Shot Placement: Summer Hunting (Bring on the ‘Yotes)

This coyote was caught out in a summer rainstorm.

It was going to happen eventually. Spring turkey has come to an end almost nationwide. Yeah, there are a few stragglers like Washington State, my state of birth. In Washington you can go after three species of turkeys all the way until the end of May. And Washington hunting tends towards the epic in many ways when compared to other states.

That, however, is not the point. Summer is upon us, spring turkey and bear are ending – well, spring bear runs a bit longer – and many of us are going into a holding pattern. I have a freezer full of turkey and bear meat as well as fans and a hide that needs to be tanned. Now what?

This is the part where I ask why you aren’t calling coyotes or chasing hogs. If you’re in a state like Pennsylvania – yes, Ken, I’m looking at you – groundhogs are year-round. Oh, armadillos. Bobcats. Rabbits. Disclaimer: check your state’s regs; knowing the regs for every single state and county and relaying them to you here isn’t part of my job (surprise!).

There’s no reason your summer should be devoid of hunting. There are options; learn them. Coyotes tend to be the obvious choice nationally since feral hogs have yet to fully invade every state – note I say “yet” – and if you think calling coyotes is boring, guess again.

Calling coyotes in the summer months does pose its challenges, but that just makes it more fun, in my admittedly twisted opinion. And hey, once you’ve seen a coyote eating the back end out of a live lamb or calf, any comparison to pet dogs should fly right out the window. Their genus may be canid but they are varmints through and through. Pests. Opportunistic predators. Here are a few things to consider while calling summer coyotes.

Heat

Like hogs, coyotes don’t like the heat. In summertime that means making an extra effort to hunt in the cooler, early morning hours. Can you get one when it warms up? Possibly, but your chances go way down. It’s also a solid excuse to invest in some thermal; if hunting coyotes with thermal is legal in your state, I highly recommend it. Not only is it wildly successful, it’s crazy fun.

Coyotes tend to react to the heat of summer by sticking to the brush. Watch the tree line and keep an eye out for yotes skulking at the shadowy edges of fields.

Torry Cook, owner and call designer for MFK Game Calls, with a few furs from animals he’s called in using his company’s diaphragm calls.

Calls

Prey-in-distress calls are often an easy option during the summer. Since the adults are keeping growing pups fed, they’re likely to be interested in wounded food. Although rabbits are a fan favorite – check out MFK’s Ruthless Rabbit – using other species distress calls such as fawns or birds can also work (MFK has a new Bunny Bird diaphragm that covers you for rabbits, birds, and fawns).

In the same vein, pup-in-distress – like MFK’s Pup Screamer – works well, especially during the earlier days of summer. Many grown coyotes will come running at the idea of a pup in trouble. This is even more effective if you know where a den is located. Just set up nearby and hit the sounds.

Torry Cook, owner and call designer for MFK Game Calls – and 2013 World Distress Champion, by the way – has some advice for summer calling. “Move in close the next morning while the temps are still cool and use lone howls combined with pup distress,” Torry said. “That’s usually all it takes to put them in your lap.”

Adult coyote vocalizations tend to be situational and depend on your own knowledge and experience. Hit the wrong sound and you’ll scare them off; nail the right one and they not only howl back but come running. Choose howls with care rather than just randomly punching a button on your e-caller.

MFK Game Calls makes a wide variety of diaphragm calls and has also teamed up with Foxpro on a line of e-calls.

Location, Location, Location

This one’s fairly obvious: shade, things that provide shade, and water. You’ll have better luck calling summer coyotes when it’s cooler out, yes, but you also increase your chances by hunting in the right areas. During the hot summer months coyotes will be hanging out in shaded areas near water, so set up accordingly.

Another factor of location is considering doing locater howls prior to your hunt. Torry said he regularly incorporates locater calls into his hunts: “For summer coyotes I think locating them with group howls the night before your hunt really ups the odds. They’re typically still in family groups and will still be hanging close to or using the den site.”

Pups

This is worth mentioning because…ethics. The issue of the presence of pups seems to divide people in two camps, one side of which will shoot pups and parents and one that won’t. I fall into the latter category. I refuse to shoot pups and prefer not to drop a bitch clearly nursing a litter. Of course, I am not a rancher; their desire to kill every coyote they see regardless of age is understandable.

If you’re concerned about orphaning a litter of pups, keep in mind that they’re technically capable of being self-sufficient by eight weeks of age. Pups are born between mid-March and May depending on the region, so the eight-week mark will depend on where you live. You can always check with a local rancher or seasoned caller who knows when pups were whelped and make a judgment call from there.

