Make no mistake; wily and cunning predators, like coyotes, can take a serious toll on whitetail and turkey populations. This is especially true when newborn fawns and poults are on the move during the spring and early months of summer. The good news is you can do something about it.
Predator hunting right now is a great way to manage your favorite whitetail and longbeard honey-holes. Plus, tangling with coyotes at the end of deer season gives you additional opportunities to hone your hunting skills, and it’s just flat out fun.
Here are some lethal predator control tips and tactics that will have you knocking noses into the dirt this winter.
Stay Under Their Radar
If you’re going to be a successful predator hunter, then you better learn to respect a coyote’s keen sense of smell. It’s extremely important to always play the wind and take extra precautions regarding scent control. Showering with scent-neutralizing shampoo and body wash that is scentless can make a big difference in the field. Wearing scent-free rubber boots and thoroughly spraying down with scent-neutralizing spray also will help keep you under a coyote’s sensitive radar.
Upon choosing a calling setup, carefully plan your entry routes and utilize the terrain to block or shield your movement. Try to quietly sneak into these setups and minimize alarming or unnatural noise as much as possible. Avoid breaking sticks and scraping against trees with your clothing and gear. A pair of soft-bottom boots without heavy cleats will allow you to feel the ground and prevent you from stepping on noisy debris such as dry leaves and sticks. How you approach each individual setup can make or break your hunt.
Choose Killer Spots
When picking the right setup, always try to position yourself with an open-field or some type of brushy barrier to your back. For the most part, coyotes will avoid coming straight across open fields with no cover or through noisy brush when responding to a call. Placing other natural barriers at your back like high-walls, cliff-lines and overgrown thickets before calling also is a good idea. This one simple step will keep you from getting winded and busted before you can take the shot.
Look for areas that offer good visibility, but enough cover for coyotes to feel safe enough to approach. Strategically putting out motion-style, prey-in-distress decoys will add realism to your calling setup, and help keep a coyotes attention and focus away from you. Make sure you break-up your outline with surrounding cover that allows you to move and aim without being detected. When hunting open terrain with minimal cover, cut a few sapling tree branches and place them directly around your calling position to keep you hid.
Make the Right Call
Once you’ve chosen your setup, custom-match your calling styles, selections and strategies with the current hunting conditions and situations. If you’re hunting areas with good cottontail rabbit populations during the winter months, go with crying and pleading rabbit-in-distress vocalizations. Various bird-in-distress calls and rodent squeakers may be your best bet in areas that lack solid numbers of rabbits. Always begin your calling sequences with soft and subtle tones before gradually building up to loud and frantic.
When observing breeding activity, transition your calling strategies from food or prey over to coyote vocalizations. A short bark into a single, extended-note lonesome howl can be all it takes to pull a big dog into range. Another effective calling sequence during this period involves a high-pitched series of barks. The key is to hit coyotes with one dose of each call and wait several minutes before changing vocalizations or moving positions.
During the later segments of spring, switch over to pup-in-distress, fawn bleats and fawn distress vocalizations. All three of these calls will work throughout the late spring and summer months. Generally, you’ll need to work each setup about 15 to 20 minutes before changing spots. Using this type of run-and-gun technique with these deadly calling strategies allows you to cover a lot of ground and ultimately get on more dogs.