Western Coyotes: Focus on Behavior, Scouting, Approach

Western Coyotes: Focus on Behavior, Scouting, Approach
Focusing on coyote behavior is just one key to success when hunting them in the West's vast habitat.(Shutterstock image)

Focusing on coyote behavior is just one key to success when hunting them in the West's vast habitat.(Shutterstock image)

Sweat equity, perseverance and boot leather will help you slay elusive coyotes.

With sweat running down my cheeks, I wasn't sure how much longer I could last. It was my third set of the mid-August morning, and I'd yet to see a coyote. Giving it one more try, I positioned the electronic call and sat against a line of pine trees, overlooking multiple openings. No sooner had the distressed jack-rabbit sounds blared, a coyote instantly emerged. The shot was easy.

Temperatures neared the century mark, but knowing what was happening in the coyote woods, the stage was set for a great day of hunting. Focusing on coyote behavior is just one key to success when hunting them in the West's vast habitat.


ON NEWSSTANDS NOW

Game & Fish Magazine's 2018 Gear Issue highlights the best hunting and fishing gear for your region and state. Buy a copy at a retailer near your. Click here to subscribe


 

COYOTE BEHAVIOR

Though it's hot this time of year, maturing coyote pups are hunting on their own and aggressively responding to calls. It's an ideal time for predator management, and a great time for young hunters, and beginning predator hunters, to head afield. As pups break away and establish their own territories, they want food, water and shelter, which means they readily respond to calls.

Coyotes have to eat, so hunters will want to focus calling efforts on food sources from August through December. Using decoys can add realism to a set. Rabbit and bird decoys, even wings and feathers, especially moving ones, can be very effective. Using coyote decoys can be good when offering coyote sounds as it interjects a direct threat, which can bring aggressive coyotes in.

"In January, coyotes start fighting for breeding rights," says professional coyote hunter, Cory Lundberg (CodaHunts.com). "As coyotes start pairing, switching to mating calls can be effective, but don't overlook the value of predator calls, as coyotes have big appetites — always."

SCOUTING MISSIONS

Serious coyote hunters devote time to scouting, especially contest hunters who rely on a high volume of success.


"When out hunting for turkey, bear, deer, elk or anything else, look for coyote sign," Lundberg suggests. "Look for tracks and droppings, and when you find them, study them. See which direction the tracks are moving and decipher how many coyotes there are. Look at the scat to see what's in it, like bones, hair, and feathers. Are the bones small, from rodents, or do they consist of larger fragments that may have come from deer? These pieces of information will reveal what food sources are in the area, thus what calling approaches you may want to use."

Trail cameras are a great tool for coyote scouting, as they are your eyes in the woods. Since a large majority of coyote movement takes place at night, cameras are great gauges for accurately determining how many coyotes are in an area.

 

THE APPROACH

Lundberg says the more angles from which a coyote can approach your calling set up, the better. "You want to see them before they see you. I set up in very open areas, for this reason, and it works. Don't overthink things when it comes to setting up. Put yourself in the best position to see and start calling. Western habitats are vast. You don't want to get yourself in a hole that limits visibility. If you can't see approaching predators, you can't get a shot."


If the land you're hunting is barren, use any "rolling" topography to break up your body outline and stay still. If hunting in timber, set up amid the tallest trees that offer the most open ground. When hunting in the brush, use it for concealment in front of and behind you, but don't let the foreground brush inhibit potential shot opportunities.

>> Click Here: Articles about hunting gear

Lundberg encourages coyote hunters to take both a rifle and shotgun, afield. "You want to be ready for anything, at all times. Put both on a sling, and if coyotes are coming in hard, grab the shotgun; if they hold up, grab the rifle. With today's coyote loads, shotguns reach out farther than they used to."



GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

From rugged reliability to smooth integration of cutting edge technology across several different platforms, OSG's Lynn Burkhead learns that there's much to like about the new Optimum and Optimum TS downriggers from Canon.

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Pro angler Jonathan VanDam showcases new offerings at ICAST 2019, including the ultra-thin, big bait boxes, LED-lighted boxes and backpack-able gear lockers. With Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

Berkley

Berkley's Surge Shad

Major League Fishing pro Scott Suggs has relied on the Berkley Surge Shad lure concept for years, using similar designs to capture MLF titles and a $1 million dollar FLW Forrest Cup win. With new features in the Surge Shad, Suggs tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead that even he can find success out on the water!

Mustad

Mustad's New Tungsten Weights

Long known as one of the world's premiere hook makers, Mustad's Reid McKinstry shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead that the company is now one of the leaders in making tungsten terminal tackle products for anglers.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near anything that fits in their mouths. Catfish

5 Ways To Catch Catfish on Lures

Keith Sutton - September 16, 2015

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near...

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record. Walleye

Record-Sized Walleye Was Foul-Hooked, Agency Says

G&F Online Staff

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record.

While wildly popular amongst anglers around the world, the IGFA World Record book shows the biggest pike come from Europe. Records

Top 10 Biggest Pike World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - August 19, 2015

While wildly popular amongst anglers around the world, the IGFA World Record book shows the...

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes. Wild Game

10 Recipes for Your Outdoor BBQ

Game & Fish Online Staff

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes.

See More Trending Articles

More Predator

Predator calling is the perfect sport to pass the winter doldrums or even cut down on spring Predator

Advanced Predator Calling

Patrick Meitin - February 15, 2012

Predator calling is the perfect sport to pass the winter doldrums or even cut down on spring

          Believe it or not, wolves, bears and even cougars have been reported in Iowa! Could they, Predator

Can Predators Threaten Iowa's Deer Herd?

October 04, 2010

Believe it or not, wolves, bears and even cougars have been reported in Iowa! Could...

          Your deer-hunting skills will take you a long way towards predator-hunting success.    By Predator

Must-Know Predator Hunting Skills

Les Johnson - February 15, 2011

Your deer-hunting skills will take you a long way towards predator-hunting success. ...

Summer is prime time to get after aggressive coyotes. Try these tactics for consistent success. Predator

Expert Tactics for Open-Country Coyotes

Scott Haugen - July 23, 2019

Summer is prime time to get after aggressive coyotes. Try these tactics for consistent...

See More Predator

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.