Predator decoys have the ability in any setting to lure a coyote out of cover and distract it while you center your reticle for a killing shot. For coyote hunting you have two decoy categories to test: prey and predator.
Sending the sound of a prey animal or coyotes across the landscape may be enough to bring in a curious coyote. Thick and rugged country makes any coyote search for the sound anyway, but like you and me, some coyotes want to see what they are hearing before a total commitment is given. That’s the same reason decoys have flourished in other hunting genres. Turkeys like to see other turkeys, and deer like to see other deer. Coyotes like to see their meal or another coyote.
Prey decoys include anything and everything you’re attempting to recreate with your calling. Squeals, screams and shrieks usually come from something small and dying. By adding in a fur ball that looks like it could be in peril, you might be adding the impetus to lure in a wary Wile. E. Coyote.
If you’re looking for, quick, simple and affordable fakes, then consider one of the many furry prey decoys on the market. Several companies even manufacture the furry decoys right into their electronic callers. You have the option of putting the caller and decoy away from your stand site, and operating both with remote control. Look for electronic decoys that flip and flop with random movements to imitate prey in peril. If you’re really creative, you may even want to add a furry covering to a remote controlled car and race it around an open pasture as you call.
Coyotes also investigate other coyotes in their territory. Adding in a coyote facsimile to your setup makes sense while using vocalizations. If you don’t want to tote around a mounted coyote, or even one of the full-sized models on the market, look at photo-quality models such as the Montana Decoy Kojo coyote (below). Place it in a high visibility area and team it with a combination of howls, and even prey-in-distress calls.
Regardless of whether you use a prey or predator decoy, place it in a clear, elevated setting for any approaching coyote to see. Putting it upwind in an open setting ensures a coyote will try to circle downwind, so leave a shooting zone where it can pass between you and your ruse. Setting it next to your remote caller makes sense to combine calls with a subject, and to focus coyotes away from your position. As the coyote circles for the downwind advantage, it should stop to study the excitement and it’s game over for another fawn-eating coyote.
One particularly hard winter I spied seven coyotes hunting in a pack, and their path appeared to be circling my way. I positioned myself in a nearby canyon with my Kojo coyote decoy above me and on guard. After settling in, I used a combination of howls, fawn in distress and fighting coyote sounds to invite the pack over for a look. It worked, and I was soon overrun with coyotes intent on running off Kojo above me! I Hornady-hammered the first coyote at 60 yards, then zapped a second one as it was in full retreat. The others escaped into the dark recesses of the canyon, but it was a decoy experience I’ll never forget.
Images by Mark Kayser