Coyote Hunting – Up Close and Personal

February 13, 2009 by  

By Jamie P. Olson

Jamie sighting in the first coyote of the day

Jamie sighting in the first dog out coyote hunting

It’s Thursday night and I am packing up for an early Saturday morning hunt (of course I am packing Thursday night so I can get some sleep Friday night). I call my hunting partner Jayson Deziel of Artistic Wildlife Taxidermy several times that night going over everything twice. The third time his wife answers the phone you can tell she is starting to think I am out of my mind. Friday, work drags on like a North Dakota winter and I can’t believe a 10-hour day seems like a whole damn week. Friday night comes around and I can’t sleep, I just toss and turn and watch the clock. Finally at 3:30 am the alarm goes off and it is time to get going. Jayson gets to my house at 4:00 am and we are off and running. We have a three-hour drive to get to our first calling area.

Well, this is going to be hard to believe but its 6:40 am and we’re there (we might have been speeding a little bit) and its blowing like there is a hurricane coming. North Dakota and wind go hand in hand- if its blowing less than 15 miles an hour, you are usually at work on a Wednesday with no chance at all of getting out. So, now what? Go home? Not a chance.

Spotting and stalking can be effective on days like this. I have found that if you start thinking about what a coyote would be doing on a completely horrible day like this, it would make sense that given the choice any sane animal or man would be home in bed. A sleeping coyote is usely a dead coyote if you see him before he sees you. I have found coyotes sound asleep in the middle of stubble fields but when it starts to really blow, I try to look for big wooded draws that would offer some protection from the wind.

Jamie testing his coyote hunting skills in Arizona

Jamie testing his coyote hunting skills in Arizona

Coyote’s thoughts are usually not too far from food. Keep this in mind when you are looking for these little dogs. Coyotes want to know what is going on with their food source 24/7. They do this with their eyes, ears and nose. You will tend to find coyotes down wind of the herd, be it cows, sheep, or deer. When I am out looking for coyotes on a less than perfect day, I first find cattle and sheep ranches. Then I talk to the rancher and find out where he has been seeing coyotes and ask if he can show me the area around his winter-feed lot or spring calving barn. Look down wind of this food source. Start about a mile or so down wind and look for anything that could hold a coyote. Start marking some structure that looks promising and decide what would be the best set-up for each spot. The wind will dictate how close you will need to be at each stand. Realize that if you are going to call coyotes you better plan on lacing up your boots doing some walking. Nothing will ruin a well thought- out plan faster than having a coyote spot your vehicle. Start down wind and move towards your first calling spot. I like to glass the area I am going to call before moving into it. You should always expect to see coyotes- after all, that’s why you picked this spot to begin with, right? Remember to hunt into each stand because you never know what is around the next corner. Stay low and keep your head up, always watching for movement. Use your binoculars to scan every inch of terrain in hopes of catching a coyote on the move, or, better yet, find one bedded down. When you try spotting coyotes, just remember to look for things that look out of place. One way to do this is with a good pair of optics-and I do mean good. Inexpensive, good optics do not exist. I spend a lot of time looking at odd shaped rocks. At a mile, coyotes don’t always look like coyotes.

Call your first stand. If you have a lot of wind, get in close to the structure you are calling to. Remember that you will probably only call each set up for 10 – 15 minutes. In heavy wind if they are going to hear you they will be fairly close. After going through your calling sequence, start walking to your next stand, always moving towards the cattle or whatever you have determined to be the food source in your area.

If you do catch a coyote sleeping and you are in full whites (or whatever camo you’re using during the season at hand), stalking a bedded coyote can be very intense. Expect some close action. Coyotes do not sit still for long but at times you can find them curled up in a ball out of the wind taking a snooze in the middle of the afternoon. Pay close attention to the South side of hills during midday when you can catch a coyote sunning himself. If you watch them they will look up often and even get up to stretch. They may walk in a small circle just like the family dog before lying down again. When they do put their head down, you will have the opportunity to move in closer. Set up and try calling them in, but don’t be afraid of going in and shooting them right in their bed. Coyotes will not always come to a call no matter who is blowing on it or what tape you are using. Just because he doesn’t jump up and come tearing in there doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong. Sometimes they just have other things on their mind. If you have one bedded down out there and he looks like he is going to stay put, get the wind in your face, move slow, keep the noise down and you’ll be surprised at how close you can get.

Jamie & Knight-Hale pro team member Matt Barnard

Jamie & Knight-Hale pro team member Matt Barnard out coyote hunting

As you are working a pasture, I have found it hard calling close to livestock- especially horses. They get pretty wild when you start calling and will usually come running to see what’s going on. This is typically not good, so try to keep this in mind as you are picking a spot to call from. At times I have had cattle get aggressive to a call, but for the most part, they will not bother you. My father and I had been working a pasture when we came across a small herd with four coyotes moving among the cattle. The rancher was unaware of the day-old calf that was more than a little early. The coyotes had been trying to push that calf away from the herd. One of the coyotes spotted us coming around the corner and he headed out. The other three did not see us, but they followed after the first one.

Make sure you hunt from stand to stand and don’t get too caught up in just getting to the next spot to call. When you get up towards the livestock, feed lot, haystacks or calving barn, set up and call this area like you would any other terrain. Talk with ranchers and they will tell you that they see coyotes in with the livestock, and sleeping in the hay bales.

There are no guarantees in life, and there are certainly none in hunting. Unfortunately, I am unable to get out and hunt coyotes as much as I would like. That’s why I have learned to make the best of even the worst days. Spotting and stalking coyotes can be another tactic you can put in your bag of tricks for hunting coyotes.

