How to Train Your Dog to Hunt Coyotes

Hard
4-8 Months
Work

Introduction

Coyotes are one of those wild animals that thrive in spite of human encroachment on their territory. Coyotes have adapted and capitalized on available food sources such as livestock and pets in human populated areas. Not only does this cause a problem as calves, lambs, goats, cats, and dogs are preyed on by coyotes, but coyotes can become aggressive towards humans and attacks on children are not unknown. Also, overpopulation of coyotes contributes to overhunting of natural prey. like deer, and the spread of disease amongst the coyote population as prey becomes scarce and the population becomes stressed. 

Hunting coyotes to remove problem animals and control the population is frequently necessary. Some hunters incorporate dogs to hunt coyote. Dogs used for coyote hunting must be intelligent, have excellent stamina, and be very physically fit, fast and athletic, as dogs are required to run and sometimes fight coyotes when necessary.  Curs and hounds are often used, although many different breeds are employed.

Defining Tasks

In order to hunt coyotes with dogs, most hunters need to maintain a pack of dogs that are used to working together and kept in top physical condition. This involves expense to feed, house, train, and transport a hunting pack. Some hunters join with other hunters and dogs and work their dogs together instead of maintaining a pack of their own. Dogs are fitted with tracking collars, and hunters stay in contact with each other using handheld radios during hunts. Hunters may use ATVs or snowmobiles while dogs chase coyotes, to keep up with the dogs. Coyotes may be baited, or located by sight or smell. Dogs then bait coyotes, acting as decoys to distract coyotes, or chase the coyote, often many miles over rugged terrain. When the coyote turns to fight, this is called baying up. Hunters need to get to the bay site as soon as possible, to shoot the coyote before a fight escalates and dogs become injured.

Getting Started

Before dogs are ready to hunt coyotes, they need to be exposed to hunting smaller animals and have excellent advanced obedience training. Getting a dog used to the sights and sounds of hunting, guns, transport, ATVs and snowmobiles, and other dogs will be useful. Dogs should also be used to navigating various terrain and be in peak physical form to have the stamina and strength required for hunting. Training a hunting dog not to chase porcupines, skunks, and snakes is also advised, as dogs can easily be distracted and waylaid by these animals and injured. Dogs used for hunting coyotes may wear protective equipment such as neck guards and vests to protect them from bites, however, because agility and mobility is required, appropriate fitting, lightweight equipment is required.  

The Introduce the Hunt Method

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Step
1
Introduce area
Take your dog out hunting coyotes on a leash. Allow your dog to get used to the area and scenting the air for coyotes.
Step
2
Call in coyote
Bait coyotes in, or call them in. Keep your dog tied or leashed and a sufficient distance from your gun to protect their hearing, or give your dog ear protection, such as putting cotton in his ears.
Step
3
Dispatch coyote
When a coyote comes in, shoot the coyote then release your dog. Allow your dog to see as much of the coyote's approach and take down as possible.
Step
4
Investigate
Allow your dog to approach the downed coyote to investigate.
Step
5
Create trail
Drag the downed coyote to create a scent trail, and allow your dog to follow the trail.
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The Decoy Dog Signaling Method

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Use collar
A decoy dog draws the attention of a coyote and returns to the handler with the coyote tailing him for the hunter to shoot. Dogs used for this purpose can be fitted with a collar that buzzes to signal the dog when to return to the handler. This is not a shock collar, but a collar that signals the dog to communicate from a long distance. Fit your dog with a collar with a wide signal range so that if your dog is at a significant distance he can be signaled.
Step
2
Associate signal with recall
Allow your dog to range ahead of you on a trail where no game are present. Activate the collar and call your dog back verbally until he comes to associate the collar signal with returning to you. Reward with play with a toy, or scented pelt of a rabbit or other game.
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3
Introduce distractions
Gradually introduce hunting where there is small game, or coyote or other predator scent to follow that is more enticing. Signal your dog, and when he returns to you, reward with treats or play.
Step
4
Introduce coyote
Expose your dog to hunting coyotes. Bait a coyote in close, and let your dog approach the coyote within sight. Signal your dog to return to you. Shoot coyote and let your dog approach the downed coyote as a reward.
Step
5
Practice decoy and signal
Increase exposure and range when hunting coyotes. Take your dog out on varied terrain, with other dogs scenting and locating coyotes, and then signal your dog to return to you with the coyote following into shooting range.
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The Hunt with Pack Method

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Step
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Socialize
Introduce your young dog to a pack of experienced coyote hunting dogs. Allow them to socialize first to avoid conflict while hunting.
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2
Expose while leashed
Take your dog out on a leash with the other dogs and expose your young dog to a coyote hunt. Keep your inexperienced dog leashed at first, as dogs bait and bring coyote back to handlers or chase and bay up the coyote, as an inexperienced dog can be hurt.
Step
3
Repeat
Repeat experience until your dog is used to the sights and sounds of the coyote hunt and does not get out of control or overexcited by the hunt.
Step
4
Take off leash
Allow your dog off-leash with the pack to hunt coyotes. Use a beeper collar to signal your dog to return to you if he has been trained with one, or use verbal commands to keep your dog within recall range so he can be supervised during initial exposures to a coyote while off-leash.
Step
5
Allow to hunt with pack
Gradually allow your dog more freedom to hunt with the experienced pack. Scenting, locating, chasing, and returning to handlers with baited coyote, or keeping the coyote at bay until hunters arrive.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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