Coyotes are known for being extremely smart. Hunting them is no easy task, especially for beginners.
If you’re new to coyote hunting, we created this ultimate 101 guide full of tips to teach you everything you need to know to hunt them.
Table of Contents
Before setting out in search of coyote, there are a few things you want to need to due to set yourself up for success:
- Test and clean your guns
- Make sure to have plenty of ammunition
- Wash your clothes with a scentless detergent and use a scent remove when you arrive at your hunting grounds
- Make sure to bring plenty of food and water
- Have all your gear prepared in advance
Coyote Hunting Gear List
The proper gear is essential for a successful hunting trip. Here are the recommendations for coyote hunting gear:
- Rifle or shotgun
- Hunting Light
- Camouflage Clothing
- Shooting Sticks
- Coyote Calls
- Coyote Decoys
- Scent Blockers
- Scent Lures
- Hunting Chair
Where to Hunt
Coyotes can be found almost everywhere, from meadows, clear cuts, marsh edges, gullies, valleys, and a variety of different types of forests.
The variety of habitats where you can find coyotes is the downfall of many new hunters—because they spend so long searching in areas where there are no coyotes.
An experienced hunter will look for signs of coyote activity.
Tracks, scat, and kill sites are good indicators.
You can also listen for coyote howls and get a good idea of where their home ground is.
When to Hunt
Fall and winter are the best time of year to hunt coyotes. Coyotes are nocturnal hunters, so hunting them at dusk, dawn, or nighttime is often the most productive time to target them.
Get a Good Vantage Point
Once you locate the place where the coyotes are likely to be, the next thing you need to do is find a good vantage point to start setting up.
One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is that they tend to start calling right away and don’t have a good view from the spot they are in.
It’s best to find a spot where you can see 50 to 75 yards and then call.
If the area you are in is thick with cover and you can’t get a good vantage point, you will have to make due, just be wary of any other hunters in the area.
Staying downwind is one of the most important rules for coyote hunting. They hunt food by scent.
If the wind is blowing your scent their way, you’re not gonna have a very successful hunt. This is something you want to pay attention to when you set up your vantage point and begin calling.
Again, since they tend to use their nose, sometimes just being downwind is not enough, you also want to block your scent.
Use a good scent blocker and apply it liberally to yourself and all your gear.
Prey Distress Calls
After you set up from a good vantage point, you will want to begin using your call.
With today’s modern electronic calls there are a number of different calls you can use to effectively lure coyotes.
The prey distress call is one of the more powerful ways to attract them.
After you use your call, if there are any interested coyote in the area, they will come to investigate.
Often they will remain downwind and take their time coming to the area. The key is not to leave too early. Coyote like to take their time, so try to stay in your spot for 30 minutes to an hour before moving on.
Whines and Yelps
There are a number of different other calls you can use that are also effective at triggering coyote.
Using calls that resemble the sounds pups make can trigger a coyote’s parental instincts which can be highly effective at bringing them in your area.
Try using the call 3 to 4 times and slowly increasing the volume to reach coyotes that are further away.
Hunting Without a Call
You don’t have to use a call for hunting coyote, though it certainly helps.
If you’re not using a call you can spot and stalk them. Just pay attention to the wind and try to stay in cover so you don’t spook them.
If you’re hunting with a group you can try driving them out into shooting lanes, just make sure you are set up safely.
Another effective tactic is to use baits, if the hunting area allows it.
Any kind of meat scraps or carcass should work. Just make sure you are set up in a good spot and prepare for a wait.
Sometimes coyotes will show up to feed right away, other times it might take awhile.
When combined with a call, scent lures can work great at getting a coyote’s attention. They can also be used without calls to attract coyotes.
Scent lures come in all sorts of varieties from urine scents, prey scents, as well as scents that appeal to their sex drive. Just make sure whichever one you try, you are using the right one for the situation.
Camouflage is also necessary to avoid being spotted. Everything you wear should be camouflage ideally. From your pants, jackets, gloves, hats, and any face coverings you use. You don’t want to scare away your prey because they spotted you too easily.
Use Shooting Sticks
When you’re finally set up and you have your coyote within sight, it’s time for the kill shot. A lot of the time they are going to be a long distance away, which is why shooting sticks are necessary.
Shooting sticks will ensure a steady shot and increase accuracy with your rifle. Make sure you have it set up ahead of time. Don’t wait until you see the coyote to set up your rifle, because too much motion could give away your position.
Bring a Light
Many hunters love to do their coyote hunting at night. But you will need a good light if you’re going to hunt in the darkness.
You have a few options. A predator light, thermal, or night vision. If you’re on a budget a good coyote hunting light is your best option. Red, white, and green lights all work for coyotes when used properly.
Hunting is a game of patience. There will be days when you call a coyote and they will come within 5 minutes. Sometimes they may be extra cautious and take over an hour to investigate the noise.
You have to stay patient if you want to have success. Take your time and don’t give up too soon.
Practice Makes Perfect
Good hunters practice and they practice regularly. You don’t want to go through all the effort to finally get a coyote in your sights just to miss and scare it away. Get out to a range and practice your aim so you’re sharp when it’s time to shoot.
Becoming a good hunter takes time and experience, and coyote are not the easiest to hunt, so don’t get discoured if you don’t have success right away.
Make sure that you:
- Bring the proper gear
- Hunt the right areas
- Use the right tactics
If you stay patient and follow these tips, you will have success in no time.