Snow Dogs: Hunting The Coyote Rut

Posted: January 21, 2015 by gamegetterII in hunting
Tags: , , , ,

Yes, it’s cold, bitterly so. But once a rutting coyote—or three—answers your call and runs into your spread, you won’t need those extra hand warmers in your pocket.

There’s been a killing. Like detectives investigating a crime scene, my hunting buddy Dominic Valpiani and I pan our flashlights as we try to piece the clues together: a flurry of wayward tracks in the immediate area; tangled in some nearby sagebrush, a small tuft of fur; a patch of snow splattered with blood. Something, likely a jackrabbit, was blindsided midmeal.

Valpiani laughs a little. “Suppose that rabbit should’ve done more zigging instead of zagging,” he says. Then he marks the spot on his GPS. This could be a good spot to set up on tomorrow’s hunt.

This is the third significant coyote sign we’ve encountered tonight in as many miles, and given the differences between tracks, multiple dogs are working this basin. We get back in the truck and continue scouting, hoping we’ll find even more.
Once we have a hunting strategy in place, Valpiani and I return to base camp—which we’d set up a few hours earlier in one of Idaho’s many sagebrush deserts—around midnight. We’d had grand plans for a winter campfire, but it’s easier to ignite the camper’s propane furnace and listen to the drone of the weather radio. Surprise: More cold is on the way.

The Coyote Rut

Dog Walk: A hunter heads back with a nice Montana coyote in tow. Photo by Brian Grossenbacher

Valpiani and I don’t have access to private land, and by this time of year public-land coyotes have caught on to hunters’ tactics. But February is their mating season—a time when even the smartest coyotes lose their senses.

Before our hunt, we used GPS and detailed maps to peruse public areas neighboring private land where coyotes often find shelter, security, and easy access to food. We avoid low basins where snowdrifts amass, and instead look for south-facing slopes with partially melted snow patches and coyote tracks either coming or going. We’re respectful of boundaries, but we also know that dogs harbored on the other side of a fence will surely hear our calls.

We set up as if we’re calling elk, with a caller 40 to 50 yards uphill and behind a shooter. The key is to keep the initial howls and barks short and abrupt so as not to sound like a dominant dog, which can scare some predators away.
Valpiani and I often follow up with the squealing sounds of a distressed critter. Male coyotes are almost as interested in food as they are in mating. If the sound of an inviting mate doesn’t bring them running, the sound of a companion with a bite to eat will. Coyotes are scavengers and territorial by nature, and by combining our calling, we’re doubling down on two instinctual coyote drivers at this time of year.

The predawn air is stinging cold when we reach our first spot. The vapor of each breath mists over my mustache and beard and freezes, anchoring every whisker like cement. I can barely talk. Even smiling hurts. Just as the first hints of daylight wash over the desert, I see a private fenceline 100 yards to our left and know we’re right where we want to be. The hunt begins when Valpiani breaks the silence with a series of short, subtle howls and barks.

Read the rest @     http://www.fieldandstream.com/articles/hunting/2015/01/snow-dogs-hunting-the-coyote-rut?dom=fas&loc=todayonfas&lnk=snow-dogs-hunting-the-coyote-rut

Get out there and start shootin ‘yotes-unless you want to see fewer and fewer deer where you deer hunt.

In some areas,fawn predation is as high as 70%-that’s 7 out of every ten fawns born-70 out of every hundred-700 out of every thousand.

Get the picture? More ‘yotes = fewer deer, fewer ‘yotes = more deer.

Hunting ‘yotes ain’t easy,you have to make some effort-a lot of effort,it not only improves your shooting skills,it improves your blind set ups,your scent control,your camo,your calling,your blind placement and set up, your ability to hold perfectly still,and your ability to remain silent.

All of those things will make you a better deer hunter. besides that-it’s almost the end of Jan,what else are you gonna do between now and late winter/early spring steelhead and late spring crappie fishing and turkey season?

Beats sitting in the house getting fat from sodas,snack food and beers-plus it’s good exercise for you.

Aside from the shower curtain snow camo mentioned at the end of the article,you can use white sheets with a little black and grey spray paint and some driveway markers like the kind used by snowplow contractors to make a blind-so there ain’t no big investment in gear.

So,now that you have no excuses-start whackin ‘yotes-the furs will cover your ammo and gear costs,along with your gas money.

Comments
  1. Lovely description in how to control coyote numbers and not as the scientists do by “trying to understand them”.

    Still I’ve never seen a white coated academic that could shoot for sh#t so more power to your trigger finger!

    Like

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