Jamie P. Olson is an avid predator hunter from Mayville, ND and currently resides in Laporte, MN. Jamie promotes several coyote hunting tournaments with the biggest being the North Dakota Coyote Classic held in Dickinson, ND. Jamie uses Crit’R-Calls, and Desert Shadow camouflage.


23 Comments on "Coyote Hunting – Up Close and Personal"

  1. Jerry Elliott on Sun, 29th Nov 2009 7:47 pm 

    I have tried many different predator calls with no luck. I have used them correctly and always hunt downwind. I also know there are plenty of coyotes in this area. Could you give me some ideas on what I might be doing wrong?

  2. donaldcolvin on Wed, 2nd Dec 2009 12:38 pm 

    not a bad hunt

  3. Devin Weaver on Sun, 3rd Jan 2010 3:06 pm 

    I have hunted and killed coyotes in New Mexico for 1 year now. Not that it is winter im having a little trouble calling them into me. There is alot of sage brush and cover where I am at. I try to stay close to washes where we see lots of sign. Any tips on calling them in now that it is winter, and in heavy cover.

  4. Fred Ruggio on Tue, 5th Jan 2010 6:45 am 

    I am new to coyote hunting and have a few questions.

    I hunt in Connecticut. Orange is required during part of the year. Will coyotes spot me quickly? What can I do to offset this?

    How often should I use my call?

    What is the best time of the day to hunt?

    How should I position myself in my stand?

  5. admin on Tue, 5th Jan 2010 10:24 am 

    Don’t be afraid to look for these answers in our coyote hunting forum:

    Coyote Hunting Forum

  6. Eric coffey on Fri, 5th Feb 2010 9:05 pm 

    I hunt and call coyote’s all the time have never called one inj just a fox I live NC. Help??? just a comment


  7. jon setty on Sun, 7th Feb 2010 3:38 pm 

    Hi jamie I am 18 years old and starting to get into coyote hunting! I live in central MN and have been going out quite a bit. I got a jonny stewert electronic caller. I was wonderin what kind of calls you use and when you use them?

  8. justin on Fri, 12th Feb 2010 1:21 pm 

    i have goats and need to kill about 7 coyotes. im scared that my dogs would get in traps or i mistake them as one. what do i do

  9. Alex on Sat, 27th Feb 2010 9:33 pm 

    um im very new to coyote hunting and i have a few questions long do i sit in s spot and call before i get up and move to a different spot if i dont see any thing? there any different things i need to do if im hunting in the winter?

  10. avocado king on Sun, 14th Mar 2010 12:29 pm 

    Here in Fallbrook ca, yotes are abundant and not afraid of humans. I have a 12 acre avo grove, a marlin lever action 22 cal rifle with a scope that i dont use and very savy staffordshire terrior and all the right camy gear no scents as of yet. I tend to use the neighborhood dogs and hawks to locate these preditors. sometimes i feel like my neighbors must think im a little crazy always with my rifle close at hand, because these dogs always seem to be a stones throw away once or twice a day.i don’t want to lose an opportunity, Am I crazy ?

  11. admin on Sun, 14th Mar 2010 7:10 pm 


  12. Jason on Mon, 3rd Jan 2011 7:56 pm 

    Thanks for the great tips, cant wait to try em out. Even if I’m in South Dakota I’m sure the yotes wont mind.

  13. Bob Coulter on Fri, 25th Feb 2011 3:40 am 

    What makes coyote so difficult in pa.

  14. Bob Coulter on Fri, 25th Feb 2011 3:42 am 

    What is the best call to use?

  15. frank on Sat, 30th Jul 2011 5:59 pm 

    friend has farm cattle ocasionaly loseing a calf to coyote ihaveseen small remains spot one here n there buy calling them has been unsuccesfull usually hurt rabbit one came to hurt pup call missed n gone i think my call is decent i get preditor birds frequently near by firestation siren goes off n there are plenty close rite beside a very densly surrounded cow pasture sounds like a big pack its july in it to hot why wont they come to my call vultures hawks crows but no coyote help

  16. adam anderson on Thu, 4th Aug 2011 10:06 pm 

    to the avocado king….. i live in san marcos,just around the corner from you. if you are interested in a “hunting buddy” give me a buzz.i might be able to help you out on weekends.or you may visit me at work, across the stret from duncans gun works, at a/s motorsports… ask for adam.

  17. Chad lerdahl on Fri, 18th Nov 2011 1:53 pm 

    we have been seeing alot of coyotes but they are usually on the run and heading the other direction, question beeing do coyotes usually head four countys over once they are spooked or can you actually stock once they are on the move?

  18. anthony on Tue, 14th Feb 2012 4:06 pm 

    hi. i live in pa. whats the best tips to get the coyote to give up there location i have a fox pro and i have not been able to call any in. i use a blind the right camo gear , i am new to hunting them.

  19. Matt Phillips on Sun, 11th Mar 2012 8:17 pm 

    just tried coyote hunting but didn’t get anything. I bought some predator calls from the predator quest website but for some reason they didn’t work. I saw some coyotes but none reasponded to the call do you think you could give me a tip or two of how you hunt for them and maybe what you think i’m doing wrong. thanks,

  20. sue bennett on Sun, 15th Apr 2012 12:51 pm 

    sure would like for some coyote hunters to come up this way-there are has been an explosion in the coyote population this year. Pine county, MN. send an email if interested in hunting.

  21. sue bennett on Sun, 15th Apr 2012 12:52 pm 

    oops, [email protected]

  22. Ben Schoppe on Fri, 9th Nov 2012 10:36 am 

    Just wanted to voice my support and hope those who can’t accept the reality of the living world leave you alone. Find me on facebook so you can share.

  23. Aunt Leanna on Fri, 9th Jan 2015 10:42 pm 

    So proud of you! Saw you on TV tonight. Love you always!!

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