If they are not there, you can't kill them!

Posted by: 6724

If they are not there, you can't kill them! - 12/06/18 07:48 PM

This thread is for all of you guys out there that have posted about lack of success, hunting pressure, and whatever reason for not killing coyotes.
Yesterday morning I left just after feeding the horses, right after daylight. It took me 2.5 hours to get to a spot that I have had great luck calling in the past couple of years, but success earlier in the season, not December. There was an inch of fresh snow on top of 4 or 5 inches. There were tire tracks down every blm and county road. I did two stands that should have, and in the past years have produced coyotes. The wind was perfect, the weather was perfect, I got into the stand with minimal exposure. But, both stands were blanks. Last year I called in roughly that area the same week, that time I called in nothing as well. Suspecting that the area had been called extensively this late in the season, I continued on to my primary destination, another 45 minutes drive north west.
I arrived at the area I wanted to try, it looked great on the map, it was at least a 45 minute drive to the nearest small town. The area is approximately 40 miles square with no private inholdings, BLM as far as the eye can see. There were no fresh tracks from that day, but tracks in the snow from previous days. It was a huge wide sand wash, about 2 miles across in places. Tributary washes of sage and high desert dumping into the main wash. It is probably what every person back east thinks of as coyote country when the say "out west". It looked great, but after 8 miles of road I found only one set of coyote tracks crossing. In 8 stands I only cut one set of coyote tracks from that day, but it was now after noon. I did 8 perfect stands, the wind was right, the terrain was right, the sky was overcast, I set up in good cover calling vast areas of sage with ravines and gullies.
I never called in a thing! I never saw a coyote run off after the stand. I never had a coyote hang up at 500 yards, or any distance. I saw nothing but one jack rabbit and a handful of tweety birds.
I left that area to go to another spot that I have had great success calling coyotes. An area where the first time I hunted it I called 5 and killed 3 in 2 hours, and killed 8 in a weekend. I got 3 stands in before dark, on the last stand I saw a truck turn its lights on about a mile across the highway, presumably a hunter. Not much else to do in a sea of BLM in December. I spent the night in a spot where I could hide the car and make a couple of stands without driving in the morning.
In the morning the sky was clear to the north and high clouds to the south. I did the first stand about 300 yards from the car, that was not visible from any area I was calling. It was a wash about 400 yards wide where it reached the river and went about a mile and a half to the north east. The wind was straight down the wash, the stand was perfect. I called on in there years before. I was set up a little before shooting light so I waited until I could see. That stand produced nothing. I walked up the road about 1/2 mile and then off to the south and called another was that was about 1 mile across and 3 miles long to the east, the wind was straight down that wash too. I have called and killed 4 coyotes in that wash in the past. I approached my that stand walking in a 15' deep ravine, being only exposed long enough to set the caller and sit down. I handcalled the first 8 minutes and then switched to sounds I rarely use, sounds that most people would not think to use in the high desert, and then back to normal sounds like snowshoe hare. Again, I saw nothing. Nothing hanging up at 500 yards, nothing running away at 1000. There was complete snow coverage and sage that is not real dense, they are not that hard to see with quality binoculars even at 600 yards or more. Stand 3 for the morning was calling to the east, no sun as the clouds were covering the sunrise, with the wind in my face again, I saw nothing, anywhere. Stands 4 through six of the day were all great stands, in areas where the night before I had found a couple of tracks down the road, they were snowed on but tracks nonetheless. That entire morning from about 8:30 to 11:00 I was hearing a helicopter to the south, changing to west and then within a couple miles to the south where I could see it. I thought they were doing game counts for deer and elk, it is the time of year they do that. By the way it was flying that also made sense. But, during one of my last stands I thought I heard a shot from that direction, and I heard the helicopter set down. Through the binoculars I could see the helicopter idling with two people outside it about 50 yards from it. A few minutes later I heard a shot again, this time no mistaking it, and then the chopper sitting on the ground again. They were hunting from the air.
So not only were there tire tracks down every road, presumably predator hunters, as there is nothing else to hunt out there except the pretty scarce rabbits. There was also someone shooting coyotes from a helicopter. No wonder I could not find anything to shoot!

Its pretty hard to call in coyotes, when there aren't many around and those that are around are being called by hunters for the previous month or more.
I have been very successful in those same areas, but NEVER after Thanksgiving. Its a small window to get out there and hunt before the pressure has taken its toll.
Quite frustrating to take two days off and drive 3.5 hours one way to do stand after stand after stand, in great looking country, doing good stands, and never seeing anything!

