Tactics

Calling Coyotes

August 11, 2023

Everett Headley

Everett Headley

Coyote hunting offers near year-round opportunity in virtually every state. And coyote resilience is well documented, with packs thriving even in urban areas. Their hardiness and adaptability means populations need to be monitored and managed. During hunting doldrums, calling coyotes can lead to frenetic and chaotic nights. The skills necessary to hunt coyotes are simple, which makes it easy to pick up no matter your experience level.   

Focus on High Traffic Areas 

It can seem that coyotes are everywhere, but their constant search for food will help focus your efforts to find them. Their prey have patterns and areas of concentration that these predators follow closely. Additionally, small game and rodents can consistently be found near water sources, making this another easy coyote spot.

coyotes

Coyotes have home ranges centering around a den site. The distance they range depends on the difficulty of finding food in the area. When alarmed, coyotes will retreat in the direction where they feel most secure, often towards their homebase. A fleeing coyote can be a good indicator of where to start on your next hunt.   

Know Your Coyotes 

Coyotes rut in late winter and will pair up if unmated. Alluring calls of females in heat or estrus chirps will really bring in the lovelorn males. Late spring puppies will begin to emerge from dens, and those whimpering or screaming tend to have the best results. You should take advantage of the protective nature of parents — even if the pups aren’t theirs. Towards fall parents and pups will disperse while intruders to established territories will find swift eviction.   

coyotes

Use a Variety of Calls 

Electronic calls offer libraries of call sequences for real coyotes. You should cycle rally howls, distress sequences, female whimpers, and also prey animals based on the situation while hunting coyotes. Use attached speakers and a remote to increase their effectiveness. Include hand calls to add a unique element for a different tone.

coyotes

Mixing in other calls can increase the realism too. Coyotes are intrigued by different sounds and usually have increased confidence when other animals, like crows, are already at the scene. Thinking they are late to dinner makes them approach more recklessly. Territorial and opportunistic, coyotes will respond to a wide variety of sounds; more options on your e-caller allows for fine tuning on exactly what they are looking for that night. Experimenting with all of these will ultimately lead to greater success in locating and drawing in coyotes. 

Be Prepared for More Than Just Coyotes 

All predators, regardless of size, respond to prey sounds. Bobcats can be an unexpected result from a coyote sit and in western states, mountain lions have appeared to study the sound too. Wolves, as the apex canine, will not tolerate any other presence in their territory. Coyote howling can be an effective method to ignite a rapid fight response. Anytime afield, keep keen eyes to note other game populations fluctuations, trends, and behavior that will enhance your success in upcoming seasons.

On a final note, take a moment to consider how to best represent coyote hunting.  Even though they are predators, they are still a game animal and deserve to be treated with respect. Recent anti-hunting efforts have targeted predator hunting for protests — especially coyotes — so it’s important to represent the hunting community the best you can, in practice and methodology. 

Everett Headley is an outdoor writer and educator. He was raised hunting and fishing in Montana. He lives in the Bitterroot with his Chesapeake Bay retriever, Cane, and his peregrine falcon, Freyja. You can find more of his work on his professional page, on Instagram and his podcast Elevate the Hunt.

Learn about coyote predation on iSportsmanUSA.

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