Tricking a coyote isn’t easy.
Weary by nature, predators like coyotes have a heightened sense of smell, sight and hearing that makes them all the more difficult to out-smart. But if you can master the art of the predator call—effectively mimicking the sound of their vocalizations and prey—you might increase the odds of bringing in a kill.
There is a vast array of sounds and calls to choose from, and hunters should take the time to learn what calls to use before setting out in the field.
There are two basic kinds of coyote calls: hand-and-mouth calls and electronic calls.
Hand-and-mouth calls may not be the loudest of all predator calls, but they are extremely affordable, easy to carry and effective, when used correctly. Electronic calls, meanwhile, come equipped with a vast range of call options. They can be loud and bellowing over great distances. The catch? They’re expensive and larger, making them difficult to transport on the hunt.
Hand & Mouth Predator Calls
Hand-and-mouth calls are small, handheld calls that you work with your hands and mouth, producing sounds that attract predators.
These calls are affordable and can be carried in the woods with a simple pocket or bag. They’re designed to mimic prey distress calls and coyote vocalizations—realistic-sounding yips, barks and howls sure to help you lure them in.
Unfortunately, these simple calls can only make so many sounds, and others will likely be needed for a successful hunt. And you can only manually work one call at a time. Each individual hand-and-mouth call is unique, similar to a music instrument. It will take time to master these calls and make the desired sounds. But with practice comes more control of your calls, as well as the ability to customize your calling sessions.
Electronic Predator Calls
Electronic calls on the other hand are essentially portable speaker sets that include a pre-programmed sound card and remote control, giving you access to a wide range of recorded sounds including coyote howls, barks, yips, fights, and various prey distress sounds.
The beauty of electronic calls is that they can be extremely loud and have the ability to carry the sound of your calls greater distances than your average hand-and-mouth call. They deliver useful and varied call options and can include sounds that mimic a group of predators, rather than a lone animal. Electronic calls are more expensive than hand and mouth calls however and are harder to transport.
Prey Distress Calls
For many predator hunters, prey distress calls are a go-to. They appeal to predators of all shapes and sizes. Rabbit distress calls, bird calls and even mouse squeakers fall under this category and can be used throughout the year to great success.
When making these calls with hand-and-mouth call, put some emotion in it. Remember, you’re creating the sound of a wounded animal, one that’s being attacked or is in mortal danger. These sounds should nearly mimic that of a crying baby, and so they’re not that difficult to pull off correctly. As such, they’re a great place to start for the beginner predator hunter.
On electronic calls, these sounds are incredibly simple to produce. Just choose the distress call clip, press play and get ready for action.
Mimicking coyote vocalizations becomes a bit trickier. There are varying types of coyote sounds, and each has its own meaning and proper time for use. These sounds include non-aggressive whines and yelps, social howls, challenging howls and barks.
- Non-aggressive whines, yips and group howls (the sound every one associates with a pack coyotes) can be effective year round as they can appeal to a predator’s social, territorial, and paternal instincts all at the same time. These barks and yips are an excellent way to start out a new calling session especially when followed shortly but a social or aggressive howl.
- Aggressive howls should be preceded caution. These calls should be used sparingly (if at all) and only used when set up in the confirmed core area of coyote pack as it can just as easily spook coyotes out of an area. When learning to make these calls on a hand & mouth call, listening to audio clips of them or to an experienced caller, and then trying to replicate them is usually a good way to go.
- As for electronic calls, listening to your available calls before predator hunting is particularly important so you will know what tools you will have at your disposal when the proper time comes.