Coyote-Takers Calender: OCTOBER
By Martin W. Duke and Renee Nolan
Fall is here, and the excitement wards off any chill that may greet us when we first step from our homes in the predawn darkness. The challenge of getting an arrow through Mr. Wile E. was memorable while combining our fawn distress calls to also attract a nanny doe, but now it is time to get down to serious coyote hunting.
The mating coyote pairs have dispersed. Their offspring are weaned and taught. The young coyotes are armed with razor sharp hearing, keen motion-detecting eyesight and the most discerning nose in the woods, and now they are scattered and on their own to make a living. Their only playbook is their instincts.
October is a great time for finding fresh coyote scat and tracks in the roadbeds of the fields and forests as you search for recent deer activity. Fencelines reveal who is in the area, too, by the barbed wire retaining tufts from those which transit its boundary.
The hide position and how it was approached is the most important influencing factor of a successful coyote hunt. Like many other game animals, coyotes cannot be hunted where they are, but where the hunter hopes them to be. Knowing wind direction and maneuvering the call to use the crosswind and downwind areas as viewable critter-approach corridors is vital.
Thinking that calling into the wind so the coyote cannot smell the hunter only puts the coyote behind the hunter and into his scent cone, which ruins any chance of a successful hunt outcome. Likewise, the path the hunter takes to the chosen calling site cannot be one which inbound coyote can reasonably be expected to use. Again, any inbound coyote being manipulated by a sound comes in looking for a reason to leave and is spring-loaded to do just so. Any human scent detected while on approach to the call will instantly halt the coyote’s forward progress, whether you see him or not. Hunt over.
There are thousands of coyote-hunting videos on the Internet showing coyotes inbound from great distances and easily viewable because of the open agricultural, grasslands or desert terrain. Very few of those coyotes are shot less than 50 yards. We here in the more-densely vegetated region of the Southeast do not have that distant viewing luxury, which is sometimes forgiving of scent-awareness mistakes. Here, a coyote holds up at 300 yards, and we may never know he was there. A lot can be learned about coyote behavior from watching those programs—how they use terrain and wind direction during their approach. We have to be more patient, more careful, more scent and wind direction aware than our western coyote hunting brethren. In our region, bringing home some fine fur can be as challenging as taking a 5 1/2-year-old white-tailed buck.
Give them something to see… no matter the game, there is no limit to how much money one can spend in the pursuit of all the latest gadgetry to help the hunter achieve the take. A low-tech, but high-take influencer is a feather on a string. Start with a stiff, 3/8-inch hardwood dowel. Sharpen one end, and on the other cut a shallow groove about an inch from the end. Tie on a 12-inch length of heavy monofilament to the grooved end of the dowel and a heavy barrel swivel on the other. Tie another short length of monofilament to the free end of the barrel swivel and tie to the other end a quill section of a single, long, wild turkey wing feather. That stiff feather, with its natural curve along its length, will move and spin about with the slightest breeze. For added visibility, spray paint it white. Spike the sharpened end of the dowel in the ground in close proximity to your e-call if you are using one, or prominently within your calling area. It gives the inbounders something to see when they come racing in looking for a dying rabbit.
Cooler weather allows us all to enjoy our hunts even more. Fewer coyotes in your hunting area allows all the other creatures to enjoy the woods, too.
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