Photo by Lon Lauber

You’ve heard why bank robbers target banks: It’s where the money is.

The same reasoning should turn your coyote-hunting efforts to public waterfowl areas, state-managed wildlife areas where pen-raised pheasants are released, and anywhere else wingshooters are hammering birds. Coyotes go where the easy food is.

Most hunters think they’re deadly with their shotguns, but the reality is that some birds are crippled and not retrieved. Those wounded birds become easy prey for predators, which are far more interested in gorging on these impaired animals than running down healthy specimens. Savvy predator hunters can put this knowledge to work for them. Here’s how:

1. Hunt the edges of bird refuges in the evening, after the wingshooters have left for the day. You don’t even need to call; simply set up on an elevated piece of land where you can see the edges of cattails, dense grass, and clusters of brush. Keep your scent blowing away from these areas, and you can have consistent shooting at both coyotes and foxes that will work the heavy cover an hour before sunset.

2. As with any predator hunting, the best daytime shooting will be just prior to a winter storm, when predators redouble their efforts to pack in easily obtainable food. Watch the weather forecast.

3. If you want to call, use high-pitched woodpecker, lark-in-distress, or blue jay calls, and keep your eye on the edges of the thickest cover. If your electronic call has a distressed-pheasant or wounded-goose call, this is the right time and place to employ those coyote-enticing sounds.

4. Call up hunting clubs and shooting preserves in your area that offer put-and-take shoots for pen-raised birds. If you’re lucky, the manager will grant you access to the property when there aren’t any scheduled upland hunters around. If you’re really lucky, he’ll already have a couple of coyotes patterned for you.