Hunting Tips: Trolling for Coyotes

Illustration by Joel Kimmel

Coyotes have spread across the country like cell-phone towers, providing more hunting time for you nearly everywhere, even in places close to civilization. Their abundance and wide distribution means calling coyotes doesn't require the logistics or endurance of a backcountry elk hunt. With a little scouting of local real estate and knowledge of coyote behavior, you can zip from setup to setup in the comfort of your SUV for an action-packed day of hunting just outside of town.**

THE FARMLAND INTERFACE**
First, recognize productive country and try to link together a series of hotspots in close proximity. Coyote density varies, but it is often highest in areas surprisingly close to humans. But everywhere they live, they like to retire in relative peace during the day. Scout for brushy canyons, old farmsteads, and even overgrown lots in suburbia where they may find refuge and food. Studies indicate that 42 percent of a coyote's diet consists of rodents. Find mouse habitat, and you'll probably find coyotes.

Because of their widespread distribution, chances are good that coyotes are within a short walk of a road for quick calling access. Little woodlots just off the road and brush behind rural subdivisions can be productive.

BACKDOOR PARKING
After stringing together a series of hot coyote spots--and resolving any access issues--look for easy entrances and parking. Coyotes are used to moving away from civilization in the mornings and evenings, which are the times of highest human activity. Look for county roads, farm lanes, and trails that are located away from the main traffic flow. This will put you in the vicinity of where coyotes want to spend their days, and where they'll either start or end their nocturnal activities.

Since coyotes are already used to the hustle and bustle of human activity, your vehicle shouldn't cause them concern. Still, don't have the radio blaring when you pull up, park out of sight, and don't slam your door as you exit your vehicle.

CALL THEM TO SAFETY
If coyotes are hungry enough, they'll come to your calls regardless of your location. But you can boost their confidence if you call where they want to be--near cover. Calling them toward a heavily used road could cause them to hang up, but if you call them toward dense cover or a brushy fence line, your odds of a bold showing increase. For morning hunts, set up to intercept coyotes near bedding cover. For afternoon hunts, reverse your thinking and position yourself where they might start their evening hunt.

SUBTLETY AND PATIENCE
Start your appeal with a quiet call. The squeak or soft squall of a small animal adequately represents the prey coyotes prefer. Think mice, rodents, rabbits, and hares. If nothing shows, you can increase the volume and even change to a call that carries farther. Regardless of your choice of prey, wait. Coyotes along roadways and in suburbia are used to being shot at from roads, chased from lawns, and hounded by domestic canines. This means veterans may approach with curbed enthusiasm as they keep their eyes open for traps.

Fifteen-minute setups may be standard for coyote calling, but 30 to 45 minutes on stand gives coyotes more time to approach at a comfortable speed--and hopefully gives you an eventual shot.

Just as you would do for a set miles from the nearest water tower, ensure that your profile is well hidden and that you are calling into the wind, and set up in a spot where you can see incoming coyotes as they try to catch your scent.