Calling coyotes isn’t rocket science, but when attempting to get a wily coyote within shooting range a few solid tips from an experienced caller can’t hurt. The difference between calling coyotes successfully and simply getting lucky is knowing how to directly apply coyote vocalizations and/or distress calls each time you’re on a stand.
From individual howls to group yip-howls coyote communication is so in-depth some biologists believe science will never be able to interpret each vocalization to its fullest degree.
As hunters we might not be able to explain calling coyotes scientifically, but this does not detour us from being able to call coyotes effectively.
With the rapid increase in coyote populations across both rural and suburban America, most hunters and non-hunters alike are familiar with the eerie sounds biologists call—coyote vocalizations. But how do we apply these vocalizations when calling coyotes?
A Beginner’s Guide To Calling Coyotes
Several years ago I stumbled onto Randy Anderson’s Calling All Coyotes DVD’s and to this day his suggestions influence the way I call coyotes. While planning this article I located some of Anderson’s videos on YouTube and thought it might be helpful to pass on his wealth of knowledge in visual form.
In these videos Randy Anderson explains what you need to know when calling coyotes and YouTube has provided a platform in which to relay this valuable information. Hopefully you’ll find these videos educational and the end result will be a few deceased coyotes.
1. The Interrogation Howl
The interrogation howl is the simplest and most basic form of communication between coyotes. The interrogation howl can be used as both a locator call and as a primary call.
I like to use an interrogation howl on the majority of my stands, unless I know there is a good chance we can call in a fox. Since coyotes and fox are archenemies, the only time I won’t use coyote vocalizations is if fox are on the hit list.
2. Female Invitation Howl
The female invitation howl is just as its name suggests. This call is a non-threatening invitation to another coyote within close proximity. The female invitation howl can be used at any time during the year and works especially well during breeding season.
Often I’ll combine the female invitation howl with a distress call, such as a cottontail in distress. Since coyotes are opportunistic omnivores who would just as soon steal their food as kill it, a howl mixed in with a sound of distress adds realism and also plays on a coyote’s survival instincts.
3. Kiyi And Pup In Distress
Both the adult coyote in distress, called a kiyi, and pup in distress are some of the most effective calls you can use when calling coyotes. These calls play on the paternal instincts of a coyote and will work anytime of the year and on either sex.
After I’ve been on stand for 20-25 minutes I will use the kiyi or pup in distress to finish out my calling sequence. If a coyote is hung up out of sight, either of these sounds will usually bring the yote within shooting range.
The kiyi or pup in distress can also work if a coyote spooks when approaching a stand. A few weeks ago I had a young hunter on stand that couldn’t sit still. When the approaching coyote caught movement and turned to leave, the pup in distress brought it back within shooting range.
Immediately after the shot try using the kiyi or pup in distress. Often these sounds will allow you to take a second coyote in spite of the report of your firearm. One of my favorite features on FoxPro’s electronic callers is what’s called FoxBang. FoxBang electronically senses the shot and automatically initiates a preset sound, such as a kiyi or pup in distress.
4. Female Estrus Chirp
The female estrus chirp is unique in that it does not resemble a typical coyote vocalization. The estrus ‘chirp’ is made by a female coyote that’s ready to breed. The female estrus chirp is the perfect call to use during the January through March breeding season.
To make this peculiar sound consider using a call such as Duel Game Call’s Micro Estrus Chirp. Duel’s estrus chirp is a small but essential call to add to your collection. By using the estrus chirp sound the coyote hunter if offered an additional sound that’s known to fool call shy coyotes.
5. Distress Calls
The most popular of all calls are distress calls. Whether you choose to use a cottontail, jackrabbit, Magpie, Blue Jay, vole, or squirrel distress, coyotes will respond to just about any type of distress call.
When calling coyotes a distress call can be used along with either an interrogation howl or invitation howl to simulate a coyote that’s in the process of killing or has killed some sort of prey.
Remember when using distress calls that coyotes will respond to a distress call even if the call mimics an animal not native to the area. Here in the Midwest we don’t have jackrabbits, but coyotes don’t care—a jackrabbit in distress sounds too good for them to ignore.
Another tip to remember, if hunting in an area where other hunters may have used rabbit or hare distress calls, is to change up your calling by using bird sounds, or even big game sounds such as an antelope or whitetail fawn. Peculiar sounds are still interpreted by coyotes as a ‘dinner bell’ and can work very effectively.
6. Challenge Howls
Challenge howls play on a coyote’s territorial instincts. Due to the intimidating nature of challenge howls, I seldom use them. But as you can see in the following video this call can be used to build a scenario, which can obviously lure in even the most wary of predator.
So, if you want to get serious about calling coyotes there’s no better time than today to add these calls to your repertoire.
While there are always new calls to learn, these six types of calls are sure to increase your chances at killing coyotes. If you have any additional tips or suggestions you’d like to share, please feel free to comment below.
Shoot strait, be safe and have fun.