Fred Eichler has been calling coyotes all across the country for over 35 years. Whether the Trinidad, Colorado resident is hunting coyotes for his popular television show Predator Nation, guiding clients for his business, Full Draw Outfitters, to protect livestock, or simply for fun by himself or with family, Eichler says the winter months are his favorite times to hunt these crafty predators.
"When coyotes are cold and hungry, they seem to be more eager to come to the call," says Eichler. “Coyotes are just like most people; when it’s cold out, we require more food to keep our body heat going and to keep warm. Coyotes also need to eat more to support their metabolism in the wintertime. They spend more time actively looking for food when it’s cold, so that’s when they can be easiest to call. "
Eichler says the coyote breeding season takes place during the winter months, too, which also makes them easier to fool with the right calls. “The coyote breeding season often occurs from mid-January through March, depending on what part of the country you are hunting,” says Eichler, who howls den sites at night to locate coyotes during these periods. "A coyote is very territorial during the breeding season; by locating their dens the night before, I can slip in early the next morning and take advantage of their increased territorial instincts," he says. Eichler typically only uses coyote vocalizations while calling during the breeding season. "I use coyote howls when locating, then I use lone howls, challenge howls, puppy noises, and other vocals to call them into shooting range when setting up on them the next day."
Above all, Eichler believes longer sits give him an edge when competing against the dogs, mother nature, and other hunters who too are trying to harvest as much winter fur as possible. "When other hunters share that they are only hunting a couple of hours in the morning and I have been calling for the entire day, it isn’t hard to see that I am simply getting more opportunities to call predators in," he says, adding that quality gear is the key to sitting longer. "There are two things that will cut your hunt short faster than anything else, and that’s being wet or getting cold."
Wearing insulated, waterproof garments that keep you warm and dry is essential when hunting coyotes all day during the wintertime. The Blocker Outdoors Shield Series Drencher Insulated 3-in-1 Jacket and Pant are a favorite of Eichler's. "Clothes are an important part of a predator hunter's success," answers Eichler. “They’ve got to keep you warm and dry but should also be quiet and help support mobility. I call a lot of coyotes into close range while filming for our TV shows. When coyotes get close, I want to be able to quickly move to make the shot, as well have a fabric that is quiet so that coyotes never know we are there.”
Clothing isn’t something many predator hunters think about when it comes to the gear that can help make them more effective and successful, but Eichler says it’s an area where hunters can gain the most advantages. Yes, it’s essential to know what calls to use during different scenarios and where the best locations are for calling in a coyote, but Eichler says success often comes down to simply spending more time hunting. “You hear all the time about hunts getting cut short by the weather,” he says. “If you aren’t equipped with the right clothes that let you sit longer and get closer, none of the rest of your hunting gear or skills even matter.”
Follow Fred and Michele Eichler on Facebook (@fredeichlerpage), Twitter, and Instagram (@fredeichler) and on their YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/c/fredeichler. Visit their website: fredeichler.com. For more information on Fulldraw Outfitters hunts and products please visit www.fulldrawoutfitters.com.
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