How to Kill More Coyotes
Do it yourself coyote hunts can be challenging yet rewarding when your efforts pay off. Sure, there are guided hunts that might run $150 to $500 a day, but with the use of Montana Decoys and modern calls, anyone can find an excuse to head afield with hopes of adding skins to the barn wall.
Coyote hunting tips and decoy tactics tend to vary, as does the time of day you’ll be hunting. In some states, it’s legal to harvest predators at night. Some hunters prefer to stay mobile while others will pick what they figure to be a good spot and just sit there for hours. No matter your tactics, it’s important to remember that the keys to killing more coyotes are mimicking the calls of injured prey and a good set of decoys.
Embrace the Challenge
“Coyote hunting presents a different kind of challenge and is completely different from other hunts,” said Dusty Chrisman, an avid coyote hunter. “It’s also a great way to stay outdoors when other seasons have died down.”
Anyone that consistently hunts predators has experienced stubborn coyotes. Just as a deer or turkey hunter doesn’t score on every outing, you can expect it to be much the same with coyotes.
“Often times, coyotes just won’t come in,” Chrisman said. “They’ll just sit there, out of range and bark like a stubborn puppy. Although this can be frustrating, I think it's fun to try and figure out what they’re thinking. That’s when decoys really become helpful to bring them in range.”
Hunting During the Day
Hone in on CRP fields, river bottoms, marshes and wetlands that house an abundance of rodents. Before calling, look for sign and listen for barks, howls or yips. Also, keep an eye out for tracks.
A challenge of hunting coyotes is wind, especially in the west where it’s likely to blow for days on end. Swirling winds that carry human scent all across the prairies will only make the dogs more cautious and unresponsive. Don’t give up on days like this, though. You never know when a coyote will present itself. Just be ready to make quick, long-range shots.
Mouth-operated rabbit squealers are excellent to draw in coyotes, though electronic calls are louder and clearer. In some instances, wind can be advantageous as your calls will carry farther. Whether you’re stalking or staying put, conceal yourself well as coyotes have keen eyesight and can easily pick you out.
A decoy is a must. It adds a visual to your calling that coyotes can’t resist. Chrisman’s go-to setup includes two Kojo coyote decoys and a Foxpro pup in distress call. He places both decoys 50 yards in front of him and about 15-20 yards apart.
“If a coyote is sitting way out, I hit them with a pup in distress call,” said Chrisman. “Once they sight the decoys they usually come right in.”
The decoys provide the assurance that what they hear is real. As with most situations, two are better than one. There is a better chance of the coyote spotting at least one of the decoys and it draws their attention as they work their way in.
Hunting at Night
If your state laws allow both nighttime hunting and the use of a spotlight, this can be an effective way to kill coyotes. A major advantage to hunting them at night is that they are mostly nocturnal, meaning they are most active after the sun goes down. Unlike hunting during the day, which can be slow at times, nighttime hunting for coyotes can be fast-paced while giving you the opportunity to see more animals in the field.
Use a light with a range of at least several hundred yards. As you’re scanning the darkness with a light, the coyote’s eyes will emit a bright reflection that’s easy to see, but do check twice that it’s a coyote before you start shooting. A predator’s eyes are typically brighter than a deer’s, but there are always variances.
Coyotes will respond faster and more readily to a call at night. Remain patient, on alert at all times and prepared to make a shot. Often, coyotes reacting to a call will show up unexpectedly, sometimes running.
Pursuing predators is a great way to stay outdoors after deer season winds down. “I'm not successful every day,” Chrisman said. “I’ve had days where I’ve done really well and days where I come home empty handed. All you can do is play the wind, have a nice setup and wait for the best shot."