John's Journal... Entry 143, Day 1
SUNTANS AND COYOTES
Brad Harris On Taking Coyotes
EDITOR'S NOTE: If you hunt coyotes at this time of year, not only will you get a suntan instead of frostbite, but the tactics you use will change. Because you'll deal with older animals, you can use territorial calls and pup calls along with distress calls. Here's what three of the nation's leading coyote hunters say about the techniques they use to take the song dogs during the long, hot days of summer.
The director of public relations for Lohman's Manufacturing, a division of Outland Sports, in Neosho, Missouri, Brad Harris has called and hunted coyotes for many years. According to Harris, "One big difference between summer and winter coyote hunting is the amount of foliage on the trees and bushes. Lush foliage hampers long-distance visibility and limits your calling range. During the hot summer months, coyotes are less active in the daylight hours than in winter when the weather's cooler. Hunting just before daylight and just before dark will be your most productive times."
Because of the older ages of the dogs of summer, they've learned more about how to dodge hunters than the younger dogs of fall and winter have. You'll find camouflage much more important in the summer for success, and the calls you use may vary. "I look for open areas where I can see long distances," Harris explained. "Fresh-cut hayfields, power-line right-of-ways or areas that have been recently bushhogged or clear-cut are prime coyote hunting places as is a flood plain where the water's been backed up for an extended period and killed the foliage beneath the trees. Then you can see much further. Regardless of how well you call, if you can't see the coyotes, you can't take them."
Harris likes to hunt from the deer stands he's used in the winter. Coyotes expect their food and danger to come from the ground. They probably won't spot you as easily when you move, if you hunt from a tree stand. "When you get up off the ground in a tree stand, your calls generally will carry further, and you can work the coyotes in much closer than when you work from the ground," Harris reported. He learned how to hunt coyotes from a tree stand while bowhunting in the fall. He called to coyotes he spotted, and noticed that usually they walked right up under his tree stand and never spooked. After deer season, he continued to hunt coyotes from a tree stand and found this a deadly-effective technique during the summer months.
"I like to have eight to 10 tree stands set up in the woods in areas where I want to call coyotes," Harris commented. "Then I can go to those stands and call for 10 to 20 minutes. If a coyote shows up, I can take it. Or, if I don't see any animals in that length of time, I can move to another stand. With this tactic, I can hunt many places in one day and drastically increase my odds for taking coyotes."
When Harris hunts coyotes from a tree stand, he prefers to use a bulb-type mouse squeaker, a chipmunk call or birds-in-distress sounds. He considers subtle calling much more effective than loud, long-range calling. "Anytime I'm hunting in the timber as opposed to fields, I rely more on my soft calling than I do on loud calling," Harris explained.
TOMORROW: BRAD HARRIS ON SCENT CONTROL