Coyotes Under The Gun As Fawns Start To Drop

Dead coyotes can’t eat fawns. Here’s some rifle hunting tips for GON’s Coyote Cull.

Mike Bolton | May 1, 2023

A chair with a movable gun rest allows Kevin Caudle to sit comfortably for hours without holding his heavy, specialized coyote hunting rifle. He can aim and shoot with very little movement.

It was an unusually crisp morning as daylight broke. Wisps of fog swirled eerily above every pond on every farm along Kevin Caudle’s drive from his home.

Kevin could have been just another farmhand going to work in this farming-based community, but his clothing spoke differently. He was dressed head-to-toe in camouflage and wearing long sleeves.

He does some farm work like most in these parts, but his work is quite unlike the farm work of others who toil the fields. In this community where getting permission to hunt deer is virtually impossible, farmers beg Kevin to hunt their property.

Kevin, you see, is a coyote hunter. Even though Kevin hunts in Alabama, his techniques are perfectly suited for Georgia as well.

Coyotes have received a lot of publicity in recent years because of their migration to the suburbs, but they have been a thorn in the sides of farmers for many years. Their migration to the East is legendary, but in the South, their journey was hastened by fox hunters who brought them in during the 1920s to have another species to hunt.

Coyotes are opportunistic feeders, and opportunity abounds in Georgia’s rural areas. For coyotes, newborn calves, chickens, ducks, family pets, fawns, quail, rabbits and turkey are like an all-you-can-eat buffet on the Las Vegas strip.

Farmers across the South despise coyotes.

There are many accidental coyote hunters in Georgia who take potshots at coyotes during deer season. Few have the willingness, the tolerance of heat and a specific plan to hunt them in the warm temperatures of the spring and summer like Kevin.

“There are a lot of farmers all around here who cut hay all summer,” Kevin explained on his drive to a tract where a farmer was eagerly awaiting his services. “The coyotes have learned that when the hay is cut, it reveals a ton of mice and rats that no longer have any cover. A freshly cut hayfield is easy pickings for coyotes. A lot of times you can see them chasing mice and rats in the field while the farmer is still in the field cutting. The running tractor doesn’t bother them.”

It might have been a safe bet that Kevin was the only southerner hunting on this day where the temperature was expected to reach 90 degrees. This was definitely not a day for a winter woods camouflage pattern. Kevin’s camouflage looked better suited for a tropical rainforest. He says to effectively hunt coyotes in Georgia during the summer, it not only takes special camouflage, but special equipment and tactics, as well.

“Coyotes are the smartest and wariest animals in the Southeast,” he said. “Their eyesight and sense of smell are incredible. If you hunt them, you educate them really quick. If you shoot one, you might as well pack up and go home because you’re not going to get another one to come out. You can’t hunt the same spot but once about every month. You can’t say some place is a good spot and hunt it every few days. They are way too smart for that.”

Kevin says he’s unsure why coyotes in the Southeast have a different mindset than coyotes in the West, but it’s obvious that they are much warier whenever in the open. He speculates that trait might be attributed to the fact that there are so many deer hunters who take shots at them when they come into food plots.

“You see videos of coyotes out West eagerly coming 500 yards across an open field to calls,” he said. “Coyotes here are different. It’s much harder here to get coyotes to come out in the open.”

It’s obvious from Kevin’s equipment that he’s serious about coyote hunting. His weapon is a camouflaged Remington R-15–VTR Predator Magpul chambered for .223 ammunition. It is outfitted with a noise suppressor and a Leupold variable scope.

“This gun is great for getting off quick shots that you need while coyote hunting,” he said. “The suppressor is primarily for hunting coyotes at night. You don’t want to shoot at night and scare everybody around you at neighboring farms that may not be aware of what you are up to.”

Also among Kevin’s equipment is a Caldwell Dead Shot Chair Pod that he takes on all of his coyote hunting trips. The chair, which is outfitted with a movable gun rest, allows him to sit comfortably for hours at a time. The rest also allows him to make long shots accurately.

