How to Hunt Coyotes – The Comprehensive Guide (2022)

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How To Hunt Coyotes

how to hunt coyotes

If you just started hunting or just want to know more about how to hunt coyotes this is the guide for you. Hunting these cunning predators can prove to be really exciting and rewarding, and knowing you are doing a positive service to your community – in particular, the farmers is an excellent feeling.

Why Hunt Coyotes?

As I’m sure you already have guessed, in most places, coyotes are considered nuisance predators. There are some specific reasons why many people hunt.

Here is a list of some of the main environmental reasons to hunt coyotes:

  • Livestock and other farm animals are often attacked
  • Coyotes are responsible for the spread of disease
  • They kill many game animals

Here are some reasons you might be considering taking up coyote hunting:

  • Coyote Hunting is both entertaining and a challenge
  • It is great practice if you are into other types of hunting
  • It’s a great ‘filler’ when you are between other hunting seasons such as ducks, deer, squirrel, turkeys or geese.
  • There are some great tournaments you can enter

Weapons for Shooting Coyote

One of the great things about hunting coyotes is that you can really take your pick when it comes to selecting a weapon. There are a number of options you can choose to hunt these predators.

Every weapon choice presents its own unique strengths and challenges to hunting coyotes.

If you want to keep things fresh, you could mix it up a little by mastering one type of weapon, and then moving on to a different type.

The good thing is that you can get set up for hunting coyotes quite affordably. You can get away with a setup for as inexpensive as around $250 brand new. Of course, you could certainly spend far more than that if you buy from a high-end range.

The three most common weapons used for coyote hunting are:

  • Shotguns
  • Rifles
  • Bows

How to Hunt Coyotes With a Shotgun

Ideally, if you are wanting to hunt coyotes with a shotgun, you would need to be relatively close to it to get a positive hit or be on the run. This is because a shotgun disperses BBs in a wide zone when you fire the weapon.

This means that the kill zone of a shotgun is much larger than other weapons. However, this also means that the effective range of a shotgun is only around 40 yards.

It is possible to extend the range of a shotgun by purchasing a choke tube, or by purchasing ammunition that claims to have a longer range.

When a coyote is on the run, you will find it tough to make the kill. Not only do Coyotes tend to change directions quickly, but where you will find them will often be dense with brush or trees and other obstructions.

If you are looking to eat what you shoot, then a shotgun would be a great decision to go hunting for coyotes with.

Semi-Automatic Shotguns

Semi-Automatic Shotguns are by far the best option when it comes to selecting a shotgun.

Once you have taken a shot, they automatically load the next shell in so you are able to take another shot soon after.

Unfortunately, this type of shotgun usually costs somewhere around the $700-$800 range.

Pump Action Shotgun

The plus side of a pump-action shotgun is obviously the cost – starting around the $350 mark, however, it does require you to pump mechanism to reload the weapon each time you fire.

With practice, you should find that you are able to reload the shells quite quickly.

If you do want to up the challenge a little, then I would consider taking it up a notch with either a Rifle or a Bow.

Gauge, Chamber Size and Barrel Length of Your Coyote Hunting Shotgun

After deciding on the type of shotgun to buy (Semi-Automatic or Pump Action), you will need to choose what gauge.

For coyote hunting; ideally, a 12-gauge shotgun is what you are after.

A chamber size of 3 inches will be enough to accommodate most shells you will want to use. The shell lengths you would probably want to use are 2 1/2 inch or 2 3/4 inch.

By purchasing a shotgun with a 3-inch chamber allows you to use the weapon for waterfowl hunting if you’re into that.

A 26-inch barrel length is what you’re after because it keeps the shot pattern tight enough but isn’t too long when you’re walking around the woods. If you went up to a 28-inch barrel you would find it tough to move around amongst the trees and brush.

How to Hunt Coyotes with a Rifle

Another great option for hunting coyotes (and other predators) is a rifle.

But what type of rifle?

Good question, to answer this we really need to think about the caliber size of the rifle. If you’re at all familiar with guns and shooting you probably already know this so scoot ahead if you need to.

What does Caliber Size Mean?

Basically, the smaller the caliber size, the smaller the size of the bullets that are ejected from the barrel of the rifle.

The larger the caliber (and therefore bullets) that is being used means that they will pack a bigger punch when they hit a coyote. Unfortunately, this means that the pelt and meat will also take more damage depending on where you hit the coyote. Larger caliber bullets also cost more.

The smaller the number, the smaller the caliber rifle. So a 0.204 caliber bullet is going to be smaller in diameter than a .300.

There are heaps of options when it comes to choosing a rifle so I will be brief and give you a shortlist of the different calibers that are commonly chosen by many coyote hunters. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list.

Common Rifle Calibers used for Coyote Hunting

  • 0.17 Caliber
  • 0.204 Caliber
  • 0.22 Caliber
  • 0.223 Caliber
  • 0.243 Caliber
  • 0.300 Caliber
  • 0.308 Caliber

What Caliber Rifle Should You Buy?

