It’s Friday February 22nd and Grant and I just returned late last night from a coyote hunt in Hamilton, Illinois with Jason Gilbertson and Mike Stock from Winchester Ammunition. Along with their friend Tyler Sellens of Riverview Outfitters. As most of you are aware there was a large winter weather front sweeping across the Midwest on Wednesday and Thursday, so Grant and I headed up on Tuesday hoping to get a couple days of hunting coyotes in before the winter weather hit.
With the threat of wintry weather Grant and I thought it would be a great time to catch some predators trying to find a quick meal before the storm hit. Plus, we would also spend some time with our friends at Winchester Ammo doing something exciting like chasing coyotes! On Wednesday Grant was busy working on a property near Princeton, Illinois so I teamed up with Mike and Tyler for the day. We had a fun day chasing coyotes. At the end of the day Mike headed home just as Jason and Grant arrived to hunt the following day. Before I give away the outcome of our success, you can catch this two day coyote hunt on the upcoming episode of GrowingDeer.tv (GDTV 171)! During this hunt I noticed some different techniques that I’ll share with you now.
- Approach. You often hear Grant talk about MDE (minimal disturbance entry) for deer hunting, this is also important to coyotes. Our most successful trips happen when we use a hill or slope to our advantage. Approaching from a backside of a hill and just breaking over the top so we’re not alerting anything when approaching is a great way to sneak attack coyotes!
- Crosswinds. Of course when deer hunting, a wind that is consistently in your face is ideal, but sometimes with coyotes they can hang up out of sight because the situation is too risky for them. We typically want our wind direction to be blowing across a field or open area so when a coyote does approach downwind he’s in sight and you can take the shot!
- Be ready! A lot of times coyotes can run into your setup in under a minute of turning on the caller. This happened numerous times during our Illinois hunt. Once the caller had only been on for 36 seconds! With that being said, when the caller is turned on be ready!
- Timing. Coyote breeding season here in Missouri is typically mid to late February so its prime time to call coyotes. Coyotes are very vocal during this time so don’t be afraid to make a few howls either, it might be the only temptation you need to bring one within range.
It’s a slow time of year for deer hunters but an exciting time of year for predator hunters! It’s a great way to ease your cabin fever during these slow months between deer and turkey seasons.
That winter storm swept cross Missouri it dumping everything from freezing rain, sleet, to snow in northern parts of Missouri. Reports of up to 17 inches in places, but in Branson, Missouri there was primarily just sleet and freezing rain. Conditions were very hazardous when we made our venture home; generally it’s a 6 hour drive from Keokuk, Iowa where we were staying to Branson. Last night it took just over 12 hours. Today we are thankful for making it home safely with memories stored away of exciting and challenging days hunting those wiley coyotes!
As always – stay safe and good luck removing predators!
Dreaming of Giant Whitetails,