“This gun of mine is extremely heavy,” he said. “This chair allows me to put my gun in a rest that moves easily. It prevents me from having to hold that heavy gun for long periods at a time. It also helps me to cut down on my movement, and that’s very important with coyotes. All I have to do is lean over and put my eye on the scope.

“Many times more than one coyote will come running into a field. Having a gun on a movable rest gives you more chances when coyotes are running everywhere.”

Kevin’s other equipment proves that coyote hunting has gone high-tech like most everything else in this world. A case in point is the device he uses to call in coyotes. Long gone are hand-made mouth calls made from shotgun shells and altered crow calls. He uses a Primos Alpha Dogg caller designed strictly for predator hunting. The $300 device is loaded with predator calling technology. The Alpha Dogg is pre-loaded with 75 animals-in-distress sounds and howls and has a USB port where 1,000 more sounds can be downloaded. It has two adjustable cone speakers and one horn speaker powered by dual 25-watt digital amps.

Most impressive is that it has a wireless remote control that has a range of 200 yards. The call list is displayed on a full color LCD screen, and sounds are organized by species such as coyote, fox and bobcat.

“Different calls work at different times,” he said. “This caller even has a rodent in distress call that works well, but you have to mix it up at times with something like a rabbit in distress call or something else. You never really know what will attract them. Sometimes they will come to coyote pups in distress calls or even a coyote howl call.”

Another item in his arsenal is an electric decoy designed to attract the attention of coyotes. His MOJO Super Critter decoy is a fur decoy that flops and swirls. In conjunction with the distress calls from the other unit, it gives coyotes something to zero in on and makes them less wary of their surroundings. It is also remotely controlled, allowing Kevin to turn it on and off from his position in the edge of the woods.

Coyote experts will tell you that trapping coyotes is a much more effective way of controlling coyote populations than hunting them. Kevin agrees, but he says trapping is not nearly as much fun as hunting them. He is an avid hunter who loves to hunt deer and other species, but he says nothing is more challenging than hunting coyotes.

“They can see better than deer and can smell better than deer,” he said. “You have to use different tactics. When you are deer hunting, you want to get downwind of them. You can’t do that coyote hunting because they always circle downwind of what they are after. If you get downwind of a coyote, you’ll never see him and never know he was there. You have to set up trying to figure out where he’s going to come and try to catch him circling around to the downwind side.

“Like deer hunting, you may have to be patient and sit awhile before you see one, but unlike deer hunting, you might have two or three come flying into a field at once that might only be there for a few seconds. You have to try to be ready to try to shoot as many as you can.”

Kevin said hunting yotes does help keep the population down, and it also keeps all of his hunting and shooting skills sharp.

“These things are fun to hunt, and you are doing some good when you hunt them,” said Kevin. “You aren’t wiping them out, but you are making an impact. Everything around here suffers because of them—the deer, rabbit, quail and turkey especially.

“The quail were the first to go. I remember growing up here, and the quail were everywhere. You never see one anymore. I’ve seen coyotes chasing full-grown deer, and everybody knows they kill fawns.

“They are really hard on people’s pets around here. I had one to kill a 6-month-old puppy of mine. They are really hard on cats and kittens. There is a farmer here who said they killed all of his baby goats. People around here had a lot of ducks and geese on their ponds, but not anymore. Coyotes attack the nests and eat the eggs. If the eggs do hatch, they kill the babies before they can fly.”

Kevin says night hunting coyotes adds an exciting wrinkle. He also likes to hunt freshly mowed fields at night during the summer.

“When you night hunt you use what is called scan lights,” he said. “I like a red light. They are necessary to identify what you are looking at. It can illuminate a coyote’s eyes up to 700 yards away. They also have green scan lights, but the green ones must be too bright because they seem to make coyotes more wary than the red ones.

“It is also possible to hunt coyotes at night using an thermal scope, but I haven’t tried that.”

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.