Oh, Say Can You See … My Truck?

In most locales, trucks aren’t part of a coyote’s natural environment, so you need to hide yours as well as you hide yourself.

Not many of us can walk out the door and go predator hunting. I certainly can't. Even though my closest hunting location is a very short drive away, it's still a drive—as in load myself and my gear in the truck and go. And because virtually every predator on the continent associates vehicles with humans and danger, we hunters need to hide those vehicles that get us to our hunting sites.

I'llregularly have coyotes respond to a call, but then it hangs up in the distance for some unexplained reason. When that happens, I mentally mark the spot where progress stopped and when I get back to my vehicle look and see if that location is visible from the truck. Often it is, and then the "hang up" is explained and a lesson is learned.

But not all vehicles will cause a predator to flee. Around here it's common to see coyotes out in the fields while driving from one spot to another. But they don't seem to pay any attention to road traffic as long as the vehicles are moving. However, slow down or stop and that coyote is already in high gear and headed for cover. On the other hand, drive a tractor into that field and the coyotes will barely notice it. That's how smart they are.

One way for a hunter to hide a vehicle is distance; just park your rig so far away it's impossible to see. Of course, that means a loooong walk, something my naturally lazy nature likes to avoid. A friend of mine didn't wash his truck all last winter, letting it collect a natural camouflage coating of road mud on the theory this would make it more difficult for coyotes to spot. It probably worked to some extent.

In flat or open country, hiding a vehicle can be a challenge—but it's still a necessity. Take advantage of any depression or hollow to help conceal that truck, keeping in mind that a coyote's eyes are much lower to the ground than ours are. Squat down to dog level sometime for an interesting perspective on what you can and can't see when you're only 2 feet above the dirt.

In my experience, if you have a good spot to hide your vehicle, it's not necessary to walk a long distance to successfully call predators. Some of my best spots are a 5-minute walk from my truck. In those cases, what is necessary is good noise discipline when getting out of a vehicle and loading up for the walk.

Last week I used that principle to kill a coyote that was hanging around the fringes of a calving operation. My truck was easily visible from my calling site, but the coyote's approach was 180 degrees in the opposite direction with trees and a small valley making the 'yote blind to my vehicle.

You don't always need to hunt hard, but you do need to keep your vehicle out of a predator's view.

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