Category Archives: Predator Hunting

Coyote Hunting Tips

A Beginner’s Guide To Calling Coyotes

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.
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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.

Predator Rifle

Seven Tips For A More Accurate Coyote Rifle

Anyone who’s been toting a coyote rifle for any length of time has likely missed a shot. Unfortunately, it happens. Whether it was shooter error or equipment failure, the end result was a projectile that didn’t end up at its intended point of impact.
A few missed coyotes throughout the year may be considered normal, but consistent misses are not. So are there steps you can take that will improve accuracy and reduce shooter error—most definitely!
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Seven Tips For A More Accurate Coyote Rifle

Not everyone can afford go out and buy a custom rifle that’s guaranteed to shoot sub-MOA groups at 200-yards. Thankfully, when it comes to a coyote rifle, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to achieve accuracy. All it takes is some attention to detail and you can improve the accuracy of most any factory rifle.

Use Quality Ammo

No matter what caliber of rifle you choose for coyote hunting, most rifles will have a preferred brand of ammo. A rifle may shoot Hornady ammo better than brand B or C, or vice versa. Individual rifle accuracy is often determined by the rifle barrel’s rate of twist, the velocity of the ammo and the weight of bullet you choose to shoot.
Before heading into the field find out what ammunition your rifle prefers. Shoot groups at 100-300 yards and see how different ammo performs at different yardages. You may even try different bullet weights offered by the same manufacturer to see which one shoots best out of your particular rifle.
For predator calibers a few grains in bullet weight can mean the difference between an accurate rifle and a not-so-accurate rifle. Take for example the .204 Ruger. Some factory .204’s will not stabilize a 40-grain bullet, but will stabilize a 32-grain. Time on the bench is the only way to know what ammo performs best out of your rifle.
I’ve had very good results with Hornady’s Superformance Varmint ammo. This ammo has consistently been well within one MOA, has added a few hundred feet per second in velocity and is extremely lethal on impact. Hornady’s Superformance Varmint also seems to be in stock at most large sporting goods retailers.
Predator Hunting Rifle

Start Reloading

When trying to achieve the ultimate in accuracy for any rifle, there is no substitute for reloading your own ammo. The ability to tailor each load to its specific purpose and to the individual rifle is a definite recipe for downrange success.
Custom reloading allows you to try different load data in an attempt to find what load suits your rifle. Reloading also provides the opportunity to experiment with powder type, bullet brand, bullet weight, make of brass and primers. Details such as bullet seating depth can also be tailored to your rifles chamber. Without question, precision reloading will allow you to maximize the potential of any custom or factory rifle.
When it comes to reloading for predators, I’ve had excellent results with Ramshot TAC rifle powder and Hornady bullets. TAC offers good velocities, burns very clean and will allow you dozens of shots in between cleanings.
If you shoot .22 caliber / .224 bullets, such as is used for the .223 or .22-250, it will be hard to find a bullet as accurate as Hornady’s 53-grain V-Max. Not only does this bullet perform well on predators, this little guy has a ballistic coefficient of .290—now that’s impressive.
Reloading isn’t for everyone, but if you’re ready to take rifle accuracy to the next level, reloading your own ammo is the way to go.

Accurize Your Rifle

Most factory bolt-action rifles are built to satisfy the average consumer, but who wants to be ‘average’ when it comes to accuracy? So if you own a less than accurate factory rifle, there are a few things you can do that just might help its performance.
One of the first steps in accurizing a rifle is to bed the action and free-float the barrel. If you have the natural ability to tear things apart and put them back together, you most likely qualify to bed the action and free-float the barrel yourself. There are a host of YouTube videos that explain how to bed and free-float efficiently, and no, it’s not at all difficult if you’re careful and pay attention to the details.
If you’re not comfortable with the thought of bedding or free-floating your own rifle, take it to a notable gunsmith and allow him to bed and free-float the rifle for you. You won’t regret it.
The second thing that can be done is to lighten the trigger pull. Reducing the trigger pull from a factory ‘lawsuit proof’ 6-pound pull will increase your accuracy tremendously. Personally, I prefer no more than a 2-pound trigger pull on any rifle.
Some rifles on the market come from the factory with an adjustable trigger, others will need to be taken to a gunsmith in order to achieve a crisp and clean break. If at all possible I would strongly suggest allowing a competent gunsmith to adjust your rifle’s trigger pull rather than attempting to do it yourself.
Another step to consider would be to have a gunsmith blueprint your rifle’s action. This means truing the components of your action to their intended centerline. After a gunsmith gets done removing a few thousands on each individual component, it can make a noticeable difference downrange.
You may also talk to your gunsmith about re-crowning the barrel. If the crown of the barrel has even the slightest burr from the factory, or from misuse, your rifle will never achieve its full accuracy potential.
These small but significant steps will insure your rifle is as accurate as it possibly can be, which in turn will result in you possessing a greater confidence when shooting in the field.
Accurate Predator Rifle

