Why Howling is the Greatest Technique to Herald Name-Shy Coyotes


Coyotes under pressure are not easy to bring in, but howling can give you an edge. (Jace Bauserman /)

There was a time in my tiny splinter in southeast Colorado when coyotes ran to every death scream I sent into the air. Why? The population was healthy and, above all, human pressure was zero. The coyotes in my forest neck just weren’t called. But the times have changed.

Seasons that run 365 days a year and moderate license requirements (if any) have made coyote hunting and telephoning popular. Throw in the fact that night hunting is legal in many states and that today’s electronic predator callers can make virtually any animal noise on earth, and hunters get excited. Coyotes are pressured every day and night of the year.

I’m not complaining. I get it. Calling coyotes nearby is a riot. I have no problem with night hunting or electronic callers. I own four of them. I just think the coyotes will prevail with the majority of hunters using the same techniques. If you get noticed with emergency calls or electronic callers in general, you need to find a way to break away from the pack. Howling is a good start.

How to Howl to a Coyote

I used to be scared of howling. I didn’t know how and I didn’t know which howl to use. Coyotes are extremely noisy animals and have an extensive vocabulary. But after striking eleven consecutive stalls with a series of distress noises, I went to coyote school.

You don’t have to pay any money or attend classes to attend this school. All you need is time and the internet. Randy Anderson speaks to Coyote and his videos about the effectiveness of howling on YouTube are very helpful. You’ll find when you watch video by video that Randy is an old school howler. By that I mean he uses reed calls to generate his howl. I highly recommend it. I have found that the sharpness and clarity of reed-style howls outperform that produced by electronic calls.

You’re going to want to buy a couple of different howlers. Some of my favorites come from Primos and Rocky Mountain Hunting Calls, but there are a ton of calls in the market to choose from. Once a few howlers are dangling from your lanyard, start practicing. One of the best ways to learn how to howl and track your progress is to record and play back your howling sessions on your smartphone while watching seasoned howlers on YouTube. Compare your notes with those. If you stay diligent, your howling game will come quickly.

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Handheld calling is a great way to make coyotes howl, and it’s much easier and more affordable than electronic calling. (Jace Bauserman /)

Learn how to make these four key coyotes howl

Late January to March means mating season, which makes them the best howling months. During this period I only howl. By then, most dogs, even last year’s puppies, will have heard cries of distress. My howl includes:

1. Howling interrogation

Similar to how moose hunters use a locating horn, the interrogation howl is a long, drawn out howl. Let the sound build up, go over the top and come back down. Their purpose is to see who is on the go. I usually use this howl to start each booth. It’s non-invasive, easy to learn, and can bring in coyotes at any point during the season. I like to send out a trio of interrogation howls and place them about 45 seconds apart. This gives the coyotes time to respond. If nothing answers, it doesn’t mean there aren’t any coyotes around. I’ve let many coyotes come in silently while I’m howling.

2. Challenge the howl

This is my favorite howl and one that can really make or break a stand. This howl is short. It builds up and cuts off quickly. Often times, coyotes will follow a challenge with a few barks or whoofs. When you stand on the stand and hear a challenge, howl right over the top of the dog and reclaim. Let him know that you have invaded his territory. They can always – and I do this often during the mating season – send out their own howl of challenge. When a dog answers, a quick howl or an emergency call on a string will bring him in.

3. Howl female invitation

Gently. Sweet. Sexy. These are the three words to think about while doing this howl. Think of the questioning howl, but focus on making the howl a little shorter and a little softer. I only use this howl during the mating season and it has been the death of many male dogs. Visit YouTube and listen to this sound over and over again. If you can learn to sound like a bitch looking for male company, your success rate will go up.

4. Female coyote whimper

This call is money, and when used in combination with the howl of the female invitation, it can be pure poison to male dogs. I like to whimper for five to 15 seconds in a row and then stop. The sound is very high pitched, almost bird-like, and can be produced on open reed and diaphragm calls. The sound is almost a beep-beep-beep or tweet-tweet-tweet. Listen to the sound again on YouTube, then learn to replicate it. It’s not a complicated call, and it’s one that you want in your repertoire.

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Be flexible about howling coyotes

My last big crying tip is to be flexible and watch what works. For example, I didn’t get nearly as many responses to my interrogation howl last February, so I started experimenting. I added a few yips and barks and got a little louder when I called and the dogs answered. If you stay flexible and are not afraid to play with your pitches and the like, you can stand out from the crowd.