Watching expert coyote hunters do what they do best makes it seem effortless. However, hunting coyotes presents a unique set of challenges that makes it an entirely different activity from hunting other game.
If you’re looking to get started with coyote hunting, learn the seven most common mistakes rookies make – and the tips to avoid making them.
The Coyote: A Different Animal
At first glance, hunting coyotes seems similar to hunting deer; yet, the two animals and the best ways to hunt them are different.
The most critical difference is that the coyote is a predator. You are pursuing an animal known for tracking and hunting various prey, some of which are several times larger than themselves.
Like all canines, coyotes only perceive the world in shades of yellow and blue. However, coyotes have sharper vision than deer, at roughly 20/75 (deer have approximately 20/100 on average).
As canines, they also use their excellent sense of smell to detect prey and competing predators, and when they sense danger, they can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.
In other words, if you are not 100% aware of yourself and your surroundings at all times, the coyote will use its senses and its speed to detect you and escape.
7 Rookie Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Beginner coyote hunters may not realize everything they need to be successful, causing them to end up empty-handed at the end of a long and laborious day. Here are seven critical coyote hunting tips to improve your chances of success.
1. Scouting is essential
Although most coyote hunters indeed depend on their wits and intuition more than hard facts and known data, you should still take every advantage you can get. If you end up spending hours of effort setting traps and waiting for coyotes in an area where there are none, it’s a waste of time, money, and effort.
Scout the area extensively before you start hunting. Put your maps and navigational tools to use, get your boots on the field, and look for traces of coyote activity. Search for tracks, patches of fur, and droppings. Ask local farmers or ranchers if they have coyote sightings to report. Any information you can glean is helpful.
If you’re lucky, you might even spot coyotes in the field; there is no better proof of them living in the area than actually seeing them. So get out there and scout!
2. Learn to use your predator call
Nowadays, hunters have access to a wide array of tools and equipment our ancestors could only dream of having.
One of the most valuable pieces of modern kit you can buy today is the electronic predator call. This device produces sounds such as the cry of a rabbit, a hare, a cottontail, or even coyote howls that attract the immediate attention of nearby coyotes.
One mistake rookies make is using the same sound repeatedly. Coyotes are not dumb, and after hearing the same call a few times, they may not fall for the trick.
3. Keep your eyes peeled
As predators, coyotes are natural-born stalkers. Their fur and natural talents allow them to blend into their habitat with ease, and their senses keep them alert and aware of everything happening in their surroundings.
You should never underestimate the coyote’s ability to remain undetected.
Most rookie coyote hunters get spotted before they can even see there’s a coyote in the area. Setting up a hunting blind in an area that you can remain hidden in but see 50-80 yards is a great idea, but it's meaningless if the coyote sees you do it and knows to avoid you.
4. Bring the right guns
If you are a gun hunter, forget the classic deer hunting rifle; you will need a varmint hunting rifle instead. Prioritize heavy-barreled rifles in chamberings such as .22-250 Remington, .22 Hornet, or .223 Remington.
Bow and crossbow hunters can use their existing equipment but must keep in mind that shots beyond 50 yards are rare. Even experienced hunters rarely extend past this distance; it is critical to prepare the rest of your equipment and strategy accordingly.
5. Stay on the move
Coyotes get wise to the strategies human hunters attempt against them. If you overuse the same hunting spot and location, they will associate it with danger.
Therefore, you must stay on the move and frequently change locations. Coyotes can cover a lot of ground; don’t think that you can get away with staying in the same 50-acre zone all season.
6. Don’t be careless
Rookie hunters often make the mistake of underestimating what coyotes can do, allowing themselves to become sloppy, careless, or commit avoidable mistakes. Examples include talking too loudly, remaining downwind, or letting their alertness fall and relax instead of keeping the hunting mindset up.
Move slowly and carefully, keep your noise down, mind the wind direction, and stay alert; it’s the only way to spot coyotes before they can spot you.
7. Never give up
Picture this: You’ve spent hours spotting and stalking or sitting in a blind. Your equipment is in perfect shape. You’ve kept your noise levels down. You’ve even placed some bait down in an excellent location. In short, you’ve done everything correctly, yet there are no coyotes in sight.
It is frustrating, but the worst mistake a rookie can commit is packing up and leaving too soon. Not only does it ruin the hunt, but it also breaks their hunting mindset, making it unlikely they’ll come back again.
The most critical coyote hunting tip that every rookie should learn is this: Don’t give up, even if you don’t see coyotes. You may only need to wait just a little longer, so be patient and stay for as long as you need, from dawn until dusk if necessary.
Coyote hunting is a challenging activity that differs in many ways from hunting more docile species, such as deer or waterfowl. You must remain alert and prepared to deal with an animal that learns and adapts to your tactics quickly. As long as you follow these tips, you will maximize your chances of success.
One thing also that you should definitely consider is bringing the right gears for your coyote hunting in order for you to have a successful catch.
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