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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.
Table of Contents
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
Essential Coyote Hunting Gear
As a hunter embarking on the thrilling pursuit of coyotes, it’s crucial to have the right gear to ensure a successful and enjoyable experience. This comprehensive guide will cover the essential equipment needed for coyote hunting, including calls, decoys, weapons, optics, support equipment, and clothing and packs.
Electronic calls are a popular choice for coyote hunting. These devices emit realistic, pre-recorded animal sounds to attract coyotes. They usually have a remote control, which allows you to change the sound and volume from a distance, keeping your hands free for your weapon.
Mouth calls are an affordable and portable alternative to electronic calls. They require a bit more skill, as you need to learn how to produce the desired sounds by blowing air through the call. However, with practice, they can be just as effective as electronic calls in luring coyotes.
Decoys are designed to mimic the appearance and movement of prey animals. They can be used in combination with calls to enhance the realism of your setup, making it more likely that a coyote will approach. Decoys can be simple, like a life-like rabbit or bird, or more elaborate, featuring motorized movement.
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:
Rifles are the most common weapon used for coyote hunting. They offer excellent accuracy and long-range capabilities, making them ideal for taking down coyotes from a distance. Popular calibers for coyote hunting include .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington, and .243 Winchester. We have a great article about how to hunt coyotes with a rifle you can check out.
Shotguns are another option for coyote hunting, particularly when hunting in dense brush or close quarters. A 12-gauge shotgun with a tight choke and heavy loads, such as buckshot or predator-specific shot, can be very effective at short range. We have a great article about how to hunt coyotes with a shotgun you can check out.
Bows offer a unique and challenging option for coyote hunting, requiring a higher level of skill and stealth compared to rifles and shotguns. Bowhunting coyotes allows for a more intimate and thrilling experience, as hunters must get closer to their quarry for effective shots. There are various types of bows suitable for coyote hunting, including compound bows, recurve bows, and longbows, each with their own advantages and learning curves. We have a great article about how to hunt coyotes with a bow you can check out.
Ammunition and Magazines
Selecting the right ammunition is crucial for an ethical and successful hunt. Choose a bullet designed for predator hunting to ensure rapid expansion and quick, humane kills. Additionally, carry spare magazines to minimize reloading time and keep you in the action.
Scopes for Day and Night Hunting
A quality scope is essential for accurate shooting. For daytime hunting, choose a scope with good light transmission and variable magnification to adapt to different shooting distances. For nighttime hunting, consider a night vision or thermal imaging scope to help you spot coyotes in the dark.
Thermal monoculars are handheld devices that detect heat signatures, making it easier to spot coyotes hidden in the brush or darkness. They can be a valuable addition to your gear, especially during nighttime hunts.
Infrared illuminators emit an invisible light that enhances the visibility of your night vision equipment. They can help you spot coyotes more easily in low-light conditions, increasing your chances of a successful hunt.
Tripods and Shooting Sticks
Tripods and shooting sticks provide a stable platform for your rifle, improving your shooting accuracy. They can be especially useful when taking long-range shots, as they reduce the fatigue and shaking associated with holding a heavy rifle for extended periods.
Portable and Handheld Scanners
Portable and handheld scanners are useful for locating and monitoring coyotes in the field. They can help you track their movements and plan your approach, increasing your chances of success.
External Battery Pack
An external battery pack can provide extra power for your electronic devices, such as calls, thermal monoculars, and night vision equipment. This ensures that your gear stays operational during long hunts.
Coyote drags are
useful tools for retrieving your downed game. These devices typically consist of a handle and a strong cable or rope with a hook that attaches to the coyote’s leg or jaw. By using a coyote drag, you can easily pull the animal back to your vehicle or camp without having to carry it.
Having adequate lighting is essential for coyote hunting, especially during nighttime hunts. A good-quality headlamp or handheld flashlight will help you navigate through the terrain and spot your quarry. Some hunters also use weapon-mounted lights to illuminate their target when taking a shot.
Clothing and Packs
Wearing camouflage clothing helps you blend into your surroundings and avoid detection by coyotes. Choose clothing that matches the terrain and vegetation of your hunting area, and consider layering to adapt to changing weather conditions.
Chest packs are a convenient way to carry your essential gear, like calls, ammunition, and a rangefinder, close at hand. They provide easy access to your equipment without having to take off your backpack.
A quality backpack is crucial for carrying your gear during a hunt. Look for one with comfortable straps, sufficient storage capacity, and compartments designed for specific hunting equipment, such as a rifle scabbard or hydration bladder.
A hunting seat can make long periods of waiting for coyotes more comfortable. Portable and lightweight options, like a foam pad or collapsible stool, are easy to carry and provide a comfortable spot to sit while you watch for your quarry.
Having the right gear is essential for a successful and enjoyable coyote hunting experience. By investing in quality calls, decoys, weapons, optics, support equipment, and clothing and packs, you’ll be well-prepared for the challenges and excitement of coyote hunting.
(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.
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.
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
- Flashlight or Torch
- 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
- 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.