Coyote-Takers Calender: June
A month-by-month look at coyote habits.
By Martin W. Duke and Renee Nolan
The coyotes’ big meal wagon of summer is nigh, and we humans are serving the appetizer. With summer’s heat rapidly approaching, we hardly think back to six months ago when we shared our fabulous, warmly unifying Thanksgiving tradition with our families and friends and gave thanks for all our collective blessings. Our equally rich hunting heritage is also a tradition passed along generationally through participation and emulation and becomes woven into an individual’s being.
Today’s hunters owe thanks to their mentors who passed along our hunting heritage by giving their time and patience to bumbling, noisy neophytes and introduced them to their outdoor world. Good hunters of all species are constant observers, and the more keenly hunters observe and detect movement, trends and habits of their prey and their environments, the more successful they will be. I learned and use a highly effective predator hunting tip passed on to me by an older hunting buddy, Uncle Russell. Like many “southern” uncles, he’s no blood kin to me, but he was long ago conferred that title of respect and high regard.
Habitat and cover are critical and necessary for survival of wildlife, which instinctively behaves in predictable and observable manners. Like us, though their logic is not as advanced as ours, coyotes want to attain maximal energy by expending minimal energy with minimal exposure and risk. On occasion, I have written of the antibiosis relationship between coyotes and cattle. June brings another cattle-raising event that enduring predator hunters can use to their advantage.
To passing observers, cattle ranching may inaccurately appear to be a somewhat passive activity when grass is abundant, with ranchers’ direct involvements with their cattle seemingly casual, but it is significantly not casual during leaner times of the year, as cattle’s ravenous appetites must be supplemented. The bulk of wintertime supplement is hay, and ranchers’ summer haying operations are what predator hunters should capitalize on during June.
Let’s consider that the rancher drives the tractor with the mower attached into the outer edge of the hay field and begins mowing the tall grass, lapping the field in ever-smaller concentric circles until finally reaching its center, and how that affects some the field’s lower inhabitants like mice and rabbits. As the cutting begins, smaller prey species have two survival options, escape left or right. However, the subsequent laps around the field make June coyote hunting in the hayfields worthwhile, as those smaller preys’ choices are then only in the direction of the tall, uncut cover, which is getting smaller with each lap, until finally the last uncut grass—along with the mice, and rabbits—are cut in the middle of the field.
This appetizer from the big meal wagon, served courtesy of the haying operations, are opportune for summer coyote hunting. Once the tractor commotion has quieted in the freshly mowed fields, coyotes can be occasionally observed in broad daylight standing mid-field feeding on fresh carrion and catching the concentrated mice. If using an e-call, it works best to place it mid-field, lightly covered with grass clippings and co-locate an optional tail-spinner. Then retreat to a shaded over-watch position with the best view of the field’s edges. Mouse squeaks or baby cottontail are effective distress sounds while observing all that is happening.
Next month, the strategy main course is served. Meanwhile, June is a great month for enjoying this appetizer, and anytime is a great time to tell others, “Thank you.”
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