There is no real ‘wrong’ answer to this question. You really just need to keep in mind that the larger caliber rifles will generally drop the coyote in a single shot.

If you go with a smaller caliber rifle you may find it takes either a well-placed shot, a couple of rounds, or a short walk to locate the wounded predator.

What Rifle Loading Style Should you Buy?

There are three options to consider here, and really comes down to preference and your budget:

Semi-AutomaticThis type will reload itself each time it is fired$$$$
Bolt ActionYou pull a lever back to load (or ‘cock’) the weapon$$$
Pump-ActionUses a pumping action to perform the reload$$$

Should You Buy a Rifle or a Shotgun for Hunting Coyotes?

Basically, there are two main considerations you need to make when thinking about the type of gun to buy for your hunting trip.

  1. Rifles have a longer range to hit your target (up to 200-300 yards versus a shotgun that has an effective range of around 40 yards).
  2. Rifles don’t have the spread of BBs in the same way that a shotgun does. This means that the killing radius is smaller and therefore requires more accuracy when shooting.

Quick Tips for Coyote Hunting With a Rifle

  • If possible, wait until the coyote stops any movement – Unfortunately, coyotes quite often move continuously, so you need to watch carefully and be patient to pick the right moment.
  • Practice your shot placement! – If the coyote you are targeting is reluctant to stand still, then you will need to rely on some accurate shot placement. Practice makes perfect!

(When to Hunt Coyotes) Hunting Seasons

Locations near cold weather climates typically have a shorter season for hunting coyotes while areas in hot climates include year-round possibilities. Keep in mind that the timing also depends on your reason for hunting them.

For instance, coyote fur is more valuable during the colder months when their coats are thicker, so hunters often wait until then to harvest them. In contrast, hunters who pursue their prey purely as a sport may have no regard for the time of year and will go out whenever they please.

Identifying Coyotes Versus Wolves

Coyotes are problem solvers. They are resourceful, opportunistic, and adaptable.

Wolves, on the other hand, are aggressive and competitive.

Coyotes play the long game and learn from their mistakes in order to succeed while wolves will attack to get what they want.

Coyotes are actually a type of wild dog and look different from wolves.

They are smaller, have a browner coat, and a bushier tail. In addition, coyotes are typically found in the Western US while wolves live in the Eastern US.


A decoy is often used for coyote hunting, however, not all decoys are created equal. Some are better at attracting coyotes than others.

If a hunter wants a coyote to come closer, then they should use an animal that is either the same size as the animal they are hunting for or bigger.

A decoy that is used for coyote hunting often looks like a small animal such as a rabbit, a cat, or a dog.

Getting Permission to Hunt Private Land

One of the many types of hunting is “walk-in” hunting. It is one way to get permission to hunt private land. Walk-in hunting is when you are given permission, usually by the landowner or someone in charge, to walk onto that property and hunt for game.

Walk-in hunting is a very popular option for hunters but can be hard to find the right property with no trespassing signs all over it. To make sure you can walk onto private land while still being safe, there are a few things you need to do first.

First off, if you’re not already familiar with them, learn about your state’s hunter education requirements and hunting laws because they vary from region to region. Second off, contact your local Department of Natural Resources for help.

How to Hunt Coyotes with a Bow

Licensing, Hunter Safety and Rules

Scouting for Success

Finding Public Land to Hunt

Finding public land to hunt on is somewhat of a challenge, but it is not insurmountable. There are a few different types of public land that is potentially available for use to hunt coyotes, these include:

  • State Forests
  • County Land
  • National Forests
  • Wildlife Refuges
  • Wildlife Management Areas (WMA’s)

Each state will have different rules when it comes to hunting on public land, so be sure to check the current information on the state website. If you are unsure, it is always best to give them a call and request further information before embarking on a hunt.

You don’t want to be hunting where you shouldn’t be.

How to Hunt Coyotes Using Baits as Lures

There are a heap of options when it comes to baiting for coyotes. You will find that baiting can be used to great effect to improve your success rate when hunting. Placing Baits in the area you want coyotes to come to will assist in training the coyotes to come to your hunting spot!

What you can use as bait:

  • Big game Carcasses
  • Dog Food
  • Fish Carcasses
  • Butchers Scrap

If you’re wondering what is the best bait for coyote hunting? You can read more here about baiting coyotes.

Field Essentials

If you’re still learning how to hunt coyotes, (or even if you’re not) it is really important to understand what items are good to have with you on your next hunt.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of some things (additional to your gun and basic accessories) that may come in handy:

  • Hunting Knife
  • Shooting Stick
  • Compass
  • Flashlight or Torch
  • Water
  • Food
  • Thermal scope or Night vision goggles.

For more information about some recommended coyote hunting gear click the link.

When You Arrive at Your Hunting Location

Your arrival at your hunting location is one of the key moments in your hunting trip. Coyotes aren’t silly, they are very perceptive and will very careful to avoid you.

