Predator Calling 101

I. Basic Equipment
1. Rifle
a. Any centerfire that you are comfortable with is an acceptable starter. I hunted exclusively with a .338 Win Mag for an entire year. It did no more damage with proper bullet placement than my .243. A rimfire is not acceptable for coyotes under calling conditions.
2. Shotgun
a. A 20 ga. in any configuration that you are comfortable with is an acceptable starter. A 12 ga. is preferable because of it’s denser pattern due to more shot. Coyotes are very tough animals and birdshot just will not penetrate properly.
Copper coated BBs,Hevi-shot T, and #4 buck are the most popular shot sizes for predators.
The larger buckshot such as 00 has too few pellets to provide a pattern that is dense enough at the ranges that predators are commonly shot.
3. Scope
a. A good quality optic is essential. Generally you get what you pay for. It is common to see hunters with scopes that cost as much as, and even more than, their rifle. A low power variable, such as a 3X9, 3.5X10 or 4X12 is fine. Keep the scope turned to the lowest power when calling to maximize the field of view.
If a long shot is required there is almost always time to turn the power ring all the way up.
4. Shooting sticks
a. Shooting sticks are a very effective aid for precise shooting, but of equal importance they keep the rifle up and pointed in the general direction that the caller expects the animal to approach from which reduces movement that will surely be seen. In addition the lines and shapes that the stick and rifle combo present help to obscure the human form.
5. Electronic calls
a. There are a number of good ecallers available. Your budget is probably the biggest influencing factor. Shop, see what is available in your price range. Make sure it provides rabbit, rodent and bird distress sounds in addition to coyote howls and puppy distress.
6. Hand Calls
a. The number of different calls available from factory and custom makers can be overwhelming to a novice.
A closed reed, an open reed and a bite or variable call should be on the lanyard of an experienced caller.
The beginner should start with a closed reed call, practice at home, in the truck and on stand until he masters it then begin again with a different type.
A lanyard with 4 calls on it will provide all of the distress sounds that a caller will ever use. Howling is a very effective tool for the more experienced callers.
7. Camouflage
a. The purpose of camouflage is to help the caller blend into his surroundings and escape notice.
Canine eyes have evolved to detect 1. movement 2. contrast 3. shape 4. reflectivity 5. color and in that order of importance. Camo manufacturers would like you to believe that you must buy a certain type of camo clothing in order to vanish, to disappear from sight. In reality any clothing or piece of material that does not contrast with the surroundings, disguises the human form, does not shine and is not in the blue spectrum of color will be good.
Ladders and camo nets can increase your calling areas.

Ladders and camo nets can increase your calling areas.

Rich Higgins in his leafy poncho. With net camo you can setup anywhere. Even skylined

Rich Higgins in his leafy poncho. With net camo you can setup anywhere. Even skylined

8. Binoculars
a. Not every caller uses binos, especially those that call in heavy cover.
They are very useful in big open country or when checking under brush for cats.

9. Cover or masking scents
Beginners should concentrate on reducing their personal odor and using the wind to their advantage.

II. Stand Selection
1. Wind
a. Enter the calling are with the wind in your face if possible or approach cross wind from a direction that will pollute a quadrant with the fewest coyotes.
b. Set up with the downwind open whenever possible. If allowed to do so most coyotes will wind up there.

2. Sun.
a. Setting up with the sun at your back often isn’t possible. Do not sit in the sun. Sit or stand in the shadows of bushes, trees, ledges, farm machines, hay bales, telephone poles, etc.

3. Visibility.
a. Choose a stand that provides the best field of view without exposing yourself. Elevation is your friend, but do not skyline yourself unless you disguise your human form..
b. Thick cover can provide very productive stands even though visibility is severely limited. Make certain that you set up so that coyotes cannot get downwind without being seen.

4. Scouting and locating
a. Information from ranchers, farmers, hikers, field workers, and hunters regarding sightings and howling locations is invaluable.
b. Tracks and scat (droppings) are a sure indicator that coyotes have passed that way.
c. Food, cover and water are essential needs for the coyotes and human activities provide that. Agricultural operations, livestock operations and human residences all attract coyotes.

III. Calling Techniques
1. Electronic Calls
a. Set caller at a distance from your position, preferably upwind, so that an approaching predator’s attention is on the caller and not you.

IV. Stand Discipline
1. Stealth
a. Stalk your stand. Approach it as if a predator is very near.
b. Limit all movement. When you must move do so as if a predator were watching you.
2. Awareness
a. Pay attention.
b. Listen for movement and for a change in bird and squirrel sounds.
c. Scan the edges of your field of view. Look for shapes that weren’t there before and watch for any movement.
3. Time on Stand.
a. Most callers spend 10-15 minutes on a stand before moving to the next.
b. Pressured coyotes respond on their time schedule and not yours. Sometimes they require a lot of patience.
The length of those stands will be determined by your patience and attention span.

V. Handling Approaching Coyotes.
a. First calm yourself. The sight of a coyote coming in still sends a spurt of adrenaline in even the most seasoned caller.
b. Reduce the volume of the call and switch to coaxing sounds.
c. Remain calm. Watch the coyote. If he stops and looks behind him you will know that he has company.
Remain calm. When he is moving you can position your rifle or shotgun slowly. Remain calm and look for the other coyotes.
d. As long as the coyote is willing to approach let him. Remain calm and do not shoot yet.
e. Remain still when the coyote stops.
f. If a coyote sees something that he does not like he will look for a way out. Shoot when he looks away from you. Remain calm.
g. When you break stand retrieve your coyote(s) leave as quietly as you entered. It will be easier to call the resident coyotes the next time.