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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

I want to get some unbiased advice on new coyote and crow hunting gadgets that are on the market, like calls, decoys, scents, etc. No rifles or optics, please. I'm putting together a magazine article on the topic, and I want to know what other folks have tried that is worth mentioning. I think honest feedback from real hunters is important, so that's why I came here. Thanks.
 

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Predator and Varmint Hunting

Will,

I will jump in and see if i can help you. There are going to be a bunch of people giving you a lot of their opinions and you are going to have to sort it all out. My advice would be. Go down the list on this forum and read all the information starting from the bottom and work your way up. I know there is a lot of good info. down there, Every thing from calls of every kind some electronic and some people powered, Decoys, Blinds, Hand calls. There is more than i can think of. Maybe now some one will jump in and give what you need. I hope this helps you Will, Good luck.......Joe.......
 

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Along with all the advice about guns, calibers, camo, scents, terrain, wind, and setups, tell your readers the following:

1. Coyote hunting is not near as easy as the many available videos make it look. Most coyote hunting videos are very deceptive in this regard. Coyote hunting is much harder than either deer hunting or turkey hunting. I've passed up at least 50 deer, and at least 15 turkeys, for every coyote I've killed this year.

2. It takes much more land to regularly hunt coyotes than it does to hunt either deer or turkeys. This is because the coyote calls generate LOTS of volume and carry for up to 2 miles. And since the coyote is the smartest wild animal in north America, regularly hunting/calling the same area causes coyotes to become very call-shy. They can be over-hunted VERY easily.

3. The average success rate for the average coyote hunter is one coyote called in and seen for every 6-10 stands made, depending upon the time of year. For new hunters, the success rate is more like one coyote called in and seen for every 10-15 stands made, depending upon the time of year. Some times of the year are better than others, and success rates vary accordingly. But over the course of a whole year, these numbers are typical of what one can expect.

4. If you hunt in the eastern United States, your success rate will be less than half of what it would be if you hunted in the western United States.

The reason I suggest writing the above is because these days, predator hunting is the fastest growing hunting sport in the world. Tons of new people try it all the time because it sounds easy, and the videos make it look easy. They flood the woods, try it for a few weeks or months, get frustrated, and quit. All this does is educate the coyotes and make it tougher for those of us who are truly committed to coyote hunting.

I've got no problem with new people taking up this great sport. But it would be nice for them to know exactly what to expect BEFORE they spend a lot of time and money, only to get get frustrated and quit, and give the coyotes an education in the process.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I appreciate the feedback. I'll be doing more of a gear review than anything. Trust me, I've seen the videos, and I know it doesn't work like that. I've got about six or seven years coyote hunting experience in Western Ky., and I've called them in and killed them with shotguns, rifles and two with handguns. It is much tougher than deer or turkeys.

What I'm wanting to know are what calls, decoys, possibly even cover scents, etc., that are out there that truly help a predator hunter up his odds. Keep it coming, I enjoy reading it.
 

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Here’s my rant on cover scents:

Imagine working in your garden all day, under a hot sun. Then you come in at 5:00pm, spray on some sweet smelling fragrance, and go out to a restaurant. Without taking a bath or changing clothes. Do you think that sweet smelling fragrance will help? No. People may smell it, but they will also smell your dried, stinking sweat.

That’s kind of what it’s like trying to use cover scents to fool a coyote. Coyotes can detect scent 1000 times better than humans. As someone once said on the Predator Masters web site, coyotes must be laughing their butts off as hunters walk through the woods with their cover scents trying to mask over Dial Soap, Sure Deodorant, and Lectric Shave.

What I’ve found that helps more than cover scents ever could is scent elimination. The H.S. Strut Scent-Away products seem to work. I can’t say that they are 100% effective, but my success rate seems to be better when I use them. It may just be that it gives me more confidence. I can’t say for sure.

I like to use the soap and deodorant. And I like to use the spray on my boots before hunting (rubber boots that won’t absorb scent). And I like to use the detergent to wash my clothes in. And I like to store my hunting clothes in an air tight box with Fresh Earth Scent wafers to make sure they don’t absorb household odors.