Clean Your Rifle Properly

“My gun used to shoot 1” groups at 100-yards, and now I can’t get it to shoot a 3” group at 100-yards.” If I’ve heard that statement once, I’ve heard it fifty times. The issue can usually be boiled down to two things. First, the barrel is copper fouled. Second, there is a burr or nick in the crown of the barrel.
Copper fouling occurs when a soft copper bullet passes through the barrel’s lands and groves and leaves copper residue. Sometimes you can see the copper fouling by taking a light and looking closely at the lands and grooves just inside the muzzle. If you can visibly see copper in the corner of the lands, your rifle probably needs a cleaning. Thankfully, you can solve a copper fouling issue for around $10.
For over six years now I’ve been using a product called Wipe-Out Brushless Bore Cleaner to clean my rifles. Wipe-Out is low in ph and will not etch your barrel like some other bore cleaners and it’s self lubricating. Several times I’ve left it in over night with no issues. And I cannot tell you how many guys have used this product and had a rifle return to shooting sub-MOA groups.
The same company that makes the original Wipe-Out also makes a product for the AR platform called Wipe-Out Tactical Advantage. Not only is Tactical Advantage designed to be used like a conventional bore cleaner, it can be diluted with tap water, sprayed or dripped on the bolt and gas system. Simply let it stand for 10-20 minutes and wipe dry. It’s that simple.
If a good cleaning does not help your accuracy, you may need to have your barrel re-crowned. The crown is the bullet’s last point of contact before it heads to the target. If the crown has a burr it can make bullet flight irregular.
Have a trustworthy gunsmith look at the crown of your rifle barrel, and if needs be he can re-crown it. Protecting the crown of your rifle is very important. This is just one reason why you should never stick a muzzle on the floorboard of your vehicle where debris could possibly nick or burr the crown.
Coyote Rifle Optics

Don’t Skimp On Optics

Another item that will help your accuracy is quality optics. And while it may be hard to justify the expense of a quality scope, it’ll be worth every dollar in the long run.
Over the last twelve years I’ve seen multiple shooters buy two scopes when they started shooting predators—why? First, they bought a low quality scope because it was affordable. A few months later, after the low quality scope failed in the field, they ended up buying a second scope, which was better quality.
Obviously, I’m going to recommend using Vortex Optics. Vortex offers quality scopes in a multitude of price points, plus every product is accompanied with a VIP unconditional warranty. The Vortex Viper line offers affordable options in a multitude of configurations for all types of shooters. From long range, varmint or predator—Vortex has it all.
While you’ll need to choose a scope based upon your shooting style, little compares to looking through quality glass. From shooting in low-light conditions to nailing long-range targets, quality optics will make a difference.

Get Steady Before The Shot

Another important element when it comes to accuracy is the need to be steady at the time of shot. Whether you prefer shooting off a bipod or shooting sticks is up to you. I like to use both, but either way, you’ll be much more accurate if you have a rock solid rest for your rifle.
Products such as a Harris bi-pod or the Bog-Pod TAC-3s tripod will offer you more than adequate stability in the field. Both of these products will provide you with a solid shooting platform no matter the terrain.
The Bog-Pod TAC-3s tripod also offers a 360-degree swivel head and can be used to shoot in the prone, sitting or kneeling positions. With adjustable heights all the way down to 6” and up to 42” the Bog-Pod TAC-3s is a ‘must have’ piece of gear every coyote hunter should be packing.
Coyote Rifle Bog Pod

Spend Time On The Bench

Maybe this tip should have been number one, but just because it’s last on the list doesn’t mean it’s not of great importance. The age-old adage, “Practice makes perfect,” is true. There is no substitute for getting to know your rifle and how it performs at various yardages.
Time on the bench will teach you trigger control along with helping you get comfortable with your rifle. When it comes to accuracy, time at the bench can make all the difference when it comes time to make the fur fly.


While ‘accuracy’ is subjective, the overall objective is to have a rifle that is accurate enough to hit its intended target repeatedly and without fail. The good news is you don’t have to settle for anything less than what your rifle and you are capable of—accuracy is achievable.

Tips For Calling Coyotes

Six Simple Tips For Calling Coyotes

Calling coyotes not only provides the opportunity to keep predator numbers in check, it also offers exciting and unforgettable experiences.
Few predator hunters will forget the moment they called in their very first coyote. I will never forget mine. My boys were young but I took them along anyway—knowing all the while I’d just reduced my chances of seeing anything by at least 50%. Sitting still was not on their agenda, but if I could pull off a successful coyote hunt with three boys in tow, it would be the ultimate challenge.
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The grain hopper of an abandoned combine made for an ideal stand. The wind was perfect, I could see close to 400-yards in any direction and the outside ledge of the harvester’s hopper allowed a solid rest for my bipod.
Leaving my three munchkins tucked beside the rear tire of the combine, they were somewhat hidden. And as long as the coyote remained outside of 50-yards, my boys would be out of sight.
Taking my cottontail in distress mouth call I proceeded to sound like a tortured rabbit in the jaws of a Tyrannosaurus rex. While I was impressed at my novice calling ability, I was also hearing laughter from three ornery boys as they mocked my horrid sounds.

