Coyote-Takers Calendar: MAY

A month-by-month look at coyote habits.

Martin W. Duke | May 12, 2018

By Martin W. Duke and Renee’ Nolan

Spring is waning, and summer is waxing. The dogwoods have lost their blooms, and the crappie rush has ended. This can be a challenging month of the year for consistently being successful at taking coyotes by calling. Their annual life cycle is in transition from late winter and early spring’s denning activities. Our flora is fully adorned, and there is abundant food available for filling a coyote’s stomach during the night, further causing their daytime activities to be limited. Therefore, a more focused approach may prove useful.

I focus on roads, roadbeds, tractor paths or any mowed rights-of-ways. Given the vegetative density at this time of the year, an abandoned roadbed may offer the only opening for a shot.

I have been told countless times by older gentlemen who have mentored me, and I have told others at least as much, that 70 percent of all coyote travel is along a road of some type. I don’t claim to be the sharpest pencil in the science lab, but in considering why this appears so, I offer the following hypothesis for consideration. First, all living things receive their energy ultimately from two sources, the sun and water. The sun energizes us with various types of radiation that life forms convert to useful energy, and water contains two of the three building blocks of life, hydrogen and oxygen, which are foundational in the Krebs cycle of cellular respiration, the energy production system within each and every muscle cell of every living creature. Roadways may have unshaded shoulders and receive far more direct sun than adjacent, more shaded vegetative areas.

They concentrate moisture. Roads, whether concrete, asphalt, brick or plain ol’ hard pack, do not absorb rainfall, but shed water to the road shoulders. These adjacent edges become de facto microcosms of improved nutrition based on additional rainfall (energy) received from the roads’ horizontal shed, where as the surrounding area only received vertical rainfall. The grass on the roadside becomes greener, thicker and more nutritionally packed than the vegetation only a few yards away. Rodents and other prey species that depend on those materials choose to eat where the grass is greener, just like we do.

Secondly, to the aspiring predator, there is a constant balancing act between energy expended vs. energy attained. More humans are bitten by sharks than eaten by sharks because the instant a shark sinks its savage razor-like teeth into any flesh, it calculates fat content. We humans are too boney for their tastes, and they realize this and release us most of the time. Coyotes want to hunt in a target-rich environment. They instinctively want their prey to be fat, healthy and energy-dense. Everything else being equal, prey species that feed roadside, be they rabbits, mice or moles, are the choicest of meals for their associated predators. So, for the sake of efficiency, I begin my hunt focus on roads, whether it is for looking for white, mineralized scat, or on roadbeds entering at a field’s edge where I have permission to hunt.

I constantly operate, no matter whether I am calling or trapping, on the premise that 70 percent of all coyote travel is along a roadway of some type. In my thinking, a 70 percent chance of taking home some prize fur is inspiring.

Become a GON subscriber and enjoy full access to ALL of our content.

New monthly payment option available!


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.