If you want to call in coyotes, or for that matter, a fox or bobcat, you need to keep them really interested. Calling coyotes means having their undivided attention, from the first sound you play, until the moment you lip squeak and pull the trigger.
Nail them to your caller. Get them to notice you, fix your location, stop whatever they are doing, and come straight in.
For the next few minutes, you need to forget about which call to use, the correct volume to play at, and how long to broadcast your sequence. So, for now, think only like a coyote.
Put on a show when coyote calling.
Mr. Coyote has his whole week already planned. Today it’s just three things: eat, mate, and sleep. Luckily for you, your caller has exactly the sounds you will need to convince him he can satisfy all his needs. If only he would stop what he is doing and do a little investigating.
To get him to do that, even if he has half a bloody rabbit clenched in his jaws, takes more showmanship than hard work.
You only have to create a mental scene in his head. A play, if you will. One that, should he survive after the curtain falls, he would call, “riveting” or “spellbinding.”
To call in coyotes, set a scene.
It’s this simple; before you send out your first sound, determine what scene you will be replicating.
Will you be playing the role of a trespassing coyote looking for a local girl? How about a badly frightened and wounded rabbit? Maybe you’ll mimic the timeline of a brawl between a raccoon and a fox?
Setting the scene is easy. Just use something that fits the current season of the year you are calling in, match that with known coyote behavior for that time of year, https://www.military.com/outdoor-guide/seasonal-tactics-for-coyotes.html, and cue up the correct calls.
Using reeds to call in coyotes?
All reed callers have one thing in common, they create sounds coyote haven’t heard before. They may be more exciting to use and amaze you friends, but the sounds they make will truly fascinate predators.
Closed reeds callers.
Closed reed calls are simple for one reason; they are made with reed length already determined by the manufacturer and fixed in place. While this limits the number of sounds you can create and their volume, it allows users to rapidly produce a consistent sound they can reliably use in the field.
Brian Rush of Rushcustomcallers.com teaches you everything you need to know about using a closed reed caller in this article, How to master the best closed reed coyote call.
Open reed coyote callers.
Brian also took the time to teach us how to quickly learn and use three open reed calls to paint any picture you like, instantly change to a different sound if the situation warrants, or stop a coyote on a dime.
You can watch his instructional videos and read the interview with him here: 3 Open Reed Coyote Calls You Can Learn Now.
Coyote Calling Theater.
Let’s say you’d like to play the starring role in “A One Night Stand, Stand.” So naturally, you will be a lonely, lust-filled male in search of a no-strings-attached hookup. Yes, I know coyotes are monogamous, but the world’s changing, my friend. Look, coyotes are already into the Green New Deal and against the 2nd Amendment. So how long can it be before they check into seedy motels and steal the towels when they leave?
Before we begin our little show, I’d like to point out two things:
1. You will be working your caller in a unique way. Rather than play the same sound over and over again, you’ll be switching up sounds and adding periods of silence.
2. Your going to be using sequences that attract and hold the interest of coyotes, but they will not be exact, nor even real-life events that occur in your area.
That last idea is too much of a hurdle for many experienced predator hunters to get over. But I have found, time after time, even a New York born and raised coyote will come the alarm call of a prairie dog. It’s foreign, odd, and they shouldn’t be able to connect the sound to a potential meal—but they come to investigate it nonetheless.
Let’s get your show started.
Calling Coyotes: Act one.
Call in coyotes with an intruder’s howl.
You begin your scenario with a nonaggressive lone male howl. After finishing the first call, let the area go quiet for at least two minutes.
If you are unfamiliar with what I mean about resident and transient coyotes, then check out this quick but instructive video:
What’s happening during your call? Any resident coyotes who heard that sound may instantly reply. Their response may be vocal, or they may rush into your call. If they do appear, they have one thing in mind: They want to punish the intruder, kick his butt a little, get him to submit, and then drive him off their land.
These coyotes are not coming in to kill another coyote. That’s important because this is a battle everyone involved in knows will only be a show of force. The residents will charge in, barking mad and careless.
You’ll have to be ready with your lights and gun the moment you issue that first call. The only problem you might have is waiting too long to stop them and have them break the line between you and your caller. If they do, they’ll catch your scent trail and tear off out of there.
Related: Avoid getting busted by a coyote here: The best ways to beat a coyote’s amazing senses.
If you get howled back at or get no response, repeat the lone howl and silence periods twice.
Calling Coyotes: Act Two.
Add some ladies to your coyote calling.
Three minutes after your last lone howl, it’s time to change to a female invitation howl. Again, one session, followed by two minutes of silence.
