There are six coyote hunting mistakes we all make as new predator hunters. The good news? If you know what they are and prepare for them before making your first stand, you won’t make them.
Top Coyote Hunting Mistakes #1: Doubting yourself.
Buddy, the first time you turn on that caller, you are going to feel like a jackass. You will wonder how many other folks can hear that awful rabbit distress screaming out into the darkness. You’ll wonder if anyone can see you, how other predator hunters might judge your techniques, and if someone might be dialing 911 right now.
In other words, you will feel like a pretender. You’ll be sure people can hear and see you; consequently, they’ll think you have no idea what you are doing.
That’s okay. It’s quite normal. We all get what’s called “imposter syndrome.” That’s what it’s called when you doubt your abilities and feel like a fraud. It only lasts the first couple of stands. After that, you’ll get over it.
But don’t allow those imagined eyes and ears (there is no one around) to trick you into lowering your caller volume to nil, cutting your calling time down, limiting using your scanning light, waiting too long to take the shot, or worse, packing it in and going home.
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Top Coyote Hunting Mistakes # 2: Hunting with untested gear.
Everything you take to your stand must be tested, charged, sited, silenced, and operationally familiar to you.
A new caller can be challenging to operate in the cold and dark. Scopes are not magical devices; you’ll accurately place rounds in predators only as well as you put them on paper. A dropped magazine, fumbled safety, or collapsed bipod leg is a nightmare when you’re wearing gloves and peering at everything bathed in unfamiliar red light.
Practice at home. If you plan on hunting at night, do so after sundown in your backyard.
Top Coyote Hunting Mistakes # 3: You alerted the coyotes.
You park 10 yards away. You slam your truck door, grab your key fob, and hit the alarm. You smoke as you walk in.
You march noisily through crunchy snow and set your caller further away than your truck. Then you have to march back because you forgot to turn it on.
You sit with the wind at your back. A few minutes into your stand, and you’re playing with your phone and wrecking your night vision. You change butt position 30 times a minute, and get up and move to a better spot three yards away twice in five minutes.
You fiddle with branches and leaves to increase your cover, spotlight yourself with your flashlight looking for your caller’s remote, and accidentally send a wolf challenge howl stabbing out into the wood line.
Yep, you told every coyote within three miles where you are.
To avoid being detected by coyotes at the very least try these:
- Don’t smoke after you’ve donned your camo.
- Park your vehicle far enough away so that it can’t be seen.
- From the moment your truck rolls to a stop, maintain absolute quiet.
- Sit with the wind in your face and call into the wind.
- Minimize all movements and stay in one place per stand location.
- Think of your hands as if they were large flags. Don’t wave them around for a coyote to spot as it’s coming to your call.
Top Coyote Hunting Mistakes # 4: You quit coyote hunting too soon.
You can call a coyote in two seconds or two hours. Coyotes don’t live in dens all year, and they are constantly moving. Think of them like sharks. It may be safe to swim in one spot now, and you could get chomped on an hour from now.
Coyotes a mile away may hear your first call but be unable to respond to it right away. They may be mating, eating a dead rabbit, or finishing a mandatory sexual harassment course. They may be too far away to hear that raccoon vs. squirrel sound, but in 10 minutes, they might have moved just close enough to catch a hint of it.
Your mistake is thinking only in terms of your suffering. You’re cold, bored, and your butt hurts. You have a severe case of imposter syndrome. Three minutes into your first calling sequence, you start thinking you somehow screwed something up. You mentally quit, rationalize it with a lame reason, and as a result, you talk yourself into packing it in.
Five minutes after you have left, a coyote finally reaches your empty stand.
Fix it by committing to staying on stand for at least 30 minutes.
Top Coyote Hunting Mistakes # 5: You didn’t see the coyote.
Sometimes it’s easy.
That coyote was standing right in front of me when I turned on my light, but this doesn’t happen often. Coyotes take a while to reach the caller most of the time, and they are nearly invisible as they make their approach.
If you aren’t waving that red scanning light around like a drunken man flailing at Murder Hornets in a Port-a-John, you will never catch a coyote’s eyes approaching you in the dark.
Read how to use a scanning light here: The best coyote hunting light color.
Once you start calling, there’s no reason to turn off your light. Not one. Zero. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise.
Top Coyote Hunting Mistakes # 6: Shooting too soon.
When that first set of coyote eyes reflect back at you, your adrenaline will feel like lava pumping through your arms and chest. You’ll swear you are breathing loud enough to be heard by your prey. Your sites will drift all over the target area but never seem to settle down on the coyote. The sound of your safety coming off will sound like a clap of thunder in your ears.
As a result, you must wait to take your shot. Stay on target, give your body a chance to burn off that excitement. Let the animal keep coming in, until your scope settles down.
Want to know when you can wait, or how to tell when you have to shoot right now?
Click here to learn: Coyote staring at you shoot now!
Waiting to shoot may be the most challenging test you’ll have to pass, but shooting too soon, with a hammering heart, bellowing lungs, and an unsteady site picture? That’s going to result in a poor ending to your first successful calling session.
Let ‘em get as close as possible, get them to stop, and then slowly pull that trigger.
New to predator hunting?
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Sure, you make other blunder, but focus on these first.
You will make plenty of other coyote hunting mistakes, but these are the easiest to recognize, admit, and fix. Just ignore your own doubts, pretest all your gear, remain as quiet and still as possible, keep that scanning light moving, and let the coyote keep coming while you burn through that adrenaline rush.
Good luck, stay safe, and go put more fur in the truck!