So, you have done your homework and you think you are ready to #BETHEPREDATOR. You finally broke down and outfitted your hunting rig with an ATN THOR or X-SIGHT II scope, maybe even went as far as getting yourself an OTS-HD or BINOX for hand scanning. You've spent hours at the range making sure you know your rifle and scope inside and out. Now, you can say your gear is ready, but do you know that is just the beginning?
Coyotes, foxes, bobcats and other predatory animals are not just sly, smart creatures, but are also some of the most elusive predators to hunt. For that reason, some basic hunting knowledge is needed before heading out to take down your prey, and a fair amount of homework and legwork is a must.
To help you be successful in your efforts, ATN asked our Ambassador Joshua Franklin to provide you with some Predator Hunting Tips, Tricks & Tactics that have helped him to #OWNTHENIGHT and #BETHEPREDATOR!
Location, Location, Location
- The most important part of becoming a successful predator hunter is having land to hunt predators on. If you don't have land, you can't hunt them...plain and simple. Without this crucial component, nothing else matters. This is by far the most overlooked and underappreciated factor in predator hunting.
- Proper scouting of an area can play a crucial role in the amount of success you can have as a predator hunter. Whether you are a novice or a veteran, knowing the area and having an understanding of coyote behavior is a must for any hunter.
- Another question often asked is when the best time to hunt predatory animals? That answer is simple! Anytime is better than sitting on the couch! You cannot kill coyotes sitting at home, so get out there and start making stands. Any good predator hunter will tell you that stands are no guarantee that you will kill anything, but hunting from one you will still learn something. That's the beauty of predator hunting, it's a non-stop never-ending learning experience. That being said, there are certain months of the year that are better than others. For instance, your chances for success are higher during breeding season and the pup dispersal season.
- Call in severely cold conditions! If you live where temperatures plummet below zero, use the cold to your advantage! Coyotes are looking for substance, they need the calories to stay warm in the midst of a cold spell. When the ground freezes and food sources become less readily available, coyotes are more willing to respond to prey distress calls during this time than when their food sources are easier to access and find.
Approach & Setup
- Since coyotes have exceptional noses, the general advice has always been to ‘keep the wind in your face’ to avoid detection and keep your downwind side open, and to also consider that your setup should be where you can see downwind because coyotes typically will come in on the downwind side. This is NOT always the case because coyotes CAN and WILL come in wherever they feel like, however, this has proven to be a general good practice. Again, the setup and knowing your terrain comes into play here more than anything.
- Each vantage point location selected needs to be based upon terrain and how a coyote may try to access the location of your call.
- As stated above, you want to make sure to have a vantage point of the terrain that you are hunting, but it is CRITICAL to make sure you're not too high up on the landscape where you end up sky lining yourself. Basically, based on your positioning, this is when your silhouette is outlined in the sky behind you to where the coyote could come into the call. You in turn, give the coyote an easy opportunity to see you LONG before you can ever see them.
- Setup is based on terrain and wind. Rolling hills, dense cover and other factors prevent sounds (and calls) from traveling. This is something to consider when choosing stand locations.
Remember, a coyote’s biggest defense is their sense of smell. They also do have keen eyesight and incredible hearing. That being said, there is no amount of scent killer in this world that can help you fool a coyote’s nose. You can be a human sprayed in the finest scent killer in the world, and to a coyote, you'll smell like Larry the Coyote Hunter who is sprayed down in scent killer chemicals. The only way you can fool a coyote’s nose is by not letting them smell you at all. This again, is where the wind comes into the biggest factor and keeping the coyote out of your downwind scent cone.
ATN wants to help you grow as a predator hunter. So, keep an eye out for Part 2 of our Coyote Hunting Tips, Tricks & Tactics series.