Turkey and Deer season over, poults on the ground, and does getting ready to drop in a couple months. Many breeders and land managers turn to predator management, only to find difficulty catching warm weather coyotes.
I’ll start by saying June, July, and August are the three worst months to manage coyote populations in the south. Coyotes do not differ greatly from your pet canine. When temperatures hit 90+, it becomes increasingly hard to get the dogs to get off the porch. In short, the Dog Days of Summer keep coyotes travel shorter than any time throughout the year. Less movement means less chances coyotes walk by your set.
But let’s say you do have resident coyotes in your fence or vicinity. What makes it difficult to draw them to the fatal step?
- Lures used normally have a tendency to dry out and fade in extreme heat. We re-lure more often during summer months than any other time, usually at least once a week, even with absence of rain.
- Fresh Baits – Cooler weather allows us to use a variety of baits to make canines work sets. Summer months limit our choice for a number of reasons. We usually avoid fresh meat now (fresh beaver is our preferred bait during cooler temps) because flies insist on blowing lava, the amount of time it takes to make meat spoil extremely fast to the point coyotes don’t want it when so many other options are available (coyotes have no problem with rotted meats if that’s all they can find). If fresh meat is all you have available, 2.5 cups of pickling salt per gallon of will increase meats life by several days.
- Predator Baits – Our common dirt-hole sets in summer are almost completely run with commercial predator baits. Not only do they have the preservatives added, but most baits have other elements including glands, skunk, oils, etc. that animals are attracted to. With the wide variety of food available to coyotes during warm months, often added ingredients are what make canines “work” the set. A number of quality bait providers can be found online. Our company also provides several commercial baits at com.
- Sex - Often we use gland lures to attract reproductive instincts in canines. Warm months often have coyotes in pairs raising pups. Although territorial instincts will still lead to coyotes investigating gland, the drive will be far less than other periods through the year.
- Urine – 3 of the 6 coyotes we killed today were on urine post sets. If a canine smells where another has urinated, it will mark it as well, no matter the temperature. Extreme southern temperatures tend to fade urine quicker; Glycerin can be added directly to urine to slow the evaporation rate. Urine will often help you catch warm weather coyotes when all else fails.
- Blind sets – Often summer coyotes are uninterested in any type of draw during extreme heat. If trails can be found, such as fence crawl unders, blind sets can often produce during hot weather. But again, coyote movement will be minimal during our summers, so patience is the key.
Now that I have explained the hardships of our typical ways during summer, let us look at some the ways to increase catches.
- Patience – with less movement, my sets will often set 2 to 3 weeks before connecting.
- Multiple sets – Many coyotes are often paired up and denning. Catch a female, and watch the male come looking for her in the next day or so. Later in summer, multiple puppies can be caught.
- Food sources – Look for berries, not only do the coyotes love fruit, so do much of its prey. Cut a stomach open of a summer coyote and you may just find blackberries mixed with grasshoppers.
- Water sources -The hotter the weather, the more water coyotes require. With water holes drying up, available water makes good set locations. Water troughs for deer make excellent set locations.
- Cool areas – Shady creek bottoms, even a few degrees can offer relief and attract hot yotes. Look for the cool spots you would take a break at.
The positive factors of catching coyotes in the summer months are that you are taking the predator out of the food chain during the time when much of your game is at its most vulnerable stages. Removing the predators at this time leaves less of a chance that other coyotes will filter in and replace void during our games young stage of life. But it will aggravate you to no end with some of the obstacles you will face.
Another thing to try and get in the practice of doing in warm months, is try and make your sets as early as possible in the mornings, or late in the evening. Although there is nothing we can do to keep canines from smelling us, we want to keep our scent to a minimum by using gloves, and I even use a small piece of plastic I kneel on to keep scent down. If your setting traps mid-day in the southeast, there will be a steady stream of sweat pouring on your set location. Set when it is cooler, not only for the coyotes nose, but it’s a lot easier on your body.
Something else to keep in mind that sometimes is annoying. When using bait, flies are going to cover it in warm months. Outside of obvious reasons that this is bad, it also has the drawback of attracting buzzards to your set. Trust me, buzzards can spot a handful of flies on your set a mile up, and they will investigate. Try using overhead cover when available to block their vision. Sets tucked under cedar trees keeps birds from noticing your set (also they help protect against rain fall, and evergreens have a natural anti-freeze in them during cold months, and also provide dry dirt for you to cover sets….. Cedar trees are a trappers friend.).
Just keep at it. I would recommend predator management year round. But if your only available time is warm months, expect lower catch numbers, longer wait times and more difficulty than any other time of the year… But it can be done. Keep in mind that the professional predator management guys like myself consider the summer months our down time. There is a year round demand for our services, but like all jobs, it is nice to have a little vacation time. We take ours in July and August for a reason.
We have a group or facebook page under “Down South Trappers” in which questions can be asked and answered in greater detail. Hope this helps with helping control summer coyotes.