How To Use The Best Summer Coyote Calls

The best summer coyote calls mimic the seasonal sounds song dogs hear every day, in the right place, and at the right time.

Quick start for using the best calls for summer coyotes.

  1. Find an active coyote den.
  2. Hunt one to two hours after dawn.
  3. Play one sequence of prey or pup in distress sounds or a single aggressive howl.
  4. If there is no immediate response, wait 10 minutes and repeat your call.

Summer morning’s start with breakfast.

It’s dawn on a warm summer morning; the woods and fields teem with baby cottontails, squirrels, and fawns. Birds greet the sun with endless songs. Insects lazily buzz about sipping the dew off every blade of grass.

Inside the local coyote den, the female is resting with her pups. Outside, the male lies nearby, standing watch.

In an hour or two, before the heat of day sets in, the female coyote will emerge from her den’s entrance and take a quick stretch. Soon, the two adult predators guarding the helpless pups will venture forth in a quiet, stealthy search for food. 

If they are successful, their silent short foray will end with the screams of terror and pain of any helpless prey they encounter. The adults will bring the more unfortunate victims back alive for the pups to “play” with and help teach them the first life lesson as a coyote.

Use the best summer coyote calls near active dens.

An active den always has coyotes nearby, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

In summer, a coyote den is a gold mine for predator hunters for one reason, at no other time are coyote activities regulated, routine, and confined to one general area. Everything the adult female and male coyotes do is directly related to raising their litter. The feeding, training, and protection of this litter require the adults to remain in one spot until the pups disperse in the fall.

Like human adults with young, school-aged children, moving the family, even under duress, is the last possible option. However, searching for a new den would mean sacrificing time spent hunting for the food the pups need to grow and increase the amount of time the pups were unprotected.

All this means one thing for a coyote hunter, find an active den with pups, and you will be successful hunting them.

Recognizing coyote dens in the summer.

best summer coyote calls
Coyote den is summer. Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Ghost Bear

Don’t worry if you never seen a coyote den before. Most of the time, they are easy to spot and recognize.

In the summer, sometimes it’s as evident as a group of small pups standing in or near a hole as much as two feet wide, with coyote tracks running back and forth to the opening. If the entrance hole, often located on the side of a hill or ravine, doesn’t catch your eyes, the dug-out dirt piled in front of it will.

Dens made in thickets, under logs or overturned trees, and in the sides of hills or banks are harder to spot. But even here, the excavated soil mounded in front of the entrance is a dead giveaway.

Here’s a few pictures of coyote dens in different terrain.

Three methods anyone can use to find coyote dens.

Don’t skip this section! Instead, please read it carefully or bookmark it; you’ll need at least one method to increase your coyote hunting success.

Authors note: survey flags, bright pink squares of plastic attached to these wire rods, are excellent for placing in the ground near evidence and quickly provide you with visual reminders and a general direction of travel. At the very least, bring some flagging tape with you.

Trackback, from crime scene to the suspects.

The first way to locate coyote dens is by visiting an attack site at a farm or ranch. While tracking a coyote may sound like miles of walking, coyotes that attack ranch and farms in summer often live near the area. Therefore, it’s likely the damage was done by adult coyotes with dens less than 1/2 a mile away, if not denning under an existing disused structure on the property where the attack occurred.

Tracking back an attack will also take you directly to the animal responsible for the damage, thus eliminating future attacks.

Step one: Begin where it all ended.

Starting from the crime scene, walk in an ever-widening spiral starting from the bloodiest area until you detect trampled plants, shrubbery, or additional blood evidence. You now have a compass heading the coyote took while fleeing the area. Place a flag at the attack scene and your second flag at the first substantial evidence you find.

If you stop finding signs after walking some distance, head back to the last flagged sign and execute the widening spiral method of detection.

Step two: Keep searching, keep flagging.

Keep flagging every bit of evidence you locate. You should soon begin to find new evidence of coyote presence in the form of game trails or other markings left by the coyote’s numerous passages. The moment these paths start to lead up hillsides or into deep ravines, slow down and start looking for the dens themselves.

Step three: Watch for the path’s coyotes make near their dens.

The next sign you should see is the heavily traveled paths coyotes use in and around their dens. If you don’t see lots of coyote signs or spot the den’s entrance itself, now might be the time to consider a challenge howl. If you get a response, skip to the next section. If you don’t, move forward cautiously and slowly for another 10-15 minutes and try another howl at least thirty minutes after your first one. 

Howling; the best summer coyote call.

