Hunting The Wiley Coyote In South Carolinaseries of combined articles
Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:23 PM
I previously posted this article as “Wack a Yote”
As my knowledge and experience increased. I decided to completely rewrite and expanded the article.
Hunting the Wiley Coyote in South Carolina
Previously titled – WACK A YOTE (Rewritten Feb 2011)
More than a 100 years have passed at attempting to eradicate them, coyotes are more numerous now than ever. The Coyote (Brush Wolf) has been making steady progress over the last 20 years in an Eastward expansion of its territory. It is now found in every state in the Continental US. Unfortunately that includes South Carolina. They have been hunting, trapping, poisoning, using dogs, and helicopters for years and years. There have been bounties on them. Yet none of this has stopped the Coyote; it’s a survivor. It is unrealistic to think we can eradicate it in South Carolina. We can only try and I said try, to control them in some small way. That way is sport hunting the “Yote”
Coloration of coyotes varies from grayish brown to a yellowish gray on the upper parts. The throat and belly are whitish. The forelegs, sides of head, muzzle and feet are reddish brown. The back has fulvous colored underfur and long, black-tipped guard hairs that produce a black dorsal stripe and a dark cross on the shoulder area. The tail, which is half the body length, is bottle shaped with a black tip.
Coyotes are distinguished from domesticated dogs by their pointed, erect ears and drooping tail, which they hold below their back when running. The eyes have a yellow iris and round pupil. The nose is black and usually less than one inch in diameter. The ears are large in relation to the head and the muzzle is long and slender. The feet are relatively small for the size of the body.
The home range of a coyote can be as big as 16 square miles.
With the Coyote population flourishing and deer population declining, many of our hunters are trying their luck in the hunting of Wiley Coyote. So lets find out how to “Wack A Yote”.
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One of the ones I have shot. Almost Black
Black Yote Mar 2012.JPG 4.37MB 0 downloads
Black Yote 2 Mar 2012.JPG 4.34MB 2 downloads
Most of the time we get to shoot at or harvest a Coyote by accident. Usually we are deer or hog hunting and sometimes turkey or small game hunting. But Coyotes have been hunted in the west for over a hundred years. Do we hunt them the same way in South Carolina? No – because they have developed different habits and habitats. However, some things remain constant. Somewhere back in time someone found out that Yotes are drawn to the distress call of smaller animals. So when a Texan saw a Yote come to a Jackrabbit in distress he surmised that maybe he could make some calls imitating these distress sounds. Now we can get all sorts of distress calls such as; rabbit, fawn, mouse, etc. You can even get calls that imitate a Coyote’s howl or bark. Electronic calls can imitate multiple small animals and are getting very popular. Some of the electronic calls come with a detachable speaker that can be placed away from the hunter. This is because the predator hones in on the actual source of the sound. Note: These calls will also work on other predators such as fox and bobcat.
The coyote is the buzzard of the ground. They are garbage disposals and will eat almost anything and they are always ready for a meal of mice, rabbits, birds, deer, beavers, skunks, even dogs and cats. Live or dead they will eat just about anything that is made of protein, vegetable or fruit.
During the seasons of plenty, they will usually be night hunters and spend their days lounging around soaking up some rays. Around sunset they announce their intentions for the evening by howling. Sometimes alone, sometimes in a group, and sometimes to assemble the pack. However the Yote is usually a loner, a very smart loner and is more alert and challenging than hogs, deer, bear or turkeys. You have to be both very smart and very patient to bag a Yote. You have to use their senses and appetites against them, be prepared to shoot at all times and don’t hesitate. Under normal circumstances you will only get one shot and that one will have to be quick. It has been said that if you fool a Coyote and miss, you have educated another Coyote and they do not make the same mistake again. Will you get another chance? Yes – but you will have to change your approach. A lot depends on how many hunters in your area are after Wiley Coyote. During leaner times when food sources have dwindled to a trickle, they will often hunt around the clock. This is also the case with females with pups. These lean months are late winter and early spring. These are the months that the coyote will throw caution to the wind and may often come to any potentially easy meal.
