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Coyote Hunting 101: How to Use a Coyote Call?

how to use a coyote call
Written by Marc Niad
Last Update: August 11, 2023

Using calls may be one of the best ways to bring coyotes close but learning how to use a coyote call is not so easy. These clever animals have a strong sense of sight, hearing, and smell, allowing them to detect even the slightest movement.

If you’ve tried some of the best coyote calls on the market but failed to see any results, you need to learn the art of coyote calling. This guide will discuss the best way to call a coyote, using predator calls.

We’ll also share some Pro Tips from expert coyote hunters on how you can increase the chance of coyotes responding to your call. Without any further ado, let’s get started.

How to Use a Coyote Call (Mouth Blown)

Using a mouth-blown call needs good lungs, patience, and practice.

Coyotes are cunning enough to look even for the slightest movements when approaching.

So, if you blow like crazy, move your hands, and whip your head, that won’t work. Use face masks to disguise the hands when you make the sound.

These predator hunters will pinpoint the sound source while coming closer. Consider using a decoy placed 10 to 20 yards away.

Some decoys contain a small speaker and start making sound after two minutes once turned on. Stop calling and let your decoy do its work once you’ve spotted a coyote. Here’s how to call a coyote to you using mouth-blown calls.

Closed Reed Calls

Closed reed calls are the easiest mouth calls for you to learn. Here’s how to use them:

  • Install the reed in your “call body,” and don’t touch your “tone board” or the reed.
  • Just blow air through your call. There are no secret types of sounds or special techniques you require mastering.
  • Many successful callers will suggest using animal distress sounds, whines, cries, or raspy sounds.
  • Remember that you will not only try mimicking a predator in distress but also try evoking emotion in that animal.


Howling is a form of art. Learning the way to howl itself is challenging.

Learning various kinds of howls and when to apply specific howls over others may become daunting. However, It all depends on your practice. If you’re a beginner, watch this video guide for more instructions. 

Learning how to lone howl and applying various techniques will add exceptional value to the setups of your calling.

Don’t get scared to move toward the coyote if it howls at you. Move toward them, let them think you are moving in, and they may react in the same way.

Open Reed Calls

These calls will be more challenging to master and need more practice. First, watch a YouTube video to learn. Now, put this call in your car or vehicle.

When driving, especially alone, practice perfecting the sound of this predator pipe. You will sound weird at first, like others.

These calls are versatile. You won’t be able to master all the vocals at once, but you will get better with practice. 

You will bark, howl, whine, make rabbit distress, puppy distress, grey fox distress, woodpecker, and many more with your single open reed call.

Squeak Squeak

The squeakers are the easiest way to attract animals like dogs, coyotes, and the like. Try with your dog if you have one at home. Just see how effectively they get attracted by the slightest sound of a toy squeak.  

Setting up an Electronic Call for Coyotes

Turn on the call

Turn the caller and its remote on. Look for a connection. Prepare a routine and get used to turning the device on and off in a similar way every time.

Caller Distance

Generally, set the device at most 30 to 40 yards away.

Because generally, in any type of hunting conditions, the best electronic remotes available in the market can hardly reach 100 yards.

The more distant you become from your caller, the more distant your shot will be. In exceptional cases, hunters kill coyotes from long distances.

Decoy Distance

Place your decoy within three feet of your caller. Consider setting your caller and decoy closer to a small brush to break the caller’s outline.

Open fields are challenging. Use a dirt pile or branch to assist if you get one. Often setting your decoy in a chunk of waste can excite the coyotes into attacking the decoy or call.

Caller Direction

Face your call speaker in the direction you expect the coyote might come from. You can’t always guess right, but often a coyote can come near the call attempting to understand the source of the sound.

It will always be louder direct down from your call speaker. Mostly, a fox comes “down sound” when it is called, and occasionally, coyotes also do it.

How to Use a Coyote Call (Electronic)

Sound Selection

Many factors influence this sound selection, such as time of day, time of year, and the like. Generally, base your selection on the predator’s curiosity, hunger instinct, paternal instinct, and territorial response.

Predators ‘Curiosity

When you play a sound, you stimulate the curiosity of a predator. Be bold and use non-native sounds in your area. Because these predators are not general for the localities. So, make them curious.

Predators ‘Hunger Instinct

Until the middle of January, bird distress, fawn distress, rodent distress, and rabbit distress will be effective sounds for hunters. Keep in mind coyotes need eating.

