To celebrate year round coyote hunting, a resolution MUCC helped pass, I wanted to pass along a few tips I received. To read more about the updated coyote regulations, check out this MUCC blog. Also, as we have officially entered fawn dropping season, now is a good time to knock down those coyotes and help protect your fawns. Below, please read some awesome tips from Todd Sullivan, coyote hunter and owner of Dogbreath Coyote Calls.
One serious success-robbing mistake for a coyote hunter is to carelessly and recklessly approach an area to call. The facts are that when walking to your planned calling location, if a coyote hears you, smells you or sees you, you won't call that coyote in. Stealth is the key. If two or more coyote hunters are moving to a stand, you need to walk close together in a single file. You want to leave one scent trail and as small of a human profile as possible. Don't spread apart and walk side-by- side. If you're walking in the snow one hunter leads and breaks trail while the others follow closely behind trying to walk in each other's steps. This will leave one scent trail and make much less noise.
Eastern coyote hunters are often hunting areas of fields mixed in with small wood lots. It is worth the time and effort to take the long away around following a tree line or fence row rather than cutting across an open area taking the shorter route to your stand. Walking across an open field and exposing yourself is just a bad idea when coyote hunting.
The number of coyote hunters in the field can also affect your success percentages. One coyote hunter is good. Two coyote hunters can be good or better depending on the set up. Three coyote hunters cut your chances of success in half. Four noisy smelly coyote hunters moving into a calling stand will lower your success rate by 75%.
One of the most important aspects of coyote hunting is developing a sense of wind direction and understanding how it will play into a successful coyote hunt.
Here are three key things you need to consider:
1. Never approach your hunting spot if the wind is going to blow your scent into the area that you expect the coyotes to be in. Even if there is only a 5 mile per hour breeze, coyotes more than a mile away can smell you. Your coyote hunt will be over before you even start. If you can't get into your calling spot because of poor wind direction it's best to save that hunting location for a later date when the wind will be more favorable. The chances are, if a coyote gets downwind, no matter what you did, your hunt will be over. Unless you're quick on the trigger or can hit a coyote running at 40 mph, it's best to avoid any chance for the coyote to get downwind.
2. When you do set up, remember that 99% of the time coyotes will attempt to circle downwind of the sound you are using. They are trying to confirm with their noses what their ears are hearing. You will want to be able to see them when this happens. You need to set up where you have shooting opportunities as they circle toward the downwind side.
3. Always try to pick a downwind area that might allow a coyote a little bit of security as it approaches, yet still allows you a shot opportunity. Coyotes do not like to expose themselves and prefer moving in cover. Your goal is to let the coyote do what its instincts tell it to do. Often a coyote hunter tries to get a coyote to go against its natural instincts. Each time you try and get a coyote to go against its instincts you decrease your percentage of success. If you put up enough hurdles and make enough mistakes you will whittle your odds of calling in and shooting a coyote down to zero.
Your hunt starts the second you park your vehicle. If you think a coyote can see your vehicle from where you plan to set up or from where they might approach, don't park there. Coyotes are very leery of vehicles. Park your vehicle out of sight and downwind from your hunting area.
Do not slam the doors; quietly push them shut. You're dealing with an animal that can hear a mouse squeak from 300 yards away. Once you're out of the vehicle, whisper or don't talk at all. If you're hunting with partners, now is not the time to stand outside your vehicle and discuss the details. This should have been done during the drive. Walk carefully and quietly to your calling spot using the terrain and available cover.
Successfully calling in and shooting coyotes requires you to follow a whole list of dos and don'ts. The more things you do right the more you increase your odds of coyote hunting success.
Now go shoot some coyotes!
To learn more about what Todd has to say about coyote hunting check out his website: www.DogbreathCoyoteCalls.com