I did see two coyotes along the highway on the way home, both on private property.
Posted by: 6724

Re: If they are not there, you can't kill them! - 12/06/18 07:51 PM

My guess is that this scenario happens to plenty of hunters, it just doesn't get reported like the days of multiple dogs.
Posted by: reloader326

Re: If they are not there, you can't kill them! - 12/06/18 08:02 PM

Lol, welcome to our world, bud.
Posted by: gotspots

Re: If they are not there, you can't kill them! - 12/06/18 08:08 PM


Was the Chopper Yellow??
Posted by: 204 AR

Re: If they are not there, you can't kill them! - 12/06/18 08:18 PM

Originally Posted By: 6724
My guess is that this scenario happens to plenty of hunters, it just doesn't get reported like the days of multiple dogs.


I can't say for sure that it happens to everyone, but it sure has happened to me! Last year, after deer season, I think I went almost 2 months, and only saw two coyotes. That was probably around 100 sets.

If it makes you feel any better, today wasn't one of those days. Called in a quad, 3 are dead and the 4th should be.

Honestly, around here your best bets aren't what looks like "great coyote country", its pockets here and there. Maybe a big shelterbelt 1/2 mile from a feedlot or prairie dog town, that kind of stuff has been way better for me than the huge hill or canyon country.
Posted by: 6724

Re: If they are not there, you can't kill them! - 12/06/18 08:31 PM

Originally Posted By: 204 AR
Originally Posted By: 6724
My guess is that this scenario happens to plenty of hunters, it just doesn't get reported like the days of multiple dogs.


I can't say for sure that it happens to everyone, but it sure has happened to me! Last year, after deer season, I think I went almost 2 months, and only saw two coyotes. That was probably around 100 sets.

If it makes you feel any better, today wasn't one of those days. Called in a quad, 3 are dead and the 4th should be.

Honestly, around here your best bets aren't what looks like "great coyote country", its pockets here and there. Maybe a big shelterbelt 1/2 mile from a feedlot or prairie dog town, that kind of stuff has been way better for me than the huge hill or canyon country.


Thanks, but I know how to find coyotes. Its not that they don't live there, but that they have been pressured hard and are being taken out with aerial gunning permits. Two years ago in that area I took out several, the next year a few. The first area I went to yesterday I took out 14 in 3 days of hunting two years ago.
Most of my hunting around where I live, is hunting 200 acre patches of BLM in between houses. Literally calling within a couple hundred yards of front yards. Killed 3 last weekend, farthest on from a house was 200 yards. I hunt little patches of BLM, rocky steep stuff, heavy brush, etc... Hunting around here has been, and always will be picking off one here and there, often in the morning before the housewives get out for their walks! Don't bother with weekends, and forget about holidays. Everyone is out for a walk then!
I drove hours to try a new area that I was hoping was too far from any population center to have been hid hard already. To try and find a new place to get my numbers up this year. And, I get tired of hunting in deep snow sometimes.
Posted by: OKRattler

Re: If they are not there, you can't kill them! - 12/06/18 08:54 PM

Trapping,greyhounds and shooting out of helicopters are probably the top 3 most effective ways to knock down coyote numbers. Of course that's just my opinion but I know that from the air there ain't nothin getting away. I've witnessed first hand the effectiveness of it on groups of feral hogs. Unless it's a older wiser animal that knows to hunker down in the thick stuff until danger passes it's done for. If there ain't nothin to hide in they're not getting away from that. No way,no how.

I compare hogs to coyotes because they're just as prolific. If they can do a sweep over a piece of land and completely wipe them out it's a piece of cake doing the same thing to coyotes.
Posted by: 204 AR

Re: If they are not there, you can't kill them! - 12/06/18 08:55 PM

Definitely wasn't implying you don't know how to find coyotes. Keep in mind I'm fairly new at this, learning as I go. I was just relaying a facet of the game that maybe some that are reading posts like this one might not have thought of.
Posted by: Lodgepole

Re: If they are not there, you can't kill them! - 12/06/18 09:25 PM

You worked at it and you are not inexperienced .I call that reality ! Good honest writing no BS .Thanks for you post and I am sure there are MANY callers out there who have experienced what you wrote about. Tally Ho
Posted by: 6724

Re: If they are not there, you can't kill them! - 12/06/18 09:42 PM

Originally Posted By: OKRattler
Trapping,greyhounds and shooting out of helicopters are probably the top 3 most effective ways to knock down coyote numbers. Of course that's just my opinion but I know that from the air there ain't nothin getting away. I've witnessed first hand the effectiveness of it on groups of feral hogs. Unless it's a older wiser animal that knows to hunker down in the thick stuff until danger passes it's done for. If there ain't nothin to hide in they're not getting away from that. No way,no how.


