HUNTING THE COYOTE BREEDING SEASON: Tactics and Gear By Frank Peralta
If you are new to coyote hunting, you may ask what time of year these wiley critters are most active. Most seasoned predator hunters are going to point you to the breeding season. Depending on your location, this generally lands between the months of January and March. During this breeding period, coyotes are actively searching out mates. Once paired up, they will become increasingly territorial and protective of their home range to ensure they can safely raise their offspring after their very short gestation period of about 60 days.
By this time of year, most predator hunters have been in the field chasing fur for several months. What does this mean? Coyotes and other predators will likely be ‘call shy’ to common distress sounds such as rabbit and rodent distress calls. Early season hunters will notice coyotes to be much less timid of prey distress sounds, but later in the season these sounds may send the keen predators in the wrong direction. Coyotes learn quickly, and an educated coyote is not likely to fall for the same tricks more than once.
Now is the time to take advantage of the breeding season and test your skills with coyote vocalizations. A better understanding of coyote behavior will ensure higher odds of success during the breeding season. Lone males will be covering a lot of ground in search of females in heat. Additionally, in-heat females will be looking for a mate. This means males will often be competing for the same female. This competition often brings conflict amongst the competitors. A couple of great tactics to capitalize on this knowledge is the use of male and female vocalizations.
Starting your calling sequence with female invitation howls and whimpers is a great way to notify surrounding coyotes that there may be a female in-heat in the area. This is a great tactic to grab the attention of a lone male searching for a mate. After five to ten minutes of female invitation sounds, a great follow up is the use of a male challenge howl. Not only will this sound further rile up lone males, it could also inform local breeding pairs of new intruders. Using these calls sequentially can paint an irresistible picture for coyotes within hearing distance of your calling stand.
Equally important to using the correct tactics based upon the time of year, predator hunters will want to focus on concealment. Predators have excellent eyesight. They can very quickly pinpoint something that is out of place on the landscape.
Concealment is always key when hunting predators. Limited movement and camouflage to match your environment will often propel your success. With varying weather conditions during the winter months of January to March, we have you covered with a full line of Sitka clothing to match all aspects of your environment. Sitka is known to be one the highest regarded clothing brands in the outdoor industry. They offer many different camouflage patterns and color options to help hunters better blend in with their surroundings. A few of our favorite pieces for predator hunting are:
1. Sitka Ambient Hoody
Designed with the active hunter in mind, the Ambient hoody works great for a run and gun style hunter that is moving from calling set to calling set during mild to cold conditions. The Ambient hoody uses Primaloft Evolve insulation which was purpose built to provide just enough warmth when you are still, but not too much when on the move. This piece works great as a stand alone item or as part of a layering system for colder weather.
2. Sitka Blizzard Aerolite Parka and Pant
When the thermostat drops, the Blizzard set will keep you warm while on stand. The Blizzard setup is Sitka’s warmest GORE-TEX gear. This set utilizes Primaloft Gold insulation which replicates the insulating properties of down. This insulated set is not only waterproof but also includes extra reinforcement in common wear areas. It is guaranteed to be a trusted set of gear for those extreme weather hunts.
3. Sitka Nodak Jacket & Bib
Sitka designed the Nodak set of overwhites to be the last set of overwhites you will ever need. Not only do they work excellent for late season waterfowl hunting, they double as a great set for predator hunting in the snow. Sitka paid extra attention to detail with the nodak set by utilizing waterproof Gore-Tex 3 layer fabric and mudproof zipper flaps.
Find these and more at 1shotgear.