Why not try bowhunting coyotes? They’re some of the most difficult predators to kill with bows and arrows, but it can be done!
With one season coming to an end and another just starting up, we all have that yearning for a challenge, something to keep our senses razor-sharp in the off-season. It’s a great way to test yourself as a hunter and ensure your skills stay intact while switching gears.
Hunters who have the highest success rate in stalking coyotes walk a fine line. Coyotes are sly and sneaky from birth, making them tough creatures to hunt.
A hunter’s success hinges on an eternal awareness of the wind direction, attention to clothing patterns concerning the landscape, and the tools employed.
When all of these things work together, and a hunter can close the distance between them and their target, nothing can compare to that feeling one gets when taking down such a wily but noble creature!
But before jumping into hunting, it is also essential to know what weapons will work best against coyotes; patience is also crucial here. Inappropriate weapons and tools can put you in danger and make your entire hunting session miserable.
So, why not have a checklist to ensure your coyote hunting goes smooth and fun? Here’s a list of a few improved tactics for bowhunting coyotes this season.
The most significant thing to keep in mind while hunting coyotes? Location, location, location!
Get outdoors and scout it for potential areas where the coyotes might be living. You cannot bag a coyote if you are searching for them where they don’t usually live.
So there is simply no substitute for scouting! “Scouting” for coyotes may sound like an easy way to empty a gas tank without reward and more complicated than it’s worth. Although, there is some benefit to scouting when you wish to hunt these foxy creatures.
Unlike scouting for turkeys, deer, or birds, you aren’t usually looking for the actual animal in places like this when coyotes are the target of your hunting mission.
You’re likely instead scanning your environment for other clues that indicate there might be some nearby presence that could potentially lead you to your ultimate goal – whether you’re aware of seeing feed signs or even possible fresh scat that’s been left behind.
Depending on where you plan to go hunting, it’s nice to know where ranchers place their dead livestock (which attracts these packs). Chances are they will leave something behind within the area that has caught their eye as a potential food source but not necessarily what they were expecting.
Tracks are one of the most informative signs that a predator hunter can find. Once you’ve seen them, it’s essential to keep an eye out for where they might lead because it can help you to pinpoint where the predator likes to live and hunt each day.
While it might not indicate a clear path of travel at first, if you discover multiple sets of tracks in one place, this is inevitably the best place to start hunting.
Similarly, while coyotes don’t make permanent beds like many other animals, they like to stick to specific hunting grounds. So if you find their tracks near regular resting places, it could provide some answers about their favorite hunting spots.
Arranging a setup to kill a coyote with a bow is different from hunting them with a rifle because of the proximity you have to share with the animal.
Typically, these pesky animals will try to move around in cover as much as possible, making it hard for hunters to get within shooting distance of them. However, they often have no choice but to come out into the open when feeding or scavenging, which gets them into trouble.
If you can find a spot where there are bushes and small trees on your side of their path, you’re going about it in the right way. If not, remember that dead animals attract predators, so don’t be surprised if you encounter one!
Setting up away from their approach path helps ensure that you’ll get first dibs at bagging an unwanted scavenger before those coyotes get their paws on your food.
Even if a hunter is setting up in an area surrounded by the thick cover, it’s essential to allow themselves to aim effectively.
That means one shouldn’t create scenarios where they have to draw while fully exposed!
They should try instead to minimize the presence of open lines that a predator could cross, instead of seeking out areas with fewer shots and the hope of being able to aim while remaining undiscovered by their prey effectively!
So get into a place with thick cover, back off to the densest area while maintaining the ‘edge’ within bow shooting range. Look for a hard edge, a rocky out-cropping, a sharp ditch bank, or sit behind a sage bush to remain undetected.
The coyotes have acute senses, so they will probably easily detect you if you are not behind enough cover and stay out of sight! So remember, hiding well is the key here.
If you are in hilly terrain, head for hollows, gullies, valleys, draws, washes, and other landscapes that enable you to set up on one side while simultaneously allowing you to survey the opposite slope for approaching coyotes.
When you think of ‘predator calls,’ we usually think of a screaming rabbit in distress. Though it has been a staple sound for hunting, it is not always the sound that will bring you success by luring the coyotes out.
However, there are lots of other sounds that bring success. For example, in areas with wooded landscapes, screeches and noises from woodpeckers or blue jays can result in positive prey responses. If there is none of that species where you are hunting, reach for the most common small game species of that region – such as jackrabbits or cottontails.