I think this helps to some extent, but doesn’t make you completely scent free. Remember, you’re carrying Hoppes #9, or Birchwood Casey Gun Scrubber, or Break Free CLP with you (i.e. on your gun) every time you go into the woods.

I carry as little equipment with me as I can get by with in the woods. To reduce weight for one reason, but also because everything you take with you carries scent with it. IF YOU DON’T ABSOLUTELY NEED IT, DON’T TAKE IT. I don’t carry bags or packs. I don’t carry a stinking leather wallet that I’ve farted on 1000 times. Think about EVERYTHING you carry with you. I use only break-open, single shot guns (shotguns and rifles) with synthetic stocks/forearms and hammers. Synthetic stocks/forearms do not absorb scent like wood does. And a hammer is very quiet, unlike most safeties. And simple-actioned guns like break-open single shots do not have a lot of crevices and such to collect oil and gun cleaners. I can easily wipe any excess chemicals away before going hunting.

All my guns are completely camo, so I don’t have to wipe them down with stinking oil.

Scent Block clothing is a waste of good money, in my opinion. Very high expense, with no more gain than what is described above.

This is the extent of my involvment with scent. Nothing drastic or overly expensive. I think it helps, but it may help me simply because it gives me more confidence. I can’t say for sure.

One thing I can say for sure is that playing the wind is the most important scent technique.
 

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Here’s my rant on guns and scopes:

You can easily buy and set up an excellent coyote hunting gun for $350, or less.

First, you don’t need a competition target gun or scope. If you can hit a baseball at 100 yards, you’re good to go.

Second, you don’t need to reload your own bullets. Factory bullets are just fine for the intended purpose. You might have to try 2 or 3 different brands/loads before you find the right one for your gun, but the right one is out there.

Third, you don’t need a second shot. With a rifle, you’re not going to hit 1 out of 100 coyotes on the run. So why pay for the expense for a bolt action or other multi-shot gun?

My advice is to go to Wal Mart and order an NEF rifle with synthetic stock and forearm. Get your favorite caliber. Almost any .22 center fire (and up) will do. I prefer a caliber that is also legal for deer hunting, because my state (Tennessee) mandates that during deer season, coyote hunters must use calibers that are legal for deer hunting. Thus I use a .243, so I can use just one rifle year round.

Don’t worry yourself to death about the “perfect caliber”, because it doesn’t exist. Also, don’t fool yourself into thinking that you need a “pelt friendly” caliber. Most people don’t save hides anyway. And most of those who try to skin a coyote do it ONCE. A dead coyote stinks like nothing else, and is hard to skin without messing it up. And then you have to mend the hide to fix bullet holes, treat it and tan it, etc. Even then you can’t get much money for it. Only good winter-time coats will sell with any regularity, and even then they don’t bring near as much money as they used to.

Next, buy a middle-of-the-road scope. If you hunt coyotes in the southeastern United States, as I do, you don’t need a really long range scope. Here, our shots are rarely over 100 yards. Get a scope that has a good reputation for holding it’s calibration (sighting) over time, but don’t spend $300 on a scope.

Next, camo your gun and scope YOURSELF. You can buy the paint from Bass Pro Shops, and save a lot of money. You’ll have to touch it up every now and then, but that’s OK.

If you’re just into buying expensive guns and scopes, fine. Spend all you want. And if you love to reload your own bullets, fine. There’s nothing wrong with any of that.

But if you just want a good coyote hunting gun, buy a synthetic NEF and a middle-of-the-road scope, camo it all yourself, and buy factory ammo.

My coyote gun is just as described above. It’s very effective, reliable, simple, inexpensive, easy to clean, and ugly as ****. I love it.

Remember, all the hunting show hosts and “Pro Staff” weanies are being paid to do a job, which is to separate you from your money. If you give them half a chance, they’ll convince you that you need a high-dollar gun,scope, and ammo that can shoot silver dollars at 300 yards. And a bunch of other useless equipment as well.
 

