Coyote Hunting tournaments involve a completely different approach and strategy than just going out and calling coyotes for fun. When predator hunting a tournament, the focus varies from tournament to tournament and hunter to hunter, but generally if you are looking for the win, it comes down to one thing—put as many predators in the bed of the truck as possible within a set timeframe. In this article, I am going to discuss tournament coyote hunting tips & tactics and how using e-calls can help you do just that.
Scouting for Coyotes and Predators
One of the main factors to being successful in predator hunting tournaments is having access to a large amount of ground for calling coyotes and other predators. Ideally, the more coyote hunting ground the better. However, you can have thousands of acres, but if the predators are not abundant, it won’t do much good. Knock on doors, ask for permission, do your research on public ground and look for spots that other coyote hunters overlook. Put in work scouting the ground for coyote and other signs. Check the roads for coyote scat and tracks. Check fences for travel routes as indicated by coyote fur on barbed wire. Go out several nights before the tournament and use your e-call and serenade from the road a half mile away from your properties to locate coyotes. Look for small game sign, because where there is small game there will usually be a predator too. Talk with the farmers and ranch hands about areas they see coyotes the most.
Mapping Out Stands and Using Predator Hunting Lights
Time is money, and you want to be able to make as many QUALITY stands as possible. If you have a big piece of continuous coyote ground, get the wind right and work it, making stands a thousand yards apart with a crosswind. You want to cut drive time down as much as humanly possible. Use a hunting map app to mark stands so you know exactly what stands to make and in what order. Typically, I hunt open stands early and late and move to heavier cover stands mid-morning when the coyotes start to bed up. Make use of your favorite predator hunting lights and hit it hard all through the night if your state allows the use of a weapon-mounted predator light. Make sure your approach isn’t too long of a walk, and use a side by side if you have access to one. But make sure the landowner is ok with you driving on their land before doing so. This will allow you to make multiple coyote calling stands and get back into a property.
Use Predator Hand Calls and Set E-call Close
On a typical stand I walk the caller out anywhere from thirty to fifty yards. When hunting a tournament, I either run my predator hand call or set the electronic call in front of me at my feet. Doing so eliminates the risk of being seen or busted by a coyote and also saves time. In my experience, calling coyotes with a mix of my hand calls and aftermarket coyote call sounds has been a huge success for me when coyote hunting tournaments. It allows you to cast distress sounds and coyote vocals that pressured coyotes are not familiar with.
Backdoor and Downwind
If you have a three-man coyote hunting team, put two guys upwind and one downwind always. You would be surprised to know just how many coyotes backdoor you without you even knowing. For example, during the last three-man predator hunting tournament I hunted, we started the day on a spot that has an insane number of coyotes on it. Two of us set upwind and one guy set behind us about ten yards watching the backside for a sneaky coyote. Four coyotes showed up on the backside, and he was able to harvest two of the coyotes. If we would have not had a man sitting on the backside, we would have never known the coyotes came in. It is also extremely important to ensure that your setup allows you to always be able to see your downwind side for coyotes. Coyotes will generally work downwind—and you can’t shoot what you can’t see.
Additional Random Coyote Hunting Tips
Here are some other coyote hunting tips to take into consideration. Shoot your rifles beforehand, and make sure they are zeroed in for added confidence and the decreased risk of missing a tournament-winning coyote. Make clean shots so you don’t spend time tracking after a wounded predator. If a partner misses, do not hassle him about it; he is going to be hard enough on himself, and keeping a positive outlook will keep everybody’s head in the game. If you miss, let it go and redeem yourself on the next stand. My final coyote hunting tip for predator tournaments is this, “HAVE FUN & ENJOY IT” even if no coyotes end up in the bed of your truck. We are blessed to be able to do what we do, and at the end of the day it’s nice to win, but what is truly valuable are the memories you are making while coyote hunting with your family and friends.