Coyote hunting will challenge your skill as both a hunter and crossbow marksmen. These wily predators aren’t easily fooled and will require a strong understanding of their behavior in order to get them in crossbow range. Here are 10 essential coyote hunting tactics:
Crossbow Hunting Coyotes
1. Tracks, Tracks and More Tracks
- If you want to hunt them down you first need to find them. Wait for a fresh snow fall and then get out of the house and look for tracks. If you’re in the south get out after a rain or wind storm to find these fresh tracks. New tracks will point you in the general direction and will give you a firm starting point.
2. Listen Up
- If you’re planning to hunt the next day get out in the evening before and listen for coyotes calling. If you’re not hearing anything try calling into an area you intend to hunt. If nothing calls back then you may want to move on to the next spot. This doesn’t mean coyotes won’t be there the next day but this tactic will improve your odds by putting you where you know there has been recent activity. Female coyotes will usually stay within 5 to 8 mile of their home and while males will travel farther they still stay within a certain range.
3. Hunt the Wind
- Paying attention to wind direction is extremely important when hunting predators. Coyotes are designed to sniff out their quarry and will easily pick up your sent if it wafts by. Check the forecast but also use a wind indicator (sand, powder) to give you an idea of how the wind it behaving near your setup. If you’re on a hill, in a canyon, or in thick cover wind can easily swirl and possibly send your scent in an unexpected direction.
4. Use Elevation
- Another way to help defeat a swirling wind and keep you out of coyotes field of view is to elevate. By using treestands you will be able to better fool a nearby coyote that isn’t paying attention to possible threats from above. Elevating is more important if your hunting alone as a coyote will be honing in on your location if you’ve been calling. Also, if they respond to your call and come in they will be on high alert and easily spooked by movement. Being elevated will give you a better opportunity to get in position to take a shot.
5. Buddy Up
- Hunt with a buddy or a small group. The more eyes and ears you have at your disposal the better. In addition you can’t setup your stands or blinds strategically so that one hunter calls while the other waits for the coyote to move in. Coyotes have incredible hearing and are deadly accurate at pinpointing the location of a sound. Stay downwind from the caller and wait for the coyote to sneak around to wind them. This will help get you in crossbow range without being detected.
6. Give them a Call
- Whether you are using mouth calls or a electronics, calls are a key element of crossbow coyote hunting. Our clumsy human bodies and limited crossbow range are a significant disadvantage when hunting coyotes. So instead taking the fight to them your better to setup and try to call them in.
7. Use some scents
- We will never be able to fool a coyote nose but we can take some steps to improve our odds. Try your best to be free of any strong smells or odors that aren’t natural to the area. You don’t need to spend a ton on special scent free hunting product. Just stay away from strong smelling deodorants, shampoos, and soaps before the hunt. Even the smell of gas or motor oil can make these predators wary. To help try using coyote urine as a cover scent to mask your own. This scent will help draw their attention off yours and may encourage them to come closer into crossbow range if they think another coyote is near.
8. Winds Howling, Coyotes Aren’t
- Like most animals extreme weather will drastically change their habits. Coyotes will hunker down and wait for strong winds, rain, snow and extreme heat to pass. While their waiting, their stomachs are going to start growing and they’ll be on the move as soon as the poor weather lifts. These conditions are optimal as these coyotes will be easily tempted by your small game calls. Their focus on feeding should help you draw them into crossbow range.
9. Water Ways
- All animals need water and coyotes are no different. Scout out your local watering holes, rivers and streams and try to locate fresh tracks. If you don’t find any coyote tracks then follow those of a small game animal. Coyotes know their prey can be found near water and will often stalk them nearby.
10. Blend In
- While some big game animals like deer have excellent eyesight when it comes to movement they mostly lack the ability to pick out detail. Coyotes are the opposite and their vision is more comparable to that of our own. While they don’t see as many colors they can see in great detail and pick out objects such as a crossbow hunter that doesn’t blend in to the terrain. Therefore it’s important to use a camouflage which helps you blend into the area your hunting. It’s also important to cover your face, hands, and other objects that might stick out.