On a scale of 1 to 10 I would say my addiction to predator hunting is about about a 9. If you've never hunted coyotes I suggest you read on....I'm confident I can get your addiction level in the 7 to 8 range in a matter of a couple paragraphs!
I did my first stand for coyotes 5 years ago. I picked up a cheap electronic predator call from Sportsman's Guide and went out with a rifle in search of my first yote. I didn't do a lot of research or scouting in advance and my lack of results in the field started to wear on me. The next two seasons I spent more time online reading about coyote hunting and talking with friends and industry contacts who knew what they were talking about. Two years ago while turkey hunting in Prior Lake I had a close encounter with a coyote that fueled my passion for coyote hunting. Finally, after several years of trials and tribulations I shot my first coyote last winter, followed by my second....45 seconds later!
So after over 2 years of trying it appeared as though I finally cracked the code. The biggest mistakes I had been making in my early attempts were 1. trying to get to close to where I thought the coyotes were and 2. not paying close enough attention to the wind when I set up. Both problems have been easily corrected by 1. buying a FOXPRO Fury so I can call them in from long distances and 2. paying better attention to the elements when I plan a stand!
Coyote hunting is one of the fastest growing segments in the hunting industry...here's why:
1. Feel the Rush! When you have your first experience of a coyote running to your call not only will you be addicted, you'll probably convince 10 friends to join the addiction!
2. Hunters Welcome! Landowners are generally very generous in giving coyote hunters access to property to help control the population. I don't recall ever being denied access to land for coyote hunting....I wish that was the case for deer hunting! As always, be respectful when asking for permission.
3. Geared Up! You already own most of the gear you need for the hunt. If you have a 12 gauge shotgun you can pick up a super-full choke and some Hevi-Shot Dead Coyote to be effective within 50-60 yards. .243/.223/.22-250 rifles are also very effective at longer distances. You can kill a coyote with a .17 but my friends tell me it's probably on the lighter side of what you need to knock down a coyote.
4. Extend your Season! Ever have a big-game season that didn't fully scratch your itch? Prime time for coyotes in MN is December-February. This will help you bridge the gap between deer and turkey seasons!
5. Strong Population! Have you read all the news lately about people/coyote encounters? It's because there are more coyotes in MN than ever and they sit near the top of the food chain. They're also pretty smart and elusive so you don't see too many dead on the roads.
6. Smart Dog! Their intelligence makes the an exciting animal to hunt. As my experience taught me you can't typically ignore the basics of hunting and expect success. When you put the effort in and it leads to success it's a very rewarding hunt.
7. Cash In! A decent coyote pelt can bring in $50-$70. In recent years that amount has been over $125. If you can shoot 30-40 coyotes a year without driving 10,000 miles you might be able to pay for the experience in fur!
8. Save a Deer, Shoot a Coyote! It's well documented that coyotes kill deer, pheasants, turkeys, ducks and other game animals we pursue. Helping control the coyote (and fox) population will take a little pressure of other game animals/birds.
9. Coyote, It's What's for Dinner! Just checking to see if you were paying attention! Coyotes are scavengers and feed on road kill, carcasses, garbage and other nastiness. They're loaded with worms and parasites which don't make them suitable for consumption.
For more information on coyotes and coyote hunting check out www.furtakers.com. It's a fantastic predator hunting show on Outdoor Channel, produced by Ron Schara Productions. Watching this show alone can give you the confidence you need to pursue coyotes with effective tactics.
Feel free to share some of your coyote experiences. If you're new to the sport, welcome to the addiction!