So, choosing prey distress is a good idea, especially during the coyote hunting seasons

Predators Paternal Instinct

You can use canine and coyote pup distress almost any time of the year.

It won’t always work. But the pup in distress replicates three things, a wounded coyote, coyotes conflicting for a meal, or nipping at each other while feeding.

All these things can attract multiple coyotes to the call.

Territorial Response

The breeding season’s peak is the 15th of February. During this time, coyotes become incredibly territorial and generally scream more effectively to attract song dogs.

You won’t be able to understand and master their vocals and vocabulary.

Often, they respond to a call and never come. But practicing territorial sounds with patience can bring you success.

Call Volume

Generally, 1 is the lowest volume in a coyote call, and 32 is the maximum. Start at volume 7. If the day is exceptionally windy, try volume 20. That sound has a loud and insane volume.

Don’t use that high volume in low-wind or calm situations. Keep quiet and begin with a low volume.

Continual Play

Playing time duration can vary from hunter to hunter. Some play for some seconds, some for a couple of minutes.

Try to find the method that works. Never hesitate to experiment. Scouting, finding, and setting up the stand are more crucial than playing the call. The result will vary in different areas.

Find the workable method and never stop trying new techniques.

Switching Sounds

Don’t be afraid to switch the call sounds during a calling set. Generally, use at least three distinct sounds while calling coyotes.

Suppose you play a specific call like “lucky bird” for seven minutes, pause for a minute, then play another call, say “mule deer fawn,” for seven minutes.

Finish with three minutes of another call like “pup screams.” Find your preferred calling sequence. Never hesitate to try.

If you keep constantly calling with the same sound, more than one may come in, and you might get into trouble! A pack of coyotes can be dangerous.

Stand Length

Try for around 15 to 20 minutes. Many prefer calling for up to 30 minutes. No need to stay longer than this on the stand. Because most coyotes arrive within around 15 minutes.

Try a stand for 30 mins one day and a stand for 15 mins the next day. Here, experimenting is the key to success. Various areas will have various response times. Begin staying longer in the later seasons to observe what happens.

How to Use a Coyote Call: Pro Tips

1. Hunting with Someone

Hunters often overlook “stand procedures” and “pre-brief” reviews when they hunt with new hunters. At least you require discussing the following.

  • Limit the noise and whisper when you need to talk.
  • Perform a review of the stand area: If there are any hazards, livestock, probable human activity, buildings, equipment, or places to stay away from shooting.
  • Shooting manners: Who will be the initial shooter for a stand? Examine the fields or areas of fire.
  • After a shot: No “rebel yells” or backflips after hitting the first shot- continue your calling for more. Some people do not know the possibility of getting another coyote after a shot.

2. Hide your car

Be sure that an approaching coyote is not able to see your vehicle. Any reflection or sheen from the window, chrome trim, or gloss point can frequently end a successful stand.

These predators are intensely focused on finding out what helps them understand the source of any disturbance in their enviroment.

3. Keep Quiet

Try your best to minimize the scent and noise around the stand. Close the door silently while getting out of your vehicle. Hold your gear to avoid any unwanted sound.

4. Whisper

Whisper when you need to talk. Some hunters succeed when they go alone for hunting, but their productivity decreases when they take a companion with them. Avoid talking loudly. Don’t talk unless it’s essential.

Use general hand and head gestures to interact. Discuss before going hunting, whether bowhunting or hunting with firearms, who will set up the decoy and call.

5. Limit the Movement

Keep your movements to a minimum and avoid making any quick gestures like pointing at potential setup locations. Pick up a white flag.

6. Scent

A coyote has a stronger smelling sense than that a cadaver dog. A cadaver dog can smell a body ten feet underground. Coyotes can smell each body part even if you cover them with any scent.

Many will advise you to use a scent or odor eliminator. But it is optional because of the above reason.

7. Wind

It won’t be an overstatement if I say understanding the wind direction is the most crucial thing in any type of hunting.

Because, like most hunting animals, coyotes primarily use their smelling sense to understand any presence. Their smelling sense is stronger even than the bloodhounds!

Choose any wind checker available in the market and use that. It will help you a lot to know about the wind changes. It makes the wind’s pattern visible and helps explicitly during light breezes when detecting is more challenging.

