by Anna Mitterling, Wildlife Cooperative Coordinator
On Saturday, I went to Cabela’s for a Coyote Hunting Seminar by Todd Sullivan, owner of Dogbreath Coyote Calls. Todd did a great job, and I feel more equipped as a hunter to better think through, plan and have a higher chance at successfully hunting coyotes using the information he provided. The tactics Todd uses involves up to two hunters and lots of calling; he did not cover hunting coyotes using dogs or trapping.
Todd started hunting coyotes over 25 years ago. He shot his first coyote ten minutes into his first hunt, but didn’t get his second coyote for two more years! Since that first hunt, he has become very successful hunting coyotes, working his calls, and planning well-executed hunts.
Todd started the seminar by telling us a little about coyote instincts and traits. Coyotes have incredible senses for smell, vision, and hearing. All three of these factors must be taken into heavy consideration when planning a hunt and entering the planned hunting location. Coyotes also will follow a path of least resistance and will stay in places of high cover and security. They are smart and very cautious. He categorized what we need to know about calling and hunting coyotes into three categories: Scouting, Set-up, and Calling.
Before you spend time and energy setting up a hunt and sitting, you want to make sure there are coyotes where you plan to hunt. Winter hunting makes this pretty easy, as you can see the tracks for where the coyotes are. Also, unlike deer hunting, Todd has found it pretty easy to gain access to land for hunting coyotes, especially in the mid winter months when there is limited conflict with other hunting.Talking to landowners and neighbors will help you determine where the coyotes are located. You also want to make sure you can find a few good locations where you can enter covered areas without spreading your scent. Knowing predominant wind directions are key to setting up your entrance routes, and establishing where you will sit in conjunction with good cover.
Talking to landowners and neighbors will help you determine where the coyotes are located. You also want to make sure you can find a few good locations where you can enter covered areas without spreading your scent. Knowing predominant wind directions are key to setting up your entrance routes, and establishing where you will sit in conjunction with good cover.
A one man hunt team is good, two hunters are good, maybe better, and three or more hunters is risky. You want to plan your set-up so that you can enter the hunting location without blowing your scent to where the coyotes are, place yourself in an area of high cover with enough visibility to shoot 40 yards or so, and you are in an area where you will see the coyote before it comes down wind of you.
Unlike deer, coyotes will leave the split second they are suspicious of you being there. If they hear, see or smell anything human, they are gone. It is important that your hunt set-up accounts for all three of those senses. Also, Todd suggested not using blinds, or adding something new to the landscape. Changes to the area will increase suspicion.
Todd has a coyote calling guide he created that is freely available at www.dogbreathcoyotecalls.com. Below are some tips he shared at the seminar:
- Call for at least 45 minutes before giving up at a location
- Keep calling after you shoot a coyote. More may come in. Todd suggests calling for 20 more minutes after making a kill.
- The main calls Todd uses are rabbit in distress and howling calls.
- Hand held calls are reliable. Electronic callers risk running out of batteries and are also repetitive. Hand held calls are constantly variable in their tone and sequence, more similar to what coyotes are used to naturally.
- Howling hand calls are fun, but are hard and unforgiving. They require a lot of practice.
- There is no magic calling sequence, but a good pace is making a call for 20 seconds or so, waiting a little while, then calling again.
I hope you enjoy what I learned this past weekend! Just a few tips and tricks. Happy Hunting!