Seasons give us some guidelines on when to make which predator calls, but with guidelines - just like rules in school – there's always a time to break them. But you've got to first learn the rules to know the right time to try something else. Here are just a few guidelines on when to make which type of predator calling sound when coyote hunting.
Predator callers should be thinking coyote vocalizations at the beginning of the spring as the bitches are getting ready to give birth and the males will be in protection mode. The pair also will be defending their territory from other coyotes, making coyote vocalizations the go-to call early. Later in the spring, after the pups are born the male will be searching hard for food and there's plenty around, so a prey-in-distress comes back into vogue. Optional call: puppy squealer.
Prey-in-distress calls work best throughout summer in many areas. The pups are growing and both parents are now hunting pretty much full time again. Think cottontails and bird distress calls for best results. Optional call: fawn in distress.
The predator call type you use during the fall depends a lot on the amount of predator hunting pressure the area is receiving. Early in the fall when many hunters are focusing on other species, the prey-in-distress calls continue to work very well. Plus, there are plenty of young, stupid pups roaming around learning the ropes who are willing to run right into a prey-in-distress sound. Sometime late October or so, a coyote howler may be your better predator call, especially if there's been some hunting pressure. Optional call: nontraditional prey-in-distress sounds such as the Knight & Hale Ultimate Predator I that produces a tone between a jackrabbit and a fawn.
Coyote howlers and barkers are made for early winter. There simply is no other coyote call that can get a cold coyote headed your way like a howler. That coyote may be coming in to fight, check for females or just to join in on a fun hunt. When the weather has been very bad for several days, however, the first clear day is a good time to switch back to a prey-in-distress call to capitalize on the hungry 'yotes that haven't fed in a few days. Optional call: Combo calling, starting with a quick howl and a couple barks, then going right into a cottontail prey-in-distress sound.