Coyote hunting is unlike any other type of hunting. It can be frustrating, challenging, and if you’re successful, quite rewarding. From off-season preparation to knowing when to pull the trigger, we’ve compiled a list of the best coyote hunting tips to help you increase your kill rate in 2016.
- Coyote hunting laws vary drastically from state to state, with some states allowing year-round hunting while other states’ seasons run from October to March. Stay up-to-date about the laws and licensing requirements in your area.
- Scout coyote hunting locations well in advance of your hunt. You can do this by talking to other hunters, setting up trail cameras, or talking to landowners who want their coyote populations thinned.
- Keep your shooting skills sharp by attending a shooting school, visiting the firing range, and/or by hunting other types of game when coyotes aren’t available.
Gun & Gear Selection
- The four most popular caliber types for coyote hunting are, in no particular order:
- .204, .223, .22-250, .243
These are ideal because they provide the best combination of accuracy, range, and firepower without being considered “overkill”.
- Domesticated dogs have an extremely astute sense of smell, and that of coyotes is even stronger. It’s vital that you cover yourself, your clothing, and your gear with scent eliminator. It’s also advisable to wear rubber boots as rubber does retain smells like other materials.
- In most coyote hunting situations, you’ll need to dress warm because coyotes prefer cooler weather. Long-johns, flannel, camouflage jackets and face paint or a mask are all recommended.
- Tree stands can be invaluable assets when coyote hunting. They give you an extended field and range of vision and they can help to neutralize a coyote’s ability to see, hear, and smell you.
Preparing for the Hunt
- Wash your clothes with a scent-free detergent, and keep them sealed in a bag or container prior to the hunt. After you’re dressed and at the hunting site, apply a scent eliminator generously to your clothing, hat, boots, gear, and tree stand or blind.
- Make sure your guns have been cleaned and tested, and have plenty of ammunition on hand.
- As with most long-haul hunting situations, keep a plastic bottle (with a top) on hand so you don’t have to leave your spot when nature calls.
- Be aware of other hunters in the area, not just the ones in your party.
- Have your stands prepared ahead of time, and set your bait and or/lures up before you set out. This will allow time for your scent to fade, there won’t be any noise to scare off potential targets, and it will leave you more time for hunting.
Lures & Calls
- Expert coyote hunters always have calls on hand. These days, you can buy electronic calls, which are recommended if you can afford them because they eliminate the human element that can cause calling errors.
- Some hunters set up life-size coyote decoys. These decoys lure potential targets to your shooting lanes and can give you the extra time you need to get your shot off.
- There are many schools of thought on which type(s) of bait to use. Successful coyote hunters use everything from cans of dog food to a cocktail of skunk and gopher carcasses mixed with water. Bait methods are constantly evolving, so talk with your friends and check out some YouTube videos to find out what’s working right now in specific areas.
How to Gain an Advantage over Other Coyote Hunters
- Patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to coyote hunting. Wile E. Coyote earned his reputation, and you can be sure that the coyotes you’ll encounter are much more cautious and savvy than the Roadrunner’s enemy.
- Coyotes prefer to roam when the weather is cool (20-50 degrees Fahrenheit). They are more active when winds are low, but even if winds are calm you need to stay upwind to prevent them from catching a whiff of you.
- If you shoot a coyote in the wrong spot, they’ll sprint and it can be much tougher to chase a wounded coyote than a deer. Avoid center-body shots. Aiming in line with the shoulder is ideal (the same are as when deer hunting) and if you can get a straight-on head shot, take it. If the coyote is in your sights but on the move, try yelling out in your own voice to get it to stop. When it pauses, pull the trigger.
- Document as much as possible about your hunts. This includes the date, time weather, wind conditions, equipment used, and your successes as well as your failures. Keeping a journal will give you an edge over hunters who simply rely on memory.
The best coyote hunting tips come from experience, and each of the aforementioned tips came directly from successful coyote hunters who have each spent years mastering this art. We hope you’ll find these tips useful, and we’d love to hear what works for you. Also, feel free to let us know if you have a coyote hunting tip you’d like to see added to our list. Happy hunting!