Coyote Hunting: Strategies for Success
Whether you’re looking for a challenge or you want to extend your hunting season as long as possible, coyote hunting is an excellent choice.
Here’s a preview of what we’ll talk about in this essential guide to coyote hunting (feel free to use the links to skip ahead):
Table of Contents
How to Hunt Coyotes
Coyotes are smart; they have to be. They know their surroundings, have excellent eyes and ears, are easily adaptable, and they’re fast. All of this adds up to one unwavering truth: hunting coyotes can be challenging. But that challenge is often the best part of the hunt!
Where to Find Coyotes
Coyotes are pretty much everywhere, to the detriment of rural farmers and suburban pet owners alike. Here are some of the places you can find them, and what you could expect in those hunting environments:
When someone says the words “coyote hunting,” it’s highly likely that rolling plains are the terrain that first comes to your mind’s eye – and for good reason. Rolling plains are classic coyote country. Populations tend to be high, so your likelihood of seeing multiple coyotes at a variety of distances in the plains is good, but it also means that the coyotes can see you, too. Make sure you bring your best stealth mode to a hunt in the rolling plains if you want a successful hunt here.
Farms are almost always a safe bet for finding coyotes, but a successful harvest there isn’t. Farmland coyotes tend to know their environments really well. Woodlots, crop rows, and river bottoms are all great coyote habitats, but they offer unique challenges to hunters, often requiring you to optimize and/or change your setup for each location. Sometimes, you might find all of those habitats on one farm, so be ready for anything.
Heavily Wooded Areas
Seeing coyotes in heavily wooded areas is certainly harder than on the plains or some types of farmland, but it can be just as good a spot to hunt as any other. Pre-planning is especially helpful here. Coyotes’ dens are in the wooded areas, so take to the field before your hunt and scout areas just before dawn, when they’re most likely to be near “home.” Spend some time walking around looking for tracks to find their “highways.” Go out at night and listen to where their calls are coming from.
Once you do some scouting, you’ll be able to pinpoint areas that will have better opportunities for hunting than others.
Human encroachment on habitat has led many animals into more suburban areas. Add pets (i.e., food) into the mix, and coyotes have adapted to neighborhoods. Of course, discharging a firearm in a neighborhood is prohibited in most places, so don’t do anything illegal! Instead, approach landowners on the edge of town. Explain the benefits of killing coyotes on their land to both them and you. Also mention that you’ll hunt with a suppressor (hint hint) to keep the noise intrusion to a minimum.
How to Call Coyotes
Coyotes are talkative animals, so one of the best ways to hunt them is by using a call. You can get mouth calls that mimic other coyotes, bringing them in to defend their turf or in hopes of mating. You can use other small game mouth calls that appeal to their stomachs and the desire for an easy meal.
Electronic calls are good for versatility. You can get many (if not all) of your preferred mouth calls in an electronic format bundled into one unit. This way, you’re not lugging a bunch of different individual calls into the field with you.
Whatever route you choose, make sure you get good calls. Because coyotes are vocal and have excellent hearing, they’ll know if something isn’t right with the call.
Coyote Hunting Gear and Accessories
A successful hunt starts before you ever set foot in your chosen hunting grounds. Without the right gear and accessories, a coyote hunt can go from challenging to almost impossible really quick.
Make sure to have this equipment at the ready before you start your hunt:
Coyote Hunting Gun
When it comes to the kind of rifle you use for coyote hunting, there’s really no wrong answer. Bolt-action, semi-automatic, lever-action, long barrel, scout style, wood stock, synthetic, and so on. The most appropriate coyote hunting rifle is the one you feel most comfortable and confident with so that when the time comes, you can make your shot count.
Of course, you can also hunt coyotes with a shotgun. This is a solid option for making shots on the run, which is a real possibility due to their speed. The spread afforded by a shotgun increases the chances of bringing down your target animal.
Like the rifle, there’s really no wrong answer when it comes to choosing the kind of shotgun. Single-shot, pump-action, semi-automatic, wood stock, synthetic, bullpup … the list goes on. Pick the shotgun you like best.
Rifle or Shotgun Suppressor
We might be a little bit biased, but the BANISH 30 or the BANISH 30 Gold are two excellent options for suppressors to use on your coyote hunting rifle. Of course, you might find that you prefer some other rifle suppressor. If you do, that’s perfectly fine. The most important thing is that you’re happy with the suppressor that you decide to purchase.
If you decide to hunt with a shotgun, it’s still a good idea to use a suppressor. In this instance, your options are much more limited than with a rifle suppressor. The Salvo 12 from SilencerCo is the only option on the market, but it’s a great product.
