Some light bulb moments in my coyote hunting experience

Wolf, Coyote, Fox, Cats, Callings, Behaviors, Hunting Stories, Pictures, Tactics, Q&A.
  • Advertisement

HB Store

User avatar
500 Club
Posts: 1504
Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 4:41 am
Location: Central PA
Status: Offline

Some light bulb moments in my coyote hunting experience

Postby xpauliber » Fri Dec 23, 2016 2:23 am

I've done over a dozen night time sets this year for predators and only had one response so far that I screwed up on (I hit a field that I was familiar with but hadn't predator hunted this year. The field had a small swale in it that made it the lowest spot and easiest way to access the field from the bottom. I knew that swale was there but I was just brain dead and didn't think of having my gun pointed at it. When I started calling, within 45 seconds, I scanned down to that swale and there were red eyes and when I tried to reposition my gun, it caught me and was gone! I kicked myself because if I had a stand on my back hunting for bucks, I would have keyed in on that low spot as being the most likely spot a buck would enter that field! I need to get my head more in the game when I'm out there chasing predators).

Anyways, I have a lot of spots in fields to hit but I need to wait for a major snowstorm to knock down all of the scrub brush and golden rod that is still standing in those fields since my red light reflects back off of anything it hits and makes it impossible to see. So I've been hitting the same 6 or so spots every time I go out but without any luck. I know they are good spots because I've killed or called in coyotes in almost all of them. I'm playing the wind, watching my entrance, and keeping all of my fundamentals strong but I'm still not having success. I think one of my major problems is one of the same exact problems that I had when I first started trying to kill big bucks; you can't kill what's not there.

It took me awhile to learn that you can't kill a big buck if it doesn't exist where you hunt. Similarly, you can't kill a coyote if it doesn't live where you're hunting OR it might live there but if it's not in the hollow or piece of woods you are hunting at that time, you aren't going to call it in. This kind of clicked for me when I was talking to my taxidermist (who is a big time trapper and very successful trapping yotes). Two years ago, we were discussing yotes and how I wasn't having much luck drawing them in and he told me I needed to hunt where the coyotes were, near the thick, hemlock or pine bottoms since there was about 15" of snow at the time and that's where all the food was. "Of course"! I thought. Coyotes will follow food in the winter and without deep snow, their food sources (squirrels, rabbits, mice, etc.) can be in any type of brushy area until the snow gets too deep and pushes them all into the thicker, areas that are shielded from the wind and have less snow accumulation. Right now, we have just a small amount of snow that is melting everyday and I think the coyotes aren't as corralled up as when we have significant snow.

Another thing that I've learned over the past couple years chasing coyotes is that it seems they can cover an enormous amount of territory! I'll travel the same back roads for a few consecutive nights and the first and second night, there aren't any tracks. On the third night though, there can be fresh tracks heading into the bottom. It's no coincidence then that I have way more success when I hit those areas with fresh sign rather than just choosing a spot that I think might be good. So now, if there's fresh snow, I'll drive around some of the roads near my hunting areas and try to find fresh tracks before deciding where to hunt that night.

One other thing that I think might be hurting my hunting is the time that I hunt. I really enjoy hunting at night and seeing those red eyes bouncing in but with putting the kids to bed and other responsibilities, I usually don't get out in the field until 3 or 4 hours after last light. As I've read articles from guys that are way more successful than me, they have the most success hunting the last hour before sunset/first hour after dark and the last hour of dark/first hour after sunrise. Their reasoning is that if a coyote is denned up all day, the first thing on their mind when they get active in the evening is going to be a meal; which makes them very susceptible to calling that last hour of light/first hour after dark. If I'm getting out there 3 or 4 hours after dark, chances are, they already have eaten a meal and will be way less apt to respond to a call. Similarly, after they've been out all night doing what coyotes do, they will more than likely want to eat a meal at the end of the night before they den up all day; this makes the last hour of dark/first hour after sunrise a great time to call. At this point in my life, I can't adjust to hit these times but I just thought I'd throw it out there for anyone that may be able to give it a shot.

Those are some of the "lightbulb" moments that I've had since I've started chasing these suckers. Do you have any to share?

