Basics of Predator Hunting

Submitted By Jimmy Estes Feb .22.2016

One of the fastest growing sports in the outdoors is predator hunting and I will try to cover the basics from equipment to setups to sound selection. First we will talk about calls. Two of my favorite choices are hand calls or electronic callers. I like the simplicity of hand calls because I have total control over the sound. I also like the flexibility that a good Johnny Stewart electronic call gives me to manipulate the predators to where I want them by being able to set my caller away from my setup. Remember that when you are hunting coyotes that 90+ percent of the time they will come to the downwind side.

When I hunt predators I use the same recipe as when I am hunting deer—a shower with Scent-A-Way green soap and shampoo, Scent-A-Way deodorant, my clothes washed in Scent-A-Way laundry detergent and dried with Scent-A-Way dryer sheets. My clothes are stored in a Scent Safe bag and I dress in the field, topped off with some Fresh Earth Wafers and a liberal dose of Scent-A-Way Max spray. Coyotes have an unbelievable sense of smell so any advantage you can get is well worth the effort.

When it comes to setups I look for stands based on the geography and the wind direction and the time of the year. I look for areas that have fresh agriculture activity such as bush hogged fields, fresh-cut hay fields or areas that farmers have their cows; these are all magnets for coyotes, I also look for open areas bordering brushy, grassy or heavily timbered areas. Like I said, when you're hunting coyotes always prepare for them to come in on the downwind side so make your setup with this in mind. Be sure that you have a clear view of that area and if you are using an electronic caller with a wireless remote, use that caller to bring the coyotes into the spot where you want them.

Another tool that I use a lot is a handheld GPS. It allows me to mark stands that I hunt and may want to hunt in the future. When I go to a new area I can scout out the areas and mark likely looking areas to come back and hunt later.

The sounds that I use are also determined by the weather, time of the year and location of where I am hunting. Early season I like to use soft coyote vocalizations mixed with prey distress sounds. When the weather turns colder and the coyotes have to hustle for a meal I switch to primarily prey distress sounds. As we get into the breeding season I switch back to a lot of subtle coyote vocalizations mixed with prey distress.

The location where I am hunting helps me decide which prey distress sounds that I use. If I'm hunting in an area with a lot of jack rabbits I use jack rabbit sounds, If there are a lot of cottontails I use cottontail distress, so pay attention to what kind of prey species are in the area you are hunting. It can help you decide what sounds you need to be using. I hope these tips will help you be more successful in the predator woods. Good luck hunting this fall!!