Just as in real estate, the most important factor when calling coyotes is
location, location, location!
If there are no coyotes within hearing distance of where you call from, it
will not matter what kind of call you use or how proficiently you use it, you
will not call in any coyotes! I know that might sound elementary, but setting
up to call within hearing distance of at least one coyote is crucial to your
OK, but just how do you determine where there are coyotes? The very best
information comes from actual sightings. Maybe you have seen coyotes in an area
while deer hunting, turkey hunting or while hunting small game. Or if you live
out in the country, you may have seen coyotes run across the road as you drove
to and from work. But don't depend on just your own sightings. Ask your rural
friends if they ever see or hear coyotes on their land. Some of my best tips
have come from fellow parishioners at our church, guys at the local sportsman'
club, and golfing buddies. You get the idea. Keep your ears open and you will be
surprised at how many potentially good calling areas you will line up.
The second best option for locating the places where coyotes live is to
drive around sections after a fresh snow. If there are coyote tracks crossing
the road, the section on either side offers excellent possibilities. Chances
are that when you stop to visit with the landowners to seek permission, they
will confirm that there are coyotes in the area. And one of the neat things
about calling coyotes is that nearly every landowner I have ever asked has been
more than happy to have me do some calling on their property.
A third option for locating good coyote country is to drive around on rural
roads at night and do some howling. You can use a mouth blown howler, digital
caller or a small hand-held siren made just for locating coyotes. Just stop
every quarter mile or so (stay away from homes) and cut loose. If there are
coyotes around they will likely howl back. Make sure
that you have a county plat book with you so that you can mark the places where
you heard coyotes. Then just go back during the day, ask permission to hunt on
the land where you heard the howling and you are in business.
Find A Good Spot To Call From
Once you have found some land which shows promise, the next step is to
determine where you want to call from and how you can get there without coyotes
seeing, hearing or smelling you. This is crucial! If a coyote has even a hint
that you are on his turf, you can forget about that coyote coming to the call.
Whenever possible I like to set-up at least a quarter-mile from the nearest
road. Coyotes get road shy in a hurry, because people are always shooting at
Although it is tempting to set up on the edge of wide open fields and
attempt to bring coyotes across the open, only rarely will you be successful.
Coyotes are much more likely to come all of the way to the call if you call
from cover. Depending upon where you are hunting, that might be the edge of a
cattail slough, a cut-over up north, a CRP field, the junction of two fencelines or something as inauspicious as a drainage ditch
running through 640 acres of prime farmland.
There will be times when you will have no choice but to call downwind, but
you will have better luck if you try to call into the wind or with the wind
quartering. Some young-of-the-year coyotes will come straight to the call with
little regard to the wind, but most mature coyotes will try to slip around
downwind before committing themselves to the call. Thus, I always try to set up in
a position where I can get a shot at them before they get straight downwind. I
do not know how far away a coyote can detect human odor, but I know that it is
at least 300 yards, because I have been picked off at that distance!
Hopefully these tips will get you started in the right direction. But I will
warn you now, that if you stick with it long enough to
call in that first coyote, you are likely going to be hooked on coyote calling.
But hey, as addictions go, this is a good one to have!
Snow is nice, but you don't need it to call in coyotes. Without snow,
coyotes are just harder to see when they come to the call, but luckily, most
coyotes come hurrying in to the call, so their movements are easy to pick up
even against a drab background.
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Gary Clancy writes a column for sportsmansguide.com. Gary has hunted whitetail deer in 20 different states and provinces. He has harvested many record-book animals, and presented hunting seminars from Tennessee to Wisconsin. Gary also has authored or co-authored six hunting books, four on whitetail hunting.