Coyote Hunting: 11 Tips for Beginners
Coyote hunting has become extremely popular over the last few years and more and more hunters are out there during season tracking them down. Also, known as prairie dogs or brush wolves in many areas, the main reason they are hunted is overpopulation among them. If you are considering becoming a coyote hunter, then you are going to want to know the answers to quite a few questions as a beginner. When is the best time to hunt? Do you need a license to hunt coyotes? What gear should you take? What hunting equipment should you use? These are questions that many beginners ask. Whether you’re coyote hunting for the sport of it, or because they are interfering with your deer hunting or attacking the animals or your farm or ranch, there are some things you need to know as a beginner, from safety precautions to the best time to hunt them.
In this blog, we will try to address some of these questions for you, with a few tips for the beginners who is just going on his first coyote hunt.
Choose the Right Gear
If you don’t have the right gear to hunt with, then it’s going to be impossible to get the right results. As a novice, there are going to be quite a few things you need to add to your gear. Below, we will go into a few of those things, so you are prepared when the time to hunt comes.
There are two types of coyote calls to choose from. The electronic coyote call allows you to keep your hands free, so it’s easier to take the shot when a coyote appears. The mouth call is the second option, and they are beneficial because they are not only lighter to carry, but less expensive as well. The choice is up to you of which you choose, but having one of these is essential.
Coyotes are smart and extremely cautious, so you’re going to need a coyote decoy if you have any hope of outsmarting them. It’s also helpful to note, that the best time to use a decoy is during denning or mating season. While winter is the best time for hunting coyotes, due to the thickness of their fur, according to which state you live in, there may be other times that coyote hunting is allowed as well.
Shotguns and Rifles
While this one may seem like a no-brainer, it bears thinking about. No matter what type of call or decoy you have, if you don’t have the guns to hunt with, you aren’t bagging a coyote. There are differences between the two guns, of course, and which one you use is totally up to you, though it is a good idea to have both if you can.
Of course, if you’re going to be camping out overnight during your coyote hunt, you’ll want regular clothing, however, your biggest concern should be bringing along camouflage clothing to conceal you from the coyotes when you are hunting. As previously stated, coyotes are smart and crafty and you don’t want to be spotted, now do you?
These are just a few of the things that you’ll need to go on a coyote hunt if you hope to be successful. Now, that you have your bags packed, let’s move on to a few of the other tips on our list.
Hunt Where the Coyotes Are
If you are an avid hunter, especially a deer hunter, then you may already know some of the signs that you have a coyote on your property and need to set up a hunt. If last season, you had scat at your deer stand that belonged to coyotes, caught glimpses of coyotes on your trail cameras, or find coyote tracks when walking to your stand, then you should have huge success hunting coyotes this year.
If you see no signs of coyotes on your own land, it is possible to check neighboring farms and ranches. Many times, if they are having problems with coyotes grabbing their livestock, they will gladly give you permission to set up and take care of the problem for them during your hunt.
Check the Rules of Your State
There are different regulations for different states when it comes to coyote hunting. Some states require that you have a license when you hunt coyotes on other people’s land, but not on your own, while others have no rules and regulations at all. The best thing to do is study up on the regulations, licensing requirements, and any seasonal requirements there are in the state that you are living in. Fines and jail time for not following the rules of your state are no joke.
Scout Your Hunting Area Carefully
As you probably already know, scouting the area you are hunting in is important. Whether you set up trail cameras to catch the coyotes on the property, talk to fellow hunters to see what they have seen, or contact the property owners who need their coyote population thinned out, scouting is key to a successful hunt, no matter what you’re hunting.
Know Where to Set Up
If you have the proper calls and decoys, have done your scouting, and know there are coyotes in the area, then they will come. However, if you aren’t properly set up, they will just leave before you have a chance to make a kill. It’s best if you always set up in an area that allows you to look down on the coyote, much like being in a tree stand when you are hunting deer. Between the camo, you are wearing, and the silence with which you are going to hunt, you should be good to go with your setup, if you follow these tips.
