The coyote is considered one of the most cunning predators. The animal has, to its advantage, a keen sense of smell, incredible hearing and developed eyesight. If the adage says cunning as a fox, in our story it is rather cunning as a coyote! So do not approach whoever wants the animal. It therefore takes some expert advice to become familiar with this unusual hunt in Quebec but nevertheless very present. For the occasion, our ambassador Mario Huot has agreed to testify to his hunting techniques. Follow the guide to include in your hunting activities, the addition of the coyote.
When we met Mario Huot, he was a few hours away from launching his hunting season of the year with his two teenagers, aged 15 and 17, and his wife, Dominique. "It's always a highly anticipated moment! Everyone enjoys it. There is my daughter, the youngest, who does not hunt, but who nevertheless loves to participate in the activity », explains the one who has been hunting coyotes for more than thirty years already.
Although hunting this animal is possible in all regions of Quebec, the microclimate of the Beauce, particularly in the areas of Plessisville or Louiseville, is particularly favourable. This is where the density of deer herds is abundant and there is also a population of coyotes ready to hunt them. But how do we know where the troops and predators are? You should know that there are signs that do not lie in order to know if there is presence of coyotes or not. “Walking around in a vehicle, in particular, we can identify deer crossties, which are also coyote crosses”, he decides.
“Coyote hunting is a very interactive hunt. We will hear the coyote answer us, especially the dominant male, since he wants to signal his presence. This is where we continue with a new call, and it approaches quietly. » - mentions our ambassador Mario Huot.
If you hunt on call, the coyote will respond to you making the hunt very interactive with the animal.
Attracting the animal to you: calls
Once the area has been determined, you can choose how you attract the animal to yourself. There are two ways: either you use decoys or you go with bait. The first is to call the animal with calls reminiscent of the false cries of hares in distress or others playing provocation with the cries of male coyotes. This last tactic will provoke the dominant male who will come to see who dares to confront him on his territory! “In February in particular, during the breeding season, we will harvest more males because the mating period, the dominant male is more territorial. », he explains. Sometimes, you can combine the two types of cry, to attract the beast twice.
The specialist's finest hunting experience was to harvest 6 coyotes on the same day! “When we manage to have one or two, it’s already a good day. It was therefore an exceptional adventure to come across so many of them. », he explains, saying that there is a mixture of technique and luck behind this nostalgic moment, then that the hunting seasons follow each other but are not necessarily alike!
The right coyote bait
You can also bring the coyote to you through a bait site. But what does the animal eat? Everything you have meat on hand is part of the animal's diet, says Mario Huot: “A leftover chicken, any piece of meat. Some farms in Beauce will also use dead animals, such as pigs. » The important thing is to return regularly to carry food since once the bait is frozen, there is no longer any smell and therefore the pieces of meat will be less attractive. Prefer small quantities and several trips.
The wind, the enemy of the coyote hunter
Despite a choice of electronic calls or not, as well as particularly interesting baits for the animal, special attention must also be paid to the choice of location. Whether you choose to cover the bait site or move to track the animal, the wind can quickly become your worst enemy! “You need a strategic place against the wind. We do not notice it, but the coyote has a very good sense of smell. If he detects that there is a problem, he will not come. Ideally, we settle 100 meters from the baiting site, in the right direction of the wind or, when we hunt at the call, we walk a lot and we have to take the wind into account. »
Mario Huot has been hunting coyotes for over thirty years.
The use of a camera: an essential?
A camera or two could be handy at a bait site to see where the animal is coming from and where it is going. We can also find out more about his comings and goings. Moreover, at the beginning when the animal tames the sector, it will come to eat only ten minutes before leaving and returning hours later. When he feels safe, he will be able to come back more often and for longer. When he comes only at night, it is also a sign that too much smell has been left behind, that he has detected the human presence. It is thus easier to target when we are going to hunt it and the ideal place to settle according to the winds.
When you're more of the call hunt type, the camera is no longer ideal, because you walk around a lot. We call the animal, then we remain motionless for 30 minutes while waiting to see the result. Faced with nothingness, either the animal is further away or it has seen you, and therefore, we move again before making a call again and then waiting.
Choose warm clothes
Yes, it is one of the simplest hunting activities, supports the specialist. A small basic gear and good warm clothes are enough. You can also indulge in it in the morning, at noon or in the evening. "Over the years I've had a bit more success in the mornings and late afternoons, he testifies. I also harvested a lot of coyotes at lunchtime. » If the time or time of day has little impact on your harvest, the mistakes to avoid, according to Mr. Huot, would be to place yourself in the wrong direction of the wind or to place yourself too close to your bait. Prefer a good 100 to 300 meters. Finally, shooting practice is important. The coyote is hunted with a weapon, but too large a caliber is not to be preferred.
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After the shot: what to do with the animal?
Is there a difference between coyote hunting and wolf hunting, you ask yourself, and with good reason. The answer is no, there are not many differences when it comes to hunting. Where these two stand out is when it comes to protecting herds of deer. The presence of wolves is less harmful for them since they hunt for food while the coyote hunts for food but also for pure pleasure. So the victims are more numerous on one side than on the other. Both have inedible flesh. "Normally, we don't eat a predator since we don't necessarily have the antibodies to digest this meat. You might think that the bear is a predator, but the latter is 90% herbivorous so its meat is perfect for humans. », he summarizes. After killing, Mario Huot gives the beast to a trapper who will clean the skin and then resell the fur. A few decades ago, the prices obtained for the skins were interesting but this is no longer the case today. Whatever, the hunter says he is happy to experience this activity with his family at the beginning of the year, to help the deer herds and also to please a trapper. Like what, everyone finds his account!
Coyote Hunting: The Elements of Success
In conclusion, to learn about this new sport hunting activity and ensure success, you have to keep an eye out for signs of coyote presence, make calls every 30 minutes if this is the preferred method, then position yourself well in relation to the wind. Smells then positioning, is that the key to success? Now that you have all the information to start your adventure, you can start shopping for your Sportchief hunting kit!
Did you know?
- As regulations, there is the small game hunting license for the coyote which is mandatory, although the animal can weigh up to 23 kg! Strangely, you need a big game hunting license to practice turkey hunting.
- Coyotes can be hunted in the fall, around September or October. However, it will have to be done with a bib which inevitably adds a factor of complexity since the animal will spot you from afar. Mario Huot prefers to hunt the animal in the heart of winter, this period of latency a bit cruel for any hunter.
- There is no census in Quebec of the number of coyotes killed each year to compile hunting activities.