Coyote (Canis latrans) on Rock in Pond

What’s the best time of year to hunt predators? All hunters have their preference. Some say late fall, after big game season has ended. Others say late winter from January to February is best. Nonetheless, all devote predator hunters will agree that you can be successful 365 days a year. The key is to understand the different behaviors during each season.

Spring predator hunting is often overlooked as much of the nation is in a turkey frenzy. Coyotes, however, are very hungry during this time of year and looking for an easy meal. With the right tactics, predator hunters can find great success. Here are a few tips to consider for those of you wanting to put a dent in the predator population right before or during spring turkey season.

Early Spring Predator Hunting
For our purposes, consider “early spring” late February through March. During this time of year, coyotes pair up with a female for breeding purposes. Coyotes tend to be very territorial as they travel in pairs to protect denning areas from unwanted visitors and hunt for food. Breeding has more than likely taken place, and momma needs to eat. Locate and set up in these denning areas. Use a coyote decoy to add a little confrontation and take the attention off yourself, especially if calls are coming from your location. Don’t be surprised to have two dogs coming into your calls. The female will often lag behind the male. As the “rutting” activitity declines, switch to a Miss Hoptober and rabbit-in-distress call to tempt dogs looking for an easy meal.

Late Spring Predator Hunting
April and May are key months for hunting coyotes, especially if you are a landowner trying to protect and grow the deer population. Most whitetails give birth to fawns in late April and into May. Coyotes diets are said to switch to a predominantly fawn diet during this time. Mortality rates have been argued and tend to vary from state to state, but one thing’s for certain, coyotes love an easy meal. Use periodic howls to locate the coyotes before you move in to set up. As it gets hotter, look for predators to be near shade and water. Distress calls and predator decoys can be deadly in late spring. Get specific with your calls. In this case, use a fawn in distress call. All in all, if it sounds like a meal, they will come in.

But what about turkey season? No one can resist turkey season in the Spring. Just don’t be surprised to see a coyote show up. Take the opportunity to put one down (where legal) and call the day a success. You can always come back for turkeys tomorrow with the piece of mind that one less predator is out there.

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