My advice is to STAY AWAY FROM COYOTE HUNTING! Once you start, before you know it, you're traveling all over the country dropping major $$$$ on guns, equipment and travel. DON'T DO IT!
So, since none of you guys ever listen to me, I would guess you want to know how to get started? DawgDad could write a thesis on this I would imagine but I'll give you a dollar's worth anyway.
Any dying rabbit mouth call will work. I prefer those by the Burhnam Brothers, and in particularly, the Mini Blaster. This call, and your favorite shotgun is a good, cheap way to get into this.
you ask. Yep, because until you see coyotes coming to the call a few times, it will be difficult to hit one with a rifle. I'm telling ya, these guys will fly in sometimes with shots at 5 or 6 yards. Once you learn to "read" the reaction of a coyote, then turn to your rifle, or better yet, carry both out to the stand with you. Most people will tell you to use a full choke with #4 buckshot but I have found that with the close in shots, I prefer a modified choke and Heavy Shot Dead Coyote. Anyone who has been following my season coyote hunting knows that I am still learning how to hit them with a rifle too. For us eastern woods hunters, the shots will be really close.
The .22 Hornet is a great rifle for coyote as is the .17 centerfire rounds. I have used in the past, and DawgDad still uses the .243 Win. I found that most rounds caused much more damage than I preferred but was working on that when I decided to purchase a .17 Fireball so haven’t yet found the perfect damage-reducing .243 load. DawgDad gave me some pointers for the .243 and I’ll follow up on that as soon as I get the time. Other guys swear by the .223 and you have far more selection in bullets and loads for the .223. The 22-250 has a little too much powder behind it for me and causes some rather destructive exit wounds. If you decide on the Hornet or .17 centerfires, remember NOT to shoot for the shoulder of a coyote. These bullets will hit that bone and explode; never reaching a vital area. It’s hard to learn not to shoot for the shoulder. I know. Finally, if you use the new plastic tip "varmint" bullets and handload, load them DOWN, not UP. Slower moving bullets might keep them from cratering on entry and save you a few pelts.
Here are the simplest of rules, all of which I have broken, and paid the price.
1) Full camouflage including face and hands. Please, don’t wear desert camo in Wisconsin. Doesn’t work.
Don’t wear white socks because when you sit down, your pants legs will rise up, and you will continue to wonder why the coyotes come into view, then twirl like a top and run like hell.
2) Come in to your calling area from downwind, set up, and call IN TO the wind. Anything behind you has already smelled you so keep the wind blowing in that direction. If the wind is blowing toward where you believe the coyote to be, then call it another day, because no matter what you do, he will smell you. Once a coyote associates your call sound with you, he will never come in to it again. So, don’t educate him.
3) Don’t try to shoot him 500 yards away. If you do your part, he will come right into your lap so why educate him? Most of my shots have been under 100 yards, and I would think a full 50% are within 40 yards.
4) Learn to recognize the body language of a coyote. Some signs are, if he stays out a ways and barks at you, he is afraid there is a bigger, badder coyote there and he will more than likely, after some badgering, come around you and try to get down wind, IF you have the time to wait. This could take an hour. I usually just leave 'em when they do that. If he is trotting in at a leisurely pace and stops to look, lip squeak him or call again, he will eventually keep coming. If he keeps his eys on you while running parallel toward downwind, he knows something is wrong so wants to check it out before coming in. You haven’t lost him yet, but you will probably have to stop him before he gets your scent. When this happens, get your crosshairs on him, get ready to shoot, and bark at him like a dog. 80% of the time he will slam on brakes, broadside, for about 2 or 3 seconds, giving you a decent shot. DON’T rush the shot; you have a couple of seconds to squeeze it off. If a pack starts to howl and bark at ya, or you see one running away from ya, the gig is up and it’s time to leave.
5) Forget cover scents (see rule 2) or scent killers. A coyote “sees” with his nose. Instead of smelling a tree, the grass, the grasshopper you stepped on, and a human, he will smell, a tree, the grass, the grasshopper you stepped on, and a human wearing cover scent. It just doesn’t work. I just read a coyote hunting article in a national magazine, written by a well known outdoor writer, which said to use scent killers of a certain brand. Unbelievable how the magazines have become one big advertisement for products. It will not hurt anything, but is a total waste of money. A coyote will pick your scent molecules out of the air downwind from a 5000 head feedlot.
6) Use shooting sticks or a bipod. This is quick shooting but also you are shooting at a very small target. Accuracy is king in predator hunting.
7) When you decide to invest a little more, get a good remote controlled electronic call. You will find that once you blow one sound on a predator call, the coyote knows EXACTLY where you are. So, when he comes in to view he will be looking directly at you. In this case, any movement will end the hunt. With an e-call, he is looking in the direction of the caller which gives you a small amount of protection. Using an electronic decoy helps keep his attention off of you too. MOJO’s Critter is the decoy I use and it is very effective. If you have any breeze at all, a turkey feather hanging about three feet from the ground, from a piece of string tied to a limb, will work just as well. Simple and cheap.
Finally, and I guess some of you guys may not agree with me but I’ll state my feelings anyway. If you are not going to use the coyote in some way (and principally the only useful thing is to keep the hide for either sale or trophy), then please, don’t shoot em. Show respect for your quarry. Please don’t shoot them with something that blows a hole the size of the Titanic on exit. The goal should be to keep the hide in good repair. Since coyote hides are way down on the market right now, I plan to send mine to USA Foxx and Furs to have them tanned. I’ll have a coat made for my wife, and the rest will be left as tanned to hang in the library and give to friends (those who would appreciate this type of thing).
Okay. Now go to www.coyotegods.com
and REALLY learn how to be a coyote hunter. I hope you guys take it up, and enjoy it as much as I do. Once you figure it all out give me a shout and we’ll go and scare hell out of some coyotes.