Whether it is the last hunting of the year or the first of the next year winter is a good time to get in some quality hunting time.  There is nothing like sitting motionless in the brush near and open field in hope that your calling will lure one of these wild dogs.  The reward is a fine pelt to be mounted or displayed as a rug. 

No longer is the coyote the song dog of the west.  They have expanded their range to include all of the lower 48 states.  Here in Illinois, they are a common sight from Chicago to Cairo.  Coyotes have developed a tolerance for man and his intrusion.  Even in areas where they are not heard howling they are still to be found. 

One of my friends tells me how he does not have a coyote problem.  Then he decided to clear some land for a pond.  While building the pond he shot 5 coyotes.  He has not been aware they are around and the pond is within 100-yards of his home. 

Hunting coyotes requires a mix of stealth, calling skill, shooting speed and accuracy.    Decoys work well in areas where coyotes become call shy. 

By combining a decoy with a howl call and a distress call imitating a rodent or bird, one enjoys the challenge of the chase.  Place the decoy facing toward you at about 30-yards in a clear shooting lane.  The wind should be in your face to fool the coyote’s sense of smell.  By keeping the sun to your back the eyesight of the coyote is impaired putting the odds in your favor.

 You should be in full camouflage that blends with the surroundings.  It is important not to move as coyotes notice the slightest movement.  Weapons should be camouflaged as well.  At the very least all reflective surfaces should be dulled with camo tape. 

Coyotes generally kill for food and are likely to take injured, young or sick small mammals or birds.  They also kill just for the sake of killing.  They are predators and take a significant number of fox.  Most all animals in their territory represent food to them.

 As a result of their constant search for prey, coyotes are particularly inclined to come to the sound of animal in distress.  You can alternate distress and howl calls to lure in a curious or hungry coyote.  Begin with a soft call so as not to alarm any coyote that may be close to your location.  Even if one is spooked keep up the calling sequence.  Other coyotes in the area may still come in to you.  Coyotes are known to hear such calls from as much as 2-miles away and will come to the sound location.

 If a coyote replies to the howl call, wait for at least 30 minutes.  During the wait try howling once or twice again.  Never call more than once every 10 to 15-minutes.

 If the quarry stops just out or range try coaxing it into range by use of a rodent call such as a squeak.  Just before shooting emit a bark and the animal will usually look up and offer a clear shot.  The target area is just behind the front shoulder where the lungs and heart are located. 

Basic equipment for song dog hunting is a decoy (can be made from an old coyote pelt stretched across a taxidermist form or cut out from a piece of plywood and painted), a call or calls (electronic or mouth), bow and arrow, or shotgun.  Rifles can be used but because of the brushy nature of ourIllinoishabitat they are not always successful in getting in a shot before the animal vanishes into the brush.  The usual rifle used is in such calibers as: .243, 22-250, 222, and the 22 magnum rim fires.  Shotguns are usually a 12-GA or 10-GA. 

Hunting coyotes is great fun.  They are a trophy or you can hunt them to help control their population and depredation of the small game in the area.  Some days they will make a fool of you and others you will of them.  Regardless they are a great challenge during those periods when other hunting is limited.

Posted 11/09/2011 by Donald Gasaway in Firearms, Hunting Small Game

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  1. I am interested in hosting a coyote calling calcutta in our area in western Nebraska. 2 days 2 nights. Teams consisting of 2 to 3 people. Entry fees split among the top 3 teams with most coyotes harvested. Late January, early February before we start calving. I would be able to host 3 of the teams at my ranch providing room and board package. by state law; No spot lights or chasing.

  2. Thanks for you comment. If anyone reading this blog is interested in attending your event they can click on your name and it will take them right to your website. Good luck with the hunt and I hope you get a bunch of them. Just too many coyotes in this world right now for the balance of nature. Don

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