The howling method of coyote den locating is the simplest means of covering large tracts of land quickly and thoroughly. 

Starting about an hour after sun-up, set your caller at 50% of max volume and send a single challenge howl out across the land.

Any coyote at an active summer den that can hear this howl will be in its core territory. Depending on how far away you are, the offended coyote will reply or attack.

If you do not get a reply, continue moving as planned, searching for a sign in the form of tracks and scat. After thirty minutes, try another challenge howl. Request this process as you explore the area you have selected.

When you get a reply, move slowly and cautiously toward the source for no more than 15 minutes, carefully observing the area ahead for signs of a den or coyote activity. After nearing, take a seat and wait another 15 minutes while the area returns to its usual undisturbed silence. Then, at least 30 minutes after you hear the reply, rehowl once more.

Keep in mind; a reply can also be accompanied by an attack, even if it came from quite some distance away. And the closer you get to the den’s location, the more likely the coyotes who reside there will initiate a physical response to drive out what they believe is an intruder.

Keep up this howling and forward movement until you spot the den or cause a coyote to respond. At the point where the howl is loud and appears close by, it’s time to decide how you will entice the coyotes into coming to your caller, whether it is by continuing to irritate them with challenge howls or pretending to be an easy meal, it’s all up to you. 

Deep scouting: More leg work but incredible success.

While many hunters look for dens during the denning season and take advantage of the light snowfalls and colder temps, mid-June is the best time to scout for coyote dens.

When you use deep scouting to search for a den, you must remember to be methodical and meticulous. Coyote den scouting calls for great attention to detail.

Always try a little howling and scanning first.

If you search an area where no coyotes have been seen or heard, you’ll need to find out whether or not any coyotes inhabit the land. Howling just after sunset, even if done from a vehicle on the side of the road, is a good start. You can also try calling and scanning with a red light after dark. If neither of these options is available to you, however, you’ll have to invest some leg time to search.

By mid-June, many coyote pups across the states will have reached a level of maturity (between having been weaned and joining the adults on short hunts near their dens) to add to the number of tracks, amount of scat, and other signs. You will need to discover these signs first to begin your den hunting with any chance of success.

Where to begin deep scouting?

Where there are no other clues, it’s best to begin near a body of water, especially in drier areas. If water is scarce, this is likely to be a great calling area all on its own.

When you find water, circle around the area, and when you see tracks, note the direction they come from. Then, work your way backward (backtracking). Again, I like to use survey flags to mark evidence and keep track of my direction.

Note: Coyotes, especially coyotes in the summer with pups, tend to walk in narrow straight lines.

If at any time in your backtracking you find evidence of a recent kill and coyotes tracks leading away from it, follow those tracks using the trackback scouting method. Coyotes with pups will usually immediately return to the den site with a fresh kill to feed the puppies.

Backtracking, the prints should lead to a point where the arrival and departure prints meet and merge. At this point, you should be close enough (within 1000 feet) to switch to the more precise method of howling to finish locating the den.

Understanding the best summer coyote calls.

Most electronic callers have a large variety of coyote vocalizations. While it can be tricky during the fall and winter to decide which ones to use, the best calls to use during the summer are limited in number but wildy successful.

My favorite caller and the one I recommend is the FoxPro Hammerjack. It is hard to find, so I recommend you try another modern version of it.

As an Amazon Affiliate, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you, if you use any links I provide to make your purchase.

Coyote vocalizations.

Note: You can eliminate all the yodels and nonaggressive calls right away. The only adult coyote vocalizations you will use near a den in summer will be aggressive howls.

A single challenge howl will work best. It means an intruder is aware of the den’s location and presence of the attending adults, but is still willing to test their resolve. The challenge howl is basically just used to start a fight.

Pup distress calls.

The pups calling for help calls will consist of yelps and barks. Pup whines alone are not recommended. Puppies whine for many non-threatening reasons. For example, they whine when hungry and when mildly disturbed by littermates and adult actions. Like human parents, coyote parents learn to recognize the difference between complaint cries and actual danger sounds their offspring make.

The types of pup sound adults will respond to are:

Pup yelps. Pup yelps are definite requests for help. Pups will make these sounds when they are scared or feel threatened.

Pup barks. Pup barks are made when the pups feel personally threatened. These barks are an attempt to intimidate a trespasser and drive it off.

The best pups in distress calls will combine the yelps and barks of coyote pups, creating a scene of a den under attack and pups in mortal danger. This is a call an adult coyote cannot ignore.

Calling nears active dens.

