I settled in front of the juniper tree adjusting my Bipod legs to the height needed to make an effective shot on the creek bottom before me. A little over four minutes into Adult Cottontail from my Foxpro Fury, two coyotes were loping towards the caller. The closest coyote clears the brush but decides it doesnít like what it isnít seeing. It turns back into the brush but stops as I let out a bark with my voice. Only its head and neck are visible over the brush but it moves a few feet back towards the call and the 35 grain Berger from my .204 AR finds its mark.
As the first coyote tips over, the second coyote makes a break back the way it came. My second shot finds the shoulder of the other coyote at 150 yards as it runs through the sage. Watching the coyote roll through the scope almost surprises me as it connects--not a high percentage shot. Satisfaction indeed.
The hottest topic in predator hunting is sounds. Callers obsess about hand calls vs. electronic calls, specific sounds, sound sequences, coyote vocalizations, how long to call, how loud to call, etc, etc, etc. New callers become intimidated by the subject and may even be afraid to start predator hunting because they arenít confident in the sounds they are producing.
While calls and calling are important, the specific sound you make is several rungs down the ladder of importance in calling coyotes. If you sound panicked and under distress, you can call coyotes. You donít have to mimic the exact sound your favorite television professional makes. Itís just not that critical. The set-up is by far the most important factor in successfully calling coyotes. My previous article dealt with The Approach. This article will cover The Set-up and the factors affecting it.
During the stand related at the beginning of this article, elevation gave me a great view of the flat, the sun behind me made it hard for an approaching coyote to see me and the juniper broke up my outline. Even after giving my position away with a loud bark, the coyotes couldnít make me out and it was all laid out in a way that the wind would not give me away. When it comes to calling coyotes, set-up is everything!
The set-up is how and where the hunter locates him or herself, where your hunting partner positions himself and where the caller is placed if youíre using an electronic caller. The terrain, vegetation and weather, specifically the wind, all affect the choice of the set-up. Choosing the most effective set-up will maximize your opportunity to see and then execute shots on incoming predators.
Conversely, ineffective set-ups result in either not seeing the predators you call or being unable to make good shots on those you see. Either way educated predators are the result. For the predator hunter, making better set-ups is the single most important factor in increasing the number of coyotes that actually make it into the truck.
In some circumstances, the terrain you hunt canít be changed. ADC work will limit the area you choose to hunt since specific areas with problem animals are targeted. If your primary hunting property is land you own, your choices may also be limited. But, if you have a choice, call areas that lend themselves to effective set-ups. As primarily a rifle hunter, I look for terrain with some varying topography. My ideal stand has me on a slope above a flat. This allows me a commanding view of the area from which I expect a predator to approach.
A second alternative when using an electronic caller is to position yourself on the flat with a view of a hillside. Having an opportunity to see the approaching predator with enough time to reposition for the shot will greatly increase the chance of making an effective shot under controlled circumstances.
Shotgunners have much more flexibility in this regard since with the scattergun it is much easier to make fast, moving shots on coyotes. The basic principle is the same thoughóyou canít shoot what you donít see. Use the terrain and vegetation to your advantage. Western hunters with a lot of land to choose from can be more selective about the terrain they hunt increasing the odds of seeing and getting shots on incoming coyotes. However, the principles are the same regardless of where you hunt.