Six Simple Tips For Calling Coyotes

What those three boys didn’t know was a beautiful male coyote was running straight for them—all it heard was a dinner bell.
At 80-yards the 52-grain .22 caliber bullet found its mark, and dad got the last laugh. For at the sound of the shot those three boys jumped out of their skin. No, I did not warn them beforehand—on purpose.
After all these years my boys and I still talk about the memories we made on our very first coyote hunt together, and of course that coyote hide is among the ‘trophies’ scattered throughout our home.

Tip 1: Don’t Overthink It

So how can a novice go out with a mouth call and call in a coyote his very fist time? It’s because the coyote didn’t know it was my first time, neither did it know I didn’t have years of experience under my belt.
The opportunistic coyote I called in had heard something that sounded as if it was dying and decided to see if whatever was making the racket might make-do for dinner.
When calling coyotes don’t get hung up on what you don’t know. There are no set rules when it comes to calling coyotes with a distress call. Simply do your best to fluctuate the tones and pitches along with putting plenty of emotion into the call.
Some guys prefer to call for 10 minutes and then pause. Their logic is based upon the thought that a rabbit does not die for 30-minutes, so they attempt to make it sound ‘real.’ The only problem is, a coyote doesn’t have human logic—it lives on instinct.
How To Calling Coyotes

2. Change It Up

Personally, I call for a solid 30-minutes at each set, sometimes longer depending on the circumstances. But I will change the sound as I am calling. When I primarily used mouth calls, I would simply vary the tone, pitch and length of air burst over the duration of the calling sequence. Now that I predominately use an e-caller, I will vary the sounds every 10 to 15 minutes.
For example, if I start out with a cottontail in distress I may change to a baby cottontail after 10 minutes, then to a jackrabbit, and then a mouse. A coyote doesn’t care what you place on the dinner plate, they just have to be in the mood for what ever sound you offer.
Sometimes a cottontail in distress will work, other times coyotes may prefer what seems like an odd choice of sounds, such as a red squirrel in distress. One day a coyote may come to a higher pitch sound, other days to a lower. You can’t predict what sound will peak their interest, so just be ready to offer plenty of options on the menu.
The one thing I always do is end my calling sequence with the sound of a pup in distress. If there is a coyote hung up just out of sight, the pup in distress will usually bring them in close enough that I can get a shot.
Sound variation is one of the reasons I like to use an electronic caller. An e-caller provides a variety of sounds at your disposal and allows you to change the sounds at the touch of a button.

3. Be Flexible

Coyotes can’t tell time. They don’t care if you call for 10, 12, 14 or 20 minutes before changing to a different sound. What they can tell is if that sound sets off their territorial, paternal, reproductive or survival instincts.
When calling coyotes don’t get stuck on exact times and set sounds. Just because I call for 10 minutes before changing the sound doesn’t mean you have to. Feel free to experiment and see what works for you.
Remaining flexible will make predator hunting much more enjoyable and allow you to be yourself. Yes, there are patterns you can follow, but few rules. Coyotes are a wild animal and will always remain unpredictable—and there’s no reason a hunter can’t mimic that behavioral trait.
Once on stand I simply follow my gut instinct when in a calling sequence. If I get a ‘wild hair’ to change up and add a female howl in the middle of a distress sequence, I do it.
As long as I am staying within the boundaries of speaking to a coyote’s territorial, paternal, reproductive or survival instincts—I consider the sound fair game.

4. Learn Non-Threatening Howls

Coyotes have a definite language, and if wanting to increase your chances of killing more coyotes, learning how to mimic coyote vocalizations will dramatically increase your odds.
Both male and female vocalizations are unique. Both sexes offer distinct sounds that communicate a vast amount of information. So much so, that some biologists claim man will never decipher the intricate details contained in the coyote’s howl.
From mid-January through mid-March I like to use a significant amount of non-threatening female vocalizations during a calling sequence. Not only am I hoping a love-crazed male will come in to check out what lonely lady might be nearby, but by combining a distress and coyote howl, I hope to also give an open dinner invitation to nearby coyotes of any gender.
Rarely will I use a threatening howl, such as the ‘challenge howl,’ when on stand. Because coyotes are territorial in nature, the last thing I want to do is intimidate when the idea of my calling is to invite.
While an in-depth look at coyote vocalizations will be addressed in an upcoming article, you can learn a lot by simply searching the Internet and listening to the various coyote vocalizations. Coyote howls will work, are not hard to learn, and should be in your repertoire.
Calling Coyotes Six Tips

5. Give it Time

There are a handful of really patient people in the world. Some can sit for hours and be content in the process—I’m not one of them. So, I have to make myself stay on stand and call for at least 30-minutes.
When I first started calling coyotes if something didn’t show up within 15-minutes I was packing up and heading down the road. In time I’ve learned that 30-minutes isn’t that long. Besides, would I rather be doing something else?
When calling coyotes, I can’t overstress the importance of being patient. Whatever mind games you have to play in order to sit still and keep your eyes peeled, do it. Remember, coyotes can show up any second and out of nowhere.
If you know there are coyotes in the area, such as if you had a visual or saw fresh tracks, don’t give up after 30-minutes. I’ve heard of hunters staying put for 45-minutes to an hour before a coyote finally responded.
They say patience is a virtue, but it’s also a quality that makes for a good coyote caller—I’m still working on it.

