Reading coyote blood sign is very difficult, and the types of blood sign that apply to deer (frothy blood, light and dark colored blood) generally do not apply.
First of all, if a predator is bleeding heavily from a chest shot, it will not go far because coyotes and bobcats simply do not have the stamina of big-game species. On the other hand, if a predator is marginally hit, such as in the hip or shoulder without vitals being destroyed, it can and will travel for miles with very little blood sign to follow.
Most hip, leg and high shoulder shots do not bleed much and close up quickly. You will always have better luck following predator blood sign in snow or desert vegetation.
I always go to the point of impact first to begin my blood trailing whether it is big game or predator. If I have enough blood sign that I believe the animal will not go far, I mark the initial hit area first. I look for any hair or bone sign that might indicate the severity of the wound.
It is always a good sign to see a large thumbnail-sized patch of hide in the area. That usually means a solid hit, a serious wound and a reasonably short tracking effort.
Mark the initial impact point first. I like to use two kinds of markers — bright ribbon and toilet paper. Circle the impact point until you find the blood trail. Mark that and place a marker at every blood sign location. This will quickly give you a general direction of travel and blood loss estimate. Coyotes leave blood sign that is very low to the ground and widely spaced.
My fanny pack always contains a small spray bottle filled with a couple of ounces of hydrogen peroxide. Shades of reds and brown abound in heavy grass cover, and it can be very difficult to tell vegetation from blood. Hydrogen peroxide will fizz lightly when it contacts fresh blood.
It is easy to get so involved in following blood sign that the tracker loses interest in anything else. Develop the habit of looking up and studying where you believe the animal might go.
Look ahead for potential hiding places and approach as quietly as possible. More times than not, you will find your downed predator.
Read more helpful predator articles in the Winter 2010 issue of Predator Hunting magazine. Click here to download it.