Just because deer season is over, doesn’t mean that it’s time to pack away your hunting gear and call it quits. There are still plenty of hunting opportunities if you’re willing to put in the time. In this article, we’re going to give you a few tips on how to hunt Coyotes at night and in the daytime. While our advice will not ensure that you bag your first “song-dog”, they can help to increase your odds.
Why Do People Hunt Coyotes
Hunting coyote in the off-season is quickly growing in polarity. Not only for recreational sport, but also for population control. The truth of the matter is that coyotes are killing machines and if not kept in check, they can wreak havoc on livestock, including cows, sheep, chickens, not to mention deer populations.
So, if you want to do your part in keeping the population in check and have a little fun while you’re at it, you might want to take up hunting coyote.
Keep in mind that all states are not the same when it comes to their rules and regulations for hunting coyote, so before you plan your first hunt, make sure you know all the rules.
Essential Gear for Hunting Coyotes
So now that you’ve decided to take up coyote hunting, you need the right gear to get started.
Unless you plan on hunting coyote with a bow (which I might add is extremely challenging), you’re going to need a good rifle capable of making accurate shots from distances ranging from 50-200 yards.
As far as what type of gun to use, I’ve heard of people using everything from AR-15s and shotguns to bolt action rifles and rimfires.
Keep in mind that coyotes are not very big animals! In fact, they only get to around forty pounds, so leave that 30-06 that you use for deer at home, unless you want to utterly destroy the animal.
The good news is that you don’t need an expensive setup to get into the game.
I personally love the Savage Axis bolt action .223 by Remington. It’s super capable and at a cost of around $400, will not break the bank.
If you plan on hunting coyotes at night, you may be able to call them close enough to get a shot off with a shotgun.
Best Camouflage for Hunting Coyotes
When hunting coyotes, remember that you’re hunting a savvy predator who depends on their sense of smell, keen eyesight, and an uncanny ability to be alerted to anything out of the ordinary in their surrounding area.
This is why wearing camouflage is so important, even when hunting coyotes at night. In fact, I would argue that it’s even more important that you blend in with your surroundings when hunting at night, as coyotes are nocturnal predators, who thrive in darkness.
While there are numerous studies and opinions about what colors a coyote can and cannot see, I firmly believe that as long as you wear a camo with a pattern that matches your surrounding, you should be fine.
For instance, if there is snow on the ground, wear something with white on it. If you are hunting in North Carolina during the fall when the leaves are changing, you might want to wear a little hunter orange.
Best Time of The Year to Hunt Coyotes
Everyone has their own opinions about when the best time of the year for hunting coyotes is, but I myself love hunting them during the winter months (especially if there is snow on the ground).
It’s during this time of the year that this usually savvy predator tends to let it’s guard down by spending much more time in the daylight hours. This is partly due to breeding season, which has caused many animals to fall victim to hunters.
February 15 is considered the peak of their breeding season, so make sure you’re set up and ready to take advantage of their desire to mate.
Also, if it has been an unusually harsh winter, food may be a little scarce, which means that their competitive nature will take over, making them more likely to quickly rush to your calls.
Hunting coyotes in the spring months can also be rewarding, especially if you know what calls to use in order to bring them in. By this time of the year, they are preparing their dens for the months to come.
While they have been known to check out calls that mimic prey in distress, you’ll have much more success with calls that mimic other coyotes.
Because coyotes are a little less active in the spring, calling them can be a little challenging to say the least. In this case, patience is definitely a virtue! Be prepared to sit it out for a while, when waiting for one to respond to your calls.
While some hunters still target coyote during the summer months, I shy away from hunting them during this time. In part, because I’m usually setting up my game cameras and scouting where I’ll be setting up my tree stand for the approaching bow season.
Also, unless a particular coyote is causing problems for you or your neighbors, there’s no need in risking killing a nursing mother.
With that being said, if you do decide to hunt coyotes during this time, your best bet will be to use decoys to lure them in.
Hunting Coyotes Over Bait
While baiting coyotes can and does work during the day, coyotes are nocturnal predators who do most of their hunting at night. For this reason, the best time for baiting begins once the sun goes down, preferably in the early morning hours under a full moon.
It’s true that coyotes can be baited with just about anything that they can fit into their stomachs, including rabbit, rodents, birds, reptiles, corn, and berries. They can even be baited with dog food. However, you will not find a better bait than a deer carcass.
Just make sure to check your local and state laws to make sure that baiting is legal in your neck of the woods.
Shining Coyotes at Night
There has been much debate about what color of light is the best when hunting coyotes at night. If you were to ask three hunters their opinions, you’ll get four different answers. I myself prefer a red light, but lots of hunters prefer white or even green.
Red Light – Red light is more traditional and really makes their eyes pop in the darkness.
Green Light – Green light gives you an overall better field of view.
White Light – White is best if you want to film your hunts.
All three colors will work, you just have to decide which color works best for you.
Again, check your local and state laws to make sure this is legal in your area.
Calling Coyotes at Night
Unless you are extremely skilled in the art of “mouth calling”(not sure if that’s a word or not), you might want to invest in a good quality electronic coyote call or more commonly referred to as a predator call.
An electric call can give you a significant advantage over calling by mouth in that they are much louder and clearer, making it easy for the coyote to pick up on the sound.
Most also come with a wide range of sounds, including prey in distress sounds, coyote howls, yips, and coyote distress calls.
Since coyotes are nighttime hunters, a good call located in the right area is usually too much for them to resist.
At under $100, the FoxPro Wildfire 2 is a great option!
Hunting Coyotes With Dogs
Just like when it comes to the best color of light for hunting coyote at night, you’ll find plenty of different opinions when it comes to the ethics of hunting coyotes with dogs. I myself don’t have a problem with this style of hunting. Before you decide if this type of hunting is for you, keep in mind that training and maintaining your hunting dogs can be time consuming and expensive.
With that being said, you could use your family pet as a decoy. Now I’m not saying to tie your dog up in a field 100 yards out and use it as bait, so I don’t want any dog lovers sending me hate comments.
The simple fact is that coyotes hate other canines, especially in the late spring, when they are nursing their pups. Just by keeping your dog nearby on a leash can be enough to drive a coyote out of hiding.
While most any dogs scent can lure in a coyote, if you want a dog to run them down, you can’t go wrong with an American Stagehound or a Mountain View Cur Dog.
Hunting Coyotes in The Rain
Coyotes are like most animals in that if they are hungry enough, they will look for food no matter what the conditions are like. So while coyotes have been known to be active in the rain and snow, your best bet is to wait for the weather to clear up.
Once the weather clears, you can bet that they will be out of their dens looking for an easy meal.
Is Coyote Good to Eat
I have never personally cleaned and cooked a coyote, but have tried some that a friend smoked, so here it goes. If you can get past the smell of a dead coyote and the fact that you are basically eating a canine, then yes you can eat coyote and it’s not half bad. In fact, if you were to put some BBQ sauce on it, it could pass for pulled pork. However, you have to be willing to put in the time to slow cook it on a smoker for best results.
While hunting coyote might not be for everyone, it’s a great way for hunters who are not willing to pack away their hunting gear just yet.
What’s your opinion on hunting coyote? Have you ever hunted coyote before? Do you like the taste of coyote? Do you have any tips on how to hunt coyotes that you would like to share? We would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section.