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Latest techniques for calling coyotes

• Jan 13, 2020 at 8:00 PM

Back when I first started calling in wild creatures, mainly foxes, it was a simple business. I’d head out to a likely spot usually in daylight, set up with my 12-gauge shotgun and start blowing into a hand held rabbit squeal. It worked up to a point. Gray foxes, which aren’t very smart, would come barreling in without hesitation. In fact, I’ve even had them come charging in on nighttime raccoon hunts when I was waiting for a bark out there in the darkness. But red fox? Never.

They’d come in alright, but hang up maybe 75 yards out, trot back and forth staring at my little hiding spot, then eventually swing around until they were downwind and disappear like smoke on the wind. I wasn’t carrying a rifle then too, but I soon learned better. The rabbit squeal also called in a great horned owl once, several deer, even a raccoon. Things have changed these days, of course. Coyotes came into Ohio and are now extremely numerous, and they can be hunted anytime with no season or limit. But they’re smart, and tactics have had to change.

For example, the old time hand-held rabbit squeal will often work on young, inexperienced animals, but rarely on old timers. For these, you should visit a big sporting goods store or maybe Google, and get several kinds of hand calls or better yet, an electronic call. Along with these you can get up to 75 even 100 pre-loaded calls from mouse squeakers to howlers and pup calls, deer fawn bleats, and more. Most important, each call will be perfect, made by experts, and the equipment can be placed up to 30 yards away so the coyote will be concentrating on the lightly hidden call, rather than you hiding behind brush or in a blind.

One of the newest wrinkles is a full sized coyote decoy. They range from silhouettes that can be rolled up and easily carried to a spot where it can be quickly staked up waiting for customers. They’re cheap and weatherproof. You can buy full bodied decoys too, made of Styrofoam or plastic, and these work even better. They’re extremely realistic and the dominant coyote living in an area will often come barreling in with plans to cause injury to a trespasser. Pups might come charging in too, to greet a possible friend (or female). These decoys can be placed in various positions, heads up, sitting, or even howling, and a few have tails that can move in a breeze adding to the effect.

Some coyote callers like to have a prey type attractor that might consist of a small box with batteries and a 10- to 20-inch rod above that can hold long, colored tails, or bird wings that will draw the curious thinking it might be prey. A sneaky but effective tactic is to place a small rabbit decoy in the open and then use a rabbit squeal This can be an effective combination.

Any would-be caller should keep two important things in mind first of all. One, you must hunt where coyotes are: meadows, marsh edges, heavy brush, or broken country with plenty of ravines. These hold the rabbits, mice, and other creatures coyotes hunt. Two, you equally must be aware of wind direction. Coyotes have an excellent sense of smell, and if a breeze is blowing on the back of your neck toward a likely coyote territory, you’re wasting your time. Use the new gear, keep basic points in mind, and you’re likely to score big on coyotes calling over the rest of this winter.

Hooks & Bullets:

Trappers who would like to try their luck in a wildlife area should be interested in pursuing fur bearers at Andreoff Wildlife Area in Hardin County. Six trapping permits are available for two trapping segments. The first segment is open Jan. 13 to Jan. 31, and the second open Feb. 1 to Feb. 29. Each permit allows one additional licensed trapping assistant. Registration is on a first-come, first served basis. For full information on trapping or registration, call Jaron Beck at 419-429-8324

Bird watchers might have a shortage of sightings in mid-winter, but those they do see can be interesting. One bird that sometimes migrates south to our area in the Northern Harrier, a predator that is often spotted soaring over Ohio's marshes nd prairies searching for small animals on which to feed. You might find one at Jockey Hollow in Harrison County, Mosquito Creek Wildlife Area in Trumbull County, or Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area in Wayne and Holmes County. Keep an eye open for snowy owls too, which often visit our area when weather is unusually bad in the north.

Readers interested in learning to ice fish should enjoy a free ice fishing class held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, by the Division of Wildlife at Mosquito Lake State Park Office. Online pre-registration is required as space is limited. Visit wildohio.gov and click on "register online" in the left-hand page navigation on the home page under the "Wild Ohio Harvest Community" logo. Call Ken Fry at (330) 245-3030 with questions.

Dick Martin, a freelance writer from Shelby, is a retired biology teacher who has been writing outdoor columns for more than 30 years. Reach him at [email protected] You also can visit his blog at outdoorswithmartin.com.

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