Summertime Coyote Calling - Focus On Den Sites
By: Heath Wood
In recent years, the popularity of calling coyotes has steadily increased. Not only are more men and women hunting predators, but many are calling throughout the entire year, especially during the summer months when there is nothing else for hunters to do.
Across the country, hunters are finding that during the months of late May, June, and July, there is not much going on except for a little bit of deer scouting and preparation of land for upcoming food plots. This lull in the year can be turned around with quality coyote calling that is not only a blast it is also beneficial to landowners, wildlife, and the hunter themselves.
Tooth and Claw TV host and expert predator hunter Jon Collins has had many successful calling stands during the first few months of the summer. Collins credits most of his success on focusing on the territorial behavior of coyotes due to raising their young. "This time of year is called the denning season," says Collins. He explains that during this time, the female and males have pups in the ground raising them. "A coyote is a pretty good maternal animal; both the male and female do a good job of taking care of their pups. The male goes out and finds food for them, and the female stays in the den to milk the pups and take care of them."
A coyote is known to be one of the most territorial animals. Collins explains that their already high territorial instinct increases even more when raising their young. "If there is any kind of intruder that comes nearby, they are running them off." He adds that he focuses on den sights during this time of year to call them in more effectively. "When I find one of those den sights, I will go in and make a few non-aggressive howls," He also states that a den sight causes the coyotes to show the territorial instinct that has increased from raising pups when howling nearby. "When they hear another coyote nearby their den, they don't like that. They will respond to the howls to come run off what is making those sounds; they don't want anything close to their pups.".
If howling nearby the den sights doesn't result in a coyote responding, Collins says he likes to use sounds such as puppy whines, pup in distress, or puppy cries to get the overprotective parents to respond to calling. The denning season of raising pups is what is going on in a coyote's world during this time of year. The sounds that come from their pups are the sounds that should be mimicked to bring them into shooting range.
Now that the how and why of sounds have been established, let's move on to the best time to hunt. Like most hunting seasons, the early mornings and late evenings is typically the most active part of the day to hunt. The same goes when trying to call coyotes during the heat of the summer. "I hunt the first few hours of the day before it gets too hot, as well as the last couple hours of the day when temperatures began to cool back down. "says Collins. However, Collins adds that even during the hottest parts of the day, such as afternoons, coyotes can still be called when someone is interfering with their space near den areas.
"Summertime calling near den sights is one of the best times to call coyotes," states Collins. He says that they can't resist being territorial when a hunter enters close to their den areas and begins screaming at them. A coyote is very receptive to calling during this time of year."
The last thing to make summertime coyote calling successful is by making sure you, as the hunter, are comfortable. Dressing in proper garments is a must for summer coyote hunting. Hunters must wear a lightweight garment that is moisture-wicking and fast drying to stay cool during warmer temperatures.
Another way for the hunter to stay comfortable when calling coyotes during the heat of the summer is by paying attention to bugs, ticks, and chiggers that are common this time of year.Is often asked if one should spray down for ticks and chiggers and if the smell from the spray stops the coyotes from getting close. "Dressing in a t-shirt or warm weather garments is important to stay comfortable, but the big thing is the bugs, mosquitos, ticks, and chiggers," says Collins, stating that not
spraying down can make a hunt less enjoyable. "There is nothing worse than waking up the next few days after hunting and being covered with 800,000 chiggers and tick bites all over your body," explains Collins. As for a coyote smelling your bug repellant efforts, the answer is, yes, they can smell the sprays, but they will not smell you if the wind is in your face when calling. The risk of smelling you is another reason why Collins says that paying attention to wind direction is one of the most critical factors in successfully calling coyotes. "I am always hunting with the wind in my favor," He then adds that the hunter should already know where these sights are located during the summer months of calling near den sights before going into the area to call. "I go into areas before hunting and make some howls, or even pup howls to get coyotes to howl, giving up their den location," states Collins. "Knowing where the dens are located before calling allows me to approach that area when ready, with the wind in my favor."
One of the main reasons for summertime coyote hunting is to help in wildlife management practices. When young fawns are the most receptive to coyotes, hunters can help by taking out a few coyotes during one of the best times for them to come to a call. By reducing the number of coyotes during this time, the survival rate of fawns will increase, thus helping the deer herd in the long run. The same goes for baby turkeys, rabbits, etc.
Another benefit of hunting coyotes during the summer is giving the hunter, what Jon Collins calls, more trigger time. "A coyote's fur isn't worth much during the summer months of the year, so I am not worried about pelt damage from a bullet like I am during the winter months of the year," says Collins. He explains that this time of year is a great time to take your favorite caliber of rifle hunting with you.
Collins recently went on a hunt in Kansas and took two rifles with him. One being his 6.5 PRC, which is one of his favorite big-game calibers. All though it is a more significant caliber for coyotes than usual, Collins can get practice behind the gun in an actual natural hunting situation or what he calls "trigger time" before using the same rifle on big game hunts this fall.
The next time you get the summer blues and think there is nothing to do during the hot summer months, try calling coyotes. You will be helping to control the population while also assisting in the survival of other wild game.