Calling My First Coyote

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Despite growing up on a farm in rural northeast Colorado in a family full of avid hunters, I never really got into coyote hunting. Peak coyote season coincided with basketball season. In high school, I played basketball, which meant that I went to school right as the sun was coming up and never got home till the sun was down. We typically had games on both Friday and Saturday night. Sunday meant it was time to recover, get some homework done, and get ready for the upcoming week. While I admittedly had time to coyote hunt during Christmas Break, I only wanted to be as lazy as possible until school started back up. Consequently, between a busy schedule and my personal sloth, it was not until after graduating college that I called in my first coyote. 

In December 2006, I moved back home with my parents (pathetic, yes, but you do what you have to do) while I continued my job search after graduating college.  Also that December, most of Colorado got hit with at least one big and several smaller snowstorms.  This meant that out in my parents area where there is often little cover to hold snow in place, some areas were barren of snow, while other areas had drifts that could bury a tractor.  For two to three weeks, it remained cold enough that the snow never melted enough to crust.  This meant that each time the wind blew, you had to dig out the same drifts you had dug through previously just to get anywhere.  With this weather pattern, I knew the coyotes would be hungry regardless of the time of day.

One afternoon, I decided that I should finally go try to call in a coyote.  I bundled up and loaded up my gear including a distressed jackrabbit call I had recently purchased from Wal-Mart and my Encore sporting a .223 stainless steel heavy barrel.  The roads were clear enough for me to make it to one of our pastures located a mile directly west of my parents’ house.  I had planned on parking my car at the gate and walking in, and as it turned out, I could not have driven into the pasture even if I had wanted to due to the four-foot drift covering the fence. 

I walked in a little over a quarter of a mile to a south-facing draw.  There was a slight breeze blowing in my face, and I found a spot that offered both good visibility in all directions as well as sage brush for my concealment.  After getting setup and comfortable, I waited about ten minutes before I started calling, during which time I tried to glass every inch of real estate I could see.  Before going hunting, I had listened to some experts demonstrate distressed rabbit calls online, and, out in the field,  I did my best to mimic their tragic concert.  After the first round of calling, I resumed glassing, but did not yet observe any creatures interested in the possibility of an easy meal.  I was glad that I had a watch with me because I found that my sense of time was drastically distorted by the seemingly paradoxical sensation of both heart-pumping excitement and serenity while waiting for the first glimpse of a coyote. 

After my second round of calling, I was shocked to find that my efforts were working.  Not only was coyote coming in, but this coyote was coming in fast.  When I first spotted the coyote, he was at about 250 yards.  Due to the terrain, the coyote would quickly drop out of sight and then reappear just as quickly.  I got my scope on the coyote and did my best to wait for a good shot opportunity.  On an open knoll about 70 yards away, the coyote finally slowed to a stop quartering towards me.  Knowing that I did not have much time before the coyote figured out something was wrong, I tried to calm my nerves and steady myself for the shot.

When I pulled the trigger, the coyote dropped where he was standing.  I hurried to load another round in case I needed a follow up shot, but it was unnecessary.  As I gathered up my stuff, I took a moment to revel in the joy of a successful hunt.  When I walked up to my quarry, I was pleased to find that it was a large male with a thick coat in full prime.  As I carried my coyote back to the car, I was a bit surprised by how heavy the animal was, especially by the time I got back to my vehicle.  When I showed my coyote to my dad, he informed me that I was lucky to have such a mature coyote respond so well to a call, especially at that time of day.  I had the hide tanned, and I now have it displayed on a wall in my basement as a reminder of the first coyote I ever called in. 


Retired2hunt's picture

Really Enjoy Your Story


WishIWasHunting - that was a great story!  I am doing my own first Coyote hunt this winter and hope to have the success you enjoyed.  I too plan on ta nning it so I can hang on my wall.  Thanks for sharing your story.  I will be re-reading it just prior to my 1st hunt.  I hope to have a good story to share with you!  Thanks!



Deer Slayer's picture

Congratulations on taking out

Congratulations on taking out a large coyote. Also, that must have been pretty cool to be able to call one in your first time out. I personally have never hunted coyote but I know in the area's my dad and I hunt there are quite a few coyotes. If I ever get the chance to take one out I definitely would not hesitate to launch an arrow at one. I would also have to get it mounted. I know my dad would get one mounted if he shot one.

ManOfTheFall's picture

Nice job on the large coyote.

