I'm interested in this thread on game calls because I've been having a frustrating time with them. I have purchased several hundred dollars worth of calls from HS Strut, Knight & Hale, Primos, Critter Callers and several other companies, and with every one, the dogs bust me every time. Usually within minutes.
I've bought a half dozen instructional DVDs and even had one made for me by the chief designer of Knight & Hale. I've practiced for at least 100 hours and think I'm pretty good with both howls and prey calls, but every time I go out dog hunting, I can get the coyotes to answer and howl back, but within seconds they give me their "we know who you are and we're not coming out to play 'cause you're busted" barks.
These are the same calls I have no trouble at all calling in yotes in TX and Nevada. So what's the deal? Are dogs out here that much smarter or are there better calls for NH coyotes?
here is the stuff you already know: set ups are key in the east. play the wind, sun and your approuch enter and exit are also key. Try to hunt from a tree or some kind of elevated point, this will get your scent up and increase visibility.
As far as your calls and coyotes: Here are some theories and beliefs of mine and others I have talked to.
Your calls are probably fine, you say that you practice with them and your probably sounding great. Watch your movement while honking those calls.
The coyotes could be smarter, that is a debate that has been ongoing for EVER. But lets assume that our easterns are of the same intelligents level as westerns. Lets look at the differences between the two. Some of them are size and how vocal they are or are not.
You said that you have no problem calling coyotes in Nevada and texas and you probably have noticed that they are smaller and more vocal. Why? Could be because there is less food, more coyotes, thus having to be more vocal and aggressive to defend what little they have available to them. If they hear a distress they might charge straight in, why pass up a free meal.
If they hear a howl, they better get that intruding coyote out before he takes what little is there.
In the east, there is more food, water and cover but also, WAY less coyotes. This lets them range further, be less vocal, and be more picky about what they respond to.
With all the smaller critters, berries, Deer in a compact area and a host of other food sources And less coyotes, things are different.
You said that the coyotes bark at you and the game is up within minutes. Are they busting you or are they simply saying "Hey coyote, I hear you, I would appreciate it if you kept moving"
or "hey dying rabbit, Sucks to be you, I don't feel comfortable leaving my safety if I don't have to"
With all the food and less competition, they can be more picky as to what they respond to and when. If they think there is an intruder, they can simply move and get what they need else where if they don't feel tough that day. If they hear that rabbit, they don't have to break cover for that free meal, they know that he won't go hungry if he does.
Cover is also different, if they do respond most times they blend in. We have hills, valleys and under growth. They are quick and hard to see. Of all the coyotes I have shot or shot at, all of them have pretty much jumped on me. My longest shot to date is 40 yards.
We call more coyotes than we ever see.
Leave those movies on the DVD rack, they are fun to watch as I have a bunch of them. They have little to do with Eastern hunters. They will just get you pumped up and give you info that really doesn't apply to eastern hunters.
In NH you have to hunt hard and put in alot of Miles to get a bunch of fur on the ground. Give it time because our population is growing steadily each year and a smart and well practiced coyote hunter will reap the benefits.
As I said, these are just some beliefs and views of mine and others from being in the woods. I am NOT an expert and experiance the same problems as you.
I hope this made sense and welcome anyones opinions on the matter.
I'm casual friends with the guy that designs all the Knight and Hale calls. When I told him about the coyotes and how they responded. He then played a range of sounds on a call and asked "did they sound like that?". It was the exact reply I was getting from the coyotes. He said that is the universal Coyote "got 'cha - you're busted" call.
We did talk about the difference between eastern and western coyotes and he told me in his experience, eastern coyotes are nearly impossible to call in. The reasons he gave were as you stated above, the most important of which is the huge abundance of food compared to out west. He had me go out and collect some coyote scat and we pulled it apart and examined it. The fact that it was so packed with fur (coyotes digest the bones and meat, but they cannot digest fur) told him that they were having no problem finding small mammals to eat, probably moles, mice and squirrels, and they were not having to resort to scavanging bugs and berries. Given this, he felt it would be impossible to call them because they are so well fed.
His suggestions were to hunt over a bait pile as being the best way to get eastern coyotes. As far as calling them goes, he said it would be difficult to get results until the ground is covered with snow. At that point, they will get very hungry and should respond to calling.
The last coyote we downed I didn't see. I didn't see any of them. Also, they made no sound at all.
I used coyote sounds loud, from my caller about 80 yds from were I was setting and about the same distance from Dan. The caller was facing to were we knew coyotes would come from.
I am now working on just coyote sounds, putting sounds togeather in a way I think the coyotes will act. We work just to get them to the edge of the cover. Our stands work around that as far as wind, approach, were we will shoot from and call from. Full camo, back cover, movement (none) if you can. I try to find cover that lets me move my hands to work the remote. Like peekover type cover.
Also, I,m working on putting hand calls in with my caller. This puts 2 sounds in differant places and my hope is to make them break that edge or move to try to find the differant sound as to were it is coming from. I blow death calls as crazy as I can get. This will cause a lot of movement and this is were the cover comes into play. After I do this call I freeze and hold that and look hard with little head movement. That is were Dan comes in, he just sits still and takes it all in.
Are you going to get into night hunting?
I'm into baiting too! But, most of my hits are at night. But, this year with all the snow, if it stays, they may hit it in day light. I had good luck with that in Upper Maine. Not so here.
Here in So NH you have to think out side the "BOX"
Jan-Mar I sleep eat and drink coyote and get out there as much as I can day and night. The rest of the year I read everything I can get my hands on. They are all I hunt.
Since this post started, Browning and I have gone out several times using his WT caller - we're getting better results but still can't get a dog to show itself.
I have night hunting permits and a bait permit for a plot of land up in Holderness. Haven't been able to get out yet and won't be able to go until after the 20th as I'll be in CA. I'd be interested to hear what you use for bait and what your strategy is for night hunting.