6. Let It Rest

How long before you should go back and hunt the same stand again? It depends. Did you get in and out without leaving an abundance of human scent? Did you miss the shot and educate the coyote(s) in that area?
There are many variables when it comes to how much time has to expire before you can return to a particular area. One thing is for sure, letting a stand rest for a few weeks will only prolong its hunting quality.
When you do go back into an area, try to use a different call and calling sequence. Change the pitch of your call and even the sound(s). If you previously used a cottontail in distress, try a woodpecker. Or don’t use a distress at all and just use non-threatening howls.
By being careful not over pressure your hunting areas, your coyote hunting can remain both fun and productive.


The subject of calling coyotes can never be exhausted, so please feel free to share your tips and suggestions with us. I don’t know it all and am always learning from other predator hunters. If you have additional tips for calling coyotes, please share them with us in the comments below and good luck calling!
For more coyote hunting tips be sure and check out Coyote Hunting: How To Set Up.

Stand Set Up For Coyotes

Coyote Hunting: How To Set Up

Whether it’s coyote hunting or whitetail hunting, learning an animal’s characteristic behavior is part of the overall experience. And for the new coyote hunter, chasing predators is an exciting way to expand one’s knowledge of another wildlife species.
Much like whitetail hunting, to be a successful coyote hunter means taking time to carefully consider how the wind and the lay of land will impact a coyote’s movements. Once understood how these two elements play a vital role in the hunt, setting up for coyotes will become second nature.
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As we mentioned in A Beginners Guide To Coyote Hunting, knowing where coyotes are is the main ingredient to a successful hunt, but once you gain permission to hunt prime coyote habitat, making the right stand setup is key.

Coyote Hunting: How To Set Up

Much like picking the perfect tree in which to hang a treestand, choosing where to set up and call is never done at random—the location is chosen for a reason.

Wind Direction

When determining a stand location, wind direction is the first item to take into consideration. Before making a stand draw a mental picture of how you’ll need to set up in order to insure the wind is in your favor.
The wind plays several factors when coyote hunting: First, it determines which direction your scent is going. Second, it influences where a coyote is likely to come from. Third, it controls how loud you need to call. Fourth, it dictates how quiet you have to be when entering an area.
Remember when setting up to call that coyotes have an incredible sense of smell. Whatever you do, don’t think your location is ‘good enough’ if the wind is carrying your scent in the direction a coyote is most likely to approach from.
Coyotes can smell human scent for several hundred yards, so make sure your stand site is not sending scent signals and educating a coyote as to what and where you are before it’s within shooting range.
Considering wind direction is not only important for scent control, wind can also mask the sound of your call. The windier it is, the louder you may have to call within a given area.
Here in the Midwest we predominantly hunt areas that are heavily wooded. Unlike the open terrain of the West, sound does not carry as far through dense stands of timber. Thick timber combined with heavy winds often means prolonged and loud calling in order to get a coyote to respond.
Wind also determines the most probable direction a coyote will come from. Coyotes like to smell what they’re coming to, especially if it’s the sound of an animal in distress, so it’s important make sure you have good visibility, and can shoot towards the downwind side of your stand.
On windy days I know my approach into an area does not have to be as stealthy. The wind will mask the sound of my approach even when walking in noisy corn stubble. But on still days when sound can carry a greater distance—a more stealthy entrance and setup will be required. Just remember, no matter the circumstances, wind direction and wind speed are paramount when making a stand.
Setting up to call in coyotes

Hunt A Crosswind

While the hunter should strive to remain ‘downwind’ of an approaching coyote, this does not mean you always have to set up with the wind directly in your face.
‘Keep the wind in your face,’ is an idiom used to suggest the coyote hunter not allow their scent cone to reach an approaching coyote. It does not mean you literally hunt with the wind directly in your face at each stand.
My personal preference is to set up using a crosswind. This means the wind is blowing from right-to-left or left-to-right in front of my stand. Hunting a crosswind helps guarantee if a coyote does try to circle downwind, I can easily get a shot off before it reaches my scent cone. A crosswind can also be used to your advantage if wanting to extend the reach of your call, a crosswind will assist in carrying the sound for a considerable distance.
Illustrated below are a few of our recent stands. Here in Indiana we predominantly hunt farms with small patches of timber and open fields. Here you can see how we set up using a crosswind and how the coyotes have actually responded.
The first thing you will recognize in these illustrations is you can’t say ‘always’ when hunting coyotes. Coyotes don’t ‘always’ come in from the leeward side and they don’t ‘always’ come from the direction you might expect. For this reason we usually position our FoxPro caller (as illustrated below) around 75-yards in front of the shooters.
In figure #1 the red X represents the shooters. The yellow X represents our FoxPro electronic caller, FoxPro motion decoy and full body coyote decoy.
The red line is the path the coyote took towards the call. At this stand, we had only called around 5-minutes when the coyote responded to the call. As you can see, the coyote came off a ridge to the west of the shooters, crossed a creek and into the field edge—the rest is history.
Setting Up To Call Coyotes
In figure #2 the red X represents the shooters. The yellow X represents the FoxPro electronic caller, FoxPro motion decoy and full body coyote decoy. As in figure #1 the red line is the path the predator took towards the caller.
At this particular stand we have called in three coyotes and a beautiful red fox. None of which came from directly down wind. This is an example of how terrain will impact the way a predator will approach the call.
How To Set Up For Coyotes
In Figure #3 the red X represents the shooters. The yellow X represents our FoxPro electronic caller, motion decoy and full body coyote decoy. Again, the red line is the path the coyote took when approaching the call.
Initially we had made a stand around 200-yards to the east of what is pictured and the sound of our calling should have reached the peripheral of this area. After setting up at this secondary location for almost 25-minutes a nice male coyote responded to the call.
I knew when setting up there was a road that exits into the inside corner of the field. This was the ideal place for a coyote to show up—sure enough—it came right down the road and into the field as anticipated.
Coyote Stand
Some may look at these illustrations and wonder why we set up as we did. First and foremost was due to the wind direction and second of all because of the terrain. Looking at the photos it would seem there are more ‘ideal’ places to set up, but our setups need to allow for good visibility of an approaching coyote. The ground is not flat as it may look, therefore if you can’t see the coyote approach, there’s no need to set up there. The terrain can make all the difference when trying to get a shot off—so you have to do what you can to make the landscape work for you.