Always position yourself well away from your vehicle. They get very wary of vehicles and especially if they hear a door slam closed. Heck – on a calm morning, turkeys can hear that door slam over a quarter mile away. Try and park your vehicle out of sight. In a dip in the road, on a side road with high banks, or around a bend.
The best setup for coyotes is one that gives you more advantages than your adversary. Try and take the higher ground with cover at your back. Try for at least 50 yards of open or relatively open ground. Face downwind and sit still. Using a crosswind position will also suffice, but it doesn't matter what position you choose, you have to use the wind to your advantage. A lot depends on you terrain and how open it is. You’re going to need camouflage but not any camouflage will do. Wear clothing that blends into the terrain you plan on hunting in. Cover yourself from head to toe and don’t forget about your gun barrel. Wear comfortable clothing but not to tight or loose. Keep your clothes in a scent free bag and don’t put them on until you’re out of your vehicle and ready to head into the woods. If it’s going to be windy, you don’t want your clothes to be flapping in the wind. You may be sitting in the same spot for a while and movement has to be kept to an absolute minimum. I say again, you must sit still, so have a comfortable seat and a back rest. Make sure your gear is hidden or covered up. Don’t forget the cover scent! Just taking a shower with scent eliminator and spraying down with earth scent before going out, won’t do the trick. Use a scent that will attract him, you know, something that he would EAT. Why all these precautions. The coyotes senses are acute but the most acute is his NOSE and remember you are facing downwind. Yep all your smells are going in his direction. Because his nose is his most important tool, one way or another, he is going to get downwind of his quarry (you). If you have the most realistic calls but the smells don’t match, the jig is up. They cannot be fooled with the thought that “ I had 2 out of the three covered??
OK now you’ve taken all the precautions and thunk we are invisible? Not to “Wiley” coyote!! He will move from cover to cover, but eventually he will run out of cover and stare at you. He is going to spot you no matter how invisible you think you are, but while he is staring and just before he spots you, there will be an opportunity to take him down. That’s the “don’t hesitate” part. If you have to move to take him, or if you hesitate, he’s gone.
Once you start having some success in the relative open, you might want to try something more challenging. Not me but maybe you! Try hunting in thicker areas. River bottoms, planted fields, young pine groves, or a mixture of sorts. The good news is that you can get Mr. Yote much, much closer because he can’t see you or the prey you are imitating. The drawback is that you don’t see him until the last minute. If you catch a glimpse of movement, be ready to shoot. Practice your snap shooting ahead of time, as this is often what you’re going to get. You know that big buck you saw coming in last year. You saw him coming but decided you would wait for the ideal shot. “As soon as he steps out from around that tree I’ll shoot” and he never stepped out and you never saw him again. Moral – don’t hesitate when the shot first presents itself.
Lets move on to calling and calling sequences and other tactics. For the novices, yes they make mouth calls for coyote hunting and it would be well worth your time to learn how to use them. You don't need to call, squeal or whatever continuously or for over long periods of time.
When a prey animal is in the death grip or in it’s death throws, they will make one short scream or a series of squeals that reduce in volume over a very short time. Make those sounds to long and Wiley coyote won’t buy it and bug out. Try making a scent trail in front of you. Put out some strips of cloth, cotton balls, cut up sponges, etc about 10 yards apart and staggered form side to side also for 10 yards. Concentrate your sight down your scent line and wait for a coyote to arrive. Make no more noise. If you elect to use a hand call or electronic, use no more than 3-4 horror squeals in descending volume.