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Here’s my advice on camo:

Wear camo on all parts of your body. Including face and hands. Camo your gun YOURSELF. If you take a seat into the woods with you, make sure it is camo as well.

If you use dark camo with a lot of black, sit in the shadows while hunting. If not, you will not be concealed.

If you use light camo with a very little black, sit in the light while hunting. If not, you will not be concealed.

Modern camo uses very little black, because black colors give observers help with depth perception.

Do not wear a baseball style hat. Do this test. Dress your wife up in full camo. Have her wear a camo baseball style hat. Set her up in the woods, and walk back 50 yards. Then have her slowly turn her head from side to side, as you would do when scanning for coyotes. The bill of the hat will be noticeable as it turns.

Thus, wear a round or “boonie” style hat. Do the same test with it as described above, and you will not notice the movement as you did with the baseball style hat.

Wear camo, RUBBER boots. Rubber will not absorb scent. I prefer LaCrosse boots, but your mileage may vary.
 

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You guys teach me something new everyday and this thread is certainly enjoyable. I have been trying my hand at coyote hunting since last October and have been out a handful of times. I have not called coyotes in yet but have called in bobcats twice within 10 yards of me. However, while all this talk of scent elimination may be true, I have seen many coyotes pass by my while deer hunting and never knew I was there. I think the key to a good hunt is to 1) be still 2) be silent and 3) know the tarrain your hunting and the game trails. A lot of thing many people lack today (especially in the newer generations) is patience. Many people expect hunting to occur as fast as a video game or their 3Ghz computer....It just doesn't happen that way. Remember, 90% of the fun is just "being there". Enjoy the outdoors whether the hunt is successful or not.
 

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Here’s my rant on equipment:

Don’t waste your money buying, or your energy carrying, a lot of equipment.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, EVERYTHING you carry in the woods with you has a scent to it. So the less you carry, the less you stink.

Avoid anything leather. It has inherent scent, and absorbs your sweat and other scents as well.

Don’t buy call lanyards. They get tangled easily, the calls clang together and make noise, and when you raise your gun to shoot, the calls clang against your gun and make noise. Carry your calls in your shirt pocket. I know this doesn’t look quite as cool as Randy Anderson, but it makes sense.

Here’s exactly what I carry when I hunt:

1. Gun.

2. Two bullets; One in gun, one carried loose in my shirt pocket.

3. H.S. Strut 2-way seat. The kind with the “fold up” legs. The “fold up” legs are useless, but they have cross-bars that won’t allow the legs to bury themselves in the ground, like the “fixed legs” model (I spray this down with scent eliminator before I leave home).

4. Up to four hand calls, carried loose in my shirt/leg pockets.

5. Small bottle of “Windicator”, which is an odorless powder for testing wind direction.

6. Simple, small pair of brush cutters (hand pruner) to trim out a place to sit up against a tree (I never oil this hand pruner).

That’s it. No bags, packs, water, field glasses, shooting sticks, knife, flashlight, cell phone, GPS, range finder, electronic call, decoy, treestand, food, camera, pee bottle, cough bag, or Deer-View mirror.

I keep extra bullets in my truck. If I shoot a coyote, I like to move at least a mile to my next stand, so I go back to my truck anyway. I keep a knife, flashlight, and water in my truck in case I need them, which I VERY RARELY ever do.

Remember, all the “equipment manufacturers” pay BIG money to their advertising executives and independent advertising agencies to develop ways to convince you that you need a truck load of useless equipment. And their “Pro Staff” weanies look so cool demonstrating all the various gadgets. Don’t fall for it. Start with the very basics, and don’t buy anything extra until several of YOUR personal hunts have demonstrated that you need it.
 

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hunt127588 said:
You guys teach me something new everyday and this thread is certainly enjoyable. I have been trying my hand at coyote hunting since last October and have been out a handful of times. I have not called coyotes in yet but have called in bobcats twice within 10 yards of me. However, while all this talk of scent elimination may be true, I have seen many coyotes pass by my while deer hunting and never knew I was there. I think the key to a good hunt is to 1) be still 2) be silent and 3) know the tarrain your hunting and the game trails. A lot of thing many people lack today (especially in the newer generations) is patience. Many people expect hunting to occur as fast as a video game or their 3Ghz computer....It just doesn't happen that way. Remember, 90% of the fun is just "being there". Enjoy the outdoors whether the hunt is successful or not.
In response to your comment regarding free-roaming coyotes not seeming to detect your scent, let me offer this.

