Scouting for Coyotes


New Member
Jul 29, 2012
I am new to hunting and I plan to hunt coyotes this fall and winter. I am looking for some tips on scouting coyotes: like how to look for and spot signs that their are coyotes around. Any good places in SD county I should check out? I have a 243 Remington 700 w/ a Leupold 3-9x40 scope and thats all the hunting gear I own. What varmint ammo would be affordable and reliable? What other gear should I invest on?

Any advise would be greatly appreciated...Thanks!
You should buy a couple of different boxes of Ammo to try in your gun to see what works best. Try Federal 55 gr-70 gr or some 58 gr Hornady.
Get some camo and a caller. There are coyotes just about everywhere. Try CFN or BLM lands. Personally I like the open desert area so that I can watch them as they are coming in.
Thank you very much. I have gone to a few gun and ammo shops and the lightest 243 they carry is 80gr. I have looked on and they have very well priced ammo including shipping and handling if you buy a case. What do you recommend I do?
So I went out today to scout an area(public managed by the DFG) behind where I grew up in the south east san diego county with my dog. Im taking advantage of training my dog in the area I plan to hunt in the future. We arrive and park at the gate. We dont have to walk far before we(my dog and I) spot some coyote scat. I look for tracks and they are everywhere. I look up further down the dirt road and there is more scat. I see fresh hairy scat and old white crumbly hairy scat. I figured they must spend a lot of time here. When I remembered reading an article about 5yrs ago about their being a coyote problem in this area. I knew there was a reason why I wanted to scout this area. We had to leave soon after cause the ground was too hot for my dogs paws. We didnt get to train or scout much but I was extremely happy with what I saw. We will have to come back again at day break.
Like Lungpopper said get some camo and a caller and your in business. I would recommend a good set of shooting sticks (not a bi pod) and a decoy such as a mojo critter. Try to use high ground to your advantage, break up your silhouette and always play the wind and you'll do well predator hunting.
I cant wait to get out there. Im doing the hunters ed coarse next month and soon after I get my hunting licence I will be out there at the crack of dawn. In the mean while I'll practice long range shooting at the range.
I finally got some camo and a distress call and went out Monday morning scouting since im still waiting for a hunting course to attend. I began to start hiking up a trail that leads to the top of a hill that has a great view of the area I plant to hunt. Right away I notice the wind blowing in the direction of the area I want to call em in to. So I decide to go to another spot walking into the wind and I found a place where I think there might be a coyote so I set up in some brush and began to call. And I keep calling. Nothing...after about 20min I notice the wind change so I head over to the spot I had scouted in the past. I sneak into some brush on the side of the hill. Everything is perfect, just like all the internet articles said to look for. I begin calling. 5min later here comes the first coyote I have ever called in. My heart starts beating faster. The coyote came in hard and fast to about 80-100yrds across from me and begins to circle down wind. (Had I had my rifle I would have had some great shots) I keep calling and here comes another. It did exactly the same thing and circled down wind. I called for about 15 more minutes and decide to go look for these coyotes. They were nowhere to be found. On my way back I notice some fresh scat and urine where they had marked there territory about 15yrd down wind from where I was calling. Sneaky lil bastards. I will have them soon.
Great story...

For now, bring your camera and call them into a photo. We wanna' see!!!
Great start to what sounds like is going to be a successful hunting career.You just did 99% of the hunt.
When you have a rifle in your hands and it comes time to line up on that dog.
That beating of the heart you felt is going to be a little stronger.
I know it is tempting to play with them some more but pay close attention to what snake charmer said. Yotes get educated quickly and will stop responding to calls or will start increasing the distances they go down wind before they come in. You can always tell how much hunting pressure there is in an area by the way animals respond to the calls. I've hunted areas where you see yotes hang up at 600 yards and then head downwind before blowing out. Foxes and bobcats in my opinion aren't quite as smart and will show less caution in high pressure areas but they are not in season yet. The best thing you can do is wait until you have a bullet to feed them before you start ringing the dinner bell again. Just my two cents. By the way what call did you pick up?
Randomshot said:
I've hunted areas where you see yotes hang up at 600 yards and then head downwind before blowing out.

