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Columnists : Greg Ballard
Last Updated: Aug 6, 2010 - 1:11:39 PM
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Equipment for Hunting Coyotes
By Greg Ballard
Jul 24, 2007 - 8:21:33 AM

In the first article we covered some aspects of the life of the coyote in order to give a better overview of our quarry.  By better knowing the animal that we are hunting we can better hunt that animal.  In this article we are going to cover some of the equipment that will be a benefit to you in your quest to bowhunt the elusive coyote.  This will not be an all inclusive equipment list, but I will cover some important items that a predator bowhunter should consider when considering this type of hunting.

It doesn't take a special bow to be able to hunt the coyote.  The exact same bow that you use for all your other hunting will be more than adequate to hunt the coyote.  In fact, I highly suggest that you use the same bow that you use for your deer hunting.  This will give you more time in the field and under more hunting conditions and this can only be good.  The only requirement to your bow is that the draw weight must be at a level where you can sit flat on your butt and draw the bow straight back to your face.  You need to be able to do this to minimize the movement required to get back to full draw when that moment comes, and it will come.   It doesn't take a high draw weight to be deadly effective on the coyote.

The reason why you will need to be able to draw the bow while sitting flat is that this is the most comfortable position for the long waits that sometime accompany a coyote hunt.  This does mean that the shorter axle to axle bows are easier to use than a longer bow under this condition, but about any bow will work.  One item that I would suggest that you do purchase for your bow is a set of the bow "bipods" as this will enable you to have your bow standing in position and this will minimize your movements to get the bow ready to shoot.  This is a vital piece of equipment for this type of hunting.

Use of a bow bi-pod keeps your bow handy, ready for use.

The same holds true for your arrows as for your bow.  I suggest that you use the same arrows that you are going to use for your deer hunting.  If you want to have coyote specific arrows, then I would lean towards the fastest arrow that you can shoot and still maintain the warranty on your particular bow.  The faster arrow will allow you to have a greater range of error in a yardage guess and reduce the chance of the coyote moving too much at the shot.  This will generally be an all carbon arrow which is a good choice as they are also very durable and are either straight or broken.

I recommend You make use of a laser rangefinder in advance of your calling to get the ranges to nearby objects.  You will need to do this as you settle into your ambush and commit the distances to memory as you will not have the luxury of doing this when the coyote is incoming.  The ability to guess your yardages to a high level of accuracy is a big plus and a little practice at doing this will pay large dividends for you not only with coyote hunting but in all of your hunting.  The typical successful shot distance for called in coyotes will be less than 30 yards.  A fast arrow will be a large aid in helping you make the shot.

Laser RangeFinders like the Nikon ProStaff 440 are indispensable in determining range for accuracy.

You can also shoot the exact same broadhead that you are using for your other hunting.  What is working for you on your deer, for instance, will certainly work on your coyote hunts.  This being said, I do feel that since the coyote is not a difficult animal to obtain a complete pass through on, a person should shoot a large cutting diameter mechanical broadhead of high quality. 

I would highly recommend the Grim Reaper Extra mechanicals for all your predator hunting.  They fly with perfect accuracy and hit with authority with full sized holes on both sides of the animal.  

You will get a pass through shot on the coyote at any angle presented to you most every time and the large cutting area of such a head is devastatingly effective.

Good broadheads like the Grim Reaper will help put predators down quickly.

The ability of the coyote to pick up your scent is outstanding and near unbelievable.  To be successful you are going to have to strive to maintain the highest level of scent control that is possible.  It is quite difficult to do this as the typical day of coyote hunting will involve traveling from place to place and changing your clothing in between setups is simply not practical.   This means that you may want to consider wearing your scent containment clothing as well as the liberal use of the scent control products available on the market and still make sure you use the wind to your favor.  

Being scent free is critical in predator hunting so use the best, Scent Killer from WRC.

