So What Is Coyoting Out?

ScottR

Eastmans' Staff / Moderator
Staff member
Feb 3, 2014
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www.eastmans.com
The first time I read Mike Eastman's book "Hunting High Country Mule Deer" I was 19 years old and was really just starting to learn the game of hunting. 11 years later and I believe that book changed the outcome of many of my own hunts.

The chapter that really left it's mark on me was called "Coyoting Out." This chapter taught me how to hunt from a backpack with as low of an impact as possible on the animal that I am hunting. This method of backpack hunting is so effective that he has a section in many of his books on hunting the west.

This picture of Mike's shows exactly what coyoting out is, living in a big buck or bull's kitchen just like a coyote! It changed the way I camped, where I put my tent, and what I looked for in a "hunting camp."
Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 10.54.58 AM.jpg

This excerpt from the book "Elk Hunting the West Revisited" really helps to understand exactly what this method of hunting is:

Coyoting Out

Coyoting out is a term that I came up with back in the early ‘80s to describe a style of hunting trophy elk. It’s more than just a strategy; it’s a way of living in the outdoors that causes minimal human impact on the country and game. It can be adapted to any terrain throughout the West. I have used this technique to successfully hunt trophy elk for over 50 years, during both archery and rifle seasons.
If you watch a pair of coyotes hunting in the high country, they will do the same thing. Lying on a ridge under a scrub pine, they watch the surrounding area and wait patiently for a perfect opportunity. You to have to be like a coyote when hunting that super-bull. Slip into a creek drainage or basin undetected and find a patch of scrub timber where you can sit in the shade with a panoramic view of the country without having to move around. Finding just the right spot will probably require a scouting trip into the area.
A hideout like this enables you to be in elk country and remain totally unnoticed as you pattern them. This is where I set up a coyote camp using only lightweight backpacking equipment, including a gas stove for cooking. Only in severe weather do I start a smoking fire. Remember, an elk’s strongest sense is smell. He will not tolerate the smell of a campfire or the rattle of metal cooking equipment in his backyard. The herd will be immediately alerted to your presence. However, from a coyote camp where you make minimal disturbance, you can stay undercover and undetected while you patiently glass and wait.
The key to coyoting out is to set up on the edge of a patch of timber in a basin, slide or pocket and glass. If you locate a branch-antlered bull you will have the freedom to move along with him until an appropriate stalk presents itself or set up camp, well after dark if need be. By far the biggest advantage to slipping into a hole with only a backpack is you can hang out close to the elk all weekend. As the elk move around, you’ll be right there moving with them, waiting for an opportunity at the herd bull.
What do I look for in a coyote camp? In the high country, I find a patch of scrub pine for my shelter. In the more open country I look for a low-profile position, such as a bench right below my lookout ridge. It needs to be away from the wind and within a few yards of my lookout points.
Bull elk are not difficult to pattern, so sitting tight and observing their comings and goings is 100 percent productive. Sometimes it takes several days before a bull gets into a position where he can be stalked.
For every mature bull you spot, in your GPS or journal record the location of his bedding areas, where he feeds and the time of day he moves from one area to the other.
Having your camp set up next to where you’re glassing is a slick hunting style. You can remain in the elk’s backyard, watching and waiting for him to come out. Make sure you glass until it’s too dark to make out the outline of an elk as they often do not come out until the very last minute of daylight. The next morning you’ll still be there, quietly glassing during that precious 20 minutes before sunlight, when so many bulls slip off to escape the average hunter.
Now this is important! When it comes to glassing from your coyote camp, make sure the sun is either to the left, to the right, or behind your back. This ensures that you’re not glassing directly into the sun, which is counterproductive and simply not much fun. The light on the horizon backlights the country, causing deep shadows that are hard to overcome when glassing from miles away. In general, don’t glass toward the west in the evening or the east during the morning in order to avoid this situation.
If possible, always keep concealed in the scrub pines of your coyote camp as well. Never wander around on the tops of the ridges, showing your silhouette against the skyline. Because ridges are the paths of least resistance, most hunters move along them like highways. Elk have learned to bed down in timber patches where they can scan several surrounding ridges for hunter traffic. Moving along just below the ridgeline will make it much harder for bulls to spot your movement. To stay undetected, you need to carefully plot your movements in order to minimize exposure. When coyoting out, only silhouette yourself when bushwhacking to a new area.
Having a bull elk get away because of sloppy hunting habits is a hard lesson to learn for anybody. Now, I am very careful about skylining myself, because it’s almost always a dead giveaway of your presence. Remember, you’re hunting a bull in his home range. Elk seem to have a sixth sense and know when humans have invaded their territory. They will move off to the next creek drainage in a matter of minutes if they figure you out. We are the same way in our own home; it doesn’t take long for us to sense if someone else is there. A herd cow or an old bull will pick up on any unusual activity or noise and slip off into a new basin, creek, or heavily timbered north slope.
It takes time to learn an area well enough to know where to put your coyote camp. However, after a few trips into the country, it will become quite apparent. In order to find a mature public land bull, you must be disciplined and have total commitment, even when faced with adverse terrain and weather conditions.