That is what they make the 6.5/280 Ackley Improved for! ;D
Thanks a lot guys for the advise. It makes a lot of sense. I picked up the Primos Rabbit distress and roadend coaxer call at Big 5. That was the first time I tried it and it worked great. I have ordered some more online and am still waiting on them. In the meanwhile I get my hunting license I want to practice my shooting at the range and try to train my dog to eventually taker her with me and be my decoy dog.
That is awesome - The family pet taking one for the team! ;D ;D
619HUNT said:
In the meanwhile I get my hunting license I want to practice my shooting at the range and try to train my dog to eventually taker her with me and be my decoy dog.
You must not like your dog up on predator masters and you'll find some good stories of dogs that got their butts kicked working as decoys. If your serious I hope your dog is pretty tough and you put some protective gear on her. Lastly you won't have much action with foxes or cats with a dog out front.
I love my dogs a lot. I have a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and an American Pitbull Terrier X Hound. The staffie in shape weighs 40lbs and my pit mix wieghs 55lbs. I have done a lot of reading and that is why I want to train them well to not engage in a fight but to troll the coyote back to me. Both my dogs have fought coyotes off in the past and are very obidient dogs. I plan on mastering the calling my self first and really getting to know the coyote before I take out my best friends and possibly put them in danger. I want them to have fun in the outdoors with me. Its just a thought, I may not even need a decoy dog.
I appreciate the advise. My wife is against me taking them out with me as well. Ive seen a Pitbull fight a pack of 6 coyotes. The pit killed one but he did get his battle wounds to his hind legs and they split open his sack. They attack from behind, lil suckers. My grandpa had a Staffordshire bull terrier on his ranch and he would kill 3 coyotes a week by himself. These dogs are some bad ass dogs. The thing is that I am against dog fighting and there is no difference if I let my dogs fight coyotes. That is not my goal. My main goal with the dogs is for protection just incase the coyote does sneak up on me and to take the attention away from me when im calling. I also want them to not smell me and smell my dog when they circle down wind. Its a lil nerve wrecking for me cause ever since I was 5yrs old(now im 28), the community I live in has been worried about a pack of 500 coyotes in the surrounding hills and mountains. Now a days I dont have to walk more than 15yrd off the main road to see coyote scat and coyote highways everywhere. Another idea I had was to shoot a jackrabbit on my way out to my stand and take the rabbit as bait to set next to a predator decoy so that the attention and smell is away from me in that manner.

I really appreciate being able to bounce these ideas off you guys. This is great!
It would be a mega bad idea to go yote hunting with your pups. You are new, spend some time ( years ) hunting and learning first before you mix dog work into the deal. Your first year should be just learning and spending time in the field. Once you get some time under you then you can start mixing in dogs and other things

The yotes will not circle and try to kill you. I wish they would, i would kill more if they did but they get shot at all year long and as stupid as they sometimes act they are not.

Dogs in populated areas act very different than dogs where you can shoot. They know you cant shoot next to homes so they get brave.

Go have fun and learn your gear and what works and what does not. :)

IT IS ARCHERY SEASON in the SD hills right now
yes its public land and all but a lot of guys are sitting in tree stands. You running all over the hills chasing coyotes will not make you many friends.
Yeah I think that will be the best bet. Id rather save my pups and get a decoy to learn and get to know the coyote.

How far from me should I place the decoy? should I get an electric caller or are hand calls good enough?

Do you know of a good affordable electric caller? I downloaded some coyote hunting apps onto my phone and they have a few calls. I was thinking about getting a speaker for my phone or if it would be better to invest in one that has a remote w/ 100m range? I have two hand calls. One of which creates multiple howls at the same time( Primos double whammy) and it also make sounds of multiple rabbits in distress. The other is a jackrabbit distress call and a rodent squeaker.

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