Know The Terrain

Here in Indiana, we predominantly hunt field edges off of thick timber. Before making a stand I use the OnXMaps mobile app to check both topographical and satellite imagery. This app makes quick work of figuring out the terrain surrounding my stand. Taking the time to look at the lay of the land will allow you to know how a coyote will most likely approach your stand.
Referring to the illustrations above, we always try to use terrain to our advantage. Behind the shooter in figure #2 is a 30-foot drop off. The field in front of the shooter is not flat but includes rolling terrain. The entire field edge, to the south of the shooter, also drops off steeply. The terrain requires any predator to come up a steep embankment before it can see the motion decoy. Usually when coyotes climb an embankment of any kind and reach a field edge they will stop, which allows the shooter an opportunity to take the shot.
In figure #1 the shooters and decoys are at the bottom of a large bowl. This bowl runs north and south and extends into the timber. The bowl funnels the sound of the call directly into the timber and provides a safe shooting zone since there are houses in the area. Here we called in two coyotes within 5-minutes. The female came in first and the male hung up, but at least we got one out of the two.
When preparing to make a stand always try to pinpoint the path of least resistance. If you’re hunting in pasture land a coyote will often follow the cattle trails when coming to the call. If hunting field edges a coyote may come down a fence row or funnel through some other natural corridor. Again, each location will need to be hunted based upon its terrain and how you believe a coyote may try to access the location of your call.
Setting up for coyotes is not difficult, it simply requires you to take in your surroundings and draw the best possible conclusion. And good news is, the more you hunt the more you’ll learn. So get out there and enjoy hunting coyotes!
For additional coyote hunting tips check out Six Simple Tips For Calling Coyotes.

Coyote Hunting For Beginners

A Beginner’s Guide To Coyote Hunting

Coyote hunting and quality deer management go hand in hand, and while it’s easy to focus on food plots, hinge cutting and timber stand improvement this time of year, now is also the time to check predator control off your post-season to-do list.
Adequately managing the coyote population within a given area has been proven to dramatically increase whitetail fawn recruitment. So if you want to preserve the life of a few whitetail fawns, you can do so by coyote hunting.
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A Beginner’s Guide To Coyote Hunting

So what does coyote hunting require? Do you need an electronic call or a mouth call? Should you use a motion decoy? How long should I call at each stand? Hopefully we can help answer these and other questions by providing some tips and strategies over the next few weeks. For now let’s look at the basics when pursuing Mr. Coyote.

Keep It Simple

For the beginner who wanders into the big-box sporting goods store in search of the perfect predator call, he or she can expect to be overwhelmed. The shelves will be lined with a variety of calls in different brands, styles and sounds. But before you get lost in the number of calls on the shelves, let me offer a suggestion—keep coyote hunting as simple as possible.
In reality you only need a few calls to effectively call coyotes. Over the years I’ve experimented with several different calls and usually end up using three. That’s right—just three—a howler, a pup in distress and a cottontail in distress.
Calls such as the Micro Cottontail Distress or Adjustable Coyote/Distress by Duel Game Calls are easy to use and can cover a broad range of sounds. If money is an issue, choose a call maker such as Duel, that offers a single call that can make multiple sounds—there’s nothing wrong with saving yourself some dough.
When choosing between a closed reed or open reed coyote call, the beginner may find a closed reed call easier to use. Whatever coyote call allows you to call effectively at your current skill level, use it.
If you have the extra money to spend, I would strongly suggest investing in an electronic caller. I personally use a FoxPro electronic caller and would highly recommend FoxPro products. I would also suggest when buying an electronic call to look for one that features dual amplified speakers. This feature will provide a wider range of volume resulting in additional opportunities when hunting on windy days or in more open terrain.
One of the biggest advantages of using an electronic call is it can be controlled remotely, therefore the call can be set up some distance from the shooter. The distance between the electronic call and the shooter allows the coyote to come to the call rather than you the caller. This diversion gives the shooter a greater advantage due to the coyote being focused on the location of the call and not on the location of the caller/shooter. An electronic call will also offer a variety of animal sounds, which can be changed instantly by a simple press of a button.
A Beginners Guide To Coyote Hunting

