By Andrew Persson
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Now that the deer season for rifle hunters has come to an end, many sportsmen will be hitting the hard-water to start putting early season fish on the ice. However, for those who would rather have a gun in their hands than a fishing rod, there is still one great hunting opportunity–coyotes.
A coyote hunt is often off the radar of many hunters, and that may be because there is no designated coyote season in Minnesota; it is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. It is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy hunting even more, and many never attempt it.
Chasing coyotes can look intimidating, but with a few simple tips, putting these predators on the ground will quickly become second nature. One of the main challenges of hunting coyotes is that they are highly nocturnal, which can make hunting them quite a bit more difficult. However, wintertime is the best season to hunt them. The weather causes a need for more food, which in turn gives hunters more daytime opportunities to harvest one. Night hunting is also an option for success, especially from January through March 15, as the law allows a hunter to use a light. During the other nine months of the year, focusing efforts to dawn and dusk will be the best producing times for a coyote hunter.
As many hunters have seen on television, the electronic call has become a very popular tool to use when seeking these inquisitive animals. Having one in the field is a great way to increase the chance for success; however, there are a couple things to keep in mind so this useful tool helps instead of hurts.
One incorrect stereotype hunters can get from television is that the call is always used at full volume to reach the longest distance that it can. The best way to go about calling with one of these machines is to start at a very low volume and slowly work into a louder sequence. Always keep in mind the call will be able to go louder and reach out to a longer distance, however if you start at a high volume it could startle and ward off any coyotes that were already nearby.
A second idea hunters pick up from TV is that the only call that will work is the nicest, top-of-the-line call. Although they may have more features and calling options on these models, the lower end ones will definitely get the job done. The only feature that is important to have is adjustable volume from the remote, that way starting at a low volume and going into high volume calling is a simple adjustment from where the hunter is set up.
Visual attractants, also known as decoys, are another great way to entice a coyote into shooting range. When paired correctly with an electronic call the two can work together to create a deadly combination that will continuously fool coyotes.
The two most common decoys are rabbits and woodpeckers, and both types include movement to add to their visual presence. Rabbit decoys will often shake and vibrate on a stake while the woodpecker decoys will usually have an erratic flying motion a couple of feet off the ground. An important thing to keep in mind is to pair up the sound coming from the call with the decoy that is on the ground. Coyotes, although highly curious, are extremely wary and intelligent. If something doesn’t look or sound right, they often times will not give hunters the opportunity to make a shot.
Chasing these wily coyotes is definitely far from simple and is always a challenge no matter what the situation, it is a fantastic sport for any hunter looking to test their skills and try something new. Just because the orange army is out of the woods doesn’t mean that hunting season is over–some of the best is yet to come.