Note: Once again the scent trail has to match the animal making the sounds
If there is a Yote in the area he may show up in just a few minutes or maybe an hour or more. If he is close, 30 minutes should do the trick. If coming from afar, wait 20 more minutes, and then wait 20 more minutes. Patience, patience, and patience you never know when the coyote will make his appearance. Have your weapon at the ready and wait. Just before you enter the last 20 minutes try a few light squeaks or kiss the back of you hand. If he had to come from afar this will help him zero in on his quarry. If nothing shows, it's time to move to a new spot. Continue to be at the ready as you stand up and scan the area around you.
No Coyote after an hour or so?? Time to move. Move at least one half to three quarteers of a mile from you current location or move to an entirely new area. Use the half mile mile when in heavy cover or rougher terrain. Use the three quarter mile when in more open terrain. Remember you have been or will be upwind of your quarry.
Another reason you may not call in the coyote is pressure from other hunters. As previously mentioned they get educated real fast. If they have had an experience with hunters who are all using the same tactics, say a rabbit in distress call, then they aren’t going to fall for that one again. I have observed a Coyote actually steer its mate away from a certain type of call. Oh – In case you are wondering, as a member of the USAF, I was stationed in Oklahoma, Colorado, and South Dakota and coyotes were very plentiful.
So if a coyote doesn’t respond to you initial efforts, try moving to another area, and try something different. Remember you can always try your original position with a new call at another time. Here are some examples of other coyote prey. Wild hog in distress, fawn distress, turkey call, fox distress and woodpecker. You might try some fox or raccoon urine. Start with the small creatures and work up. Start with those creatures who live on the ground. Match the calls to the time of the year. For example. Hogs will work year round while fawns will be spring and summer.
Decoys can be the difference between success and failure. A decoy with some movement is better that one with none. A coyote can zoom in on a sound to the exact spot. So before they pick you out you want them to key on the decoy. Remember this, "A coyote is going to stop, every time, about 20 yards from the decoy, apparently confused as to why the decoy isn't running away”. You better have him in your sights because in less than 2 seconds he’ll probably be gone.
Crows often follow the coyote trying to snatch some small morsel or leftover scraps from his meal. They often give the coyote away with their seemingly nonstop cawing. But don’t count on this to be a hard and fast rule, for the crow also often follows the turkey around.
OK you have called in a Yote but he has also spotted you or your inadvertent movement. Wow a lot of time wasted --- wait --- not necessarily. There is a possibility that you may still get a shot. You’re going to need that mouth call!!!
You can mimic the sound of a coyote pup or a coyote in distress. You will need to make the “Yipe” sound that is made by the pups or a coyote in distress.
By making this call your coyote may stop and turn to see what’s up? He will stop abruptly and only for a second, need I say more.
Another tactic to employ would be during the breeding season, usually in February. You would have to use sounds that imitate a female in heat. This sounds is a high pitched sound, consisting of whines and whimpers. It is almost the same sound a dog makes when it wants something really bad. You know like when you come home and he can’t get to you, or when some really tasty tidbit is going to be offered. These sounds should be employed during the entire month of Feb, and into the first couple of weeks of March.
December is the dispersal time, when the young Yotes start searching for their own territory or home ranges.
Now Lets Touch Base on Night Hunting:
In winter when pickings are slim, coyotes will hunt during the day. Matter of fact they will hunt almost round the clock. But first of all they are night hunters and still prefer the dark time.
We are going to assume that calling coyotes with artificial calls and even electronic calls is legal in all or in some parts of the state. We are also going to assume that night hunting is some form is also legal in all or parts of the state. You will have to consult your regulations for the exact regulations for your particular area or WMA.
NOTE: Private land may be your best bet. Many land owners will not let you deer or turkey hunt on their property but may be more than willing to let you hunt Coyotes. Who knows, with the proper approach and ethics, you may even get permission to hunt the other game. Never let the opportunity go by with out thanking the landowner. An offer to help out the farmer with some chores on his land can go a long way.