Bottom Line

My bottom line here? Have fun. Calling coyotes requires patience and experience, so you have to get out there and do it to learn and excel. Personally I use both e-callers and diaphragms; both have their uses and an e-caller can be fantastic for distance and variety. There are quite a few brands out there. I mention MFK Game Calls here because I’ve had success with their sounds and respect the skill of the guys who own and work for the company. They live what they sell – it’s more than a job to them.

As for choice of firearms, I’ll leave that discussion for another day.

Summer doesn’t mean you can’t hunt, it just means you need to shift your focus. Predators are unequivocally my favorite classification of animals to hunt. Who doesn’t love a unique challenge?

comments

  1. avatar Kalvin in WI says:

    I really like the work you’ve done here, Kat.
    I just wish I could do some of the same things you do.
    (Broke 18 yr old)

    1. avatar Kat Ainsworth says:

      I’m in Wisco, too. We have some monster Whitetails! And if you head out to the Peter Bellans Wildlife Area the calling is phenomenal and they have longbeard like you wouldn’t believe. Just saying, you can hunt some stuff here. 🙂

    2. avatar BlazinTheAmazin says:

      What happened to Liberte??

      1. avatar Kat Ainsworth says:

        She is no longer with TTAG. I’ve been the Hunting Editor for a couple months now.

  2. avatar Bloving says:

    Not a land owner and I owe no debt to any rancher whose land I’m hunting on, so no interest in predator hunts for me. Not that I object… I guess I just have no interest in hunting anything I don’t intend to eat or is a threat to my food.
    So maybe that’s the real problem here: anyone have any good coyote recipies?
    🤠

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      Unless you secure all your meat during normal hunting season and don’t go out to restaurants then coyotes are a threat to your food supply. Predation reduces the supply of farm animals and ultimately raises the price. Even if you supply your own meat, ‘yotes will kill off the game animals. We aren’t going to run out of Coyotes so reducing their presence in farming areas is not a bad thing.

    2. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      Throw a nice rump roast into a pot of water. I add McCormicks Montreal steak seasoning as a dry rub first.
      Place a brick on top of the roast to keep it submerged.
      Go 30 minutes at a slow boil.
      When done, pour off the water, toss the dump roast in the garbage, and eat the brick.

      🤢

      1. avatar dlj95118 says:

        …I was wondering what was to be done with coyote. 🙂

        Save for collecting pelts, is there any other use in “harvesting” them?

        If not, then are the bodies just left to rot?

    3. avatar New Continental Army says:

      As a Florida resident I enjoy predator hunts, because of the rush, in being the tables can turn and you can become the game. That may not be a concern for coyotes, but it can be for gators.

      1. avatar Kat Ainsworth says:

        Absolutely love the opportunities I get to go after gators. I only wish I had more. And damn I love the meat, great with a good hot sauce.

        As for the rest…I know guys who do eat coyote meat. I’ve done it once, that was it. Their hides and skulls come in handy, though. And they absolutely are a threat to your food. If you eat meat, coyotes threaten your food source.

  3. avatar Gralnok says:

    Yeah, I stopped reading part way through. I like coyotes. To me, if it’s canid, it’s too close to a dog, and I won’t shoot a dog unless it’s about to attack me or a loved one.
    Yes, I know, coyotes are wild animals, as are foxes, but they still look like dogs and can even be domesticated. I also know that they can overpopulate an area and become a nuisance. However, if I do kill one, I certainly wouldn’t consider it “fun.”

    However, to each their own. I just don’t like shooting animals needlessly. That’s just my opinion.

    1. avatar Kalvin in WI says:

      At your place you may not need to shoot them, but at places like big ranches in TX, they are MENACES. They kill livestock. They carry rabies. They eat pets.
      To me, if it’s them or my dog, I’ll blow away every dam yote I see.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        “They carry rabies. They eat pets.”

        I know someone local who got to hear her cat being eaten by a ‘yote, so I’d have no problem popping one. And this was suburbia.

        If they are considered pests, does that mean ‘female in heat’ lures are good-to-go?

        1. avatar rt66paul says:

          Coyotes will use their own heat to lure pets to them, so what works for them should work against them.

        2. avatar Gralnok says:

          So, you’re advocating killing a canine to protect a feline? Killing something that can love and display affection, over something that really could care less about you and your existence? Wow. Again, to each their own. I’m just registering my disagreement.

      2. avatar Gralnok says:

        If they are a menace, then there’s a need to control them. Otherwise, leave them alone.

