Coyote Hunting Tips for Beginners With Byron South
Taking out invasive coyotes on your property benefits native wildlife populations and is a great way to continue to enjoy the outdoors. If you want to be successful the devil is in the details, so here’s some coyote hunting tips for beginners to get you started. In this article we’ll cover creating the best coyote calling setup, some basic coyote calling tips and choosing the best call for coyote hunting beginners.
Boys this age weren’t supposed to be out this time of night, but they are on a mission. With granddad’s shotgun, a spotlight and an old coyote call that “never worked”, the two spend the early night time hours calling into the darkness and periodically shining the creek bed trying to catch a glimpse of those wiley eyes. Much to everyone’s surprise, not long into the calling sequence, a coyote appears in the spotlight no more than 20 yards from the two. The report of the shotgun was followed with a dead coyote and two scared young boys.
Meeting grandpa at the house, the boys assumed they would be met with anger. Much to their delight they were met with celebration. Sneaking away was forgotten as grandpa saw one of the sneakiest predators in the wild had been taken off his cattle farm. This was the moment that ignited Byron South’s passion for coyote hunting and calling.
I recently sat down with Byron on the Huntin’ Land Podcast and asked him to break down some coyote hunting tips for beginners like me. Listen below.
Coyote Hunting Tips for Beginners – Creating the Best Coyote Calling Setup
On the subject of the best coyote setup fundamentals, South believes that the first thing you must do is mental.
“If you got out of the truck with the knowledge that if that coyote heard you, saw you, or smelled you, he is going to kill you, you will approach your setups a lot differently,” South said. You’ve got to be confident and take it seriously.”
In addition to being confident, it’s also important to manage expectations. “For a guy just starting out, the best advice I can give you is not to get frustrated. You aren’t going to kill a coyote every time out.”
Aside from the mental aspects, South believes there is one thing about the best coyote calling setups that is more important than all others.
“The wind is the most paramount thing. You’re almost never going to kill a coyote that is downwind of you.”
Coyotes have excellent eyesight. When creating the best coyote setup, I asked South how important camouflage is for him.
“When you blow that call, everything is looking at you. Camouflage is important but try not to get anything in front of you. We try to get something behind us to more importantly break up our outline. The most important thing is that you are comfortable and still. Try to use your eyes to look around and not your head. Too many guys are moving when the call comes on, don’t turn it on until you are still and ready,” South advised.
Coyote Hunting Tips for Beginners – Coyote Calling tips
Now that we’ve got the fundamentals of the best coyote calling setup, let’s understand the basics of coyote calling. I’ve witnessed guys barking, howling, yipping and letting out all manners of dying prey sounds. But which one is best? South says prey sounds are the clear winner.
“A big thing nowadays is using coyote vocals, but that is going the way of elk bugling in the 80’s. It was a really romantic thing to bugle in a big ol’ bull elk and it’s exciting to howl in a coyote. I always cast the widest net first, which is your prey sounds. They have the most appeal to the most amount of ears. The more aggressive coyotes will respond to howls better than the more passive ones, but they all like to eat rabbits.”
As a novice, I wanted to know what the best Coyote calling sequence to call. Is it better to call “off and on” or use continuous calling?
“We leave our calls playing constantly. A lot of guys say that they don’t continuously call because a rabbit doesn’t scream for 15 minutes straight,” South said. “The problem with periodic calling in tighter cover is that when you stop your calling, the coyote is now unsure what happens so he begins to circle downwind to figure out what happened. By constantly playing that sound you give him something to hone in on and you get a lot less coyotes downwind of you.”
One of my biggest struggles with turkey hunting has always been when to abandon a location that I’ve been blind calling from. Too many times I’ve left too early and scared a bird away or heard a bird gobble from my original location. I wondered how long do we need to give a calling setup before we move on to another?
South believes that if you don’t have a coyote responding to your calling in about 15 minutes he is history.
“You can sit there thirty minutes or an hour and eventually call in a coyote, but we’ve kept really good records over the years and 85 percent of the coyotes we kill in the first 5 minutes. In 15 minutes, If he’s not there he has either figured you out or he is not coming.”
Coyote Hunting Tips for Beginners – The Best Call for Coyote Hunting
Understanding what sequence to use is important, but what is the best call when coyote hunting for beginners? Byron’s company, Convergent Hunting Solutions makes both electronic calls and mouth calls. I asked him, “What do you believe is the best call for coyote hunting?”
His answer was pretty simple.
“I always have a mouth call on me, but if you try to call coyotes for 15 minutes straight, you’ll pass out. This is where the electronic call really shines. Additionally, once a coyote gets to a point that he thinks he should be able to see the rabbit, if he doesn’t see something, a lot of times he’ll veer downwind. That’s where that decoy on top of our bullet call really comes in handy.” Although a coyote may still veer downwind when he sees a decoy, he’ll be doing in well within your sight and gun range, and at this point you own him,” South said.
One of the challenges of using a hand call is that you have to keep it in your hands when you’re calling and this can become a problem when you need to take the shot. Convergent has some really cool electronic coyote calls that solve that problem.
“Our key product is the Bullet, it connects bluetooth to your phone and our audio library and has a legitimate 100 yard range. We have a mount for your phone that attaches to your picatinny rail and allows you to stay hands free and even film your hunt from your phone. The key to our calls are lithium ion batteries which put out twice the power of AA batteries. This equates to higher sound quality which finishes out more coyotes and brings leery coyotes in,” South concluded.
Coyote hunting for beginners can seem like a daunting task. Take these tips to the field with you the next time you can go. Coyote hunting is a great way to enjoy more great days outdoors with your friends and family and help your resident game populations. Stay confident, don’t get frustrated, and most importantly go have some fun.
This article first appeared in the March 2020 print issue of Great Days Outdoors Magazine. For more great hunting and fishing content for the deep South, subscribe to Great Days Outdoors print and digital editions or click the image to download this issue.