Scouting and hunting locations
When scouting, look for scat and tracks along game trails, wooded road/trail systems, abandoned fields and their edges. Seek permission to hunt agricultural land and larger open properties in early stages of succession (farms with livestock are great properties to pursue). Make sure to know your scat and tracks. Domestic dog scat is generally uniform in color and texture with little or no undigested material. Wild canids like coyotes may have bone fragments, fur, or berry seeds within their scat depending on the time of year.
Good areas to set up include wooded spots with broken cover such as woods bordered by brushy fields, salt marsh edges, swamps or thick cover near travel routes or locations where coyotes, bobcats, or foxes may forage for food.
Pay attention to the wind: Predators have a keen sense of smell and will quickly detect your presence. Place yourself downwind when hunting and, if possible, come into your stand from a direction different from that used by animals.
Hunting with bait
Baiting can be an effective tool when predator hunting. Many different types of bait can be used such as butcher shop scrapes, bones, hides or meat left over from other harvests such as venison or rabbit. Other helpful tips:
- Make sure that the hunter is downwind of the bait
- The distance from the hunter to the bait pile should reflect the hunter’s ability to take an ethical shot.
- Make sure the bait pile is in a secluded location away from homes or commonly used trails., this will reduce your chances or drawing in someone’s pet.
- Predators feel more secure in cover; make sure the bait pile isn’t too open, rather at the edge of a brush-bordered field.
- Stake down the bait to prevent predators from grabbing bait and walking away.
You can sometimes attract predators by mimicking the sound of an injured animal. Normally predators will come in fairly fast; many hunters choose to move to a different location if there is no response within 15-20 minutes. Consider scouting several locations on a property. When using a mouth call, owls, coyotes, bobcats, raccoons, and even pets may be called in; always identify your target before shooting.
- Electronic Calls can be programmed to sound like many different types of wildlife. Some devices may be placed some distance from the hunter and operated by remote control.
- Mouth Calls are versatile and available in several styles. Remember that you will be hunting in very cold temperatures and metal can freeze; rubber or plastic calls are best. Types of mouth calls:
- Reed style calls operate by blowing into one end of the tube to produce a squealing sound. By cupping one or both hands over the other end, then opening and closing the hands, a distress squeal is produced.
- Exposed reed calls operate similarly, but by gently biting down on the exposed reed, the hunter shortens or lengthens the amount of reed that can vibrate producing higher or lower pitched sounds to imitate different sized prey.
- Diaphragm calls are most commonly used by turkey hunters and are placed in the mouth and held in position with the tongue. By exhaling while varying the pressure and placement of the call, the variety of calls can be made.