It is therefore very important you are careful and take the time to think about the following:

  • Your Path of Arrival
  • Noise Levels

Your Path of Arrival

If you’re driving rather than hiking to your hunting location you will want to be careful to park a good distance from where you intend to set up your hunt location. If you decide to set up your hunting spot right next to your vehicle, you will sabbotage your efforts from the get go, and simply won’t have much success.

Your Noise Levels

This one is pretty obvious, but it’s important to be VERY aware of how sensitive Coyotes are to any noise. Be concious of the following things that could give away your location and intent to hunt to these clever coyotes.

  • Vehicle doors opening or closing
  • Speaking
  • Loading your weapons
  • The ‘crunch’ of leaves or sticks underfoot
  • when you are setting up any decoys, baits or electronic callers.

Silence is key!

Wind, Sun and Weather Impact


Camouflaging is something that can affect your coyote hunting trip. Any coyote hunter should learn the ability to blend in with the season’s terrain through selecting the proper clothing to wear on a hunting trip.

Coyotes can easily spot something that seems to be abnormal from their view even from afar. Hence it is important to wear the necessary attire – from gloves to your face covering and other visible clothing that you have on.

Blocking your scent also matters as this can affect the outcome of the hunt. Also, if you have eyeglasses or are using binoculars, make sure that the sun’s rays won’t be reflected on them so that approaching coyotes won’t discover your presence.

How to Hunt Coyotes using different Call Types and Sounds

The following is a lit of the most common types and sounds including a basic description of the purpose of each in a successful coyote hunt. Once you have mastered working with these basic calls you could move on to some other less common types and hone your skills.


The howl call is intended to gain the attention of coyotes from a fair distance. It may be prudent to kick off with a howl when you first get to yoru hunting location. If you get some kind of response, you know that there must be some in the area, and you can try out some of the other call sounds in this list.


A challenge call is the type of call that tells other coyotes in the area that there is another coyote around to challenge them. This may have the effect of drawing in a few coyotes to who have come to be rid of the intruder.

Coyote Pup Distress

This is exactly as it sounds – a pup that is in distress. This type of call will convince a coyote that one of their pups are in danger. This should have the effect of drawing them in to see what is happening and ensure that everything is ok. This type of call is particularly effective during spring and summer as mothers and fathers will be keen to check on their young. You may also draw in curious coyotes who do not have pups as well.

Prey Distress

This clever call is designed to make the coyote think that there is an animal in distress that they could prey upon. You would want the distress call to be of an animal that they would normally target such as:

  • Pheasants
  • Racoons
  • Rabbits
  • Deer
  • etc.

Ferquency of Calling

When you are using calls to draw in coyotes, you will need to consider how frequent to play the calls. You have some options here, including:

  • Continual calling until one comes into range to shoot
  • Infrequent calling to see what comes out of hiding.

The best advice here is to give it a go and see what is most effective for you as many hunters have success using either method.

Day Hunting

Evening Hunting

The Buddy System

Deadly Shot Placement

Retrieving your Coyote

You Shot a Coyote What Now?

The task of hunting coyotes entails the hunter to study the matter more through devising plans before a hunt. Preparations must be done and there are a number of things to consider before setting out and begin hunting. For instance, understanding the behavior and territory of coyotes would be important factors for your hunting venture to be a success.

How to Hunt Coyotes – The Comprehensive Guide (2022)

So, what does it take for you to become a great coyote hunter? Well, it is important that you learn and develop some techniques that can help you out. For beginners, the task can be a lot more challenging and can get frustrating at times. But don’t easily be disheartened just yet! Here are some notes on how to hunt coyotes:

Coyote Hunting Tips

  • Now that you have the wardrobe to go coyote hunting, your next problem would likely be about the location of the hunt. Thus, what is an ideal spot to hunt these cunning animals? In a separate article, we mentioned about how hunters should create a good impression on residents who live nearby a place where you plan to go coyote hunting. Well, one way for you to achieve that good impression is through going to an ideal area before the actual hunt. In this way, you can ask permission beforehand and also inspect the area. Hence, you can make better plans of how you should go about with the trip. Also, be sure that there is a population of coyotes around the area you’re scouting in. If there are none, then it can just cause frustration and hours of waiting once the time for hunting comes.
  • Once the day for the hunt comes and you arrive at the location, you’ll have to work on the set-up and select a spot. Most coyote hunters would say that staying downwind is vital. This has something to do with how coyotes typically come in from the downwind. Moreover, most hunters would prefer to settle on an elevated spots overlooking wide open spaces. Standing or sitting back against a bush also helps you become concealed.
  • Stay put and keep movement at minimal levels as you begin calling coyotes. Sometimes, you can get lucky and have a coyote appear after several minutes of the call. The secret is to have a distress call that sounds as similar as it gets to a cry of a rabbit in pain.

As you gain more familiarity with craft, it would be a good idea to try several strategies that might work for you. For instance, you can develop your own call sequence or experiment on the scenarios you find yourself in.