If you are an impatient person, then you are probably not going to do well as a hunt, to begin with, especially when it comes to coyote hunting. It is highly tempting to take your chair and move on after only about ten minutes of calling, stay put. A good rule of thumb is to call for at least 20 minutes, end your call with a howl and then wait for another ten, before packing up your stand and moving on to another area. Remember, what you’re out there for and you’ll have success before long.
Always Remember the Saying, Practice Makes Perfect
Okay, so you heard that from your parents almost every day of your life growing up, and didn’t think you would have to hear it when it came to hunting coyote. Well, guess what? Your parents were right. You’re not going to be the perfect coyote hunter on your first time out. It takes time, trying different methods to get where you are an expert at the hunt. Practice, practice, and then practice some more if you want to be successful.
How About Baiting?
Pro hunters use everything from gopher bodies to water and from skunk cocktails to dog food cans to lure coyotes into traps. The thing to remember is that in some states baiting is legal and in other states, it isn’t. Make sure to check the laws in your state, before deciding this is the course you want to take. It’s really not a good idea for a beginning coyote hunter to bait coyotes anyway, so you might want to wait until you are more experienced.
Hunting at Night
In some states, it is legal to coyote hunt at night, but again, it’s best to check the laws of your particular state to be sure. Honestly, while hunting at night can certainly help you bag a coyote and stop them from terrorizing your farm or ranch, if you’re a beginning hunter it’s not recommended. Not only are they smart and quick, but they are also dangerous, and will have no problem attacking if they feel threatened. It’s best to leave the night hunting to the professionals, at least until you have a few hunts under your own belt. Hunting coyotes at night is challenging and different than hunting during the daylight hours. It’s not only a risk for you but a risk for the animal you are hunting as well.
Consider Your Safety and the Safety of Those Around You
That brings us to the safety portion of our blog. Not only should you know the safety tips for hunting, but for hunting coyotes as well. That’s why it’s important to know a few facts about the animal you are hunting, because the more you know, the safer you’re going to be. Here are a few facts about coyotes that you need to know.
- Coyotes are very adaptable and tend to run in packs, so it is easier to take down their prey
- The main predators of a coyote are humans, of course, bears, cougars, and wolves
- They are omnivores and do most of their hunting at night, which is why as a beginner, it is best to leave the hunting to the daylight hours
- They can run up to 40 miles per hour, meaning that outrunning a pack of them for a human is nearly impossible
- Their mating season is in February
- They are excellent swimmers
- They are smart, crafty, and quiet when they need to be
- A coyotes average weight is 30 to 40 pounds and they have sharp teeth and claws
It is important, that if you see a coyote off in the distance, you keep your distance from him and his pack. While you are hunting is one thing, but taking on a full-grown coyote without a gun or any way to defend yourself is a foolhardy venture that no one should take on. As a beginning hunter, it is always a good idea to hunt as a team, so if anything happens, one of you can try to get to help.
These safety rules aren’t a suggestion, they really need to be followed, so that you have a successful hunt and have no accidents or are attacked by a pack of wild coyotes.
General Safety Tips
Not only should you be safe when you are hunting coyote, that you don’t get attacked, but you also need to be aware of the other hunters out there with you at all times. Never, ever shoot before confirming that what you’re shooting is a coyote, as you are camouflage and could easily mistake another hunter for the very thing you are both hunting. Some additional tips to follow are listed below.
- Always know where your partner is
- Keep your gun pointing in a safe direction at all times
- Keep your guns unloaded until you’re ready to use them
- Keep your finger away from the trigger until you are ready to shoot your prey
Of all the tips on this list for beginning coyote hunters, the safety tips are the ones that you should heed the most. There is no good hunting day if someone gets hurt, or worse.
These are just a few of the top tips out there for the beginning hunter to follow when you are hunting coyote for the first time. Whether you’re protecting your ranch or farm, just trying it for the first time or determined to become a professional hunter, these tips can help. From always, always thinking of safety first to having the right gear for the hunt and from having patience to knowing the laws of your state, these tips will help you with your first hunt as no others can. Have a good time out there and stay safe!
- Sarah C. Robinson- 12 Coyote Hunting Tips for Beginners
- Whitetail Journal- Safety First when Predator Hunting
- Big Sky- Interesting Facts About Coyotes