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.
Coyotes Hunting At Night Tips
Coyote hunting at night is a common activity for many hunters. It’s an effective way to increase the odds of success, so long as you know what you’re doing and do it correctly. Here are tips for hunting coyote at night, including the benefits and use of night vision in conjunction with advice from Photonis Defense hunting and night vision expert, Sean Kirk.
“They’re generally nocturnal, just like pigs,” Kirk said. “Night vision is ideal for targeting and identifying coyotes and It works well for that.”
- Study Up on Game Regulations
Not all areas permit nighttime hunting for coyotes. Those that do have strict rules to follow. Others are more relaxed. Regardless, the first step is studying the hunting regulations for the area you’re hunting in. Kirk advised that if you do plan to hunt coyotes at night consult an expert on state and local regulations.
- Conduct Daytime Scouting
If you’re hunting a new property scout these first during the day. You can see them better and identify potential setups much easier and with greater accuracy. You can also pinpoint potential safety issues and unsafe shooting directions, such as houses, structures, roads, etc.
- Still Monitor the Wind
Coyotes might be bolder at night, but they can still smell. Keep monitoring the wind. Set up so you minimize the likelihood of coyotes circling downwind.
- Deploy a Decoy
Coyotes can see at night, too. Placing a decoy can help draw their attention. If regulations allow, something with motion is good for pulling them in for a shot opportunity, or intercepting before they get downwind.
- Use the Right Vocalizations
Always match your calling vocalizations to the time of year, and the specific scenario. For example, match them to your decoy, if using one.
- Scan Constantly During Each Set
Keep looking throughout the duration of each set. Coyotes can sneak in on you easily and quickly. Night vision helps you see more ground more quickly than most lights can.
- Use a Monocular to Scan the Field
If your budget allows, and regulations permit it, using a monocular can help scan the field for movement.
- Run Night Vision on Your Weapon
Again, if budget and hunting regulations allow, running night vision on your weapon can increase your effectiveness. That said, it isn’t recommended for all weapons. “I would not use night vision with a shotgun,” Kirk said. “I’d use it with a rifle only.”
- Completely Identify Your Target
One of the most difficult aspects of night hunting is identifying your target. Dogs can look a lot like coyotes. So can foxes and other animals that might or might not be in season. If you aren’t completely sure that it’s a coyote, don’t shoot.
“For thermal, it’s harder to tell what they are, unless you spend big money,” Kirk said. “You’ll get very good identification with night vision.”
- Recover the Coyote
Coyotes can be difficult to track, especially in heavy cover. Because of this, beginners should try to hunt out in the open, which can make tracking easier. Still, night vision makes things easier.
“Night vision gives the coyote hunter a definite advantage, especially when tracking and finding it after it’s run off,” Kirk said. “If they run off, you can see the blood spots, and potentially tracks.”
- Put Safety First
Again, always put safety first. Be very careful with gun safety. Practice situational awareness. No hunt is worth injury or loss of life. Fortunately, according to Kirk, those who use night vision have better situational awareness and can navigate more safely. Its Auto-Gating technology which helps defend against sudden flashes of light and does it faster than you can blink your eye.”
Photonis Defense Systems