Hunt Where They Are

Did you have any coyotes on your trail cameras last year? Did you see any coyote tracks while shed hunting? What about those tracks you saw in the fresh snow, were they coyote tracks? What about the scat you saw while walking to your treestand? Paying attention to these small details will help you know where to set up to call coyotes.
Not every farm we deer hunt on has an abundance of coyotes—others do. If I’ve never heard or seen any sign of a coyote on a given piece of property, I probably won’t waste my time setting up there.
Another way to locate coyotes is to ask farmers and ranchers. Even if a farmer or rancher won’t let you deer hunt, they will most likely allow you to shoot coyotes. Knocking on doors isn’t always easy, but it is one sure way to find new and non-pressured locations to hunt predators.

Avoid Education

Serious whitetail hunters understand how important it is to hunt the correct wind. So it is when coyote hunting. Besides their tendency to avoid human scent, coyotes will normally approach a call from a downwind vantage point—this is crucial to remember when making a stand.
Before you set up to call, be sure you’re not making a stand where a coyote could possible catch a whiff of your scent. The importance of making sure you remain downwind of an approaching coyote or can get a shot off before it gets directly downwind of your stand cannot be overemphasized.
Coyotes will often hang around field edges while looking for rabbits and mice. Always take this into consideration when heading into an area to call. I even try to park my vehicle a considerable distance from where I walk into an area. The point is to avoid making your presence known in any way. A coyote has an acute sense of hearing and could be just about anywhere, so try not to educate them.
I also try to think about how I’m leaving a scent trail when approaching a stand site. If a coyote crosses my scent trail, it most likely will not come to my call. This might mean a longer walk to make a stand, but I guarantee the attention to detail will pay off. Plus, being careful how you enter and exit the area you hunt, may allow multiple opportunities to coyote hunt that same area.
One of the strategies I have used repeatedly is to work from the outside in. In other words, if I have a prime spot I want to make a stand, and know it has a high chance of yielding a coyote kill, I may initially set up 200-300 yards away from the ideal stand site. After a calling sequence I will move the 200-300 yards to the prime calling location. This strategy allows the sound of my first stand to reach the peripheral of the area I want to hunt and insures I’m not blowing a coyote out of the area before reaching where I want to make my ideal set. Obviously some areas do not allow for a ‘double-stand’ option, but if the area is large enough, working from the outside in will insure you have covered the entire area with the sound of your call.

Watch Your Back

For the most part, the age-old adage, “Keep the wind in your face and the sun at your back,” directly applies when setting up to call coyotes. If you follow this rule of thumb, you’re can up your score in the predator hunting game.
When setting up to call be sure you blend in with the surroundings. A heavily shadowed or dark background is best and will help break up your silhouette. Avoid setting up where you will be sky-lined or be left sitting in direct sunlight. On early morning hunts remember how fast the light can change, be sure to consider how your backdrop will be lit at the end of your calling sequence and not just how it looks at the time of set up.
A Beginners Guide To Coyote Hunting Tips

Make It Real

When using a mouth call, put plenty of emotion into your calling sequence. If you were a rabbit and about to become a predator’s dinner, you’d no doubt be a little emotional. Fluctuating between the sounds of fighting for your life, being mortally wounded and almost dead, will add realism.
Personally, I like to use a FoxPro Black Jack decoy when calling. By using a motion decoy you not only add realism to the set, but also provide further distraction from the shooter. Remember when using any type of decoy to position it to where you have a clear shot on its downwind side.
I also like to use a full size coyote decoy when calling coyotes. By placing a motion decoy a couple feet in front of the full-bodied coyote decoy, you are creating a real life scenario. Knock on wood, but I’ve never had a coyote spook or be hesitant to come in to the call when using the coyote decoy and motion decoy combination.
When using an electronic caller or motion decoy I always cover any plastic with corn stubble, leaves or grass so it does not glare in the sunlight. Again, all these details might not be necessary, but they have worked for me so I’m simply passing on the information.
With that said, you don’t need decoys to kill coyotes. I’ve killed coyotes by using a closed reed cottontail in distress—that was it. But the decoys have helped bring wary coyotes into shooting distance that would not have come in otherwise. To use or not to use a decoy is personal preference.

Be Patient

Having hunted coyotes in both the West and Midwest, my personal opinion is coyotes in the Midwest are much slower to respond to a call. In the West there have been many times a coyote would show up within 5-minutes of beginning a calling sequence. Here in the Midwest it’s not unusual to wait 30-minutes before a coyote shows up.
While the temptation may be to move on after 10-minutes of calling—don’t. Sit tight and have faith in your stand. Some callers make it a practice to end their calling sequence with a howl and wait an additional 10-minutes before moving. This type of tactic insures the caller that he or she has given plenty of time for a slowpoke yote to show up.
If a coyote is approaching your setup don’t rush it. You may be tempted to shoot while it’s still coming, but be patient. Once it’s in shooting range and offers a shot, then take it.