User avatar
500 Club
Posts: 716
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:40 am
Location: Southeast, WI
Status: Offline

Re: Some light bulb moments in my coyote hunting experience

Postby Nocturnal » Fri Dec 23, 2016 3:31 am

I have been trapping for 4 years and calling coyotes for a good 10+ years now. I've had many "light bulb" moments. As you said you cannot kill them if they're not there. This is true of course and it's the reason why I picked up trapping. Your hunting 24/7. Being self taught, it's been a process and I've had silly struggles I could have avoided. Overall, trapping is by far the best way to catch fur and a lot of it if you know what your doing. My first time setting traps I went out the next morning to find all my sets dug up and flipped over without being set off. They are like little scientists. Long story short the first set this coyote hit, he stepped on the edge of my jaw and it wiggled. So he investigated and found my trap. Being a newbie all my sets I made were dirthole sets. So he went around and found every set I made. And he would pee on every trap. So I had to reboil my traps and go through the whole cleaning process. I did this over and over with this yote. It took me 3 weeks to finally get him and I got him by throwing two traps in one set. I got him on the back foot while he was digging up the original spot. That morning was also the first time I left the gun in my truck.
Calling coyotes on the other hand is not all peaches and cream. You have to set up in an area they want to commit to where they feel safe, especially if your trying to get them into less than 50 yards. When I am using a rifle. I like my wind blowing into the open, that way they can use their senses to their benefit. Seems they'll commit to the open instead of watching from an edge. I've found my odds to be better I that situation. If I'm hunting in the thick than I'll use it to my advantage.
Through the months of January and February. I like to use lone high pitch yote howls.
I've had a few bummer moments in my years of chasing them. Last year came to mind. As my cousin and I were hunting the big woods in northern Wisconsin. We hunted hard, covering 8-10 miles a day in pretty deep snow hitting up frozen lakes, rivers, clear cuts, and swamps. 3 days in and right at last light. We had a lone yote respond back with a howl. It got dark and we decided it was best to just get out immediately. Went back out to that spot the next morning. Did a series of lone howls, and 400 yards out on a frozen cranberry lake there it was. Came to 100 yards and pulled the trigger, only to go way over the back. Took a second, way over the back and gone.... i was extremely bummed and I still get crap from him to this day for missing. I bumped my scope somehow and it was shooting a foot high at my zero. We've done well in the past up there but I think the wolves have driven them out of the usual spot they've held up in. Last year was the worst season I've ever had as far as killing them. They are a blast to hunt though and I wouldn't miss a year if I could.

[ Post made via iPhone ] Image
Uncle Lou
Posts: 6372
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:32 pm
Location: Holly, MI
Status: Offline

Re: Some light bulb moments in my coyote hunting experience

Postby Uncle Lou » Wed Dec 28, 2016 9:30 am

I am a novice at predators, but engage in chasing a few times a winter. I think that is my biggest problem, not doing it enough and wanting good results. Kinda like golf, if you don't do it very often and go out and try to have a good game you can get real frustrated if you are expecting good results.

A few years back, I went BEAST on a coyote, I believe I even shared the hunt here, and have referenced it a few more times. But here goes one more time.

I had this coyote scouted and knew where he was bedding. I slipped in on the cover of a plow truck after a fresh snow. I did everything right getting into position and pinning him down. BUT, I got impatient and was reaching for a call when he busted me. A couple lessons here. One, scouting can pay dividends getting you in the game. And two, if you have done your homework, you shouldn't need to call. Also, sometimes I think we over call.
Visit The Treestand Silencing Store
Posts: 163
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2016 5:01 am
Location: SE MI
Status: Offline

Re: Some light bulb moments in my coyote hunting experience

Postby sureshotscott » Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:07 am

Nov 14th I captured a coyote encounter on my phone. Was sitting all day pretty high up and about 10am 6 turkeys come waltzing in. They were pretty casual and since not much else was going on I got ready to take some pics. Then noticed they all went on high alert; not kicking up brush anymore, they were all switched-on headsup. Then saw the blur of fur way off and as I realized what was going on futzed with switching the recorder to video mode.

This guy was coming almost straight in and either picked me off because of my giant outline in the tree, or the slight movement of my phone. It all happened so fast I had no time to attempt a shot. Very smart critters.

You really need to go full screen on a good size monitor to see this guy.

I'm a gun guy/gadget junkie and have been looking at the IR Defense thermal scopes, with coyote hunting as justification. Michigan just OK'd centerfire at night north of the rifle zone for predator hunting. Saving my pennies...
User avatar
Posts: 6142
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:24 pm
Location: south central WI
Status: Offline

Re: Some light bulb moments in my coyote hunting experience

Postby hunter_mike » Thu Jan 26, 2017 4:15 pm

Good info
“The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.”

Return to “Predator Hunting”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest