I don't know anything at all about Arkansas, so I really can't comment on which sounds to use there.
But, in Wyoming; I generally start off with a prey distress sound (rabbit, fawn, bird, rodent) and blow/play a series that last anywhere from 5 to 15 seconds, repeated for 2 or 3 times, and spaced out by about 3 minutes of silence between the series. So, in 9-12 minutes on the set; I've only actually called for about 20 to 40 seconds maybe 1 minute of the total time. Usually, if a coyote is coming to a distress sound they will be there within that time limit.............This is how I call in the early months of the fur season. I'll attempt to make at least 6 quality sets a day, 12 is better.
Late months of the fur season........Howling is mixed in, or even starts out the set. Occasionally, a whimper or kiyi is thrown in or finishes the set. Sets take alot more time, and coyotes can take over 30 minutes to show up, and they sometimes just wont come to anything. Breeding is on their mind and the really good territorial responses don't happen till after the fur is no longer any good that year. Calling less often and watching/glassing more is the norm for late season success.
I prefer to call a little and glass alot. The binoculars are essential in Wyoming. On windy days the call don't carry as far, so keep that in mind. Also, in thick brush and timber the calls don't carry as far and rolling hills/ridges cut the distance the calls will carry too.
If you're interested in a good quality video/dvd of calling sequences with some light instruction, I'd recommend Randy Andersons' "Calling all Coyotes 2".
Also, his "Mastering the Art" dvd is quite informative for beginners. Beween those two dvd's, you'll have nearly 6 hours of entertainment and education with alot of coyote kills.
I didn't have any instruction when I began calling about 24 years ago, so I learned all the basics the hard way. Myself and couple of friends had gotten pretty proficient and we were actually working on producing a video when Randy Andersons' first one came out.......we threw in the towel on the video idea because there was no way to beat his quality with the equipment and time we had. Give them a look, I am sure you'll like them.
Most important things for calling coyotes IMO:
Approach the set with stealth, and watch the wind direction. Stay off the skylines and be quiet. Set up with some brush or rocks at your back to break your outline. Sit in the shade if at all possible. Make sure that your vehicle is hidden from the area you expect the yotes to come from.
Call where you can see downwind and any aproaching coyote will have to show itself in order to get your scent.
Call where coyotes are and where they can hear you, attempt to get within 1/2 to 1/4 mile of where you think they are before calling. If possible keep the sun at your back. The lighting has a huge effect on how well they show up to our eyes, especially in sage brush with scattered snow on the ground. Remember that sometimes they just aren't in the area you're calling to that day. Some days are great, others are terrible. Just keep trying and you'll succeed.
Keep body and gun movements to a bare minimum while calling. If you see a coyote approaching, try and move only when they are moving or when they are temporarily out of sight. Don't get yourself hunkered down in so much that you can't move......we never know exactly where they'll come from, so it's important that we remain versatile. IME, the sitting position is the best combination of stability and versatility. It also allows you to stay off the skyline and still see over the short brush.
When you've got the coyote in your crosshairs, and he's within sure killing distance, whistle or bark or howl or even speak and they'll usually stop long enough for the shot.
Long bipods and/or shooting sticks help steady the shot alot. Most don't realize just how small a coyote is at 200 yds untill they've had coyote fever, and it's a fever that never really goes down. Even when I was hunting and killing coyotes every day fulltime; it improved alot, but never completely went away. People that call them in close get the fever way worse than the guys who get them with other methods.
At one time I had aspirations of being a calling instuctor and making video's. Well, LSS; when Randys' first video came out, I realized it was going to take a big investment in camera gear and a fulltime 40+ hr/week commitment to get something on the market that would equal Randys' quality. We simply didn't have the money or time to pursue such an interest back then.
For anyone who's ever seen Randys' first Video, "Calling All Coyotes" on VHS, or even his second one (which was dvd) you'll see him using some of Dan Thompsons game calls (Dan is actually in a portion of the 2nd one).
Coincidentally, Dans calls are what I was using at the same time and I still continue to use some of them today, I'd tried alot of them, but I ended up liking Dan Thompsons' the best. I began using his calls in the early-mid 90's.
Main reason I mention this is that I just found out that Dan passed away the day after Christmas 2011. He had a heart attack in his shop while building calls (most of his stuff was custom built and hand made).
There's talk that John Haslam of (Basin, WY Ithink) will continue the Dan Thompson call business. But that is only hear-say at the moment. So, for anyone wanting to try Dans' calls, this might be the time to get ahold of some. We don't know for sure if they'll be available much longer. There is a website, and a google search brings it right up.
Thank you for the very thorough and informative reply to my question. I did hunt this weekend and had no luck but I will keep trying. With your instructions that I printed off in my pocket and following them to the letter I bet I do better on future hunts. I can't thank you enough for taking the time to assist me in becoming a coyote hunter. When I finally have some success, I will be sure to let you know.
Don't get discouraged if it takes a while to get one killed, they are one of the most challenging animals to hunt IMO, and sometimes even if we're doing everything perfectly, they just don't cooperate. Even the experts get skunked occasionally. I would guess that calling in thick cover is even tougher than out here in the open because they can get downwind of the caller without ever being seen.
Sorry to hear about Dan Thompsons passing. I have been to his coyote contests in Rawlins WY. We had alot of fun and good times. I can say he liked to have his hunts fair and square. Dan was truly a pioneer in the calling world and will be greatly missed.