The Best Ways to Beat a Coyote’s Amazing Senses

Want to beat a coyote’s senses? Then stop dousing yourself in wolf urine, dragging a line of pots and pans behind you, and jumping around like your pant leg was on fire.

There’s more than five coyote senses.

Take a look at the above photo. Mr. Robert “Bump” Chase shot that four-year-old, two-legged, Eastern coyote nearly two years after first watching it limping around in the woods of Schoharie County, NY. That coyote had a sense of survival. If you don’t realize, right now, that a coyote has a powerful instinct for self-preservation—you’ll never become a successful predator hunter.

A coyote’s nose is impossible to defeat.

You stink. You stink something awful; as a result, Mr. Coyote knows you are somewhere nearby in three ways:

  1. He detects your smell by lifting his nose into the air and sniffing in the invisible river of odors around him. If he is downwind of you, he’s leaving.
  2. He can notice the scent left behind by your boots in the snow or where your gloved hand pushed a branch out of the way.
  3. He can easily pick out the millions of dead skin cells you shed as you shuffled your way to your stand.

So, don’t fight coyote sense of smell with useless products.

Hey, want to waste money? Buy some cover scents. They never worked for me, but I did not try wearing a necklace of those little pine trees car freshners.

Got even more dough to blow? Invest in some odor control clothing. Just remember to not smoke around it, don’t let the dog get near it, keep it outside in an odorless bag, and for Pete’s sake, don’t sweat in them.

What’s that you say? Bacteria killing soaps? Are ya hunting naked? Then it won’t do a damn thing for you.

Instead, stay downwind.

That’s all there is to it. Park downwind. Walk to your stand downwind. Sit downwind. Enjoy the wind in your face for a moment, then point you rifle upwind.

Easy, right? Winner, winner, hope you’re a good pelt skinner.

The eyes: A coyote’s worst sense.

Worst, but not bad.

In the dark, a coyote needs about 1/5th the light you need to see the same deer moving in a field. He can also see that deer moving 5 football fields away, but you never will. A coyote’s favorite colors are yellow and blue. He’d love it if you hunted in a rain coat and blue jeans.

What is he bad at seeing?

  1. Anything that is motionless. If you remain completely still, he won’t recognize your human shape until he’s well within shotgun range (20 yards).
  2. You, if you are wearing a Santa suit.
  3. You, if you have your back to a tree or a rock.
  4. Dark red scanning lights.

The coyote’s ears: Little radar dishes that will bust you cold.

Here’s America’s premier coyote expert, Mike Huff, on the coyote’s ears:

Listen to the great Mike Huff to learn all you need about a coyote’s sense of hearing. Here’s his website; I suggest you consider taking one of his guided hunts.

My experience has always been the same. Every coyote that comes to a caller stops a few yards away and stares right in its direction. Even with the caller off for several minutes, the coyote seems to know exactly where the sound came from with pinpoint accuracy.

After watching them stop on inches of snow, twist their ears a bit, and launch directly on a hidden mouse—I’ve tried like hell to avoid making noise while hunting them.

To that end, if the snow is crunchy on a cold dark and windless night, I stay home.

One great tool to help fool two coyote senses at the same time.

Remember that “instinct for self-preservation” I talked about? Well, coyote lives by filling it’s belly. The sound of prey in distress will trigger that instinct, but the sight of of a struggle on top of that sound? That will seal the deal.

The best way to fool both a coyote’s ears and eyes is a caller with a decoy. I have bought a few of these, but the FoxPro Hammerjack is my favorite.


Hey, I get a small commission, at no extra charge to you, if you click that link. But I’ve got a FoxPro Hammerjack with me every time I call Coyotes or Foxes, so I’m happy to recommend them.

Now, go put more fur in the back of the truck!

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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