By Jared Blohm
Although some predator hunters swear by sticking with one or two go-to sounds on each stand, Hunters Specialties Pro Staffers Jimmy Estes and Pat Muffler prefer to switch their calls up if their first few sounds aren’t producing.
On a recent Colorado hunt, Estes regularly used a half dozen or more sounds on each stand. He’d start with one sound and switch after a minute or two if we didn’t see any coyotes responding. This technique goes back several years to a stand in Kansas where Estes and his hunting partner were calling to two coyotes on a distant ridge.
“We started calling to them with the electronic caller,” Estes said. “I don’t remember the particular call, but one coyote went into the timber and one sat down on his butt. We went through 11 sounds with him sitting on his butt the whole time looking. We went to Canine Pups, and he came on a string to 30 yards. That was the sound that triggered him.”
Both hunters have found that fight calls, such as the Johnny Stewart Coyote and Grey Fox sound or the Coyote and Raccoon sound, are often the trigger calls that coyotes can’t resist.
“A lot of times, that will be just enough to get them to stick their heads or their bodies out of the woods enough to get a shot at them,” Muffler said. “I like those fight sounds.”
Bird sounds can also be particularly enticing to wary coyotes. Estes’ favorite Johnny Stewart bird sound is Flicker, while Muffler’s go-to bird call is Yellowhammer, but they said the calls of another bird shouldn’t be overlooked — crows.
“Coyotes and crows are like brothers,” Muffler said. “When the crow flies, the coyote flees, and the other way around too. They watch each other’s moves like a hawk.”
In a way, crows can serve as decoys in the air. They help to get the attention of nearby coyotes and help keep that attention off of you.
“When you get crows stirred up, you’ve got four or five of them flying over and raising Cain,” Estes said. “Then when you start a prey sound or a coyote sound, it gives those coyotes or ’cats something to look at. They’re going, ‘Shoot, there’s five crows over there. They’re throwing a fit, circling and diving at the ground. There’s something going on over there. We need to go check that out.’”