Show Notes:

Hunting coyotes and foxes can be done more comfortably and effectively with the right gear. However, depending on how you hunt them, you can start with very basic equipment and then work your way up as you get deeper into the sport. In this episode I cover the simplest level of gear you can use and then what would be ideal for the new hunter to use. Everything we talk about on this episode centers around the strategy of hunting predators at night.

Take Aways:

  • You can start predator hunting with almost anything that is warm enough for the weather as long as it’s dark colored. Black is best, but dark greens and grays would work as well. 
  • Its important to match footgear to the weather and terrain. Because you won’t be sitting for much more than an hour, you can get away with less footgear than say for deer hunting.
  • Hand and foot warms can be a lot of help, especially if you are dressing light!
  • Ideal attire for night hunting is full camo with gloves, hat, and a face covering, but your flashlight handling will play the biggest role and how well you can stay hidden.
  • You do not need to have a heavy pack for hunting foxes, coyotes, bobcats, etc.  The basics include a search flashlight, a head lamp, a knife, rubber gloves, some paper towers, plastic bag, and whatever tags might be needed in your area.
  • Look for clothing and footwear that is quite above all.
  • Noise and scent matter more than having perfect gear. Practice stealth for the best results!
 

 

Show Notes:

When it comes to hunting coyotes, foxes, bobcats, or larger predators, you a rifle that does a handful of very specific things.  Any rifle can work, but there may be downsides.  On this episode I talk in-depth about what attributes you want in a rifle, what chamberings are most effective, and what a new hunter should be looking for in a gun for predator hunting. My recommendations might surprise you. 

Take Aways:

  • Any gun can be used, from a shotgun to a magnum rifle, and if that is what you have, then start there to see if you enjoy the sport and want to invest more in it. 
  • Predator hunting rifles should fire a small bullet, at high speed, that is very accurate at long range. 
  • You want a round with minimal bullet drop, that will kill the animal quickly and humanely, without doing excessive damage to the fur.
  • Your benchmark distance should be 200 yards. You want to practice for that range and have the equipment to effectively take game at that range. Your ability and environment may call for longer or shorter shots, but this is where to start.
  • Adjustable trigger, longer barrel, and 4-12x or better scope are major features you want to have.
  • The smallest effective round for coyotes is 22 magnum at short range, it is not viable at long range. 
  • The largest advisable round is .243 Winchester which is a little bit too large but is a versatile rifle that can be used for deer as well. Larger rifles are fine for pest control but not for preserving the quality and value of the fur.
  • Three of the major ideal rounds are the .223, the 22-250, and the 204 Ruger
  • My recommendation for new hunters, is hands down the .223 for many reasons stated in the episode. The other calibers may be used more effectively by a master, but most hunters will not have the skill or environment to make use of any additional benefit they provide.
  • Savage makes Model 11’s and Model 10’s in various configurations that are ideal for the new hunter, as does Ruger with their American rifle line. Expect to spend between $400 and $600 for a new rifle with scope already mounted depending on what sales and deals you can find. 
  • Only buy a package deal if the scope comes with it’s own warrantee
  • New hunters should seriously consider getting a used rifle to save money. Which is one of the reasons for the .223 recommendation, there are many more of these guns out there.

Show Notes:

When it comes to hunting coyotes and foxes, you need to not only talk the talk but also look the part. Calls and decoys enable you to get predators to not just come close but to let their guard down enough for you to get a shot. In this episode I talk about how to find predators and what kinds of calls and decoys you can use to get started hunting them.

Take Aways:

  • When scouting, look for tracks, droppings, and the remains of previous meals. Predators tend to move around a lot looking for food, they will leave evidence behind if they are in the area.
  • Its best to look after it snows or after rain. This make tracks easier to find and it ensures they will be fresh.
  • Ask people who live near by if they have heard coyotes, they can be quite vocal and can be heard from a long distance.
  • Hand calls take time and practice to use effectively, and lots of energy to use for a long period of time. For beginners it is best to use an electric call, you can produce lots of excellent animal sounds with the push of a button.
  • Electronic calls typically come in three categories, junk, good, and great.  Don’t bother with the junk ones.
  • Good calls typically have 12-24 animal sounds preprogrammed in. They are perfect for the beginner. Here is a good entry level call I talked about in the episode. 
  • Great calls enable you to custom program in hundreds of calls so you can hunt just about anything. Here is a FoxPro call I talked about in the show, this is the one I use.
  • Decoys are important because they give predators something to see that connects to the sounds they have been hearing. And it gives them something to focus on that isn’t you! Just a piece of moving fur is all you need. Here is the MOJO decoy I talked about, this is all you need to get started.
  • They also make call/decoy combos which are very handy. Here is the combo call I discussed. 

Show Notes:

Predator hunting, specifically coyotes, foxes, bobcats, etc., is a great pursuit for beginners and experienced hunters alike. It is so different from most types of hunting that both a seasoned deer hunter and a first time beginner can go out together and have a great time. The most effective time to hunt predators is right after sundown, which makes this an activity you can do any night of a week, even after work.  On this episode I cover the basic tactics and general approach to predator hunting.

