The following of course are general rules as there will always be extenuating circumstances that would require the use of your rifle, but I have found that 90% of the situations I run across will fall within these guidelines.
With the exception of a well placed shot, setup is the most important part of any successful predator stand. It’s my opinion that the best stand will have the sun at your back with a cross wind where you can see at least 200 yards on your downwind side. With this stand, setup will be very similar whether you are using an electronic call or hand calls.
One of the things many people overlook is the direction you face when you sit down. With the ideal stand described above, you should always face in a direction that puts your electronic call slightly to your left if you are right handed and slightly to your right if you are left handed. There are two reasons for this. Facing toward the call reduces the chance that a quick, sly coyote, will sneak in and out before you see him while scanning other areas. Also, facing toward the call in this fashion allows you maximum range from left to right for the shotgun coyote. As a right handed shooter you can easily take comfortable shots at angles greater than 90 degrees to your left but while shooting to your right you are limited to just a few degrees from center.
With your seating position now understood you might wonder where your rifle is supposed to go if you have a shotgun on your lap. Always set your rifle up pointing to your downwind side. If you are taking a rifle shot 80% of the time it will be toward your downwind side as the coyote tries to get your wind. With the rifle already set up in that direct you will only have to move your body slightly to get on target, something far less noticeable than moving you and your rifle.
So you have the coyote coming in, he’s circling downwind, your rifle is already set up in that correct direct, what next?
Now you have to determine the best time to make your move. There are two “best” times to do this. You can either move while the coyote’s attention is somewhere else, or swiftly and quietly, deliberately alerting the coyote that something has changed, but not so much to cause him to run first and ask questions later. The first is obviously the more ideal.
With wide open terrain it may not be possible to slowly move into position while the coyote is looking down or trotting toward you. In this situation, and if the coyote is in your range, wait until the coyote is nearly in line with your rifle before you move. Once he has reached this point move as silently and swiftly as possible into position.
Many times this movement, if not too elaborate and noisy, will stop the coyote briefly and provide you with a shot before it decides to leave or continue approaching. Don’t wait and see what it decides, shoot now! Being familiar with your gun will ensure that the 3 to 5 second window is more than enough time to place a well-aimed shot.
If you are able to move into position while the coyote’s attention is somewhere else, move to where he will be not where he is. Find the point on the terrain that provides you with a shot within your range without compromising a good shooting position and slowly adjust yourself for it. How you stop the coyote is really up to you. Most people will let out a bark but any noise; a whistle, lip squeak, or even “HEY,” will stop the coyote long enough for you to make the shot. As with the other method, you will have 3 to 5 seconds to make your shot. However this shot should be easier because you already have the coyote in your sights and simply need him to stop for your shot.
Use these few tricks and increase your percentage of KILLED coyotes.
First of all – regardless of the terrain you are hunting, the rifle should not be your only weapon while on stand. Having a shotgun, in addition to your rifle, will undoubtedly ensure more fur in the back of the truck. See Basics of Shotgunning Predators for more info on the use of the scattergun while calling.