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Coyote Hunting 101: How to Use a Coyote Call?

how to use a coyote call
Written by Marc Niad

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 that allows them to detect the slightest movement.

If you lack the joy of seeing a coyote that has just responded to your call, you really need to learn the art of coyote calling.

Let us guide here you with some pro tips!

How to Use a Coyote Call (Mouth Blown)

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

Coyotes are cunning enough and look even for the smallest movements when they approach.

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.

A predator 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 watch a coyote.

  • Closed Reed Calls

Closed reed calls are the easiest mouth-calls for you to learn.

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, which you require mastering.

Many successful callers will suggest using animal distress, whines, cries, or raspy sounds.

Keep in mind, you will not only try mimicking a predator in distress but also try evoking emotion in that animal.

  • Howling

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

Then learning various kinds of howls, and when to apply specific howls over others, may become daunting. Watch YouTube videos to learn from successful callers.

Learning the way to howl, and applying various techniques will add special 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 tougher to master and need more practice.

First, watch a YouTube video to learn. Now, put this call in your car or vehicle.

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

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

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 the Electronic Coyote Call

  • 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 not more than 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 guess always right, but often a coyote can come near the call attempting to understand the source of the sound.

It will be always 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.

Never get afraid to use non-native sounds in your area. Because these predators are not general for the localities you call. 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, always choose prey distress.

  • Predators ‘Paternal Instinct

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 a coyote to the call.

  • Territorial Response

The breeding season’s peak is the 15th of February.

Then coyotes become extremely territorial and generally, they 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 with territorial sounds can bring you success.

  • Call Volume

Generally, in a coyote call, 1 is the lowest, and 32 is the maximum volume. Start at volume 7.

If the day is extremely 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 one hunter to another. Some play for some seconds, some for some 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 continuously or with pauses. 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 during calling coyotes.

Suppose, play a certain call like “lucky bird” for seven minutes, then 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 calling with the same sound constantly, more than one may come in, and you will be in trouble.

  • 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. You require experimenting.

Various areas will have various response times. Begin staying longer in the later seasons to observe what happens.

Coyote Calling 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 need to talk.
  • Perform a review of the stand area: If there are any hazards, livestock, probable human activity, buildings, equipment, or any 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 probably successful stand.

These predators are intensely focused to find out what helps them understand what is the source of any disturbance.

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 require talk. Some hunters have success when they go alone for hunting but their productivity decreases when they take a companion with them.

Avoid talking loudly. Don’t talk unless you need.

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

Limit the movement without any quick gestures such as pointing at probable setup locations. Take 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 of the body parts if you cover them with any kind of scent.

Many will advise you to use a scent or odor eliminator. But it is not that essential because of the above reason.

7. Wind

Understanding the wind direction is the most crucial thing.

Because 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 visible pattern and it specifically helps during light breezes when detecting is not that easy.

8. Sun direction

When the sun is at the back of you, it will favor you unless your background is the sky. 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 that the sun can favor you.

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, remain still there for a minute before walking forward. 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.

Don’t try to climb hills, remain on the sides. Move some yards down the hill when you move carefully to the stand location.

When to Use Which Coyote Calls

1. Prey Distress

Experts prefer using pay distress just half an hour before it gets dark.

They think that predators take rest all day and may don’t get any chance to feed themselves after last night’s hunting.

So, they might want to come and investigate the sounds when darkness falls.

Darkness works as a great 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 exactly 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 know that your setup is in the coyote’s core territory.

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

3. Whines and Yelps

From 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 equally work during the mating and recovery seasons, about 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 so intelligent.

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 will often investigate your call’s source, so be prepared.

Experts suggest mixing up howling, yelp, and distress calls all during a single set.

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 that have 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.

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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