Livestock attract coyotes. Even when they aren’t preying on livestock, coyotes will be found in the proximity of the herds. Why? There is always a good source of water regardless of the weather. Coyotes will also find nutrients in the manure of cattle, especially nursing calves. Ruminants also produce specific vitamins in their multi-compartment stomach, some of which are passed through the digestive tract to be consumed by the coyote. During calving season, the cow’s afterbirth is full of nutrients and sustains many coyotes that never kill a calf. Cattle may also stir up the occasional rabbit or other rodent providing the opportunistic coyote a chance at a meal. Coyotes love to hang out around cows. Find some cows and you may find a micro stand or two.
Another benefit of ranching to the coyote hunter comes from areas of haying activity. Many times hay meadows are cut in somewhat random fashion to avoid higher brushy areas or low sloughs that are too wet to cut. These somewhat random open areas provide places to make micro stands by either giving the hunter a view of the downwind side of the stand or providing shooting lanes in otherwise flat, brushy areas. The combination of brush and grass hold small game, rodents and birds for a coyote smorgasbord. Stack yards found around meadows provide cover to park a vehicle behind and may also provide an elevated shooting platform.
Most of the best areas for micro stands around livestock are located on private property. Make sure you have landowner permission and never take unsafe shots. One bad experience will ruin opportunities for years to come. Using fragile bullets will reduce the chance of ricochets as well. And, be advised that not all cows take kindly to the sounds of a predator tearing up small, defenseless animals. If you can, call from outside the pasture the cows are in. Coyotes can hear a predator call from an amazing distance.
As a predator caller, you don’t have to have huge expanses of country to be successful. Creek bottoms, dry lake beds surrounded by brush, a rancher’s dead pit, a winter killed game animal and upland bird preserves can all provide opportunities for micro stands. Following protocol for your Approach (See Calling Coyotes—The Approach October LRH.) and your Set-up is even more important with micro stands. Hide your vehicle, walk in quietly and follow Titus’ Rule…”Make ‘em show themselves if they want the downwind.” Although often ignored, your egress is also important. Slip back out as quietly as you came even if you were unsuccessful.
The need for a careful approach was hammered home on the very next stand Carl and I made that morning. After pulling into the property we were to call, we hid the Toyota behind a screen of brush and quietly moved a couple hundred yards to our set-up. We left a narrow strip of hay ground on our downwind side and put the caller and decoy ten yards in front of us. As the caller started some Bunny Blues, it was less than 60 seconds before a coyote was bouncing through the brush in our direction. It pays to be quiet on micro stands and it pays to be ready for action as well!
This winter look for the overlooked places. Many times the opportunities are closer to home than the big country you’re used to hunting. Go against the flow. “Go big or go home” may work on the football field but the opposite approach might be what you need to put a spark in your predator calling. This winter try a micro stand.
Tim Titus has been calling coyotes for 35 years. He lives in the coyote rich country of Southeast Oregon where he and his son spend their winters calling predators and their springs and early summers shooting varmints. Tim owns and operates No Off Season, an on-line predator and varmint hunting store and guiding business. You can check it out at No-Off-Season.com.
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