There are many details that go into successful coyote calling. I will cover more details in a future article, but for those interested in getting started, here are a few areas to consider that will help point you in the right direction.
Stand Selection/Scouting: Selecting the right stand can get into deep detail, but we will keep it to the basic’s. To start off with good stand selection, you need to be making stands where coyotes are, which all comes down to scouting. Yes, guys kill coyotes through luck or accidental crossing paths pretty regular. But the guys that kill coyotes on a consistent basis are putting tons of time into scouting, just as you would for any other type of hunting. When scouting for coyotes, there are 3 standard methods that have helped me locate great spots. Hearing them, finding sign, and seeing them. Locating them by driving around areas and howling and trying to get a vocal response will give you a great idea where coyotes are at. Sign is always a great indicator and can be readily found by driving down roads, walking in to stands, or paying attention and making mental note anytime you are out hunting other animals. Seeing coyotes is always a great indicator that they are there. Watch and pay attention to how often you see them. If you are seeing coyotes in an area regularly they are probably staying close to that general vicinity. If its every so often or you are seeing one here and there in one area they may just be passing through.
The stand: Now that we know where the coyotes are, its time to make a stand. Having a good idea where the coyotes are, we now have to get to them without them seeing, smelling, or hearing us as we walk in. That starts at the truck; slamming the doors or just plain making noise getting gear out of the truck is an obvious no, no, but its amazing how often it happens. Once you get to your stand area and begin looking for the perfect set up, you’ll want to pay attention to a few factors including a good cross wind, placing the sun at your back, and getting to a nice elevated spot to sit so you can see everything. All of these elements usually only come together in a perfect world and in reality we don’t always get the “perfect stand.” Personally, I will give up something if I think it will help call in a coyote. For instance, sometimes you can give up elevation or the sun if there is a drainage or ditch the coyotes can use to get in and try to get down wind with out being seen. If that is the case, set up so the coyote would pop out right in front of you.
In most cases, you can give up just about everything, except the wind. A coyote will almost always try to get down wind of the call sound. If at all possible, I like to be able to see down wind for that reason. Since a coyote will typically try to get down wind, when using an e-call, I place it about 30-40 yrds angled out in front of me and to the up wind side. The only timeI want the wind straight in my face when calling is if there is a creek, road, pond, etc behind me (something that the coyote can’t or won’t cross to get behind or downwind). Otherwise, I want a crosswind if at all possible. With that said, there is one situation that I will make a stand with the wind at my back. Where I typically call, its flat wide open prairie and if the wind is blowing say 20-25mph or more, I will use the wind to help get my sound out. In such big country, by having the wind at my back, blowing towards the coyotes I am able to reach much further that calling with a cross or head on wind. With the wind blowing that hard it also seems to disperse scent fast enough you don’t have to worry too much about it. They might come in slow and be very cautious and probably aren’t going to end up in shotgun range but it works, as crazy as it sounds.
Calling: When it comes to calling there is no magic sound. The old rabbit in distress is a long time proven option and still works great. I do believe that hand calls and electronic calls both have their place. I personally run Coyote Creek Calls for hand calls and diaphragms, and the Lucky Duck Revolt for an e-caller.
But its hard to beat the satisfaction of calling and killing a coyote with hand calls. Early in the year, I use prey distress pretty heavily and then mid January through February I start relying more on coyote vocalizations due to breeding season. In spring time, I am mostly relying on vocals and pup distress sounds due to pups being born. With that said, I usually start every stand off with a couple invitation howls, then set quietly for a couple minutes before running through some prey in distress. Be sure to stop every now and then and set quietly. Repeat this off and on series for a while, and avoid blowing the hand call or letting the e-caller run continuously the whole time. I have no set run time or quiet time. Sometimes call longer or shorter than others, until you figure out what works best in your area.
When calling on any stand remember why you are there: try to paint a picture of a scenario to fire up the instincts of the coyotes hunger, curiosity, territory guarding, or paternal protection.