Take Aways:

  • To do it right, you need a red LED spotlight, a call, a decoy, and a shooting stick. What you wear is less important, but camo or black will do fine.
  • Hunting right after dark is best because that is when coyotes, foxes, and bobcats are the most active and looking for food after laying low during the day.
  • Scouting in advance is important for hunting in an area where there are predators. The best things to look for are tracks, droppings, and bones from the last thing they ate.
  • Coyotes also are good for letting you know they are around because they will often howl, bark, and make noise that you can hear from far off. Ask people who live in the area if they have heard anything lately. Most farmers will be very keen to their presence because they tent to attack chickens, pets, and livestock.
  • Predators are prized for their fur, which is best in winter time. The skins make great trophies and you can often sell them to make extra cash to fund more hunting.
  • Coyote populations have boomed out of control across much of the country, making them a terrible menace because they kill off many other game animals. Cross breeding with wolves has made them large, hardier, and more destructive to other wildlife. Every coyote you take helps preserve wild game, livestock, and pets.

Show Notes:

I think many hunters have not discovered their favorite kind of hunting. Some have hunted for years and years and still not found what they enjoy most. They like hunting and they enjoy the game they pursue, but they have never ventured to hunt anything different and they do not realize there are other things that may be more enjoyable than what they are doing. On this episode we talk about making it a point to hunt something new this year, and finding a new exciting thing to do outside.

Take Aways:

  • Either think about a type of hunting you have always wanted to try or pick something you have never thought of before that is present in your state.
  • Pick a type of hunting that seems like it could be fun to go after.
  • Success is measured in the fun you have thinking about hunting, planning for the hunt, and walking through the woods. Taking game or not taking game cannot make you successful. If you take an animal and did not enjoy the hunt, you still did not succeed. 
  • Not every type of game requires a big investment to pursue, or at least to try. If funds are tight then pick something you already have the gear for, or that only requires a few small things.
  • Here are some less sought after game animals that are common, fun to hunt, have long seasons and can be pursued without a big investment: crows, woodchucks, coyotes, and doves. I would only recommend eating the doves though.
  • Decide that you are going to try something new even if no one is willing to go with you the first time. Don’t put your path in the hands of others. Be a leader. Chances are in time people will follow, especially if you are having fun.
  • There are many people in other countries that have never tasted the freedom we have to hunt. Don’t take that freedom for granted, use it and use it well.

Show Notes:

Predator hunting is one of the most unique and fun types of hunting you can do. The tactics and strategy are unique, everything about it is different. I think it is the best change of pace you could ask for to follow deer season.  In this episode we talk about the basics of predator hunting, when, where, what type of gear, general strategy, and tips to be successful.

Take Aways:

  • The best time to hunt most predators in most places is in the winter, and right after nightfall up until maybe midnight.
  • Summer is good too, but their fur is thickest in winter.
  • The three most hunted predators include coyotes, foxes, and bobcats. 
  • Coyotes are one of the most out of control nuisances in America that has far exceeded its native habitat and population and are devastating our nations game animals.
  • In many states you can hunt Coyotes 365 days a year, day or night.
  • You need three specialized items to really do it right, a red LED flashlight, a call, and a decoy.
  • This is a team sport, 2-3 people is best.
  • Its best to use smaller caliber centerfire rifles if you want to preserve the fur. The rule of thumb is to use the smallest caliber you can that you can accurate shoot at 200+ yards, a small sample of the many good calibers includes .223, 22-250, and 204 Ruger.
  • The basic approach is to arrive at your spot, setup your decoy and call, wait 15 minutes in silence, and start calling. Rotate calling one and off for as long as 30-45 minutes and then pack up and move on to the next spot if there is no action.
  • Use your red light to sweep the field until you see it illuminate a predators eyes, then never ever take the light off of them until you shoot or they run away.
  • Great book by master predator hunter Michael Huff: Understanding Coyotes: The Comprehensive Guide for Hunters, Photographers and Wildlife Observers

Show Notes:

No hunter should ever walk into the woods without a flashlight, even if you do not intend to be outside past dark.  The ability to see is paramount, and the ability to signal for help may be even more important. That said, you don’t need to spend a ton of money on flashlights, but depending on what you are hunting there are some basics that you should always have with you. On this episode we cover the highlights about what new hunters should know about flashlights.

Take Aways:

Hunting Flashlights

  • If you are hunting predators, hogs, or anything else at night, make sure you have a light that will shine at least 100-200 yards further than the longest shot you plan to take. You need to identify game coming in before it’s time to shoot.
  • Red and green lights are much less obtrusive to just about all animals at night, Red is the best for predators, and there is arguments on both sides about which is best for everything else.
  • If you want a red light, get a light with a red LED. Do NOT get a white light with a red filter, you will loose a huge amount of your brightness and distance.
  • Here is the Sniper Hog light package mentioned on the show.

