Calling in the Coyotes 101

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Coyotes, via Grind Tv

Every hunter has big game animals they do or do not wish to pursue. One animal that comes up frequently is the coyote. Though some enjoy hunting them, others do not, citing reasons such as not hunting what they will not eat. While this is a noble opinion to have, coyote hunting is all about conservation and management-- which every big game hunter needs to keep in mind.

If we do not step in to control their numbers, coyotes begin to take a toll on the population of other animals we hunt be it small animals such as rabbit right on up to deer. Farm animals and livestock are at risk as well and as coyote numbers grow unchecked, food can get sparse. At that point, they make their way into town, spreading diseases such as rabies, distemper, trichinosis, and parvo amongst themselves and enabling diseases such as the bubonic plague and hantavirus to spread via the fleas they carry.

Coyotes are not picky eaters, feeding opportunistically on just about anything they can fit in their mouths, so all you have to do in a lot of cases is essentially ring the dinner bell. This means being able to issue a call successfully. Electronic devices can certainly help with that but a knowledge of what call is necessary at what time needs to be used in cohesion. You need to appeal the coyote in order for him to respond, and here’s how:

What appeals to their senses most is a distress call, likely because an animal in distress tends to make for an easy meal. Coyotes are generally nocturnal, so using a distress call at dusk is typically most beneficial as they should be ready for a meal after a day of rest. Do note, however, that some coyotes will move right in whereas others might be weary of a quick approach, instead taking their time to investigate, so don’t give up if a coyote does not materialize as quickly as you hoped.

Coyote behavior towards an unwelcome invader of their territory includes raising a fuss much as a person would yell at an intruder to leave. What coyotes do is issue more of a complaint and threat before running an intruder into submission. This is known as a challenge call and is particularly effective when used in a pack’s home area during whelping season. You may also find that a coyote responds to distress calls with this sound which indicates that they’ve heard the call but haven’t decided to act on it, so a wait on your part might be in order.

Using a howl to call in coyotes is useful as well, but the type of howl you issue is important. For example, the most successful howl to emulate is often that of an immature coyote. This should be done as a lone howl that is lengthy and has a high pitch. Coyotes can actually determine a lot about the source of a howl such as age, gender, size, and stress level. Essentially the best call errs on the side of vulnerability as opposed to aggression which can send coyotes scurrying away from instead of towards you.

A call that can be used to the benefit of hunters is a sequence of whines and yelps. This call is effective for several reasons. Coyotes are social yet territorial and have strong protective instincts when it comes to raising young, all of which are reasons for whines and yelps to get a coyote’s attention. Additionally, it does happen that coyotes cannibalize pups, so such a call could appeal to a sense of hunger as well. These calls are best used during denning and mating season at any time of day.

Ultimately the best ways to bring coyotes in is to play on their survival interests or pique their curiosity. A lot of times there is no one call that will get the job done and issuing a variety of calls is necessary. In order to be able to pull this off, the hunter should first take a lesson from the coyote he seeks. Spend some time listening to the calling habits of the coyotes in your hunting area. Since coyote behavior is largely dictated by their surroundings and regular experiences, different packs may be more responsive to different calls.

Therefore you may need to experiment a bit to establish a call pattern that appeals to them, but with a little practice and patience you can find a coyote in your sights sooner than later.