8. Sun direction

When the sun is at your behind, it will favor you. Coyotes cannot spot you while they look at the sun.

They can easily spot you when your face is shining in the sun, and they may appear in your scope, specifically on a winter morning when the sky is clear with low sunshine.

So, try to utilize the sunlight in your favor.

9. Walking to the Coyote Stand

Follow one another so that multiple smell trails don’t approach your setup. Step carefully and silently. If you make any noise, stay there for a minute before walking away. Try walking in the shadow.

10. Make Sure that the Sky is not Your Background

Anyone can easily pick out your movement if your background is the sky. Remain on the sides rather than climbing hills Move some yards down the hill when you move carefully to the stand location.

When to Use a Coyote Call

1. Prey Distress

Experts prefer using pay distress just half an hour before it gets dark. They think predators like coyotes rest all day and may not get any chance to feed themselves after last night’s hunting.

So, they might want to come and investigate the sounds when darkness falls. That’s why darkness works as an excellent safeguard against predators. Use a wide range of distress calls based on your setup.

2. Challenge Howl

Biologists name this call a threat-bark howl as it precisely describes a coyote’s intent of threatening and demanding that the trespasser leave. Field observations show that whenever possible, coyotes avoid fights.

A group of coyotes will knock down trespassers and then will let them leave the area. So, use this call only if you are sure that your setup is in the coyote’s core territory.

During denning or whelping season, you will have spectacular results if you set up near a den.

3. Whines and Yelps

March to May, i.e., the denning season, is the perfect time to use this call when their family bond is the strongest. Again, these sounds can work equally during the mating and recovery seasons.

From September to January, when their kids have grown, the family bond is more relaxed, and their group will be less cohesive.

Experts suggest adding more elements to the setup while using these calls to sway a coyote nearby. You will get a coyote if you use an attractive scent for him to smell and a decoy, moving for him to see.

But don’t overuse these. Because these predators are extremely cunning!

4. Group and Solo Howl

Use group-yip howl to locate coyotes and solo howl to call those into your gun range. Remember that these predators often investigate your call’s source, so be prepared.

Experts suggest mixing up howling, yelp, and distress calls during your coyote calling sequence at night or daytime.

4 More Tactics to Call Winter Coyotes

1. Bark Back to a Barking coyote

It especially works in early spring and late winter, when these predators have scouted territories. A dominating male one will protect the locality close to his den from rivals.

2. Livestock will Lead to Coyotes

If you hunt around livestock, stay a minimum of half a mile away from them because the cows with calves will approach distress calls.

If the cows approach when you call, coyotes can hear that from much more distant places.

3. Use Your Dog to Attract Coyotes

Use your dog on which you have confidence that it will surpass a coyote. Otherwise, don’t try. Using a well-trained and loyal dog is the best.

4. Imitate a Female Whine and Whimper Sound

At the beginning of the breeding season, focus on imitating a female whine or whimper sound. Mostly, hunters use these to stop escaping coyotes.


What Time of Day Are Coyotes Most Active?

Despite what many people think, coyotes aren’t completely nocturnal. You’ll find one or two during the day, but they are the most active after sunset and at night. As for the season, coyotes become more active during their mating season (January – March), and when the younglings leave their family (October – January).

How Far Can You Hear a Coyote Call?

Around 1000 yards or more. Coyotes live in such areas where there are very few things that can block their calls. So even if you hear a howl, the coyote might be nearly half a mile away.

Should You Look a Coyote in the Eyes?

Yes. Contradictory to popular beliefs, you should maintain eye contact with a coyote. Usually, coyotes are afraid of humans, and your mere presence is enough to scare them away. What you shouldn’t do is turn your back on them and run.

About the author

Marc Niad

It’s been several years that Marc, a retired teacher and a proud dad, has silently been piling up mature bucks down the South. This humble hunter began his hunting journey at quite an early age and since then, he spent countless hours in the woods and learned good lessons in terms of woodsmanship. Along the way, he also made money sharing his skill with his followers and well-wishers.

The Ranger Expert is the brainchild of this veteran hunter who loves hunting the swamps and the hills around the Mississippi and Homochitto rivers. His most favorite hunting technique is taking his climbing gear and going to the top of pines with a 25.06 – the old-fashioned way!

He gets most of his games during late December through mid-January – his favorite hunting time. Marc strongly believes that hard work, passion, and a bit of luck can bring you success in the wild.

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