When the mercury plummets and the weatherman on TV warns viewers to stay indoors, perhaps what he’s really saying is that it's a good time to suit up and go coyote hunting.
Bitterly cold temperatures and falling snow mean coyotes will be on the hunt for a meal. They need to feed to keep their metabolism going, warm their bodies, and survive. Because of heavy snow, hunting their typical prey can be more difficult, so coyotes often need to cover more ground. But hunger and increased mobility aren’t the only reasons hunters should bundle up and get out during the harshest times of the year to call coyotes.
When temperatures remain well below freezing and the ground has been covered with snow for multiple days, it’s harder for coyotes to dig for mice, moles, and other rodents. When coyotes must work harder to find food, they become even hungrier. This severe hunger is why food-source sounds such as a rabbit in distress, a rodent in distress, or rodent squeaks are extra appealing to a coyote's ears. That’s why a hunter's chances of having a coyote respond favorably to such calls increase dramatically in extremely cold conditions.
Competition is another key factor during cold-weather periods. Other than calling to a coyote's stomach, hunters can create even more urgency by adding a territorial sound at the beginning of the calling sequence. Even in normal conditions, coyotes are known for being one of the most territorial animals on the planet. Add increased difficulty in obtaining food, and the territorial instinct compounds dramatically. Savvy coyote hunters use this to their advantage. Start your calling with a series of lone howls instead of jumping right into a distress call. After pausing for a minute or two, then began your prey-in-distress sound. Coyotes are already hungry, but if they hear another coyote in the area before they hear the food, it becomes an urgent rush to see who can get to the free meal first. That urgency is key. Give them a reason to respond to a call immediately.
LOOKING FOR LOVE
January, February, and early March are typically the coldest parts of the year throughout the United States. We’ve already established that’s good for predator hunters. But the chill isn’t the only thing in the air. While coyotes will be looking for food during these times, they’ll also be looking for love.
These months mark peak coyote breeding throughout the country – another reason coyote hunters can’t afford to be inside on the couch. In addition to being more territorial during these times, they are also looking for potential mates, which can make them more active throughout the daylight hours and even more responsive to the proper calls. Hunters can capitalize by using more coyote vocal sounds, such as female submissive howls, challenge howls, whimpers, and whines.
DRESSING FOR SUCCESS
We’ve established the unique circumstances that can lead to increased coyote-calling and hunting success during the extreme cold-weather period. But none of this matters if coyote hunters can’t dress warmly enough to stay in the field.
Hunting during extreme conditions puts apparel to the ultimate test. It’s easy for a hunter to dress in heavily insulated clothing to stay warm, but clothing that’s too bulky can negatively impact mobility. Instead, hunters must dress in layers with quality, technical clothing that allows them to comfortably walk from one calling stand to the next and maneuver as needed after the setup.
Tooth and Claw TV host Jon Collins spends several days of the year calling coyotes. Collins suggests wearing the Blocker Outdoors Shield Series Wooltex suit as an outer layer during the colder winter months, saying “Wooltex apparel has plenty of warmth without the bulk, and is tough as nails.”
The expansive and versatile Blocker Outdoors lineup features quality base layers that feature moisture-wicking fabric and scent control for optimal temperature regulation to keep hunters warm during all weather conditions, mid-layers that provide quiet warmth and durability without the bulk, and a variety of outerwear choices that protect from wind, rain, and snow.
A great mid-season garment is the new Predator Quest signature hoodie. The versatile PQ hoodie helps keep hunters warm in cool weather while allowing layaering flexibility.
As the cold, winter months drag on and it seems there’s nothing to do but sit inside and daydream about warmer days ahead, consider suiting up in warm, hardworking Blocker Outdoors apparel and heading out in pursuit of a wintertime coyote. You’ll be helping to control the predator population for the benefit of all wildlife, and the adrenaline rush you’ll experience just might make the grim winter days seem less drab.