Over the next few weeks we will be sharing additional coyote hunting tips and strategies with you. While there will always be a learning curve when beginning to hunt any animal, don’t stress about what you don’t know. For now, focus on the basics and learn as you go. There is no substitute for experience—so go have fun.

For more tips and tactics check out Coyote Hunting: How To Set Up and Six Simple Tips For Calling Coyotes.

Whitetail Fawn Recruitment

Coyotes And Whitetail Fawn Recruitment

The coyote meticulously zigzagged its way across the meadow. Every move mimicked the proficient efforts of an experienced bird dog. Intentionally keeping the wind in its face, the predator diligently worked towards the unsuspecting prey. Without a doubt, this four-legged hunter was operating by a deliberate and calculated strategy.
Sensing the impending danger a mature doe stood to confront her stalker—it was an instant impasse. The doe stood her ground and so did the coyote.  After a few tense moments, the doe made a sudden lunge and charged her menace. What ensued was a drag race of survival.
Running as close to the coyote as possible the doe repeatedly kicked her front legs in an effort to strike the predator with a hoof. Tucking tail the coyote realized it was no match for these weapons and surrendered in temporary defeat. This day’s score ended with—deer one, coyote zero.
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As the doe returned to her original bedding area, it occurred to me this battle had not ultimately been between doe and coyote. The objective of both hunter and hunted was bedded in the tall grass, it was a newborn fawn.

Increasing Coyote Populations

Over the course of the last several years there have been numerous reports on the widespread increase of coyote populations. These studies confirm the coyote to be an adept omnivore whose ability to survive has made it adaptable to both rural and metropolitan areas.
Through a merger of urban expansion and translocation, coyotes now thrive across much of the North America. Expanding their range to include most of the Northeast and Southeast United States, coyotes are now familiar residents in areas where at one time they were considered complete strangers.
Just over two decades ago it was considered uncommon to see the allusive coyote in the rural Midwest, much less catch a glimpse of it in populated residential areas, but today we have become accustomed to seeing the coyote almost anywhere. These common sightings only confirm the coyote’s continued and rapid proliferation.
Whitetail researchers recognize this exponential growth in coyote numbers can make a definite impact on overall deer populations. Although much debate surrounds the coyote, its impact on fawn recruitment has been readily documented.

Coyote Predation And Deer Fawn Recruitment

Comprehensive studies suggest that with the increase in coyote numbers comes the concurrent decline in deer fawn recruitment. These studies, done in several Southeastern states, attribute coyote-fawn predation as a direct contributor to falling deer numbers.
Dr. John Kilgo, a research biologist with the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station, conducted one such study. This research was performed at the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Savannah River Site (SRS), consisting of a 300 square mile, forested area in western South Carolina. Prompted by concerns over the coyote’s direct effects on deer populations, the study covered coyote habitat, survival and mortality along with the predator’s direct impact on fawn survival.
In his report entitled, Coyotes in the East: Are They Impacting Deer? Dr. Kilgo states, “To date, the SRS research has found that coyotes are, in fact, taking a tremendous toll on fawns. Of 60 fawns monitored over the course of the work, only 16 have survived until autumn, when they are old enough to be safe from predation and can be considered part of the huntable population. That means that 44 fawns, or 73 percent, did not survive. Predation by bobcats and coyotes has accounted for all but one of the deaths. The great majority of the predation, though, has been by coyotes: 36 of the 44 (82 percent) have been either confirmed or probable coyote predation, 6 have been bobcat predation, and 2 have been attributed to unknown predators. The risk of predation is greatest in the first month of a fawn’s life. By about 6 weeks of age, they seem generally able to evade predators, and no fawns have been killed by predators after 10 weeks. Genetic analysis has revealed that many different coyotes kill fawns, with only two individual coyotes being responsible for more than one kill.”
Whitetail Fawn Recruitment
Dr. Grant Woods, a wildlife biologist and pioneer in the Quality Deer Management movement, recently devoted several articles to the coyote predation issue. Dr. Woods cited a study done by one of his graduate students in which 20 plus coyotes and 10 bobcats were removed from a 2000-acre property. This particular property saw a 150% plus increase in fawns the following fawning season.
Dr. Woods consensus on coyote predation parallels that of Dr. Kilgo, and was summed up in this statement, “Whatever the theories and realities were, the current impact of predators on deer, turkey, quail and other game species are real and measurable!” Further studies have provided detailed information much like those already cited. Undoubtedly, the overall impact coyotes have on fawn recruitment is significant.
The biologist’s findings cannot be ignored by hunters. It’s all too easy to ignore the responsibility of applying proper predator management to a hunting portfolio. The ultimatum is clear—if we are to have sufficient bucks to harvest, there must be adequate numbers of fawns added into the population each year.