This is why we have labeled this section "Coyoting Out." This section of the forum will be dedicated to backpack hunting. All the tactics, gear, and ultimately patience required to harvest a great trophy while "Coyoting Out."

Mike addresses this in more detail in his books, and I would tell any hunter, whether you are a veteran hunter, or heading west for the first time to read them.

All of his books can be found HERE

This sub forum is dedicated to "Coyoting Out!" Let the conversation begin about backpack hunting in a big buck or bull's kitchen like a coyote, waiting for his first mistake!
 
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NVBird'n'Big

Veteran member
May 27, 2011
1,138
0
Reno, NV
This is very cool. Last year was the first time I have 'coyote'd' out. It was something special to wake up and see bucks moving 100 yards from where I had just slept. It was also fun seeing other hunters two hours later at the bottom of the bowl who were hiking in each morning.
 

shootbrownelk

Veteran member
Apr 11, 2011
1,425
10
Wyoming
This is very cool. Last year was the first time I have 'coyote'd' out. It was something special to wake up and see bucks moving 100 yards from where I had just slept. It was also fun seeing other hunters two hours later at the bottom of the bowl who were hiking in each morning.
And those hunters you mentioned were probably pushing deer up to you.... It's a good tactic.
 

tomcat

Member
Mar 25, 2013
52
0
I have done a lot of back pack hunting and it is not for everyone. I think many people today just don't believe you can carry enough stuff in a pack to survive, let alone thrive. But for those who are willing to step out of the comfort zone, good things await.
Coyoting Out as described above is taking the back pack hunt to the next level. Feels good.
 

D.Turvey Jr

Eastmans' Staff / Moderator
Feb 11, 2014
171
0
Powell, WY
Looking forward to doing more of this myself this year. Excited to see what knowledge and information comes out of this thread.
 

kesand72

Active Member
May 5, 2013
373
0
Joliet, Il
Sounds a lot like what I did last season in New Mexico! It is an experience unto itself, and I can't wait to do it again!
 

Musket Man

Veteran member
Jul 20, 2011
6,457
0
colfax, wa
It depends on the hunt but I prefer to coyote out if its very far to where I want to hunt. I like to be close to where I want to start glassing from in the morning. To me its usually the best way to hunt wilderness and high country.
 

Ikeepitcold

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 22, 2011
9,015
145
Reno Nv
There was a episode last year where Guy was elk hunting, I think it was in ID. He just laid out his sleeping bag rite out on the rocky hillside. He and the camera guy where coverd up in elk during the night. Pretty cool to be kept up all night from bull elk bugling and literally breathing down your neck!
 

Dan4Elk2

New Member
Feb 26, 2014
26
0
In 2007 in Wyoming...I got in the "Kitchen" of elk at night. Found a good place that evening to throw out my bivy sack and sleeping bag. Under a bright moon...and the whole night I couldn't sleep! Them bulls just wouldn't shut up ! They were bugling all night long. Morning came and still dark I packed up my gear. Waited til daylight to make a move on one of the bulls bugling..I went for the bull where the wind was in my favor. Got in position 3 cows went by at 25 yards with the big 7x6 following behind. I drew my bow..waited for an opening...released an arrow ,in which, it buried into his lungs. Bull was down in seconds! Had a awesome bull on the ground all by 7:30 a.m
 

Timberstalker

Veteran member
Feb 1, 2012
2,242
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Bend, Or
Does anyone do this in areas with zero glassing opportunities? Where I usually hunt it's thick timber 0-4 miles in, the only way you know there are animals there is by sign, hearing them or close range visual. It is very difficult to pack a camp around with you searching for where they may be. That is the main reason I travel in and out every day.
 

