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Change tactics for ‘educated’ coyotes By Larry Myhre

 

The dying rabbit screams were echoing off the hills on the other side of the valley. It was colder than a well digger’s heart and I was beginning to think this stand was going down as another exercise in futility.

Then I heard the drumming sound of galloping feet behind and to my right. I looked over my shoulder right into the yellow eyes of a coyote, sitting down and staring at me from about 12 feet away. Behind, another was charging in, his paws thumping the frozen ground so hard it sounded like a horse.

It was all over in about three seconds. I had two empty .243 shells on the ground and nothing to show for it but footprints in the snow.

And that’s how it is, sometimes, when calling coyotes. They don’t always come from where you expect them to.

Take another hunt in the Missouri Breaks in Nebraska. Three of us were sitting at the foot of a small wooded valley. The big draw up ahead had coyote written all over it, and I was about as confident as you can get on a coyote stand.

Twenty minutes of calling yielded nothing. Then one of my hunting partners whispered, “There’s a coyote up on that hill.”

There was a huge hill off to our right. I looked up there but could see nothing. There was plenty of snow across that picked cornfield so I should be able to see a coyote. Then I saw it loping down the hill, yet so far away it looked smaller than an ant.

Then it sat down and surveyed the valley we were sitting in.

“Don’t anybody move,” I whispered. [Read more…]

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Now is the time to give coyote calling a try By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal

The coyote sat on the ridge line for a very long time. He looked like a tiny dot highlighted against a graying sky.

I didn’t dare move.

The dog was looking for that dying rabbit he had heard, but he wasn’t going to rush headlong in.

“This one is going to try to circle around me,” I thought.

And then he began running down the hill. At about 400 yards out, he began angling towards my right. The wind was blowing across to my right. It wasn’t much of a wind, but he’d scent me for sure when he covered another 100 yards.

Then he ran behind a little rise, and I never saw him again.

That’s coyote hunting. There are coyotes, I believe, that will never be killed by a caller. But there are plenty of others that can be.

That’s why, when the temperature drops below zero and a few inches of snow finds its way to the ground, I began to think about digging out the calls and winter camo.

Calling coyotes isn’t particularly difficult. Here’s how we go about it.

I prefer to call right at dawn. It seems coyotes are still moving about after a night of hunting and are more willing to come in. However, they can be called with success all day long.

The equipment you need is not very extensive. Let’s look at guns first. Any rifle you have right now will work. If you plan to sell the pelts, the smaller calibers will cause less fur damage. The .204 Ruger is favored by coyote hunters who are trying to minimize pelt damage. A .223 is a common caliber. It has enough reach and won’t do a number on the pelt. Probably the all-around favorite for a predator round is the .22-250 Remington. It’s a fast round that will drop coyotes out to 400 yards and beyond. I use a Ruger M77 in .243. It’s loaded with ballistic tipped 55-grain bullets. It’s heavier than the other calibers, but not many coyotes run off after being hit with the .243.

However, you can hunt coyotes with any caliber you want. If fur damage is not one of your considerations, any centerfire cartridge can be used. And don’t overlook shotguns. We carry a shotgun on every hunt because we’ve had several occasions when we didn’t get the coyote because he was too close when we spotted him.

I used to hunt with a Harris bi-pod attached to my rifle, but I now use a pair of crossed shooting sticks or a monopod. They are more versatile.

When there is snow on the ground I use white camo and my gun is wrapped in a white camo sleeve. Your face mask should be white as well as your cap. If there is no snow, your camo should match the conditions where you will be hunting.

It’s probably easier for a beginner to the sport to use an electronic caller. Get one with a remote control so you don’t have sit right beside the box. Often coyotes will get conditioned to the dying rabbit sounds most callers use. With the electronic call you will have a lot of options such as woodpecker sounds, deer bleats, etc.

When it comes to mouth calls, there are lots of choices. I have both cottontail and jackrabbit calls. Cottontail calls work best in wooded areas, but out in the open I prefer the louder, coarser call of the jackrabbit. I sometimes carry a deer bleat call that I can make sound like a fawn in distress. To coax a coyote in closer I carry a squeaker.

I also carry a coyote howler. Howling works throughout the year, but it is especially effective during February when the dogs become very territorial because of breeding. We’ll save coyote howling techniques for another column. It’s definitely something you will want to add to your predator hunting bag of tricks.

The other thing you will need is some kind of seat. I use the same collapsible chair I use for turkey hunting, but any of the turkey hunting pads or seats will work. You just need something that will keep you dry and comfortable.

Picking a calling site is the most important choice you will make. Preferably it should be elevated to give you a commanding view of the area in front and to both sides of you. Also you will need a background to sit against such as a yucca plant or cedar tree. The wind should be blowing into your face or to either side of you. [Read more…]

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Calling coyotes can result in surprise visits By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal

The wooded valley was quiet. Snow carpeted the ground and my eyes searched through the trees for any sign of movement.
I was perched, back against a tree, on a ridge overlooking this beautiful wooded scene.

The Loess Hills in winter is one of my favorite places, and calling coyotes is one of my favorite outdoor pastimes.
I raised the call to my lips and sent out another series of rabbit screams.

Nothing moved. Then I sensed, more than heard, a presence overhead and it landed on a branch not 10 feet away. A great horned owl sat there peering at me with its large, yellow eyes. The question now was, do I continue calling or would that draw this feathered killer to attack. I continued calling and the bird just sat there. After years of predator calling, I’ve learned that you never know what might come in.

Another time I was in South Dakota, sitting with my back against a big wooden fence post on our farm. The creek ran through a pasture that hadn’t seen a cow in years. It was winter. Snow on the ground. The sun was just beginning to set. A perfect time to tempt a coyote.

I brought my call, a fawn call made more for deer hunting than coyote hunting, and began putting out squeals of distress. Then I waited, eyes focused on the brushy fence line on the other side. I called again and waited. Suddenly, to my right, a big doe and both of her fawns rushed in. Startled, I waved them off and ended the calling session as it was getting dark. [Read more…]

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When the Snow flies It is Predator Calling Time Gary Howey

When the snow flies, predator hunters know this is the ideal time to start calling predators.  It is a wonder that after my first predator calling trip that I ever did it again. One of those trips into the field, which will make you wonder what you were doing out there.

A friend of mine from Omaha who works as a manufacturer’s representative for a call company called one afternoon and asked if I would like to try howling for coyotes.

Back then, I was game for almost everything, so I told him why not. I figured we had a couple of hours of daylight left and with the new snow on the ground; we could easily spot the coyotes.

The sun had just set when he pulled into our driveway and I figured our hunting opportunity had disappeared along with the sun.
Well, I was mistaken as he planned on hunting after dark, with the two of us setting up back to back, howling at the coyotes, using the light of the full moon to spot them as they came in.

[Read more…]

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Some thoughts about the ones that got away By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the SiouxCity Journal.

It came charging in. It’s paws pounding the frozen soil so hard it sounded like a horse on the gallop.

My thumb found the safety on my .243. I turned my head to see what was running in, and stared right into the face of a coyote sitting on its haunches not 12 feet away, tongue lolling out in a kind of half smile. But behind that one another was charging in and making all the noise.

“Shoot him, shoot him!” Gary yelled.

But my gun was attached to a bipod and set up to shoot downhill in front of us. I couldn’t get on either coyote, and they were both on the run away from us and into a ravine and then were gone. [Read more…]