Whichever option you choose, we’re happy to help you navigate the suppressor purchase of your choice and then ship it right to your door upon ATF approval.Get Started!
Coyotes are very vocal animals, and the use of a mouth call or an electronic call can help draw them to your area if they think another coyote is encroaching on their territory.
Calls from other animals – particularly injured ones – are another good option. Rabbits, cats, goats, and deer are all good options to bring in a coyote under the pretense of an easy and tasty meal.
Mouth calls are generally more cost-effective, but an electronic call is often more convenient. You’ll likely have to act quickly when it comes time to make the shot on a coyote, and an electronic call ensures that your hands are free to operate your firearm when the time comes. You don’t want to be fumbling with a mouth call and miss your shot opportunity!
Thermal or Night Vision Equipment
It has become increasingly popular to hunt coyotes after dark. They’re wiley creatures, so to level the playing field, you’ll want to employ thermal imaging or night vision equipment for best results.
Coyote hunts are often available as an add-on to other types of hunts with an outfitter. Because of this, most of them have thermal or night vision equipment that you can either rent from them or is included in the cost of the hunt.
If you’re going the more DIY route, you can either buy your own or go through a company like Ultimate Night Vision, which offers 3-day rentals that they ship nationwide.
Hunting Coyotes with a Suppressor
Hunting with a suppressor is always a good idea. Not only does it protect the hearing of you and those around you, it also lets you stay fully alert to all of the sounds around you. Coyotes are very vocal creatures, and part of the thrill of the hunt is hearing them. This can be hindered by earplugs or earmuffs, leading some hunters to forgo hearing protection altogether, which is dangerous.
The use of a suppressor is especially important with coyotes, as they have excellent hearing. A suppressor ensures that your gun is as quiet as possible so that you can focus on ensuring that you are as quiet as possible.
Coyote Hunting FAQs
You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Here are some of the most common questions people have about coyote hunting:
What’s the best time of day to hunt coyotes?
Coyotes are nocturnal, so dawn and dusk are your best times of day to find them active if you prefer to hunt during the day. Of course, to maximize your opportunities, it’s recommended that you give night hunting a try with thermal or night vision.
Can you hunt coyotes any time of year?
Coyotes can be hunted almost any time of the year in the United States, but the best seasons are in the fall and winter. Be sure to check with your state’s laws for any specific seasonal restrictions.
Where should you try to shoot a coyote?
A coyote’s heart and lungs are tucked behind their shoulder, which is a bit more forward than what you’d find on a deer. Aiming like you would on a deer will likely result in hitting the liver. The coyote will still die, but it won’t be nearly as humane of a kill as it would have been through the heart. If you’re a bit unsure of exactly where to aim, follow their front leg up to their body and take your shot.
What caliber should you use for coyote hunting?
If you choose to hunt coyotes with a shotgun, your best bet is a 12 gauge shell loaded with No. 4 shot. This provides the best balance between shot weight and number of shot pellets, optimizing your chances for success. Of course, you could use a 16 gauge or 20 gauge shotgun, but you have to be aware of the gun’s limits in terms of range.
If you choose to hunt coyotes with a rifle, there are a number of good caliber choices. Calibers like .243, .270, and .223/5.56 are all good choices. Coyotes aren’t big creatures, so you don’t need a huge caliber to take them down. You could very easily be shooting out to 200 yards, so just make sure you choose a caliber that is flat and fast like the ones mentioned above.
Should you use a rifle or a shotgun?
Coyotes can be hunted at any distance. If your preference is to challenge yourself with long-range precision shots of 200 yards or so, then you should use a rifle. If your preference is to call them in close and challenge yourself to not give away your position at a range of 50 yards or so, then you should use a shotgun.
Try it both ways and find out what works best for you.
Gear Up for Your Coyote Hunt
Coyote hunting is a lot of fun. You’ve got plenty of options in terms of guns, suppressors, locations, calls, and more. You could hunt coyotes for the rest of your life and never have the same experience twice. Once you try it, you’ll be hooked!
In our opinion, the only constant to all of your hunts (other than safety), should be a suppressor. We’re here to make your buying process as easy and cost-effective as possible. We offer free NFA gun trusts, free shipping, free thread protectors with barrel threading, and an e-Z Pay Plan.
With more than 15 years of experience in the industry, Silencer Central is the nation’s largest silencer dealers. We’re also the only one licensed in all 42 suppressor-legal states. Our experts are ready to help you by phone or email, Monday through Friday from 8:30am – 5pm, and Saturday from 12pm – 3pm (CT).Buy Now!