One of the worst things you can do as a predator hunter is to get stuck in the rut of thinking there’s only one way to hunt coyotes. To think that calling, for example, is the only way to kill a coyote will leave you inflexible and a one-dimensional hunter. I recently took a father and son on a coyote hunt. During the first stop, we utilized three different techniques to get shots at three different coyotes. It turned out to be a micro-example of being flexible.
That first stop was at a cattle operation (read more about predator hunting near cattle), and we walked in well before sunup with an eye toward reaching an area where this farmer dumps dead livestock. As legal shooting light neared, coyote activity became obvious. We could see at least two, maybe three ‘yotes working the spot, driving us into a classic spot-and-stalk approach. With the wind in our favor and using whatever cover we could, we crept as close as we dared go with a group of three. With just a short distance to where a shot was possible, I sent my friend ahead to take the opportunity. He got the shot, but missed—unfortunate, but understandable because this was his first coyote hunt ever.
The high number of coyotes in the area, and the mild report of the .204 Ruger that I had loaned him, suggested this spot might get more visitors. So, I moved everyone to a large pile of excavated earth, where we could watch the world go by as the sun rose. We hadn’t been there long when a coyote appeared from the north, moving steadily in the direction of the area we were set up to ambush. With the coyote fully into our kill zone, I lasered it as my friend reported he had a rock-solid hold on the 170-yard dog. He took the shot, the dog dropped and he had his first-ever coyote.
We stayed hidden, letting the area return to normal while watching for more coyotes. When nothing showed, we elected to try calling from our location and putting my friend’s 11-year-old son behind the rifle. I used a diaphragm call to create 15 minutes of rabbit distress, but nothing showed. However, a switch to pup distress brought one out of the trees and to the same area where the dead one lay. The young fellow tried his best to duplicate Dad’s shot, but that coyote ran off to be hunted again.
Judging that to be the end of our opportunities here, I introduced these novice hunters to the you-shoot-’em-you-drag-em rule. While they retrieved the coyote, I readied my skinning gear and replayed what we’d done over the last 2 hours. Spot-and-stalk, waiting in ambush and conventional calling had each got us a shot at a coyote in a relatively short time period. All are effective techniques, and this was a great reminder that to take coyotes, it’s important to be flexible in your methods. Don’t get stuck as a one-dimensional hunter.