Winter Hunting Opportunities

Late-winter hunting primarily centers on taking varmints. The popular quarry includes coyotes and fox. They test a hunter’s skill in calling, camouflage and shooting. To hunt these animals one must defeat their abilities in sight, sound and smell.

In overcoming sight, the hunter takes a stand where he anticipates seeing the quarry before the animal sees him. He seeks to find a place where he does not present a silhouette on the horizon or any lighter background. Bushes are good backdrops, as they break up the hunter’s outline.

It is good to have a number of sights in mind for stands. On some days, one will be preferable due to wind direction. Animals usually approach an area from downwind in order to detect the smell of danger. Stands are selected with regard to the direction the animals might approach. Advance scouting for signs of animal activity aids in the selection of stands.

Cleanliness and the use of a cover scent aid the hunter in overcoming the sense of smell, which protects coyotes and foxes from danger. Hunters place the scent on a piece of cloth between the hunter’s position and the probable approaching path of the quarry.

In addition to camouflaging the hunter’s scent, it is vital that the hunter wear clothing that also conceals his position. The camo often used by deer and squirrel hunters works well, as does the wearing of painter’s coveralls in snow. Hunters layer their clothing under the camo so they can adjust to the changing air temperatures.

The final piece of equipment vital to hunting varmints is a game call. They come in a variety of forms and are available at hunting supply stores, online and from mail order catalogs. The selection is usually based upon past experience as to what call has been successful. Each call comes with written instruction and in many cases DVDs are available on their use.

Once in the field, silence is important in taking up a stand. The sense of hearing for foxes and coyotes is legendary. To these animals the sound of a human voice is a sure sign of danger. Once in position and up, the call is used sparingly at first. A low call is best in the beginning so as not to spook any unnoticed animals close to the stand. Louder calls are used later to attract animals farther out from the position.

Southern Illinois contains large tracts of public land favorable for hunting varmints.

For more information…

Free information regarding motel accommodations and points of interest is available from Williamson County Tourism Bureau, 1602 Sioux Drive, Marion, IL 62959 or by calling 1-800-GEESE-99. A free color brochure on hunting in southern Illinois is available upon request. Current information is also available online at visitsi.com The Williamson County Tourism Bureau e-mail is info@VisitSI.com.