I have spent quite a bit of time shooting hogs and coyotes from a helicopter. Killed 3 coyotes in one hour last year, probably 30 minutes. In the terrain and vegetation of the high desert, with snow cover, they are not going to get away. Most times when you pursue a coyote with a helicopter, it will try to take cover, but if you hover over it, it will flush, then when it gets in the open it often stops as if to fight you. That's when it gets real easy.

I hunted to the west of this area last year, in 40 miles of BLM calling in the early fall, I called in 1 coyote. In this area I was hunting there are a few very large sheep ranches, I know they kill anything that doesn't eat grass. When I was out yesterday, I was wondering if that area had been poisoned, I saw only one rabbit, few rabbit tracks, no tracks of voles, mice, or other small rodents, no birds of prey, no ravens or crows, only wild horses.
Posted by: Mr. Poppadopalis

Re: If they are not there, you can't kill them! - 12/06/18 09:56 PM

Sounds like you need to move!
Posted by: SnowmanMo

Re: If they are not there, you can't kill them! - 12/07/18 10:18 AM

I think that there may be other variables at play. While there might be pressure from other hunters, the moon cycle combined with weather and the other variables might combine to create blank days.

I too have had them, in areas that I know have and do hold coyotes. This weekend I went into an area that I have had success in, and after 3 stands and drawing blanks, I changed it up. I had been running bird sounds with a lot of success lately. But with the colder weather, I wondered if they might be a bit hungrier. So on the 4th stand, I ran bird sounds but added in some cottontail calls. I called in a double, shot one. Then the next stand, same sequence, called in another that we shot. So on a hunch, the next day, I ran that same sequence, and called in and dropped another.

I appreciate the post. It helps those guys who think that we all see coyotes all the time, which ANY predator hunter knows, isn't the case.

Thanks for sharing.
Posted by: Flesh Eater

Re: If they are not there, you can't kill them! - 12/07/18 11:52 AM

Originally Posted By: SnowmanMo
I think that there may be other variables at play. While there might be pressure from other hunters, the moon cycle combined with weather and the other variables might combine to create blank days.

I too have had them, in areas that I know have and do hold coyotes. This weekend I went into an area that I have had success in, and after 3 stands and drawing blanks, I changed it up. I had been running bird sounds with a lot of success lately. But with the colder weather, I wondered if they might be a bit hungrier. So on the 4th stand, I ran bird sounds but added in some cottontail calls. I called in a double, shot one. Then the next stand, same sequence, called in another that we shot. So on a hunch, the next day, I ran that same sequence, and called in and dropped another.

I appreciate the post. It helps those guys who think that we all see coyotes all the time, which ANY predator hunter knows, isn't the case.

Thanks for sharing.


I think weather has the biggest role for ME, in MY area. It seems if the weather's nice, no animals show up. If it sucks and is miserable for me, everything comes running.
Posted by: mhammer

Re: If they are not there, you can't kill them! - 12/07/18 12:15 PM

Maybe try hunting the private land since the public is so over pressured. Just a thought.
Posted by: K-22hornet.

Re: If they are not there, you can't kill them! - 12/07/18 02:24 PM

This past Saturday, I was up in Middle Park, hunting a piece of BLM that has produced very well in years past, and got skunked, not even seeing a coyote. In about a 4 mile round trip on foot, I cut one relatively fresh coyote track, and saw 3 more individual tracks that were covered over with snow. There are very few coyotes on this place, at the moment.

I also find that my calling success goes down in December, then picks back up in January. December seems to be the month for coyote 'dating', and by January, they have picked mates and have territories to defend.

Did you hunt this area before the big game seasons started? If so, how did you do then?
Posted by: 6724

Re: If they are not there, you can't kill them! - 12/07/18 02:38 PM

Originally Posted By: mhammer
Maybe try hunting the private land since the public is so over pressured. Just a thought.


The government hunters are working on behalf of the sheep ranchers, they hammer everything and yesterday were shooting from the air.

There are big ranches, there are smaller ranches, most often the ranch house or managers place is a mile or more from the road, most times behind locked gates. Many of the ranches are corporate owned where just tracking down a manager is not easy.



