With fall well underway and the first snow storms in the north heralding the onset of winter, some hunters are brushing up on their winter skills. Winter predator hunting is a real challenge and can offer an exhilarating adventure.
Before setting out on a trail, it’s important to know some effective techniques for tracking fast predators like coyotes in the snow and cold. Here, we provide four tips for winter predator hunting.
Track Food Sources and Use Howler Calls
It’s not always easy to locate coyotes in wintery conditions, even when they leave tracks in the snow. They tend to isolate themselves within dense wooded areas and secluded landscapes. If they become desperate for food they will venture into riskier areas.
It’s important that hunters choose their territory wisely. Fields where animals like deer and moose roam offer the ideal hunting grounds, as predators are often nearby searching for their next meal.
Hunters should use howler calls effectively when they find a good location. Howler calls are great for predator hunting, particularly in winter when their sounds can carry over long distances. Coyotes often choose the youngest, weakest and sickest animals to be their prey, so the call of an injured or distressed young animal is essential.
Set Up Hunting Positions in Quartering Wind
The winter hunter must avoid being detected by the predator animal, especially by scent. A coyote can sniff out prey over great distances and will often approach a target from downwind. Therefore take up a hunting position in upwind or quartering wind away from the animal. The position should also be elevated where you can spot your target before it spots you and where you can see the animal from varied distances.
Look for Signs of a Predator in the Area
An advantage of winter hunting can be that predators and their prey leave tracks in the snow or mud for you to follow.
One of the best tips for winter predator hunting involves relying on the senses of other animals in the area. Frequently, birds like magpies or crows will fly directly above a predator, hoping to scavenge off its kills. A group of birds circling in the sky is a good sign of a promising hunting location.
Also be on the lookout for agitated or fast-moving deer and antelope. It could be a sign that they have been spooked by a predator in their midst. Coyotes are intelligent. If one has been killed, the rest of its pack can become secretive and come out only when desperate for food.
Dress for Winter Hunting Survival
Pack to survive winter. Should weather change or an accident occur, a hunter may be stuck in wintery conditions overnight or even for days. Hypothermia and frostbite can kill, but they are preventable.
A hunter may have to wait in one location for a long time and appropriate clothing is essential. Dressing to survive and carrying appropriate survival gear is the only way to go. Layers are not an option; they are a necessity.
Winter predator hunting requires a unique set of tools and skills. Talk to experts, learn from them, and be sure you have the right gear for the exhilarating challenge of hunting in winter conditions.
Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Dan Thompson Game Calls.