It could have been because the wind was carrying your scent in a different direction.

Or, it could have been more like what I’ve picked up on while coyote hunting. It seems to me that free-roaming coyotes are not as cautious as when they are investigating a particular sound. For instance, I’ve seen them while still hunting deer, as you spoke of. They were just kind of roaming, in and out of open areas, without much caution. Or they were “heading” somewhere, like from the den to a favorite hunting field.

But when I call them using rabbit distress or howls, they seem to approach very cautiously most of the time. They may appear up wind or at a cross wind, but when they make their final approach, they almost always circle down wind. The sense they trust the most in identifying food or trouble is their sense of smell. They much prefer to see, hear, and smell before commiting. But of the three, they trust smell the most.

This is not always the case with every coyote I call. Occasionally, a coyote will burst out into the open, intent on finding the “rabbit” as quickly as he can run to its sound, without being concerned about smell. Or he may make his final approach from up wind. But I can tell you that these instances are rare, and I strongly suspect that such coyotes are young, stupid, or starving.
 

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TNred said:
hunt127588 said:
You guys teach me something new everyday and this thread is certainly enjoyable. I have been trying my hand at coyote hunting since last October and have been out a handful of times. I have not called coyotes in yet but have called in bobcats twice within 10 yards of me. However, while all this talk of scent elimination may be true, I have seen many coyotes pass by my while deer hunting and never knew I was there. I think the key to a good hunt is to 1) be still 2) be silent and 3) know the tarrain your hunting and the game trails. A lot of thing many people lack today (especially in the newer generations) is patience. Many people expect hunting to occur as fast as a video game or their 3Ghz computer....It just doesn't happen that way. Remember, 90% of the fun is just "being there". Enjoy the outdoors whether the hunt is successful or not.
In response to your comment regarding free-roaming coyotes not seeming to detect your scent, let me offer this.

It could have been because the wind was carrying your scent in a different direction.

Or, it could have been more like what I’ve picked up on while coyote hunting. It seems to me that free-roaming coyotes are not as cautious as when they are investigating a particular sound. For instance, I’ve seen them while still hunting deer, as you spoke of. They were just kind of roaming, in and out of open areas, without much caution. Or they were “heading” somewhere, like from the den to a favorite hunting field.

But when I call them using rabbit distress or howls, they seem to approach very cautiously most of the time. They may appear up wind or at a cross wind, but when they make their final approach, they almost always circle down wind. The sense they trust the most in identifying food or trouble is their sense of smell. They much prefer to see, hear, and smell before commiting. But of the three, they trust smell the most.

This is not always the case with every coyote I call. Occasionally, a coyote will burst out into the open, intent on finding the “rabbit” as quickly as he can run to its sound, without being concerned about smell. Or he may make his final approach from up wind. But I can tell you that these instances are rare, and I strongly suspect that such coyotes are young, stupid, or starving.
Your point is well taken. I'll buy that. When I have seen them deer hunting, they looked to have been in route to another area. The most amazing thing to see was that when they got to me, they split around me (one went left of me and one went right). However, they never seemed alarmed. That was interesting but what made it even more interesting was that they came back through the same exact trail about 30 minutes later. It was during blackpowder season and I never shot. I will say this, in my several instances of seeing coyotes while deer hunting, I have never _ever_ seen them stop to look around. They were always on the go....They don't meander like deer which makes them tough to hunt in the hardwoods of the South.
 

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During this past deer season, a friend of mine noticed the same thing as you mentioned. He was hunting a large food plot for deer, and two coyotes came along. When they got to the food plot, they broke up. One went around the left edge of the food plot, and the other went around the right edge. They met up on the other side, and continued traveling together.

Interesting.
 
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