What’s happening? You are keeping the attention of the resident coyotes, but now things are starting to get more interesting for them. For the resident males, there is a potential mate somewhere nearby. For the resident females, the unwanted suitor is calling to their mates. Lastly, you’re now actually attracting any transient male coyotes in your direction.
Repeat the female invitation series at least three times, with periods of silence, before moving to the next call.
Calling Coyotes: Act three, scene one.
The beast with two backs.
Your third act is a killer during mating season, so be prepared for some potential fast action on that gun.
You will now begin using the female estrus chirp. Let this call run one full session, then add in three minutes of silence.
What’s happening? There are only two reactions to this call. The local females are going to be angry as hell. The males? Well, the only time a coyote makes this sound is when she is ready to accept a mate.
Calling coyotes: Act three, scene two.
Use the sound of trespassers to call in coyotes.
After 2-3 estrus chirp sessions, it’s time for Coyote pair yips. Again, a single session followed by a period of silence.
What the hell is happening? Mated coyotes make coyote pair yips (and howls). The sound tells other coyotes, “This is our land; stay out.” Resident coyotes that have refused to respond thus far will not be willing to suffer such an insult. If they do, however, repeat the call twice more and move to Act Four.
Act four: Now their eating our lunch!
Dinner is served! The last act begins with a rabbit in distress. Let it run and run, but play with the volume as much as you like.
What’s going on now? For resident coyotes: They have let a trespasser find a mate, claim their land, and now he’s eating their food? This has gone too far!
By now, your stand has gone on for long enough to rope in any coyotes who were too far away to hear your first series of calls. Coyotes that are transients, or even disinterested residents, now hear a dinner bell going off. Is there anything you are missing? Nope!
Author’s note: This is as far as I have ever gone. It takes at least an hour to get this far into the stand. That’s a lot of time, but here’s how the last five minutes went:
Create a scene, and you’ll call in coyotes.
There is one thing a coyote caller never sees; the coyote that came in just after they packed up and moved to the next stand. A great scene will take time. As a result, you need to plan to be on the stand for at least 45 minutes. Time for a distant coyote to close the gap. Time for a disinterested coyote to hear something truly irresistible.
Trust me, if you have properly scouted, there are coyotes living nearby. You’ll eventually call them in.
Author’s note: Staying on a stand for as long as possible is especially critical for those hunting eastern coyotes. If you live in a region with eastern coyotes, I urge you to read this article: Hunting Eastern Coyotes: How to Become a Giant Killer.
Coyotes always act like coyotes—every time.
In the video above, these were resident coyotes, furious and convinced their territory had been violated. But it took them 45 minutes to show up and nearly 30 more minutes to decide to close the gap. The only thing that gave them away was a few angry barks they made 45 minutes into the stand. The rest of the time, they were invisible.
Yes, they knew something was up. Watch these coyotes keep track of me after I lip squeak; they never forget where my sound came from. Yes, they were very cautious and spent a long time scouting and slipping around to catch the wind. They knew something was wrong, but they were compelled to investigate further.
The power of using your caller to create a mental image is this: A coyote has to act like a coyote. Blaring a rabbit distress does not bring in a dog with a full belly. The estrus chirp doesn’t work outside of mating season. Coyote yip pairs won’t bring a transient coyote in to look for trouble. But use various calls to create a play that tells a story like the one above, and you appeal to every coyote nearby.
I still prefer my FoxPro Hammerjack for this overly long play. I’ve abused it, but it calls in foxes and coyotes galore for me.
If you purchase using the above link, I receive a small commission—at no extra charge to you.
Have some fun while you really call in coyotes.
I’m sure you already have a few ideas of your own, why not try one? I think you’ll find your stands are more enjoyable and that time seems to fly by. Every time you run a stand like this, you will be thinking like a coyote. It can be a little weird, but you’ll learn how to work every dollar of value out of your caller, gain a deeper understanding of your foe, and end more sets pulling a trigger instead of trudging back to your ride empty-handed.
Here’s a link to help you avoid making one of the six most common mistakes if you are a new predator hunter: https://thepredatorhunter.com/avoid-these-six-coyote-hunting-mistakes-all-rookies-make/
One last thought before you go. If the two coyotes in the video hadn’t gotten close enough for the shot, what would have been your next call?
Me? I had coyote pup distress cued up and ready to go.
Trying to call in coyotes at night?
Night hunting is a different game, as a result, I suggest you try my book out, here:
Now go be interesting, and call in coyotes like a pro.