By Todd Sullivan
I know it seems silly to tell you that if you're hunting in an area that shows no signs of coyotes, the chances that you'll be successful in this area are not very good. You can be the best caller there is and do everything perfectly but if there are no coyotes in the area you won't call any in. Scouting is no less important for predator hunting than it is for any other game.
When scouting, you not only want to look for signs of coyotes such as tracks and scat; you also want to study the lay of the land. Being familiar with the area you plan to hunt will save you plenty of time, possibly allowing you several set up options depending on things like wind direction and natural barriers.
Some hunters, including myself, use satellite technology such as Google Earth and preplan setups in the areas that have coyotes.
One of the best activities for you to do in the spring and summer is seek permission for land access. This is the best time to start talking to land owners. I even have business cards prepared with different themes.
I have one card for deer hunters who might want some predator control from "fawn killers." I have another card for farmers and ranchers who want help with "livestock killers" and another business card for pet lovers who are afraid of losing Fluffy to "pet killers." I'm sure you get the idea.
You always want to be respectful of land rights. When you plan to hunt an area you should contact the land owner in advance and tell them when you will be there. If you're successful, take the time to show them the kill. They usually get very excited when you do this.
You should talk to the people who deliver rural mail and school bus drivers. You should talk to deer or turkey hunters. Most deer and turkey hunters do not like coyotes. I've gotten permission to hunt some great spots every year by taking the landowners out and teaching them about coyote hunting. If you do get this chance, make every effort to get a coyote. If you are successful the landowner will look forward to having you out every year. Of course you don't want to teach them everything; they might not invite you, "the expert," back every year to help "thin out the coyote herd."
I try to get the landowners' email addresses and remind them when it's time to get after those coyotes.
Late summer is a good time to get the howler out and visit the areas that you have received permission to hunt. This time of year is when you can get the parents or the pups to fire off with some yips and howls. All you need to do this is your favorite howler and a good knowledge of some basic coyote vocals.
I consider scouting to be the most important aspect of coyote hunting, so put as much time and effort into scouting as possible. It's best to get all of your legwork done in the spring and summer so when it's time to hunt you can get down to business.
I've seen a lot of guys give up on hunting coyotes because they think they don't know how to use a call. What you do before you blow that call is far more important than what you do after you blow it. Without some good scouting you'll get frustrated and spend a lot of time out in the field just making noise.
Todd Sullivan (dogbreath) is a diehard coyote hunter and author with over 12 years of coyote hunting experience. He is also the author of a free beginner's guide to coyote hunting. If you would like to learn more about coyote hunting please visit http://www.FreeCoyoteHuntingGuide.com
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