Yamaha Outdoors Tips — Shoot a Coyote: Save a Deer

By Bob Humphrey

Predator hunting has seen a tremendous upswing in popularity over the last several years. That trend is likely to continue, especially in light of recent studies showing just how devastating coyotes can be to deer populations. If you’ve lacked the motivation to get involved until now, consider that every coyote you remove means a few more deer in your hunting area next fall. 

Methods vary but the simplest consists of calling coyotes into range by imitating the sound of a wounded rabbit or other prey animal. You can do so by holding a blade of grass between your thumbs, but manufactured mouth calls are a much more practical alternative.

Another option is an electronic call. They’re legal for predators in most places but you should always check first. Many operate remotely, giving you the option of placing the call away from your concealed position, and freeing up both hands to prepare for the shot.

Some hunters also use decoys, either a coyote or a prey animal like a rabbit or fawn. You can even get motion decoys that will further draw a predator’s attention away from you.

Despite the fact you’re making a commotion with your calls, stealth is essential. You need good camouflage or a blind. You should remain as motionless as possible and always be mindful of the wind. Whenever possible try and set up with the wind in your face, and watch for wary coyotes trying to circle downwind of your location.

As far as where to hunt, just find a place where coyotes occur. Open ground makes it easier to spot approaching predators but they may be more wary in heavily hunted areas. It’s also beneficial if you can find a slightly elevated position like a hill; but you should have a solid background to conceal your profile.

You can also improve the odds of luring in coyotes and other predators by setting out a bait site. Just be sure to check the local regulations and always ask permission when hunting on private land.

And don’t be afraid to knock on doors to ask permission. Farmers, ranchers and even other deer hunters may welcome you as they all view coyotes as a nuisance. You might also earn points toward getting a place to deer hunt next fall. In the mean time, you’ll be doing a good deed in reducing predator numbers and enhancing both livestock and wild deer populations.