Over the past 6 years or so I have noticed a great deal of interest in coyote hunting/calling, especially here in Southern California where hunting is not exactly popular, so I thought I would share my knowledge and experience with hunters who may be new to this sport and are looking for tips and general strategies that you need to know when hunting the hunters. Ever since my first calling experience when I was a boy in Salmon Idaho, I have been hooked on predator calling. I would rather call in a coyote, fox or bobcat than hunt elk, deer or birds any day of the week….not that I don’t enjoy hunting these animals, but it is vastly different and much more exciting to fool a coyote into thinking you are a free lunch and see them on a dead run heading straight for you. I just don’t get the same kind of visceral adrenalin rush from hunting other game animals as I experience from predator hunting. My goal in this quick article is to give the basic ABC’s of predator calling and hopefully get you enough information to start racking up successes in the field and become as hopelessly addicted as I am.
The High Flyover
The advice and strategies I will discuss here will be listed in more or less the order of importance, however, in this first chapter I won’t give a lot of detail but rather I want to give you a high level run through of the important key steps to success in the field. This will also help give you context for the details I will be discussing later in the article. Following are the critical points you need to consider, and get right to ensure a successful calling effort. If you’re looking for more tips, catching in low light conditions has it for you.
Have the correct equipment for the animals you intend to call and the environment you will be hunting in. You need to select the appropriate firearm, camouflage, calls, etc. These are more of a personal preference but there are obvious do’s and don’ts. Like, you would not want to hunt coyotes with a 600 Nitro Express, especially if you intend to sell the pelts. More on this later. You will need to scout the area(s) you want to call in advance, this is where you will search for signs of the animals you want to call and create a mental, and sometimes, an actual written plan for each location you want to hunt. You can’t call anything in if they are none in the area!
You need to park your vehicle at least 150 yards (further is better) from your stand and the vehicle needs to be hidden from view. If your vehicle is visible from the direction you expect the animals to approach, they will not come in. I try to find a low spot, or large brush stand to hide the truck. You need to approach your stand from downwind and preferably with the sun at your back (Not always possible). Try not to approach from a ridge line or any high point where you will be silhouetted. You need to be as quiet as possible that means no talking, no loose change in your pockets, etc.
Once you reach the area where you plan to call, you need to find a spot with cover that has visibility over the area you expect the victims to come in from, preferably a point with some elevation and enough cover at your back to break up your outline. I like to find a spot midway up a small rise overlooking a draw or open area…and, of course you should be facing to call into the wind.
Once you get seated and all of your equipment arranged, you want to make sure you are comfortable (I carry a pillow to sit on) because once you start your calling sequence you don’t want to move around much at all…they may be watching! After 5 minutes or so you can start your calling sequence. I will go into the different types and techniques for calling later, but what ever you are using I always start with a low volume short set of calls and then wait another 3 to 5 minutes before starting the next set. This first call is for any critters that may be very near by that you managed not to alert. More often than not I have had coyote just pop-up out of no where after the first few minutes of calling.