All predators earmark high-pitched screams, but they don’t necessarily recognize what kind it is when coming from a distance. That said, every hunter must make sure to have some mouse squeaker sound handy at all times, e.g., like that out of a dog’s chew toy (or be able to lip squeak if necessary).
There are plenty of sounds that you can employ while hunting, but it is better to go for those that move to make the task of reaching ‘full draw’ more efficiently.
Many people might think that choosing the right predator call can be overwhelming, but fortunately, you have many options.
Open reed, closed reed, and even electronic calls are available to you, and they all have their benefits. Open-reeded calls produce a more natural sound, whereas closed-reeded calls are suitable for beginners because they do not require much skill – only blowing!
However, if you want a primary switch to being a professional caller, I’d recommend an open-reeded call for you. Remote, electronic callers are are generally worth spending on to a bowhunter chasing predators.
The most challenging part of hunting a coyote is drawing your bow at the same time when the animal is coming towards you. From the moment they hear the call, the position of the hunter is detected. When you are both the sound and the shooter, your chances start dwindling before the coyote even arrives.
A remote caller allows a single shooter to operate a call with minimal effort and movement. Therefore, the remote caller has two specific advantages. First, it will enable the hunter to set up away from where he will be detected by coyotes approaching from downwind.
Secondly, when a coyote does get close, he will be focused on an attractant (the caller) rather than hunting down where all of that delicious smell is coming from!
There have been many advances in electronic calls for hogs since the Johnny Stewart Caller was released almost 25 years ago. For example, you don’t need to carry around a cassette tape, a speaker, a tape player, and batteries anymore.
However, you need to carry several calls in your arsenal and use them according to the weather, location, time of day, and wind conditions.
Successor failure when coyote hunting is affected by the wind. Because if prey animals are on their feet, you can bet that predators are as well.
Additionally, calling in cold weather is always a good plan because animals typically have to eat more in colder, calorie-burning conditions. When it comes time to call predators’ food sources, my favorite time is after a big winter storm break.
High winds, cold temps, and snow will hold coyotes and prey animals bedded down and in their holes for a while, but once the weather has turned around, it becomes the “perfect storm” for hunting predators.
Coyotes have likely heard many distress calls, but even if they are shy and cautious animals, they will still find a way to investigate.
Coyotes like to pick “high ground,” so try setting your decoy in an elevated position, including areas close to trees or on rocks/cliffs – this allows the coyote to achieve height superiority over any perceived threat. If you’re using electronic calls, set up your decoy next to your call and conceal yourself 50-75 yards away to reduce the likelihood of being spotted.
However, the decoy doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. You can always use a turkey feather on a string hanging from a branch or grass. The basic idea is to grab the attention off of the hunter and onto this flashy decoration.
It works well with many animals, especially for coyotes who need something bright and colorful to distract them; in order to buy that extra second, you need to string your bow.
Yes, of course, you can.
Though these creatures are incredibly clever and hard to hunt, especially with short-range equipment like crossbows, you can always hunt them, given you have the right tricks up your sleeves!
As explained earlier, winter is definitely the best time to hunt coyotes.
For a predator hunter, the months of January and February are the supposed best months for hunting them. During this time, your chances of seeing some coyotes on the prowl are higher than average.
Bonus tip: Early morning is the best time to go out hunting coyotes if you want a successful hunting trip!
Coyotes are incredibly crafty. They are quick, cunning, and hard to kill.
They have excellent vision, an extra-strong sense of hearing, and detect the smell from a long-distance—one mistake. So, yes, they are hard to hunt.
But if you love to take challenges, there is nothing more thrilling than hunting a coyote! Like a sudden movement of a slight sound on your part – and they will get cautious!
There are many ways to hunt coyotes, and a few of them are covered in this article.
Regardless of your method, you should be proud that you are helping to manage a species that is not always the friendliest to farmers and ranchers. Hunting coyotes with a bow (or any weapon for that matter) is a difficult task.
The challenges of this pursuit should be enough to deter even the most seasoned archers. Even still, it’s something all archers should try at least once in their life because it’s such a challenging practice and rewarding in so many ways beyond just the physical act of hunting down prey.
Go out in the frosty early morning in winter – set up your vantage point, work on visibility, minimize sound and movement, assemble your bows and arrows beforehand with meticulous care, prepare your calls and patiently wait for the right time!