Set up well before daylight and begin calling when you are legally allowed to hunt, or set up about an hour before sunset and begin calling as soon as the sun sets. If you hear coyotes howling before you start calling, just howl back at them. When you are set up to call, howl first, getting their attention; and then call once or twice using a long-range hand-held call or electronic calling device. Hungry coyotes moving out at sunset in winter may come in fast and often announce their presence by yapping and barking. In November and December these are usually the younger coyotes and the first to show. The older and wiser Yotes will come in last. If possible, wait for these show up. Taking out the Alpha male or dominate female can reduce the coyote population but this is short lived and really doesn’t reduce the population for very long. Take your shot or shots when you want, because a Yote is a Yote whatever it’s age.
During periods of full moon the vocalization of the coyote seems to increase several times over. This is a really great time to hunt.
As previously mentioned coyotes can be night hunters or around the clock hunters but there are times when even the coyote will lay low. These times are during very wind conditions, or heavy storms, rain or snow. When the adverse conditions pass, be ready to hunt.
This article doesn’t cover everything but should get you started. I hope it helps you develop your own styles and tactics leading to the long and successful sport of “Wacking A Yote”
Now for hunting Coyotes in South Carolina.
This is an excerpt from the 2011 regulations. I deleted some of the sections pertaining to Hogs.
DISCLAIMER: The rules posted here come from the SCDNR 2011 Rules and Regulations. I have cut and pasted and also removed reference to some other game. To insure the accuracy of what I posted, you should check the SCDNR 2011 Rules and Regulations individually, or contact your local SCDNR Field Office. My comments and interpretations of the rules are mine and mine alone and have not been verified with SCDNR. For subsequent years (2012,13 etc.) it will be up to each individual to check the current regulations for those years, this article will not be updated as for the Rules and Regulations.
NOTE: If you are hunting any private land other than that which you actually own, you should have WRITTEN PERMISSION from the landowner. If it's your dad -get it in writing just to be sure. Get the idea?
However - I found no actual reference to written permission?
From Pg 24 of the Regulations: Trespass - It shall be unlawful to enter upon the lands of another for the purpose of hunting, fishing, trapping or retrieval of dogs without the consent of the landowner or manager.
But there is a reference to written permission when hunting with dogs from the "Whats New for 2010-2011" on page 7.
S.1027 “Renegade Hunter Act,” to prohibit using dogs to hunt on property without permission Effective Date 6/11/2010
It shall be unlawful for any person to hunt from any road, right of way, property line, boundary, or property upon which he does not have hunting rights with the aid or use of a dog when the dog has entered upon the land of another without writtenpermission or over which the person does not have hunting rights. The provisions of this section apply whether the person in control of the dog intentionally or unintentionally releases, allows, or otherwise causes the dog to enter upon the land of another without permission of the landowner. It is not a violation of this act if a person, with the landowner’s permission, uses a single dog to recover a dead or wounded animal on the land of another and maintains sight and voice contact with the dog.
A person who violates this act is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five hundred dollars, no part of which may be suspended, or imprisoned for not more than thirty days, or both. In addition to any other penalties
provided by law, a person convicted of a violation of this section must have his hunting privileges suspended by the department for one year from the date of his conviction. He may not have his hunting privileges reinstated by the department until after he successfully completes a hunter education class administered by
the department. A dog that has entered upon the land of another without permission given to the person in control of the dog shall not be killed, maimed, or otherwise harmed simply because the dog has entered upon the land. A person who violates this subsection may be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not
more than thirty days.
S.1296 Hunting Coyote and Armadillo at Night Effective
Date 6/11/2010 (pg 7 under What's New for 2010-2011)
Coyotes and armadillos may be hunted at night with an artificial
light that is carried on the hunter’s person attached to a helmet
or hat, or part of a belt system worn by the hunter. Coyotes and
armadillos may be hunted with a rifle or sidearm no larger than
.22 caliber rimfire, a shotgun with a shot size no larger than a BB,
or a sidearm of any caliber that has iron sites and a barrel length
not exceeding nine inches. Any weapon used to hunt coyotes or
armadillos may not be equipped with a butt-stock, scope, laser
site, or light emitting or light enhancing device. It is unlawful to
have in one’s possession any shot size larger than a BB while
legally hunting coyotes and armadillos at night with a shotgun, and
coyotes and armadillos may not be hunted at night from a vehicle,
unless specifically permitted by the department. A person who
violates this item is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction,
must be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned for
not more than thirty days, or both.