No matter which calls you select, always use a sequence that mimics an actual event found in nature. For example, you put on a play and want it to attract coyotes; it needs to be interesting, believable, and compelling.

Around the den you’ll have to be very careful not to be detected. Click here to learn how to defeat the coyote’s senses.

For coyotes with an active den, there are two ways to entice them to approach your stand; potential food or possible threats to their litter.

Why any threat to the den is a threat to the litter.

It’s a fact; coyotes will eat coyote pups they find unattended. That, along with the coyote’s natural urge to protect its home, makes any strange coyote vocalizations a matter of priority to coyotes with active dens.

A single howl made near such a den can result in a warning reply or the immediate charge of an adult coyote. These warnings replies are understood by trespassing coyotes who will mainly flee the area. The value to a coyote hunter is found by noting the direction and distance the reply came from.

If you get such a response, quietly move toward the sound and wait at least thirty minutes before howling again. Then, you are either close enough to force a coyote to make an appearance or likely to get another reply that indicates you’ve drawn nearer to the den.

No matter what, when calling near an active den, be prepared to shoot at all times.

Using scenarios with the best summer coyote calls.

Again, there are two types of calls that work best when calling coyotes near active dens; Coyote vocalizations (adult howls and pup in distress) and prey in distress calls.

The two basic scenerios you can use are:

  1. The pups are being attacked now, are under the threat of an imminent attack, or about to be exposed by an intruder.
  2. Easy meal near the den.

Keep in mind; not all threats come from other coyotes. Bears, domestic dogs, and other predators will attack pups left unattended by their parents.

Best summer coyote calls for a pup in distress.

Here are the three best pups in distress call scenarios to use near active dens.

Scenario one: Pups being attacked now.

Use the Pup Scream or Pup Death Howl and let it run. 

The Pup Scream replicates the actual sounds made by coyote pups being injured. It will trigger the most incredible instinctual reaction in a female coyote. 

The Pup Death Howl appears to be designed for the same purpose, but the author could not prove that pups emitted death howls.

Scenario two: Pups under the threat of an imminent attack.

Use Pup Yelps and Pups Barks and let it run.

The combination of pup yelps and barks is an alarming sound to nearby adults. It signals the pups are afraid and trying to drive off an intruder. The adults will act immediately to respond to this call.

Scenario three: Pups about to be exposed to an intruder

Use Challenge Howl to make one howl at a time.

Use this call while still a short distance from the den. The effect should be a warning reply or the immediate appearance of one or more adult coyotes.

Coyotes do not kill intruders as wolves do. The adults protecting an active den will come in aggressively and puffed up but determined only to prove their ownership of the territory. They fully expect a trespassing coyote to easily submit, take a few nips, and evacuate the area. This expectation that none will be hurt often causes adult coyotes to charge callers recklessly. When they don’t immediately see the challenger, they will spend overly long periods barking and circling the area to search for it. This gives the hunter ample opportunity for chances to bark, stop the coyotes and take good shots.

Best summer coyote calls for prey in distress sceanrios.

The scenarios you want to create here mimic easy meals that fits all of the following requirements.

  1. Large enough to feed everyone in the family unit.
  2. Commonly found in significant numbers in the den’s area.
  3. Frequently and successfully taken by the adults in the past.
  4. In distress and close to the den.

This is not to say that a rabbit wouldn’t make a fine meal, but your goal is to create a sense of urgency. A fawn in distress meets all of the requirements above, with the added benefits of being one of the easiest to use and most accurate in replicating manufactured.

Scenario: Fawn in distress.

Use the fawn in distress sequence and let it cycle once. Then, add 5 minutes of silence before repeating.

Playing this sound close to the den will trick the adults into approaching the caller and investigating the sound. Here, using a decoy can come in handy and significantly increase the odds of getting a good shot.

Used at the perfect moment, an hour or two after daylight, you’ll catch the hungry female about to leave the den in search of food and maybe even lure both adults into range.

The best summer coyote calls can produce doubles, or triples.

After you shoot near an active den, keep calling. There’s always more than one coyote nearby. There may even be an older pup from the last litter, a female who has stayed with the family to help raise the next litter.

If this is your first time hunting coyotes, I’ve written a (somewhat long) how-to article you can access here:

If you are looking for information on how to hunt the eastern coyote at night, I’ve written the perfect book for you:

Good luck, stay safe, and try the best summer coyote calls yourself.

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr.

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr. is a former Marine Sergeant and the author of several books, including two on night hunting coyotes and red and gray fox. He has written several hundred articles on predator hunting for

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