I was recently asked what I believe the most important factor is while coyote hunting. First off, you have to have coyotes to call coyotes in. If there isn’t a good population of coyotes in the area, you aren’t going to have a tremendous amount of success. However, wind direction is, in my opinion, a key factor to choosing, approaching, and calling coyotes in on a stand.
Wind Direction and Predator Call Placement
Coyotes have a tremendous sense of smell which is nearly impossible to fool. A coyote will typically circle to the downwind side of the sounds coming from your predator call. If a coyote makes it downwind and catches your scent cone, they waste no time evacuating the area in a hurry. I’ve had coyotes wind me and bail out from distances over 400 yards.
Before I leave the house, the first thing I do is check the wind direction and use this information to decide which properties I will hunt. The goal is to put yourself in the best possible situation to kill a coyote.
To do this you must have the wind blowing from where you think the coyote is, to where you are planning to set up, or to have the wind blowing from where you think the coyote is across your face. If you walk in and/or set up with the wind blowing from you to where you anticipate the coyote to come from, you are putting yourself at a huge disadvantage and greatly decreasing your odds of having success calling coyotes in due to the coyote likely smelling you and evacuating the area before you turn on your predator call.
If you hunt a property with the wrong wind, you are also risking educating coyotes, therefore making it more difficult for any future coyote hunting you plan to do in that area. Coyotes are smart, and once they smell you and identify a potential threat in an area, they will likely become more leery, cautious, and difficult to bring in with your predator call.
Coyote Calling Strategically from the Start
I coyote hunt a property that consists of a big hill forty yards off the road facing the south. It’s pretty wide open with some CRP grass about two hundred yards from the hill. There is a ditch to the right, 150 yards from where I set up on the hill where the coyotes usually end up trying to sneak through when coming in.
If the wind is blowing out of the North, I will not hunt this stand due to my scent blowing directly toward the CRP where the coyotes usually come from. As soon as I round the edge of the hill, a North wind would carry my scent into the CRP and bam! Game over.
I also refrain from calling coyotes on this stand if the wind is blowing out of the east due to the risk of my scent blowing into the ditch where the coyotes tend to work. So, with this identified, I know if the wind is out of the south or west, I have much better odds of calling coyotes in without being winded and/or educating them.
Wind-Driven Coyote Hunting Gear
As we know, the weather man isn’t always right. I’ve had mornings where I was banking on a North wind, and when I arrived to my coyote hunting ground, the wind was out of the west. Sometimes mother nature is unpredictable—this is why I always carry a wind checker while coyote hunting.
Personally, I use the powder form that clips to my bino harness for easy access. I probably check the wind at least four to five times per stand: once, when I get out of the truck; two, on the way into the stand; and again, when I sit down before I start running the predator call sounds on my electronic caller.
When I’m calling coyotes, if the wind changes at any point and is blowing in the direction I anticipate the coyotes to come from, I leave and go to a different spot or I make a new game plan to approach my coyote hunting spot from a different direction.
Calling Coyotes in High Wind Speeds
Personally, I have experienced more success calling coyotes on windy days (15-25mph) with one of Predator Tactics’ loud predator call sounds, than calm and still days. Calm days make it hard to stay quiet walking in and setting up, which in turn increases your odds of busting a coyote. Also, if the wind is not blowing, coyotes have a difficult time effectively utilizing their most powerful tool to identify potential threats and/or prey, their nose. In my experience this makes them more leery.
Now, I do believe there is an ideal wind speed for calling coyotes. For me, that would be anything from 10 to 15mph. However, coyotes have amazing ears, and I have called multiple coyotes in on days when the wind was blowing over the 15mph mark. Wind speed also dictates how loud I call, and the duration the coyote call sounds run. If it is calm and quiet, I do not blow my predator hand call as loud as possible nor do I turn my electronic caller’s volume up to max.
I stay subtle and soft and gradually increase volume throughout the stand. On windy days, I call louder and have longer sequences. For instance, rather than blowing my predator call for 10-15 seconds and then taking a 30 second break, I will increase my sequence to thirty seconds and take a 10-15 second break before casting the distress sound again. I also believe the wind helps to distort the sound which ultimately increases the coyotes’ curiosity.
Key Wind and Coyote Call Points to Remember
In conclusion, here are 6 wind-driven key points to keep in mind to help increase your success in the field when calling coyotes.
1. Determine where to call coyotes from based on wind direction.
2. Have an understanding of where the coyotes are going to come from and set up so wind is in your face or a crosswind that will put the coyotes in sight while they try and assess your scent.
3. Make sure you can see the downwind side of your predator call.
4. Check the wind direction frequently while calling coyotes.
5. If the wind isn’t right for calling coyotes in at a location, don’t hunt it.
6. Less wind = less volume from your predator call sounds and run shorter calling sequence durations. More wind = louder volume from your predator call and increased durations.
For more information about predator calls or coyote hunting tips, contact Predator Tactics today!