Coyotes and Armandillos (Pg 23)
Coyotes and Armadillos - A hunting license is required to hunt coyotes
and armadillos, however there is no closed season on hunting coyotes
and armadillos on private lands statewide. Coyotes and armadillos may
be hunted at night with an artificial light that is carried on the hunter’s
person attached to a helmet or hat, or part of a belt system worn by the
hunter (50-11-710). Coyotes and armadillos may be hunted at night with a
rifle no larger than .22 caliber rimfire, a shotgun with a shot size no larger
than size BB, or a sidearm of any caliber that has iron sights and a barrel
length not exceeding nine inches. A sidearm may not have a butt stock
attached so as to create a longarm. Any weapon used to hunt coyotes
or armadillos at night may not be equipped with a scope, laser site, light,
or light enhancing device (including night vision or thermal imaging). It is
unlawful to have in one’s possession any shot size larger than a BB while
hunting coyotes or armadillos at night with a shotgun, and coyotes and
armadillos may not be hunted at night from a vehicle, unless specifically
permitted by the department.
Coyotes and armadillos cannot be hunted at night on WMA lands but can be
hunted during the day on WMAs where coyote and armadillo hunting is allowed.
On WMA lands, weapons used to hunt coyotes and armadillos are
limited to the weapon(s) that are allowed for the current open season
on the WMA - see WMA seasons listing in the Game Zones sections
beginning on page 36.
The use of electronic calls for coyote hunting is permitted statewide on
private and WMA lands. Dog hunting for coyotes is allowed year-round on
private lands statewide. Deer may not be hunted with dogs on any lands
in Game Zones 1 & 2. On WMA lands in Game Zones 1 & 2 coyotes may
not be hunted with dogs during still gun and muzzleloader hunts for deer
or bear. The possession or transport of live coyotes is allowed only by permit from SCDNR.
Night Hunting (pg 24)-
Night hunting is unlawful except that raccoons,
opossums, foxes, mink, skunk, coyotes, armadillos and hogs may be
hunted at night. Information related to hunting coyotes, armadillos and
feral hogs during night is provided on page 23 of this document under
specific headings for these animals.
Raccoons, opossums, foxes, mink, and skunk may not be hunted
with artificial lights except when treed or cornered with dogs. Devices
that amplify light using some type of power source (including night vision devices) are considered artificial light. No buckshot or any shot larger than
a No. 4, or any ammunition larger than .22 rimfire may be used. It is unlawful
to use artificial lights at night, except vehicle headlights while traveling in a
normal manner on a public road or highway, while in possession of or with
immediate access to, both ammunition of a type prohibited for use at night
and a firearm capable of firing the ammunition (50-11-710). Rabbit hunting
at night without weapons is lawful on private land.
Calls, recorded or electronically amplified (pg 24) - It is illegal to hunt,
catch, take, kill or attempt to hunt, catch, take or kill any game bird or
game animal with the aid of recorded calls or sounds or recorded or
electronically amplified imitations of calls or sounds. Crows, coyotes or
hogs are not game birds/animals and therefore can be hunted using
electronic calls on private lands and WMA lands.