Pressure And Stress From Predators

It doesn’t require a degree in biology to experience the stress coyotes can put on a deer population. If a hunter spends any time in a treestand, you are sure to see a coyote following or running a deer. Put out a few trail cameras and you will have ample photos of a coyote or a pack of coyotes chasing deer. These practical observations give an adequate education in the fact coyotes and whitetails don’t cohabitate.
Although whitetail research confirms the coyote primarily seeks fawns rather than mature deer as a food source, these studies also confirm predators place unduly amounts of stress on deer herds. Dr. Aaron Moen of Cornell University carried out a research project in which he determined stress to have a definite impact on deer and fawn heart rates. From antler growth to increased metabolism, he noted any perceived form of predation has a negative impact on a whitetails physical health.
Deer are already under significant stress going into the winter months. This especially applies to mature bucks headed into peak rut. Expending energy reserves, they mark scrapes, make rubs and put on miles in an attempt to find the estrous doe. This involves inadequate nutrition, little rest, battling for dominance and loss of fat storage, which in turn creates immense strain on their bodies.
During the rut many bowhunters have rattled or grunted in an opportunistic coyote. These coyotes instinctively knew what was going on and even if they came in out of curiosity; if a buck or bucks were present they would have fled at the sight of a predator. These encounters only add stress and waste even more energy out of a bucks depleted reserves.
Not only do coyote encounters tax deer physically, they also create a predator awareness that breeds vigilance. One biologist reported that is not uncommon to observe fewer deer during daylight hours when a particular property holds a larger number of predators. He also stated that when the number of predators was reduced, the number of game sightings increased within weeks.
Coyote Hunting
Taking into consideration the threat, pressure and added stress that coyotes put on a deer herd, hunters must carefully consider all aspects of management. Understanding how predators affect hunting areas can help when forming a strategy; a plan that will help to insure the future of successful harvests and as well as provide for Quality Deer Management and adequate fawn recruitment.

Having A Predator Strategy

Gone are the days when hunting had few consequences. If hunting will have a future, deer hunters will have to become proficient managers in the aiding of whitetail survival. Hanging treestands and trail cameras isn’t enough. Taking the required steps to reduce pressure, create habitat and provide adequate nutrition, will be necessary in reducing predation and increasing fawn recruitment.

Hunting and Trapping

When statistics consistently show fawn survival rates can double if coyotes are adequately trapped and hunted, can only mean one thing—hunters must trap and hunt predators. Whether we like it or not, the coyote is here to stay. Our only hope is to offset predation with a proper predator management program.
There is a considerable amount of information available to the novice coyote hunter and trapper. Like all hunting and trapping, it takes time to learn and become proficient at harvesting predators. Take the time to talk to an experienced trapper and educate yourself on the animal you pursue, this will help to diminish the chances of educating your quarry. With time and patience, you can become proficient at managing predators.

Fawning Areas

Although, most whitetail researchers have encouraged limiting the threat of predators through hunting and trapping, they also recognize this is not enough. There must also be adequate provision for the whitetail herd, this includes providing proper nutrients and habitat.

Research has established that fawns are the most vulnerable to predators in their first few hours and days of life. Creating areas of security can help to reduce the number of fawn mortalities and help to increase fawn recruitment. Lindsay Thomas, Jr., Editor of QDMA’s Quality Whitetails addressed this issue in an article entitled QDM and Coyotes, in which he states, “When you have good fawning cover and a lot of it, the coyote has a harder time detecting that prey. Tall grasses interspersed with forbs make good fawning cover. You don’t want a deep thicket, because the doe can’t get in there herself. The fawn can get down out of sight in mixed grasses and forbs, and when it does begin to emit more odor, the grass is minimizing wind movements.”

Proper Nutrition

Today’s market is saturated with deer attractants and supplements. These supplement companies often advertise antler growth as the primary objective. Many articles have been written that focus primarily on a buck’s need of nutrients following the rut. Although bucks should be considered, the necessary supplements a doe requires after fawning often goes unmentioned.


Fawn-survival research shows that feeding and protecting her offspring imposes an enormous load on the overall health of the whitetail doe. Due to lactation a doe must increase its intake of forage. A lack of adequate nutrition can result in poor fetal development, neonatal mortality and fawn abandonment. Providing quality nutrients for your deer herd isn’t just about antlers. Nutrition is a valuable asset to bucks, does and future offspring.

Quality Habitat

Habitat improvement does more than provide ample food source for deer, this added cover also allows whitetails to gain an advantage in avoiding predators. Biologists suggest this type of management may also increase small game numbers and local rodent populations. In turn the opportunistic coyote won’t have to rely predominately on young and tender venison.


Hunters should also incorporate a sanctuary into their habitat strategy. This serves as an area where deer can retreat from all hunting pressure and any human activity. A sanctuary will aid in reducing pressure, which is a key factor in harvesting mature bucks.


Analysts suggest a successful strategy for limiting predation must be a multi-faceted approach. To hope for a magic wand that would disperse the problematic coyote is wishful thinking. As hunters, our goal must be to understand the effects predators have on deer and set out to establish and manage a quality deer herd as effectively as possible. It will take dedication and commitment, but it’s our only hope in limiting the destructiveness of predators on fawns and future deer herds.