eyesight and are quite wary of their surroundings. Covering any exposed skin is also helpful. Furthermore, reducing any human scent trail and maintaining an upwind position from the coyotes is beneficial in eluding the powerful nose of the coyote.
Once in position and covered sufficiently, a hunter can begin calling. The calls used are determined by the hunter’s experience and by the time of year. An injured prey animal’s squeal is always appropriate as it mimics an easy meal for the coyote. During breeding season, more experienced hunters can replicate the grunts and yips of females in who are in estrus to attract males to the area who are ready to breed. Following breeding season into spring and early summer, the sounds of young pups whimpering can lure in adult coyotes who are inclined to help raise pups whether they are their own or not.
Overall, forest coyote hunting is mostly about narrowing down the area in which a local pack conducts most of its activity and executing a strategy with care.
Some Things Never Change
In some ways, desert coyotes are like their cousins who reside amongst the trees. They maintain similar breeding seasons and respond well to similar prey calls. They also possess the same keen eyesight and hearing abilities that make all coyotes a challenge to hunt. Therefore, many of the hunting strategies for the two are the same. Use proper camouflage, stay upwind, and call according to the season.
Similar but Different
However, there are marked differences in the approaches one should take when hunting coyotes in different areas. In the desert, the terrain is vastly different than that in the forest, and these differences force a few changes in the coyote’s behavior and diet.
When scouting your hunting ground for coyotes in the desert, begin with water. Water sources and much more scarce in the desert. Therefore, coyotes tend to congregate around them and not venture quite as far from their streams as would a forest coyote. Once a dependable water source is found, search for signs of activity or even dens.
Any brush that may be available will likely be utilized for den making and to protect the coyotes from the harsh sun, wind, and rain of the desert. After brush, look for scat, but bear in mind that hunting grounds in the desert can be more expansive than those in the forest. Therefore, scat may be less concentrated and seem less reliable. Nevertheless, its presence is encouraging.
Once an area of interest in selected for hunting, a hunter needs to use camouflage that complements the desert environment. Once equipped with the proper camouflage, the hunter needs to be especially careful of his or her scent. All coyotes have keen senses of smell, but in the desert, there are few distractions or natural deterrents to help hide human scent. Furthermore, wind is not obstructed in the desert like it is in the forest. This lack of obstruction allows the wind to carry scents for miles with notable potency. So, it is imperative to remain upwind of the coyotes and cover any human scent as well as possible.
Once all preparations have been made, calling can begin. Calling in the desert follows similar patterns to calling in the forest or even grasslands, just beware of overcalling. Overall, desert coyote hunting is about being close to water and being as stealthy as possible while using the few clues available to find the coyotes.
All Coyotes Love Injured Prey
Coyotes are stealthy, aloof creatures who pose a challenge to hunters across North America. Many strategies can be used to scout their hunting grounds, dens, and high traffic areas. Different calling sequences can be used to lure them in. And, camouflage and scent sprays can be used to diminish human forms and odor. Nevertheless, coyotes may or may not ever show themselves to a hunter. Most likely, the coyote will spot the hunter long before the hunter will ever the coyote is even around. This can be frustrating, but if all else fails, sit still, use an injured rabbit call, and wait.