Deer hunters throughout the country probably have stumbled upon a coyote-ravaged carcass or heard stories from friends about song dogs chasing whitetails or fawns.
By Alan Clemons, Southern Managing Editor
We’ve seen report after report, too, of studies about fawn predation, primarily by coyotes but also by bobcats. Coyotes are the prime culprit, however, due to their viciousness, cunning, intelligence and perseverance when stalking or chasing game.
If you’re interested in learning how to hunt coyotes or already are a predator hunter, good for you. Not only are you helping manage your area’s game populations but also know it’s a load of fun. Coyotes are wily adversaries and no matter where you hunt, if you have coyotes, they’re a challenging test of your calling and setup skills.
Here are a couple of tips to remember:
Coyotes have an incredible sense of smell and eyesight, not to mention hearing, so your setup is critical to avoid detection or odor they may detect.
Full camo including gloves and face mask is critical. If you’re hiding in dead vegetation, it’s probably not good to wear green camo. Hanging out in the green woods? Avoid anything tan that offers a different look. Be smart.
Put the wind in your face and know the prevaling directions. Coyotes will come downwind to the sound of your calls or decoy. You don’t want to give them an extra advantage by having your scent blowing to them even at a distance.
If you’re using a mouth call like this one from Primos, put some emotion into it to sound like a dying rabbit. If you’ve ever heard a cat or dog snatch a cottontail you know that sucker screams like the world is ending. I guess it is for the rabbit. Remember that when you’re calling.
Electronic calls are super because many of today’s models, or almost all of them, can be controlled remotely. This ICOtec GC300 model is super for setting up away from your setup so a coyote or bobcat will be focused on it instead of you. All you have to do is activate it remotely and keep your peepers glued to any movement.
One other tip is to put the decoy and call together. I’ve hunted with guys who do this where vegetation allows them to cover the call but the decoy is visible. It’s a dynamite way to get a predator focused on that decoy instead of you. Just remember to minimize your movement.
You can hunt predators without a decoy but it’s a lot more fun to use one and tantalize a coyote’s senses.
Some are just furry blobs that wiggle and move, like this Edge Quiver Critter that’s favored by many hunters. Stick it in the ground and turn it on, and combined with good calling it’ll help get the attention of a hungry yote.
Another with a little more realism is the Flambeau Rigor Rabbit decoy. I’ve used one of these for a few years and it’s a champ. Set it out, brush it up around the base a little and turn it on. It quivers like a scared rabbit and then stops, then quivers again and stops. It’s kind of spooky. Scared the heck out of my wife one morning when I stuck the rabbit around the corner of the bathroom and she saw it in the mirror.
If you’re at deer camp or forgot your decoy, try this: rig a wire coat hanger with a white or tan feather tied on one end with a string. Stick it the other end in the ground so the feather is fluttering in the breeze about a foot off the ground. What is it? Who knows? But it’ll get a coyote’s attention.
Pick A Gun
Offering a recommendation about the best gun to use for a coyote is like trying to decide which slice of cake or pie to eat at the church social.
Shotguns? Good for close range or in the woods where a rifle bullet might deflect. I’d prefer a 12-gauge with something like Hevi-Shot Dead Coyote ammo, or even a load of No. 2 or buckshot (if legal; check your state regulations)
Rifle? Well, again, this is the cake vs. pie discussion. The .243 shoots flat and long, as does a .260 and .270. The .22-250 is a favorite of many predator hunters and even the .22 gets some attention, although I think a lot of hunters want something with a little more oomph.
Personally, I prefer at least a .223 for starters. Just my preference. I’ve killed coyotes with a .308 and .30-06 – they don’t jump or yelp, either. My .243 bolt action is an old trusty that I enjoy shooting.
Modern Sporting Rifles are gaining attention for predators, too, like those from Rock River Arms and Mossberg’s MMR Hunter in .223. Outfitted with adjustable stocks, foregrips, small but efficient optics like those from Trijicon or EO Tech … they’re a hoot to hunt with and can be accessorized to fit your budget or desires.