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Every once in a while I like to share with the other trappers on my page some techniques that have helped me over the years to become much more efficient and make the most of the time I have available to work my Trap line and ADC business. What I am about to share with you is no secret. I learned this years ago when I used to hunt turkeys here in Georgia. I hunted a lot of WMA's. I logged hundreds of miles of boot leather walking the land over with a topo map and compass. I graduated to one of the first GPS units and that was a big help but it all didn't come together until I read an article on how to incorporate all three instruments to maximize your scouting and more importantly to pinpoint, within a few yards, where a gobbler is roosting. This saved me a lot of time upfront because I could locate them and then move in to find the exact tree he was in.




About a week before opening day of turkey season, I would position myself on a high ridge overlooking a swamp before daylight. I would have a notebook, compass, GPS and topo map. I would mark my location where I was sitting with the GPS. This was my point of origin where all of my compass readings would originate from. When I heard a gobbler sound off, I would hold up the compass, line it up with magnetic north and take a reading as close as I could to the gobbler's location. It didn't matter if he was 100 yards away or 500 yards away, I would look across the compass at the degree reading. I would note this in my book and estimate how far away from me he was and note this too. I would then move to the next one that sounded off and do the same. Some mornings I would have 5 or 6 readings from different directions. When the birds flew down, I would listen to see which way they would move off. I would then return home and spread the topo map on a table. Now the important part. I would go on GE and input the point of origin reading and mark it on my topo map to match it's location on GE. I would then orient the map AND compass to North. You put the compass on the topo on a straight edge of the map and spin the two together until they both line up perfectly North. Then, I would put the center of the compass directly over the point of origin on the map. I pulled out my notebook and took a pencil and made a dot at each of the degree readings I had taken of the gobblers that morning. I removed the compass and took a straight edge, lined up the two points and drew a pencil line thru both and extended it a ways. Somewhere on that line was where that gobbler was roosting, usually over a creek or swamp. So, what does this have to do with Coyote Trapping? Read the next paragraph and I will tell you.




This tactic can be used just as well to locate coyote dens. Typically, coyotes come out of their dens right at dark and howl to talk to the other family groups. If you are set up on a high point of land and have marked your location on your GPS, just follow the directions above concerning aiming your compass at the howling and record the reading in your notebook. Just make sure your compass is oriented exactly North. Actually, with today's technology, you don't need a topo map as long as you have Google Earth. Estimate how far the den is from you in yards and write this down. Then when you get home input this into GE. GE has a feature that will allow you to draw a virtual line on the screen. It is call the Path. Input your point of origin, take your mouse and stretch out the line, you will see a compass reading. Move left or right until you get to the exact reading you noted in your book. Bravo, the den is somewhere along that line and if you use a little intelligence, woodsman ship and your knowledge of how coyotes will move through a property, you can pretty well get within at least 75 yards or so of the den. I am going to use this technique when I go to Columbus in a few weeks. The great benefit this gives a Trapper is it lets you see WHERE THE CONCENTRATION OF COYOTES ARE ON A TRACT OF LAND. After evaluating the lay of the land on GE, you can make an educated guess where the den will be. You can also see which Travel ways the coyotes will likely use based on the location of the Den. Another great tip, if you will move your mouse to that location, it will give you the exact coordinates of the area and you can input it into your GPS to let it direct you to there. Or, if you know the land well enough, like I know the Farm, you have a great idea where to start the "ground truthing" or looking for tracks and scat. If you think about it, this will save you ALOT of time scouting a property, especially a new one. The Trappers and Wolfers of long ago did not have the satellite technology, GPS units that we now have. I like to make things easier for myself, this is why I have incorporated it into my entire Coyote Trapping System. As for equipment, buy the best you can. I use a Brunton compass, Garmin 530C Rhino GPS with a High Sensitivity Antenna and GE. The reason I am writing this is because last year, I happened to be in a pasture on the farm about 100 yards from a woodlot right at dark one evening. I heard a coyote howl down in the woodlot and about 400 yards away, down the slough, another group started up. I suspected there was a den there and the next Saturday I walked in that woodlot and found it in about 10 minutes. Hopefully, this will help some of you become more efficient with your scouting time as it has done for me.

Tim Ivey Mar 21 '13 · Comments: 4 · Tags: coyote dens