Nice job on the large coyote. Also nice job on calling one in on your first try. I have never hunted coyote, but I have shot one. I was deer hunting in a tree stand with my bow and I seen one coming. I shot him broadside at about 7 yards. Our area does have alot of coyotes and I would like to take out a few. I think it would be very fun.

hunter25's picture

Although I have killed quite

Although I have killed quite a few coyotes I have only called them in once when I was younger. In the excitement of the moment I missed one clean and in a flash the whole group was gone. Usualy when I have the time to go the snow is already so deep it makes it hard to get to the areas I want to be.

The first one I ever killed was quite a story as we were late season elk hunting and I spotted him sitting on a dirt hill in an open field about 200 yards from the truck. I went prone on the side of the trail and dropped him with a clean neck shot. It took about 20 minutes to walk out through the snow and carry him back. I threw him over my shoulder and grabbed his nose and mouth with my other hand to balance him on the walk back. I threw him on the ground at the truck and right at that moment he started twisting and growling. He couldn't move much because of the neck shot but he sure scared me good.

I'm glad you mentioned you got him tanned because I was thinking that was the thinnest one I had ever

Congratulations and keep after them.

WishIWasHunting's picture

Many of the people I know

Many of the people I know that hunt coyotes have never bothered to call them in.  In the winter, they just shoot the coyotes when they see them.  I guess if you can get the job done that way, there is no reason to make it more difficult. 

My dad told me a similar story from many years ago where a coyote must not have been dead like he thought.  He had several jackrabbits in the back of his pickup he had shot earlier in the day.  Then as he was driving home, he spotted a coyote, jumped out of his pickup, and shot it.  The coyote dropped on the spot, so dad walked out and got him.  He then through the coyote in the back of his pickup with the rabbits and drove the rest of the way home.  When he pulled in the yard and got out of his pickup, he found the coyote standing there in the back eating on the rabbits.  Then the coyote noticed Dad, jumped out of the back of the pickup, and took off.  He still does not know exactly where he hit that coyote to stun it like that, but it makes for a good story anyway. 

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Very cool! I personally don't

Very cool!

I personally don't hunt soyotes, but I do remember the first time I messed around with one in the field.  I was deer hunting in Vermont back about 20 years, and had one actually sneak into my stand set-up and pick up one of my scent canisters in it's teeth.

I made a few squirrel noises, then said "boom" as I had my scope on him.  He dropped the canister and took off.

Dad got a little mad I din't shoot him, but that's another story. lol

Nice looking yote!

WishIWasHunting's picture


That is quite the funny story!  Sounds like it is even more funny since your dad got mad at you for not shooting the coyote.

Thanks for taking the time to read me story.

WishIWasHunting's picture


Thanks!  Dedicated coyote hunts are fun.  I don't think I would do it if I had to travel incredibly far to do so, but an hour drive is alright.  It is another reason to get out in the field, especially at a time of the year when there are few other hunting opportunities. 

numbnutz's picture

Great looking yote, I havent

Great looking yote, I havent had too many just yote hunts, but i shoot them when i get the chance. I see them all the time in eastern oregon when I'm hunting deer or elk, I have shot a few. I think this year starting in a couple weeks I'm gonna start hitting the woods for some yotes. again congrats and that a good looking dog.

jaybe's picture

Can't Wait

I have never hunted coyotes, but I plan on it. We have lots of them here in Michigan, and I just won a predator call, thanks to BGH.

I really enjoy watching a couple of programs on TV that feature predator hunting, and have a good idea of how I would do it if I were out west on the rolling prairies or other terrain where you can see for "a country mile". What I'm not so sure of is how I will do it in Michigan, where you can't see very far in most places. Maybe I'll just need to look around for an open area where I won't have them busting out of a clump of bushes 50 feet away, huh?

That 223 is a great caliber for 'yotes. I use a .308 for everything, so I will probably load it up with some 110 grain bullets for those guys. We do not have a bounty in this state, so it will probably not matter that the pelt will probably have a rather large exit hole in it.

Thanks for your story, and congratulations on your first (of many) coyotes.


WishIWasHunting's picture


Congrats on the coyote call courtesy of BGH. 

It might make it exciting if you were hunting them in an area where they might come busting out of the bushes at 50 feet away.  Then you could use a shotgun or a bow, which might make it that much more fun. 

I think your .308 will do quite the number on a coyote regardless of the weight of the bullet.  In Colorado, we do not have bounties on coyotes either.  On ocassion, I have heard of fur traders passing through an area buying coyotes, whole or skinned, but I have not heard of anybody buying them the last few years. 

Thanks for reading my story, and good luck trying out coyote hunting.