Many folks don’t think of summer as being a great time for predator hunting. Trips to the beach, pools, yardwork, baseball games – in general we all have a lot things going. If you're serious about deer management programs to control fawn loss, however, this time of year can be a perfect chance to get a little up close and personal calling/shooting on some coyotes and bobcats.
Fawns are like filet mignon to coyote this time of year. While there are many young animal such as rabbits available, fawn make up a great deal of the diet for the coyote family unit as they too have young pups to train and feed. Use this knowledge next time you’re in the woods.
The main thing to think of this time of year is the fact you have a lot of foliage and under story which creates poor visibility. Much of your shooting will be up close and personal. Shotguns tend to be the key weapon.
Set up is critical to giving yourself the best visibility. Hay fields have been cut in many regions, but many crop fields are now grown to a point that hunting the edge is tough. I often find myself taking a climber or a hang-on stand with a few buck steps and getting myself just high enough to see into the heavy growth.
Always play the wind and hunt looking into the thickest places as this seems to be where coyotes prefer to sneak attack. I prefer a fawn call this time of year. However, as I mentioned earlier, the coyotes themselves have young pups meaning the mature dogs of the family unit can be very protective when an intruder comes calling. Howler calls paired with mixed barks and whines can cause the older males and females to come looking for the intruder. Draw them out for an easier shot.
Personally, I like to start with a few howls and barks to test the area. If nothing answers back I start some fawn bleating, increasing the intensity for about 45 second to a minute. Due to cover, give your setups a little extra time compared to later season hunting. If there are no responses in 12 to 15 min it’s time to move on.
Also keep in mind that thick foliage keeps sounds from traveling. You can increase the amount of setups in a given area because of this. A good rule of thumb for the mid-west is 300 to 400 yards between posts. Go further west and this increases dramatically, maybe ½ mile or so depending on time of day and wind conditions.
If you’re serious about maintaining the health of your herd this year, use these techniques to get the jump on predators in your neck of the woods. Good luck!