Work Flashlights

  • You need a good handheld light, it does not have to be very bright or have special features, it just needs to be reliable.
  • A headlamp light is absolutely critical for field dressing game, and it is inexpensive. Always have one in your pack.
  • An LED popup lantern is very helpful, as is a light that can be hung from a branch.
  • But be mindful of the balance between space in your pack and how far you will be from help or other lights when you consider what to take.

Search Flashlights

  • Search lights should be as bright, powerful, and long lasting as is practical. These are flood lights.
  • If you plan to hunt anything you might need to track, you need to have a search light.
  • It can be good to invest in a higher end light with multiple brightness settings that can double as a work light and a search light.

 

Show Notes:

Whether you can take two weeks off for deer season or you can only get out on two Saturday’s, time management is important. Maximizing your opportunities and minimizing fatigue and down time are important. On today’s episode I address the subject on the best times to hunt, a subject that is also directly connected with the best and worst times to scout.

Take Aways:

  • Hunting in the early morning is often the most fruitful. Try to get to your spot an hour before legal shooting hours begin to minimize the impact you entering the woods has on the deer.
  • Hunting at the end of the day is arguably the second most fruitful time. However, depending on the property and the deer patterns, this time could be the best for a specific area and herd.
  • The middle of the day usually has the least movement but deer do still move during the day, never give up and think it’s a waste.
  • Scouting during or close to the hunting season is best done in the middle of the day because you have the lowest chance of spooking deer and ruining the hunting area you are scouting.
  • The longer you can hunt the better your chances, but if you can only do a half day, you still can have great chances. Just try to either get there early, or stay there late.
  • Hunting the first half of the day often makes tracking and field dressing easier because you have plenty of daylight and you aren’t as worn out. This doesn’t help your chances any, but it is something to consider if you have to choose which time to hunt and you are unsure of the deer patterns in the area.

Show Notes:

Deer hunting is easy to do but can take a lifetime to master. The first thing you need to do is get into the woods and get some experience. The second thing is to begin working on these four tips every time you go into the woods. On this episode we will be focusing on critical deer hunting tactics, things you can start using tomorrow and can continue to refine every season.

Take Aways:

  • Always Be Ready. If it’s legal hunting ours and you are in a safe hunting area, you should always be ready to take a shot a moment’s notice. Keep your gun handy, and practice taking a quick offhand shot while hiking. You best opportunity of the day could come while walking to your spot. Don’t miss it.
  • The Wind Is Your Friend. Wind creates noise and movement which can help cover you when you need to move or make some extra sound. If you can wait for wind before doing something, you can lessen he chances of being detected. 
  • You Cannot Be Too Stealthy. The old adage is there is nothing nosier than a hunter trying to be quiet. Stealth cannot be over stated, both while moving and sitting. Camouflage is only a small component, eliminating movement and sound are arguably much more important. 
  • Pretend You Are Always Being Watched. Chances are, it’s true. If you hunt as if every moment you are trying to make an animal that has spotted you forget you are there, then you are well on your way to developing a very useful and effective skill. 

Show Notes:

Hunting in the rain is not something to be avoided, it can be a great time to hunt. But you need to adjust your plans if there is significant rain in the forecast in order to be effective and comfortable.  In this episode I talk about a recent cold rainy hunt that was successful, and how you can plan to hunt effectively in the rain.

Take Aways:

  • People often ask the questions “Are deer active in the rain? Do they still move around?” The answer to both is yes, very much. In all but torrential rain, deer continue to move, eat, and socialize. The rain does not seem to bother them at all. In fact because there is less light and its easier to move without making noise, deer may be more active on rainy days, throughout the day, and they may be less on guard.
  • The biggest benefit to hunting in the rain is very fewer other hunters will be out. You can have a lot more privacy and better chance at taking a deer. Normally I see half a dozen hunters on opening day where I plan to hunt, sometimes I can see them from my tree stand. This year it rained a lot and I did not see a single other hunter. I did see a lot of deer and I took one home.
  • If you are hunting in the rain, especially the cold rain, you must stay dry. This can be accomplished with a rain suit, umbrella, ground blind, or similar approach.  Be sure to wear extra layers so you can stay warm if you get wet from the rain or sweat.
  • Do not hunt with an umbrella in hand. You can use an umbrella to make it through downpours, but you cannot hunt while you are holding one. Umbrellas are easy to see and amplify your movement. And you cannot hold one and fire a rifle or a bow at the same time. You risk giving yourself away or dropping something.
  • They make umbrellas that attach to trees which can work while tree hunting but do not use those for ground hunting, deer will more easily spot them while on the ground.
  • A ground blind may be the best way to hunt in significant rain, it is basically a camo tent.  Consider setting one up before the season starts so you have a comfortable way to hunt if the weather is bad.
  • No matter how you choose to hunt, always have a backup plan for rain. Know what you will do if a lot of rain is in the forecast so you can make use of this great hunting opportunity.