    2. avatar New Continental Army says:

      For farms, coyotes are a shear menace. They also dont ever show up when you’re ready for them. They always come at 2AM when you got shit to do the next day, then tear up your livestock. So, if you live on a farm, you kill them anytime you get the chance.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        “For farms, coyotes are a shear menace.”

        I’ve heard that farm sheep consider sheep farmers a ‘shear menace’, is that true?

        (As ‘The Bastard Operator From Hell’ once said : “Sometimes, I just kill me!”)

        *snicker* 🙂

    3. avatar Ansel Hazen says:

      You need to read “The German Shepherd Dog” by Max von Stephanitz. A detailed account of the creation of the breed. A group of German Cavalry men spent a good deal of their time as they tromped across Europe searching for the ultimate working farm dog. At one point the book details the attempt to domesticate a wolf cub. It was a total failure, kept stealing chickens, and Stephanitz stating they could never train the wolf out of the animal.

  4. avatar ironicatbest says:

    I used to shoot coyotes.i believe they eat more rats then lambs n calves. I wouldn’t mind if they put the low down on the rabbits either. Flea infested rodents, then they get sick n die and you got a nest of fleas laying in the ground waiting for the next dog or human to come by. I’m buying me a .9 mm and going flea hunting by gawd

    1. avatar Kat Ainsworth says:

      I’m sure it depends on where you live. I’ve seen coyotes maul and eat lambs, calves, kids (as in goats), foals, and dogs. I have no love for coyotes.

  5. avatar Paul Mcmichael says:

    Shoot every coyote on sight on the farm. Not indigenous here. Wrecking havoc on native population wildlife. Want something to occupy your summer hours? Wet a line, or keep shooting the vermin.

  6. avatar former water walker says:

    Around here(Northeast ILLinois) the bunnyhuggers and snowflakes vigorously support old Wile E. “God’s beautiful creatures©” and such BS. Until(?)they kill your little dog or child. Invasive vermin. Kill ’em all😄

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      alright… dog maybe… but your dog is a lot more likely to kill your kid than a coyote.

      Literally ONE case of a coyote killing a kid. Ever.

  7. avatar New Continental Army says:

    As far as I see it with coyotes:

    Kill em all. Let God sort em out.

    1. avatar Kat Ainsworth says:

      Right there with you.

  8. avatar Cooter E Lee says:

    Had a couple yotes hanging last week around the edge of a field in evening as I was cutting hay here in Central Kentucky. I think they were eating the rabbits/frogs/crawdads I was stirring up.

    I’m not a real hunter but I would have wasted that sucker if I thought I could kill shot hit it with a .380 at 30-40 yards off the tractor.

    And I would at least try to eat it, I mean why not try? Never heard of anyone eating them, but maybe they’re ok. If not, feed it to the dog. It’s a dog eat dog world.

    1. avatar Kat Ainsworth says:

      My smallest caliber handgun kill on a yote was a 9mm at about that range. Something tells me a .380 ACP might be less than effective (like you said!).

      1. avatar Cooter E Lee says:

        Effective wasn’t the issue. I ain’t exactly Annie Oakley down here. I’d be lucky to tag paper, much less an animal at 40 yards with any pistol on a good day.

        I’ll leave the pistol hunting to someone else and stick with a rifle.

  9. avatar Ralph says:

    I love the sound of yotes baying at the moon. “Listen to them — children of the night. What music they make.”

    And then they fvck it all up by eating your dog.

    1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

      Or your cat.

      Keep cats indoors, people. Between the ‘yotes and the psycho pet-killing kids, it’s a kindness…

    2. avatar New Continental Army says:

      Honestly I always thought a pack of coyotes howling sounded like a mass rape occurring…. anyone who’s heard them knows what I’m talking about.

  10. avatar Kalvin in WI says:

    I wanted to go coyote hunting this year with my stepdad. We had what was left of a doe he shot (guts and edible to human bits taken out) to bait them in.
    He had his AR, I had my Win 94.
    But then the bait went south.
    Badly. Smelled like shit. Didn’t want to stink up the ATV getting it out there, so maybe next year.

  11. avatar SheepMan says:

    I raise sheep on my ranch. I hate coyotes. Fortunately, I hate coyotes more than I dislike the people who object to coyote hunting. Fortunate indeed for those people.

  12. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    this happened ten years ago outside of chucky cheese.
    they run the rivers, canals and railroad right of ways and inhabit the golf courses.
    i’ll bet if i drag a diana in .22 down to where the skokie swift tracks cross the sanitary north branch i could call one in. but there are so many trolls living under those bridges that i don’t like going down there anymore.

    http://chicagoist.com/2006/04/04/showdown_at_the_mall_coyote_vs_poodle.php

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