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Finding new coyote hunting spots – where to start?

So, by now, you may be wondering, just what am I looking for, when studying maps of a new area.  The answer relates to another skill that comes only through experience.  That skill, is learning to read terrain and how to choose and setup your stands.  To a large degree, this comes down to personal preference.  I have my own way of approaching the terrain and calling it, that I have worked out over the years.  My terrain preferences and stand selection are based off of the way I like to hunt and the things I consider to be my strengths.  Some of the factors that go into my terrain and stand selection preferences are that I hunt public land, I hunt during the day, I use a remote controlled Foxpro caller, that I am a competent rifleman but not a shot gunner, that I won’t walk very far to make a stand, that I do like to have my truck hidden from the stand, that I like to have some elevation above my caller and a good view and good shooting lanes a long ways out.  These are just some of the factors that form my own personal preferences for the type of terrain I like to hunt, the kinds of stands I like to make and how I like to approach those stands.  A shot gunner working the thick stuff, or a guy that hunts the river bottoms on private ranch land, will have very different terrain and stand selection preferences that work well for them.  They’ll be looking for very different things on a map than what I am looking for.  The point being, that you need to develop both skills, the ability to read terrain for coyote holding “structure” and how to best hunt that terrain to suit your own preferences, and the ability to read a topo map and recognize those terrain features you like and that coyote holding structure  when you see them on a map.

Okay, so what am I looking for when I study a map?  There are two basic types of information that you can see immediately.  One type of information is the basic type of terrain.  You can see if it is steep mountain, rolling hill or flat land, if there are creek beds or dry washes, if it’s timbered or clear etc.  The finer points, like whether the flat area on the map is barren hard pan or a healthy sage covered flat, is something you’ll eventually be able to know, with experience and more familiarity with the larger general area.  I look for the particular type of terrain, or “structure” as I call it, that best suits my hunting style.  The second type of information that you can immediately see, is what type of road access there is.  This is vitally important information!  The best looking terrain in the world is no good to me if it doesn’t have the right kind of road access.  Not all maps in all areas are going to be 100% accurate about what roads exist, but most will be pretty good.  I like to utilize rough, two track 4x4 roads that see little use.  Indeed, my “perfect” road access will require four wheel drive and be guaranteed to pin stripe the heck out of a full size pickup.  Many experienced predator callers prefer better maintained, higher travel speed roads to cover more ground and make more stands in a day.  With a little bit of experience it’s pretty easy to tell what kind of roads are there just by looking at the map.  I like to drive on a rough two track to within a couple hundred yards of a stand, but have my truck hidden from the stand.  Ideally, there will be a small hill that I can park behind and then walk around and sit down on to make a stand with elevation above my Foxpro and a good view all around.  Ideally with more than one drainage or draw funneling into rifle range below me.  I’m often able to pinpoint precisely this situation, on a map, in a place I’ve never been before.  In other words, I not only identify a general area as looking favorable based on my map study, but I often pinpoint exact stand locations, down to where I’ll park the truck and where I’ll walk to and sit down.  I’ve had these stands that I’ve picked out from a map pay off over and over again.  Perhaps the most memorable, was one morning a couple years ago.  I had topo scouted a new area and chosen half a dozen exact stand locations along a seldom used Jeep trail.  My partner Tim and I called in four coyotes on the first stand, none on the second, six coyotes on the third stand and four coyotes again on the fourth stand.  By 10am we had called in fourteen coyotes, in an area we had never been to before, using stand locations I had chosen ahead of time based on my map study.  I’m telling you, once you get good at it, topo scouting works!

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Where is a good place to hunt coyotes?
Finding coyotes on a map takes practice!
Finding coyote hunting spots where to start?
Examples of coyote hunting maps
Topo scouting for coyotes wrap-up

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