Never Rule It Out When Hunting Coyotes

I have been hunting coyotes for several years, and the summer of 2016 allowed me a summer of many “firsts” for me and the friends and family I take out to also enjoy this obsession I’ve come to love. Hunting coyotes in Southern Indiana, you’ve got a variety of hunting setups; however they generally end up being the same thing with some small differences between them. Hog barns, turkey barns, river bottoms, rock quarries, wheat fields, corn fields and soy bean fields. I’ve just summed up 95% of the terrain that I hunt and each one has its own quirks that somehow teach me something every single time I take a stand. I wanted to take an opportunity to share one of those firsts with you in this article.

Cornfield Confusion

I recently met a guy who is just as obsessed with hunting as I am, by the name of Jeremy Steinkamp earlier this year. Jeremy is the owner of Strut N Rut Hunting Club in Brownstown, IN which I am sure just started as a small idea and turned into something bigger and better that allows him to involve his community and the adults and children who get to go out and enjoy the outdoors. Well, Jeremy and I had tried to setup a coyote hunt for a couple of weeks and we had some scheduling conflicts, but finally, we were able to set a time to go. So, I loaded up my nephew, my .308, my e-caller, my Predator Tactics KillBone predator light, Buck Lantern scan light and both of my Coyote Reaper predator hunting lights and set out for the hour long drive over there. Upon arrival, we discussed our different locations that we were going to hunt and made a plan of attack for the evening. During discussion, we talked about a spot that had standing corn, and of all of the sets this one appealed to me the least.

Once the sun set, we headed to our first spot that we were going to call. A large wheat field that had just been cut with a large 8’ wide and probably 6’ deep creek on the right hand side and then a corn field on the other side. As we arrived, I am not too proud to admit…I told Jeremy I wasn’t sure how well coyotes would travel 5’ tall standing corn. As Jeremy, my nephew Luc and I got out of the truck, we walked along the right side of the field down the ditch line that had weeds 7’ tall growing in it, to a point where I felt we should stop. I said we probably should try and give a locate to them before we drag our scent all the way down the ditch line and field just to find out they were on the other side of the field. So, we got set up and I walked my call out 30 yards in front and to the left towards the middle of the field and then returned to my spot. I turned my remote on, asked them if they were ready, and after getting two head nods and turning on our predator hunting lights I hit the Coyote Locator. The sound of howls and yips erupted from the call and filled what was just total silence, with the sound of coyotes. The call finished…and we waited.

Silence was all that filled the air after the call had finished its cadence, but it wasn’t for long. Roughly 15 seconds after the call had stopped, it sounded just like someone took a real deep breath right behind us in that 7’ tall grass…and then like a knife, the sound of coyote howls and challenge screams cut through the silence. They were literally 40 feet from us, on the other side of the ditch…in the corn. I whispered to Jeremy, whom was sitting to my right, “Get ready bud, it’s about to happen very fast!” I immediately hit my preset hot button for Coyote Pup Distress, and their howls were answered by the screams of a coyote pup begging for help. What sounded like a small forest being trampled was all that you could hear as the coyotes ran through the corn, tearing through the grass and brush on both sides of the creek…and emerging not 5 feet from the end of Jeremy’s awaiting gun barrel. My Coyote Reaper coyote light on full flood lit that jet black dog up like a Christmas tree long enough for a .243 to do its job. As the coyote hit the ground, I hear my nephew who was sitting to my left yell, “Another one!” As we both spun around, we saw a much bigger dog trying to put as much space between itself and us as possible. Unfortunately, in the panic of its escape, it chose the only path away from us that also had our vehicle in a direct line…so it got to live to be called another day. The total time from turning my call on until there was a coyote down in front of us, 4 minutes and some change, that’s it.

I’ve always said, the first person who tells you that they have coyotes 100% figured out, is the last person I’d take my advice from. Take that with a grain of salt, because if that person also can go out and make 3 stands and bring back 3+ coyotes every time they go out, that’s probably someone who you should absolutely listen to. Unfortunately, I’ve found a lot of people just don’t fully understand and unintentionally pass bad information to others. Case and point was my comment about coyotes not liking or being in corn fields when crops are in. I had been told that, and since I never hunted coyotes in the summer time until this year, I just assumed it was true…but now I know otherwise.

I share this story from this year with you because of two things really; one is that as avid of a hunter as I am of coyotes and as hard as I hunt them, this was the first year I really hunted after our season went out. In Indiana, with written landowner permission, you can continue hunting coyotes just as you did during the winter, provided you have a hunting license of course. Being the first year that I’ve really hunted every weekend since March—and here we are in September—it’s been a real challenge and learning experience for me. Second reason I chose to share this is so that you realize no one knows it all and every single “Do and Do not” of coyote hunting is really more of a “Probably should and shouldn’t” in most situations. There’s always that dog that will do everything it’s not supposed to when it comes in to that call. No matter what, always expect the unexpected with coyotes! I’ve had them come from upwind of me, in the middle of an open field and sneak right up on me before I even caught them. This past winter I actually told a hunting buddy about a  female that circled up wind of me, and came directly in to the call and he threw the proverbial “B.S. flag” on me. 48 hours later, I received a phone call from the same guy who could not believe what had happened on stand, a coyote circled up wind of him and came charging in to the call, and he never even saw the dog until it was right on top of them and too late to get a shot off.

Predator hunting in general is hard enough, so with enough time in the field and learning from each stand, you too will develop your habits and learn what the “probably shoulds” and “probably should nots” are to increase your success and help put fur in the truck!

Questions, comments, etc….please e-mail me at [email protected]