The sun is just cresting the treetops, the wind is in your favor, your gear has been washed and stored in scent free bags, gun and caller has been wiped down with scent wipes, you’re good to go as you let out your first series of Jack in Distress.
A lot of common mistakes I see predator hunters make, generally the “newer” hunter – but it can happen to anyone - heck I’ve done it before, is VISIBILITY. We get the mentality of a deer almost, where “if I can’t see you, you can’t see me”. The fact that coyotes can see extremely well, and also see a variety of colour pigments – (we can talk about that in a later post) – should tell the hunter that blending in, is one of the biggest factors.
Now after your third sequence on your caller, playing the proverbial Jack in Distress, or Dying Cottontail, you see a big heavy male appear to your upwind side. With the wind in your face, you know scent is out of the picture. You’re wearing all your white camo, so he can’t see you right? As you lean in to settle the crosshairs, his ears perk up, neck stiffens, turns his head and is gone….what just happened?
Your setup is TV worthy right? How is your camo, gun, caller, sequence etc… what about YOU?
I would venture a guess, that 6 of 10 times, he saw you. Look around. Are you even the slightest bit skylined? Are you a solid shade of white amongst a white and blue backdrop? Or even a white blob amongst a thicket of green spruce trees?
I say this all as a fact. I have done it. I do it regularly. I get in the mode, the setup looks great, the terrain looks great, my cameraman and I were quiet on the way in, we’re calling upwind of us, but we stick out like sore thumbs.
When I am getting my gear ready in the morning, on a winter day (the fur is at its prime in December thru March up here) I will always wear a broken pattern layer, typically a Sitka Open Country pattern, underneath my white wool jacket. I do this for two reasons: primarily for warmth, but also to allow myself the option of what to be wearing. If I am on a snow white side hill, obviously I will wear white. If there is a solid clump of grass or shrubs, I will stick with my Open Country pattern so I stand a better chance of blending in.
I may sound picky, but in reality these are things we need to take into account. Change your hide, change the location of your setup – even if it is a few feet to the left or right, change the color pattern of your gear. Make small adjustments, and you’ll see an increase in success in the field. Trust me. I have been targeting coyotes for a better part of my hunting career, and on average take over 50 coyotes a season. If I took a few seconds to survey my surroundings a bit more in depth, I would imagine my numbers regularly being over 100.
Stick around, and throughout the season I will share with you a few tips and tricks I have found useful – everything from coyote anatomy, scent, eyesight and hearing, to calling sequences and what sounds to use during what time of the year.
- Craig Lafleur