There are also some products on the market by such companies as Border Crossing Scents which are used to fool the nose of the coyote and make your setup even more realistic by using the smells of the prey animal and/or another coyote. When we begin to cover actual hunting setups for the coyote we will learn how to use the coyote's ability to smell against him.

Using the correct lure like Border Crossing Labs will tilt the odds of success in your favor.

To get a coyote close enough to shoot generally requires that you entice him to come to you through the use of artificial animal sounds.  This is a large part of the excitement of the hunt. 

The fact that you are tricking a coyote into hunting you when in fact you are hunting them is quite the thrill. 

These calls can range from various animals in distress to the vocalizations of the coyote.  They can also be mouth blown or electronic calls.  There is a huge variety of different predator calls on the market and a person should carry a wide selection of them.  This will allow you to change up on your calling to find the right call for the right coyote. 

The animal in distress does not even have to be an animal native to your hunting area and in many instances using a sound that is not normally heard in the area is a benefit.  For instance, using a snowshoe hare sound while hunting in Texas would work awesome even though there are no native snowshoe hares there. 

For bowhunting coyotes a remote controlled electronic call is highly desired although you can get good results using only mouth blown calls.  The reason the remote controlled call is preferred is due to the fact that you can remove yourself from the immediate calling location where the sounds are coming from.  The incoming predator will be able to absolutely pinpoint the sounds to the exact location and will focus attention to that area.  This remote calling is a huge benefit to your success as you will see when we begin to cover the hunting setups.

Mouth and electronic calls are vital in bringing in wary critters.

Another tool that will greatly increase your chances of success is the mechanical decoy.  Using a moving decoy such as the Whirling Woodpecker from Outfoxed Products in conjunction with your calling is often the final key to being able to get your shot off successfully.  You don't even need to be using the sounds of a woodpecker in this instance for the decoy to be extremely effective. 

The incoming predator is expecting to see a prey in distress and this thrashing decoy will certainly grab their attention and make them drop their guard.  This will be the edge that you need to draw your bow and get the shot on an otherwise very wary animal.  This is a very vital accessory to your predator hunting and especially when it comes to hunting bobcats.

The new Whirling Woodpecker has proven very affective at bringing in, on the run, hungry predators such as bobcats, fox and coyotes.

Once the call gets their attention they hone in visually. This is when a good decoy takes over.

I also like to use hearing enhancing products such as the Pro Ears Stalkers by Ridgeline.  Being able to hear an approaching animal well in advance of their arrival will allow you to focus in on their incoming path and give you the chance to get your bow in your hand and your release clipped to the string well before the arrival of the predator. 

Renown wild turkey caller and hunter Doug Crabtree using the amplification ability of his Pro Ears.

This will eliminate a large amount of animal spooking movement on your part and help prevent the animal from being able to sneak in on your position without your being ready to shoot.  I often times hunt predators with a partner and I like to have the non shooter person on this setup wear the Pro Ears so that we have the advantage of super hearing just like that coyote does.  You will most times hear the coyote coming in from quite a ways off especially if you are in the woods and this gives everyone a chance to settle in to their final ambush positions and be focused in the proper direction.

These are but a few suggestions on equipment that I think are necessary to help the success potential of the predator bowhunter.  It doesn't take a lot of equipment outside of your normal deer hunting arsenal.  There are some items such as the various calls that are extraneous to your deer hunting, but for the most part the items that you already have will get you into the woods and ready to try your luck at arrowing a coyote. 

I think once you try this method of hunting that you will come to look forward to your next predator hunt as much as any other hunt in the year.   There will be other equipment items that we will cover as this series of articles unfolds, but the items listed here will surely be a plus to get you on the right path.  In the next article, I plan to begin to cover actual coyote hunting setups.  This will be where we start to put the habits of the coyote, the equipment choices of the hunter, and the hunting methods to put you eye to eye with a coyote, and see which the better predator is.

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