The one area I had never been to, but it should hold coyotes. There was almost nothing there, no rodents, very few rabbit tracks, only wild horses. I wondered if the area had been poisoned.
The other areas I went to are areas that I have had very good success earlier in the year, but did not hunt them this year as I was killing big stuff to eat.
I doubt it was not the moon cycle, or the weather. The weather was good, front moving in after several days of single digit lows. When you can drive tens of miles of remote roads that have shallow fresh snow on them, you can see tracks from that day, and from perhaps the last several days. When there are no tracks to speak of for miles, it means they are not there. Coyotes often travel roads, especially when there is lots of snow, no tracks means no coyotes. In the couple of hours I heard the helicopter, I only heard 3 shots. When I was in Texas hunting from a helicopter, I went through 400 rounds in one 100 minute flight, animals were dropping like crazy.
Posted by: SnowmanMo

Re: If they are not there, you can't kill them! - 12/07/18 03:49 PM

Originally Posted By: Flesh Eater
Originally Posted By: SnowmanMo
I think that there may be other variables at play. While there might be pressure from other hunters, the moon cycle combined with weather and the other variables might combine to create blank days.

I too have had them, in areas that I know have and do hold coyotes. This weekend I went into an area that I have had success in, and after 3 stands and drawing blanks, I changed it up. I had been running bird sounds with a lot of success lately. But with the colder weather, I wondered if they might be a bit hungrier. So on the 4th stand, I ran bird sounds but added in some cottontail calls. I called in a double, shot one. Then the next stand, same sequence, called in another that we shot. So on a hunch, the next day, I ran that same sequence, and called in and dropped another.

I appreciate the post. It helps those guys who think that we all see coyotes all the time, which ANY predator hunter knows, isn't the case.

Thanks for sharing.


I think weather has the biggest role for ME, in MY area. It seems if the weather's nice, no animals show up. If it sucks and is miserable for me, everything comes running.


I have noticed something similar.
Posted by: Mr. Poppadopalis

Re: If they are not there, you can't kill them! - 12/07/18 03:53 PM

I have noticed -
Cloudy days suck
Windy days suck
Warm days suck
Full Moon days suck
Posted by: SlickerThanSnot

Re: If they are not there, you can't kill them! - 12/07/18 06:20 PM

Originally Posted By: Mr. Poppadopalis
I have noticed -
Cloudy days suck
Windy days suck
Warm days suck
Full Moon days suck


i have noticed
some clear days suck
some calm days suck
some cold days suck
and some dark of the moon days suck

some days coyote calling just sucks.

those days that dont suck and the coyotes are coming good, those are the days that keep me going back for more.
Posted by: 6724

Re: If they are not there, you can't kill them! - 12/07/18 08:02 PM

Originally Posted By: Mr. Poppadopalis
I have noticed -
Cloudy days suck
Windy days suck
Warm days suck
Full Moon days suck


so you only hunt when it is cold, sunny and no moon?

I have called coyotes on sunny days, cloudy days, rainy days, snowy days, just about every type of day. Full moon phase is not as good, I will give that.
Posted by: KC Coyote Hunter

Re: If they are not there, you can't kill them! - 12/07/18 09:50 PM

I agree..... with the first post. Hunting a new spot every time to give myself a chance at success is the most important factor. So far... this is a challenge although I have successes along the way.
Posted by: Mr. Poppadopalis

Re: If they are not there, you can't kill them! - 12/07/18 10:03 PM

Originally Posted By: 6724
Originally Posted By: Mr. Poppadopalis
I have noticed -
Cloudy days suck
Windy days suck
Warm days suck
Full Moon days suck


so you only hunt when it is cold, sunny and no moon?

I have called coyotes on sunny days, cloudy days, rainy days, snowy days, just about every type of day. Full moon phase is not as good, I will give that.



Never said that, said those days suck in my opinion....
Posted by: KC Coyote Hunter

Re: If they are not there, you can't kill them! - 12/07/18 10:26 PM

for me.........on average............ new locations PAY!
Posted by: Ochocobull

Re: If they are not there, you can't kill them! - 12/10/18 02:09 PM

That is a great write mostly because it is honest and I could relate. I don't get to hunt coyotes in the spring, summer and fall as I am typically hunting other game at that time. I start going from December to about March which isn't enough time. In my opinion and this is strictly my opinion I think that the hunting sucks or is much harder when I first start in December because everyone is out there. As the months go on and the snow gets deeper and harder to get around the people die off and the coyote hunting gets better. I am actually thinking of buying a side by side with tracks to get to places where people can't go to see if that helps any. Thanks for the write up and I hope things turn around for you.