Calling success among predators often declines during February and March in areas with intense hunting pressure, where coyotes become less responsive to calls.
To combat this, Embry suggests employing various vocalizations including male and female lone howls, estrous chirps and pup distress calls. He prefers his FoxPro electronic caller in addition to hand call howlers or diaphragms.
From January to March, coyote breeding season is in full swing and hunters can have great success if they play the appropriate sounds. FoxPro field staffer Corey Groff recommends increasing prey sound tactics than normal during this period as female coyotes require extra food when carrying and feeding their young. In addition, post-breeding coyotes become more territorial as they protect denning areas while searching for sustenance.
Coyotes that have experienced intense hunting pressure during this same timeframe may become call-shy, so it’s crucial that hunters switch up their calls regularly in order to keep them fresh. He suggests using various wolf sounds – pup distress vocalizations included – during this lull period; “this will likely bring in coyotes quickly.”
Start out by howling to demonstrate dominance over subordinate animals like females and juveniles, before using coyote distress calls to draw them closer. Finally, adding some whines or yelps may bring one running towards your setup.
Challenge howls may also pique coyote interest, but Johnson advises against their use as they can come across as aggressive and intimidating to female and young coyotes. Instead, he suggests playing weaker return howls which still convey your message effectively and can bring coyotes into your area.
No matter if you are hunting during the rut or the lull, taking as much time in creating your setup as possible to increase the odds of success is of the utmost importance for ensuring a coyote hunt as thrilling and intense as hunting rutting bucks or gobblers strutting to attract an hen in spring is definitely worthwhile – invest the time, and you could score some real coyote action this February!
Coyotes tend to become extremely territorial during early spring as they establish territory and reproduce, often engaging in territorial disputes or fights that require predator caller and Predator Quest pro-staff member Matt Piippo to use a fight sound when hunting coyotes in late winter.
Piippo prefers an eee-eee-eee vocalization which mimics the distress cries of coyote pups to draw coyotes closer to him when calling, though similar sounds can also be achieved with an electronic caller or mouth diaphragm call. He believes this sound draws in coyotes as well as bobcats if cat season remains open where you hunt.
Groff states that one effective way of attracting coyotes is through the inclusion of food source and breeding sounds into your calling sequences. According to him, this step is especially crucial as post-breeding coyotes may not respond directly to any single call made alone; by mixing territorial, food source and breeding sounds together in one setup you may trigger their instincts that otherwise might remain delayed by other calls alone.
Abner Druckenmiller, host of Coyote Pair on Outdoor Channel television show Coyote Pair, believes combining various sounds is the key to drawing in coyotes. His setups usually begin by playing coyote pair sounds on his FoxPro electronic caller before adding in other sounds such as howls and female whimpers from wolves and some distress cries from coyotes fighting among themselves and distress calls from Coyotes themselves.
Piippo says to avoid sounding repetitive when calling coyotes, he likes to change up his howl tone throughout each set. Not wanting to sound too dominant when trying to attract females, Piippo prefers higher pitched howls that don’t sound aggressive; and often adds growls as an added touch – creating the impression of coyotes being chased or competing over territory.
January, February and March mark peak coyote breeding season. These animals often pair for life and find shelter under old trees with roots tucked beneath them or in more remote spots with good cover such as rocky slopes. Coyotes typically establish 30-square mile territories within which to roam their home range by using ravines as pathways between home range areas.
Calling in open “brush” country is often more productive than hunting thick woodlands where coyotes may find it harder to conceal themselves. Coyotes prefer hunting areas where they can quickly reposition themselves while keeping an eye out for any possible threats to themselves or their young.
To attract coyotes into your setup, try using a prey distress call. Coyotes expend an enormous amount of energy searching for mates and preparing to breed, so any sounds resembling prey such as howls, female whimpers, duet howls or food fights could potentially draw responses from this species of predator. Plus, coyotes being omnivorous predators will likely respond more enthusiastically if a call simulates rabbit or any other quick feeding prey will likely grab their interest too.
Expert predator hunters believe that employing various sounds during a set is integral to its success. Al Morris–one of only two three-time winners of the World Coyote Calling Championship–said he mixed howling and distress calls while calling on one set.
He noted that during a set, he likes to employ the sound of multiple coyotes howling in challenge, and if no response from any coyote comes back he switches over to quarreling coyotes complete with distress cries.
Morris suggests using these sounds during the half hour before sunset for optimal results. Veteran coyote callers concur with this assessment and believe a strong wind current should also help. To take full advantage of your efforts, locate yourself on an elevated location such as a hilltop to allow a clear view over your terrain below you.
Coyotes are on the prowl this time of year, searching for partners. When they find one, the results can be amazing – however it is important to keep in mind that these animals can be shy. After breeding season has concluded and they begin searching for food, water and shelter amid winter snows – it is wise to use various sounds when calling coyotes during February.
Tim Eaton has appeared on various hunting and outdoors shows as a member of FoxPro Furtakers field staff and advises including female whimpers and coyote pup barks to your calls to create uncertainty that may trigger territorial instincts in coyotes. Tim also suggests using his FoxPro electronic caller’s coyote Pair Call, designed to mimic male and female coyotes communicating while searching for food, water, and shelter in the forest.
He advises combining coyote pair calls with other sounds to create an image in their mind and encourage them to approach your setups more confidently, similar to how turkey hunters attempt to lure gobblers closer.
Another vocalization to consider is a male coyote’s challenge howl. Biologists have discovered that this sound, similar to that of a bull elk bugling, is used by these animals as an interloper enters their territory and demands they leave. Coyotes use this call instead of making aggressive calls as they prefer avoiding confrontation as much as possible.
Coyotes follow suit in entering their post-breeding period from February through March, which leaves them vulnerable and more difficult to call than during their breeding season.
FoxPro caller Corey Groff employs a mix of territorial and food source sounds in his setups in order to combat any lull in activity, adding subtle howls followed by soft whimpers as an effective strategy for coyote hunting; these techniques may also work when hunting bobcats which opens in February.