For many predator hunters, it is that time of year to increase the pressure on these marauders of pheasant, quail and other species nests.
We have reduced the natural habitat to narrow fences that are easily driven away until the animals and nesting birds on the ground are extinct. I realize that there are different philosophies regarding population control of any animal, especially predators.
The facts are that coyotes have no natural enemies other than the periodic automobile to provide certain controls, and without control they multiply rapidly and adapt just as quickly to human environments.
As a result, coyotes live near homes and businesses, especially the types where food exists. Coyotes regularly empty cat and dog food bins and stuff themselves with restaurant scraps, etc.
Don’t blame the coyotes for this behavior – these are normal survival skills. To control the living and feeding behaviors of coyotes, we must adjust our behavior to reduce the food sources available to them as well as the overall population.
We don’t want to eliminate the coyotes, we just want to balance the population a bit.
Now to answer a few questions I have received regarding: What does it take to hunt coyotes?
I would say first that what you actually need is probably a lot less than what you will end up owning and using after hunting for a while.
If you are a hunter, hiker, or fisherman, you probably already have some outdoor gear to warm you up. This is essential – if you are not hot, you cannot sit still. If you don’t stay seated, you might as well go to the local cafe. Movement is what usually gives predators your presence.
Soft colors and camouflage gear are preferable, but not absolutely necessary. Odor control is essential to success. Ideally, your position should be such that the wind is head-on and the sun is behind you in the direction in which you expect the predator to come. This is not always possible, so odor control is even more important.
It’s usually better to call out coyotes within range rather than trying to determine their movements and ambush them. Several types of calls are used, mouth calls being the main types. These consist of types of “reeds” that are inserted into your mouth – the pressure of your air and your tongue dictates the sounds. The second – and more popular with beginners – is the call of the mouth that you simply blow like a party whistle. Sounds may vary depending on the volume of airflow and manual handling.
The distressed rabbit sounds are the most effective. These are very effective with a little practice, but also point the coyote towards your exact location. I prefer a remote caller coupled with the versatility of my mouth calls. The electronic remote call can be placed several feet away from your location, distracting the coyote from the hunter. This caller can be controlled with a wireless remote control. Again, movement is usually what scares the coyote.
Decoys are especially useful with callers. Motorized lures for rabbits or birds are the most popular, with remote controls available on many of them as well. This, again, directs the predator’s attention away from your location and onto the lure’s movement.
In some cases and places, silhouette lures or full lures are very effective. It can include images of other coyotes, white-tailed deer, injured birds and more. The secret here is to have enough “tools” without the hassle of such equipment that you can’t carry everything efficiently.
A comfortable way to be able to sit quietly is imperative for success. Movement is your enemy. If you are not comfortable, you will not be sitting quietly. Some sort of portable, backpack-style chair or stool that will lift you slightly above the surrounding vegetation is ideal. Pair that with a shooting stand that gives you the option of having your rifle in a good position where it requires little movement to acquire the target. I prefer a telescopic tripod for this, but preferences vary.
It is better to back up in front of an object (such as a large tree or a hay bale) rather than trying to peek over or around it. The movement of your figure is better hidden. Pair it with camouflage in front of you, like corn stalks or camouflage fabric for best results.
Finally, a good flat-shot rifle using pest control bullets and charges that won’t ricochet off the ground or branches is required. No all-metal ammunition is recommended. Pair that with a decent quality staff in the 3×9 range and keep it on the lower settings until you need it.
Short, quick shots are more common than extreme and distant shots. Long range shots allow some time to adjust to higher settings. My favorite caliber is the 22-250 or the 243, but many others work as well.
This only scratches the surface of the many products, techniques and innovations available to predator hunters. Most of these same ideas and products also work well when hunting wild pigs and bobcats in places where it is allowed.
Dave Shadow is a National Fishing Champion and Outdoor Columnist. Contact him at [email protected]