Dan4Elk2

New Member
Feb 26, 2014
26
0
Does anyone do this in areas with zero glassing opportunities? Where I usually hunt it's thick timber 0-4 miles in, the only way you know there are animals there is by sign, hearing them or close range visual. It is very difficult to pack a camp around with you searching for where they may be. That is the main reason I travel in and out every day.
I have done this many of times Timberstalker what your asking. Depending on the hunting situation ..I have traveled in and out daily..but if you do your homework on your gear you can pack in light or heavier depending on the number of days you want to stay out. I found that I burn way too much time and energy up traveling in and out daily! I would rather get back to an area where I want to hunt and stay mobile if need be. If I'm into elk at night the last thing I want to do is head back out. I want to camp near by so.. 1) being out there you can actually hear elk talk through out the night. 2) In the morning you don't have to get up 2 to 3 hours before daylight to get where you want to be. 3) At day light you can actually start your hunt from camp..especially if you have heard elk through out the night. I find this way helps me out a lot to bring bulls to the ground.
 

RUTTIN

Veteran member
Feb 26, 2011
1,299
0
Kamas, Utah
Not quite....it's chewing your arm off to escape the results of a jäger-filled night.
I thought that was "Coyote Ugly"

I am looking forward to doing this a lot this year (coyoting out, not chewing my arm off) I still am getting gear rounded up but I can't wait for this fall to come around.
 

Musket Man

Veteran member
Jul 20, 2011
6,457
0
colfax, wa
Does anyone do this in areas with zero glassing opportunities? Where I usually hunt it's thick timber 0-4 miles in, the only way you know there are animals there is by sign, hearing them or close range visual. It is very difficult to pack a camp around with you searching for where they may be. That is the main reason I travel in and out every day.
It would depend on where I wanted to start hunting. If it was a mile or less from where I could drive to i would probably just walk in and out. If I wanted to hunt 2-3 miles in I would probably backpack in and stay there.
 

Knappy

New Member
Mar 14, 2014
43
0
I'm in the middle of reading Mike's book. I love it!! I really need to work on cutting weight out of my pack. I carry way too much stuff with me! This will be a work in progress...
 

Bkypreos

New Member
May 9, 2014
28
0
AZ
Isn't that just hunting? Maybe I just do things the hard way. I like to be close no matter what. I always thought of it as "indian style" hunting. Either way its more of an experience to get in the bull or bucks backyard.
 

ivorytip

Veteran member
Mar 24, 2012
3,756
26
the best part about it is the game dont really care so much during dark hours bout the smell. i love making stalks in the middle of the night on singing bullsand get some shut eye close by. alot easier when its dark. maybey they smell better in the light:cool:
 

micropterus79

Active Member
Jun 19, 2014
220
0
San Tan Valley, AZ
So what do you do for water when hunting this way? I have a good ceramic water filter but water can be scarce here in AZ; it is an advantage because if you find water, you'll likely find game but I'm not sure you could re-up your water supply without getting busted by the animals you are trying to stalk...since water is the heaviest necessity and you're supposed to drink a minimum of a liter per day during warm weather and exertion, what are y'alls thoughts on that?
 

ssliger

Very Active Member
Mar 9, 2011
901
0
Laramie WY
So what do you do for water when hunting this way? I have a good ceramic water filter but water can be scarce here in AZ; it is an advantage because if you find water, you'll likely find game but I'm not sure you could re-up your water supply without getting busted by the animals you are trying to stalk...since water is the heaviest necessity and you're supposed to drink a minimum of a liter per day during warm weather and exertion, what are y'alls thoughts on that?
If you are worried about water, one option is to cache a water supply on scouting trips.