Just the other day, I was having breakfast with one of my summer golfing buddies and he was asking me what I was going to do for fun when bow season closed at the end of the year.
“I’ll hunt squirrels, rabbits and coyotes,” I quickly answered. The rabbits and squirrels did not interest him, but the coyotes did. “Can I go with you when you call coyotes?” he asked. “It would really be cool to shoot a couple.” I just started laughing.
“Tim,” I said, “calling coyotes is not a high percentage deal. Most of the time when I go out for a morning or evening of calling, I don’t even see one.”
“Why is that,” Tim wanted to know. So I told him.
Most importantly in much of the Midwest and East, we just do not have the numbers of coyotes you need to have for really good calling success. Try as hard as you might, to call from the best locations, the truth is that in our part of the country you will be doing your best to attract a coyote to the call, when there is not even a coyote close enough to hear your call. That is one of the biggest differences between calling here and calling in the Western states. Out West, you can plop down just about anywhere and know that there will be at least one coyote within hearing range of your call.
Another important factor is hunting pressure. In our well-populated part of the country, coyote hunting has become a popular winter diversion. Some hunters call, some run hounds, others prefer to hunt in groups and drive coyotes. The method means nothing to a coyote, pressure is pressure in his eyes and a pressured coyote is one tough critter to call.
When I do predator calling seminars around the country, I am always amazed at how most of the questions from the audience have to do with what brand of call is best and what is the perfect rifle, scope and caliber for the coyote caller.
The cold hard facts are that the call you use and even how you use it, will not matter a lick if you have run the coyotes off just getting into position to call. Which, of course, makes the ultimate coyote rig nothing but extra weight.
It’s not enough to simply know that coyotes do indeed live in the area you are calling if coyotes see you, hear you or smell you while you are getting into position.
Bottom line? I have averaged about one coyote called in for every eight sets I make for the past 20 years. And when I ask other serious callers about their success rate, it will vary from one out of six to one for every dozen sets, sometimes higher.
So with success rates that low, why even stick with it, hunters often ask. For me, it is because when I do get a coyote to come sneaking or sometimes even rushing to the call, I feel a real sense of accomplishment. It’s a rush and that keeps me coming back for more.
Shop The Sportsman’s Guide for a fine assortment of Predator and Varmint Hunting Gear!
Gary Clancy writes a column for sportsmansguide.com. Gary has hunted whitetail deer in 20 different states and provinces. He has harvested many record-book animals, and presented hunting seminars from Tennessee to Wisconsin. Gary also has authored or co-authored six hunting books, four on whitetail hunting.