By Stuart Hoegh
Growing up I read all I could on coyote hunting. In addition to books and magazines I owned several coyote hunting dvds. The material had useful insights, that placed me in a far better position for killing coyotes. However, oftentimes the authors were based in the western United States and, while the material was useful to hunters in their area, I realize now that some of their input did not pertain to where I lived. The goal of this blog is to explain those differences and provide advice for how to be an effective coyote hunter in the midwest.
Many Western hunters have the luxury of massive amounts of public land within driving distance. Others hunt private grazing land that extends for miles. Land in the midwest is split into much smaller sections. As a result, you will likely need to get permission from farmers. I have found most farmers to be fairly welcoming to coyote hunters. Be sure to make it clear that you will not be driving through the fields and explain that coyotes have a negative effect on other species, such as pheasants. Great places to search for coyote hunting land include: along dirt roads, around cattle lots and anywhere with CRP. As with other species, find the highest concentration of food, and you will find coyotes. If are successful and kill a coyote, let the farmer know. He may let you hunt other species in the future.
Articles describe walking from stand to stand over the course of a morning. Where I hunt the fields are small and only provide one or two calling opportunities. Unless you see several coyotes out, I would only call one location per morning. Everytime you go back to a field your chances of shooting a coyote go down, so do not spoil good calling locations by walking in at 8:30. Set yourself up with the greatest potential for success every time you hunt.
The landscape of the west is far more open. Articles and books often recommend buying binoculars and long rifles. In the midwest most set ups are within a few hundred yards of cover. You will see coyotes first at a few hundred yards. They travel across open fields and shots almost always take place within 200 yards. As a result, binoculars are unnecessary, and you may want to consider a gun such as a mini-14 instead of a long rifle. I shoot a Tikka .223 but feel I would have taken more coyotes over the years with a semi-auto rifle.
Though coyotes will respond to unusual call sounds, your best bet is usually to imitate their diet. Jack rabbits are a staple in the diet out west. As a result you will often hear more raspy deeper calling when watching videos. Sticking with high-pitched cottontail and mouse sounds is your best bet.
Let me know if you have any input, comments or questions. Thanks, Stu