S.1027 “Renegade Hunter Act,” to prohibit using dogs
to hunt on property without permission Effective Date
It shall be unlawful for any person to hunt from any road, right of way, property line, boundary, or property upon which he does not have hunting rights with the aid or use of a dog when the dog has entered upon the land of another without written permission or over which the person does not have hunting rights. The provisions of this section apply whether the person in control of the dog intentionally or unintentionally releases, allows, or otherwise causes the dog to enter upon the land of another without permission of the landowner. It is not a violation of this act if a person, with the landowner’s permission, uses a single dog to recover a dead or wounded
animal on the land of another and maintains sight and voice contact with the dog. A person who violates this act is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five hundred dollars, no part of which may be suspended, or imprisoned for not more than thirty days, or both. In addition to any other penalties
provided by law, a person convicted of a violation of this section must have his hunting privileges suspended by the department for one year from the date of his conviction. He may not have his hunting privileges reinstated by the department until after he successfully completes a hunter education class administered by the department. A dog that has entered upon the land of another without permission given to the person in control of the dog shall not be killed, maimed, or otherwise harmed simply because the dog has entered upon the land. A person who violates this subsection may be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days.
From the Regulations Pertaining to Wildlife Management Areas (WMA's) Starting on Page 25.
VISIBLE COLOR CLOTHING (Pg 26)
7.1 On WMA lands during any gun and muzzleloader hunting season
for deer, bear and hogs, all hunters, including small game hunters, must
wear either a hat, coat, or vest of solid visible international orange, except
hunters for dove, turkey and duck are exempt from this requirement while
hunting for those species.
Other: It is your responsibility to know the regulations pertaining to the State, County, Hunt Zone and individual Wildlife Management Areas (WMA’s) and Heritage Preserves.
DOGS (pg 26)
5.1 On all WMA lands, dogs may be used for small game hunting unless
5.2 On all WMA lands in Game Zones 1 & 2, dogs may not be used for
rabbit hunting during still gun hunts for deer or bear. Dogs may be used
from the close of the gun season for deer until the close of the rabbit
season. Dogs may be trained for rabbit hunting from Sept. 1 through Sept.
30 (no guns).
5.3 On WMA lands, dogs may be used for hunting foxes, coyotes, raccoons, bobcats or opossums only between thirty (30) minutes after official
sunset and thirty (30) minutes before official sunrise.
5.4 The Department may permit deer hunting with dogs on WMA areas
not located in Game Zones 1 & 2. For the purposes of tracking a wounded
deer, a hunter may use one dog which is kept on a leash.
5.5 Dogs may be used to hunt bear on WMA lands in Game Zone 1 during
the special party dog bear season.
Coyote Track Identification
Studying the difference in toe size will determine whether it's a coyote or dogs track. The outer toes of a coyote are larger than the inner toes and the two inner toes close together, and like the dog print, there is an “X” shape between heel and toes. The inner toes of a dog are larger than the outer ones.
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A coyote's track is narrower and more elongated than a dog's track. Coyotes are called "perfect steppers"; they walk in a very straight line, with the front and rear paws going on the same straight line, the same distance apart. On the other hand, dogs have a less-straight walking pattern.
There is a subtle paw size difference between a coyote and dog's track. A coyote has different-sized front and hind paw. The front track is between 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 inches wide. The hind track is 1 1/2 to 1 7/8 inches wide.
There is a slight variation between a dog and a coyote's foot. Domestic dogs have a slightly round foot, while a coyote's foot is more oval. Another difference is the paw's symmetry. Coyote paw prints are symmetrical, whereas a dog's paw isn't as symmetrical.
The toenail marks in a track are an indication of whether a dog or coyote has made it. The toenails of a coyote hook inward. The nail markings are also less prominent. On the other hand, a dog's toenails point outward and are much deeper on the track.
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Another thing to look for that helps identify a 'yotes path is the scat they leave behind. 'Yote scat will usually have bits of fur, feathers, berries, and even corn that they've eaten off of the bait piles, whereas dog scat normally won't have any of that. Fox scat may be similar, but the size of the droppings will be smaller and usually will be more cigar shaped than a 'yote's. I've gotten trail camera pictures of 'yotes eating corn off of the bait piles, and even a few where certain 'yotes will grab an entire ear of corn and take off with it, much like the tree rats will do.
Coyote Droppings (SCAT) – Fresh vs Old
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Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:44 AM
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