Author: Michael T. Huff, CoyoteLight Pro Staff
September 16th, 2014
Many predator hunters start their season after the farm crops have been harvested. However, for those willing to take advantage of the opportunities that early season hunting can offer, allow me to present a set up that can prove to be very effective.
In farming areas, when the corn is high, coyotes have a tremendous amount of security moving throughout their range almost completely hidden from humans. The brief times they are exposed occurs when crossing roads, tractor paths, and low crop fields such as alfalfa, harvested wheat, hay, and similar plantings.
In late October and early November the last of the corn has been harvested. Hundreds of previously hidden acres become suddenly exposed. Coyotes can be visually identified over great distances in these large, bare, open fields. While this may initially seem like a great benefit to the coyote hunter, this is not always the case. Where I hunt, coyotes take every conceivable effort to avoid open fields because they seem to realize they are readily visible and thus significantly more vulnerable under such conditions.
However, prior to harvest, when corn is still in the fields, narrow strips of low rotation crops between corn plantings can be ideal sets for early season coyote hunting. Coyotes are much more likely to cross these narrow openings than the wide open harvested corn fields after harvest. Farmers frequently alternate crops to preserve soil quality by planting crops that add nitrogen and other nutrients back to the soil. This practice of crop rotation provides a great opportunity for creating ideal set locations ups for the coyote hunter.
Let’s review a great way to set up in this situation. Referring to the diagram, beginning on the very left are woods. As we move to the right in the diagram, we first encounter a corn field, followed by a low growing rotation crop such as alfalfa, or an early harvest crop such as wheat. Next is another large corn field. Many farms will follow this crop rotation pattern across the entire property from one property boarder to the next.
In the situation pictured, I prefer to quietly set up in the first low crop field closest to the woods. Typically, I use an E-caller in this situation and place it at least 100 yards upwind of my position. The CoyoteLight offers significant advantages in this type of set. Since the beam is fully focus-able from a tight beam for long range identification and shooting or a wide beam for a wide area of coverage, I open up the light so it is wide and illuminates the entire strip of the field in which I am hunting. I leave the light on during the entire set. Incorporated into the CoyoteLight is a specially designed regulated circuit that give a fully charged CoyoteLight unbelievable run times. Lesser quality lights have much shorter run times and a much narrower field of view and are significantly less effective in this type of set.
Since the wide beam of the CoyoteLight can illuminate the entire narrow field, I will often hunt this type of set without the need for a second light for scanning. Although I do regularly use a scanning light, I prefer not to in this scenario because shot opportunities often occur very quickly. Transitioning from a scanning light to a gun light adds a few additional seconds which can result in a missed shot opportunity.
In this set, I position my gun mounted CoyoteLight to point in the direction where I anticipate a coyote will cross the field. I watch and wait for the bright red reflection of a coyote’s eyes as it enters the field in front of me. Often a coyote will trot across these narrow open fields while moving to get downwind of the caller. If necessary, using my own voice I bark loudly to stop the coyote for a shot.
If you have access to farmlands with crop rotations, consider giving this set a try for a great early season coyote set. In areas with only corn crops, this same strategy can be used by setting up on open tractor paths. Good luck, hunt safe, and hunt with the best light for the best results, CoyoteLight!