Of all the gear that is available, there are two things that virtually always go with me in addition to my rifle and call. They are a seat and a support for my rifle. A good seat that keeps you comfortable will allow you to remain as motionless as possible on the stand. It pads your butt and keeps you dry when snow is on the ground. Shifting your weight or scooting to a more comfortable position at an inopportune time has saved many a coyote from losing its skin. The type of seat that works best for you will depend on the terrain and vegetation you hunt. Taller brush or scattered trees allow the use of higher chairs. For instance, in Arizona itís common to use a step ladder to get above the brush and see the approaching predator. If you hunt tall sage, a full height chair can work. In the desert areas we hunt, a simple cushion or ground seat with a supportive back works best. Major Boddicker of Colorado, a minimalist at heart, uses a carpet sample for a seat and it doubles as a barbed wire barrier for crossing fences. In open grassland or broken country, a closed cell foam pad makes a nice shooting mat for the prone position. Predator hunters will find common ground with turkey hunters in this department and swiveling dove hunting stools may also fit the bill for the predator hunter.
This one rolled to a stop in front of my stand.
I like a cushion that attaches around my waist or snaps to my belt loop so my hands are free to carry other things, load my rifle, turn on a caller, etc. Most turkey hunting chairs have a strap to carry them over your shoulder. Use a piece of string or nylon webbing to add a sling for your pop-open camp chair or event chair and youíll be good to go. Whatever you use, get comfortable so you can stay still and dry. It will make you a more effective predator hunter.
Shooting aids are getting as common as optics in the field today. They have many different configurations--monopods, bipods, tripods, even quads that look almost like a mini bench rest are available. Folding sticks, telescoping sticks, and solid sticks are out there. Some sticks are twist locks, some are cam locks. Solid mounts and detachable bipods abound. Two things are very important here: use one that is quiet, and select the right height for your application. Itís also very important to use something that is quickly adjustable as to direction and height.
I personally avoid sitting bipods that use springs to hold them in place. They tend to be noisy especially if they contact a rock as you reposition your rifle. I prefer a bipod that detaches while Iím walking to and from my stand. The Stoney Point Rapid Pivot Bipod in the sitting/kneeling height works well for me. Itís possible to make quick adjustments to the height of the bipod by kicking the legs apart or rocking the rifle forwards or back just like using shooting sticks. You canít do that with a rigid bipod. I carry the prone height Rapid Pivot Bipod in a cargo pocket in case I get to my stand and decide to go prone. One last advantage to a bipod over sticks is that they naturally move as one unit with the rifle as you lift it and pivot to line up on an incoming coyote.
As far as choosing an appropriate height for your shooting aid, it may not be as obvious as you may think. The reason is that many stands are on a slope so the hunter can gain a good view of the surrounding country. This requires a slightly longer bipod or shooting sticks than are necessary on flat ground. If a hunter is taller or has a longer torso, he may find that the shooting aid that worked great at the range no longer works as well in the field.
Shooting sticks have two potential advantages over a bipod. One is that your Harris type bipod can be left attached to your rifle while using shooting sticks. And, secondly, the sticks can fall away if you need to get to your feet for a shot at an escaping coyote. The main disadvantage to most shooting sticks is that they have to be moved manually as you lift your rifle to face the charge of an inbound coyote.
If you donít mind a solid shooting stick, you can make a set inexpensively at home. Folding sticks may be handier to carry or to put in a pocket. Again, make sure the height is sufficient for those stands on a slope. The steeper the slope, the more height youíll need. Stoney Point, Bog Pod, Predator Sniper, Vangaurd, and many others make quality shooting sticks. Choose or make a set. Unless you are already an accomplished position target shooter, I guarantee your percentage of hits on coyotes will increase exponentially. Leaving my bipod behind is almost as serious to me as leaving my rifle.
Although not as important as the first two items, the use of either a prey or coyote decoy in some circumstances can really increase your odds. Decoys do several things on a stand. Decoys move the predatorís eyes away from your position, they confirm by sight what the predator has heard with its ears and, in the case of a coyote decoy, they can elicit a territorial response in a coyote. After reading many accounts of coyote reactions to decoys, Iím convinced that coyotes respond to decoys differently in different parts of the country. Choosing and then using decoys in your area is the best way to find out what works on your coyotes. I have, however, come to some general conclusions.
I firmly believe that the dominance level of the coyote responding to the call will determine to a large extent how they react to a decoy. I have had decoys seal the deal and I have had them scare coyotes away. Big, aggressive moving decoys may intimidate young, subdominant coyotes. I have seen smallish coyotes responding to my call turn tail and leave when they caught sight of the decoy. These younger or more submissive coyotes may have thought that the decoy was actually another coyote that would whip their rear if they got too close. On the other hand, the biggest coyote I ever shot was passing my stand by until he caught sight of the movement of the decoy. He turned and came in on a string to meet my 35 grain Berger bullet. My conclusion? Use a smaller, less intimidating prey decoy unless you know you are targeting dominant coyotes as you may in ADC work.