Successful Tips for Winter Coyotes
Deer seasons have wound down, snows are starting to fall across the colder regions of the country and the uncrowded woods, North and South, are crawling with hungry coyotes.
Don’t miss out on the hottest hunting action to be found this time of year. Grab your calls a rifle and some quality Winchester ammunition and don’t miss out on the best pelts of the season.
- Line Up Your Hunting Locations – Unlike deer hunting, where finding a place to hunt often goes to the highest bidder or is downright impossible to line up unless you have a solid connection with some land, the desire to eliminate or at least minimize the number of predators threatening livestock, game animals, pets and wreaking general havoc typically make hunters more welcome to landowners. Show respect, try to work existing connections to landowners and always offer to help around the property and you may find out you have plenty of places to hunt. This is critical as coyotes become more call shy due to hunter pressure. You can’t keep pounding the same place over and over again. You need the ability to move to a fresh spot frequently or your hunting will be more challenging than it needs to be.
- Pinpoint Livestock and Farms – Farms where livestock are present or pastures and overgrown fields with hay and grass will attract coyotes in search of the many mice and other small critters found there. Out West, where coyotes account for the majority of livestock losses over mountain lions and wolves, not only will you be providing a service to ranchers, but the presence of potential live prey will serve as a magnet for drawing in dogs.
- Play the Weather – Think only deer move on the edge of fronts or have their movement affected by weather? Think again. A Mississippi State University study found coyote movement decreased with increasing wind speed, largely because it became more difficult to pinpoint scents in the wind—a key sense coyotes use to hunt with. Also, activity increased when the barometric pressure increased after storm fronts or rather when weather begins to improve after a storm.
- Choose Your Weapon – Hunting open terrain, go with a long-range capable, flat-shooting caliber loaded with rounds that deliver optimal terminal velocity at a multitude of distances, but rapidly expand upon impact in order to minimize pelt-damaging pass-through shots. Winchester’s Varmint X is a perfect option as the lead-core bullet with alloy jacket and polymer tip create a sleek, wind-stabilizing profile for long-range accuracy, yet expands quickly for internal fragmentation. The load comes in popular predator calibers such as .17 Hornet, .204 Ruger, .22-250 Rem., .223 Rem., .22 Hornet and .243 Win. For up-close Eastern coyotes where trees and brush are thick and shots on dogs are apt to be up close and often less than 50 or 40 yards, go with a tight-patterning, hard-hitting shotgun load that offers some aim-forgiveness with a broader, but consistent pattern of shot. Varmint X shotshell loads, packed with BB-size shot and Winchster’s Shot-Lok technology has you covered there too.
Photo courtesy National Park Service