Predator hunting has become my favorite past time activities. It usually begins the moment my deer season ends. This year I’ve already spent a significant amount of time in South Dakota chasing coyotes through some brutal cold temps. Figure out how to beat the weather, and the non-stop action of coyote hunting will truly amaze you.
Having the right gear is always helpful, but sometimes it takes a little hard work and suffering before knowing what gear is truly helpful. I’ve put in a lot of time and learned the hard way on things that make a difference in the field. So, skip a little of the heartache and add some of these items to your gear bag to make your season more comfortable and successful:
Coyote Drag: If you have ever had to drag a couple of coyotes out of a deep river bottom or in some rugged country, it doesn’t take much to appreciate how helpful this simple item can be. They are available for purchase or you can simply make your own cheap and easy, Cut a short PVC pipe, drilling a hole through it and attach rope with a knot. Ensure the rope is long enough to attach to your backpack for hands-free dragging or use one hand to pull alongside. I like to keep two of these just in case a double occurs!
Bipod: Sometimes being prone is one’s best defense. For this, consider a short set of bipods on your gun.
Varmint X Ammunition: Using the best ammunition available is key. Varmint X by Winchester this has been designed specifically for varmint hunting and allows for minimal pelt damage with incredible results and knockdown power.
Electronic & Hand Calls: Variety is the spice of life here. I use a Convergent Bullet HP which is controlled by my phone via Bluetooth technology. The key is, I don’t need cell service to make this work. I also like to pair it with a few convergent hand calls to change things up and make the set as realistic as possible.
Good Optics: Being able to spot coyotes before they spot you is key. I keep a set of binos in my truck at all times in my bino dock so they’re always at the ready. It’s also very important to glass each area as you walk into your set to avoid spooking coyotes out.
Extra Batteries: Cold weather electronics can die quickly. So, try and keep extra AA batteries handy just in case.
Shooting Sticks: There are times where bipods are just too short. For this, I like to use BogPods tripod shooting sticks. I can still leave the bipods on, but shoot from a sitting position with the tripod sticks.
Seat Cushion: Not only does a seat cushion make you more still on a set, but it also keeps your backside dry! My dad even uses a stadium type chair that has a back on it too which can be helpful and more comfortable.
Coyote Light: Winchester firearms created the coyote light with varmint hunters in mind. It comes with a high-quality stock. Everything has been trimmed down to give you the ultimate lightweight experience.
Bino Harness: Many times, predator hunting occurs in some really rough weather. This usually means snow in the Midwest. By having a protective bino harness like the S4 gear it keeps optics not only protected but ready and clear at all times
Snacks: Even if there are no intentions to stay out all day, sometimes it just happens when the hunting heats up! Be sure to keep a variety of snacks in your pack so ending your hunt early doesn’t happen because of hunger.
Ballistics Chart: Winchester’s Ballistic Calculator is an amazing tool for all hunters, especially long-range varmint hunters. I like to not only study this on my phone, but recommend printing it out and placing it right on the stock of your gun as well. This way you can use it as a quick reference anytime in the field.
OnX Hunt Maps: An incredible tool I’ve started using is OnX Hunt Maps. This app allows you to see where you are, the property boundaries, and also who owns the property. I can’t stress how valuable this tool can be in the field. This also works for private, public and tribal ground.
Suppressor: Saving one’s hearing should be at the top of the list for any shooter. Supressors not only protect hearing, but also those near the shooter. They allow for a quicker follow up shot and also help with recoil. All these are huge benefits in the field and will make the overall hunting experience even better.
Handheld GPS: It’s easy to get turned around in snowy blizzard like conditions or even in new areas. I love to have a handheld Garmin GPS hooked to my backpack at all times. Not only am I confident that I can always get back to my truck, but if I happen to lose something along the way (which happens to us all), the GPS makes it super easy to backtrack. It’s saved me from losing some very valuable equipment like rangefinders in the field
Shovel & Tow Rope: Most people assume they’ll never get stuck, but eventually the luck runs out, But, when it does, having a shovel and tow rope can be a lifesaver. These don’t take up much space in the bed of a truck so grab one from the garage or buy one specifically to keep in the truck.
Hot Hands & ThermaCare Wraps: These two little items can be a huge help when temps drop and you may not have all the warm clothing needed.
Boot Blankets: Hands and toes often get cold first. So, by strapping a pair of boot blankets to a pack it may help make the difference on those long cold sets when coyotes are taking their time coming to the call.
Face Mask & Warm Hat: Keeping skin on the face warm and out of the cold wind is essential. Adding a good hat on top of all this will keep heat in. As kids, we were always taught to wear hats and gloves at all times. So, don’t skip this part and just wear a baseball cap. Layer up with a stocking cap and trap warmth in!
Both thin & thick gloves: I’m a big fan of wearing two pair of gloves anytime I coyote hunt. The reason for this is simple. Mittens are used on the walk in and out of sets. Once setup, I pull the mittens off and wear a lighter pair of gloves that I can easily shoot in. If it gets too cold I’ll pull the mittens back on for a while and warm up my hands. I also keep a set of hot hands in the mittens for added warmth.