When it comes to hunting, most people think about deer, elk, pheasant, etc., hunting. Not many think about another necessary hunting: predator hunting. One species stands out in my mind above all else in the U.S.- coyote hunting. Coyotes are a huge nuisance, and believe it or not, many people actively hunt them on a regular basis.
Because they are not hunted regularly enough, this leads to population issues. Many states have realized they have a huge coyote problem. Coyotes are predators, meaning they prey on other animals. These animals include deer, cattle, turkeys, rabbits, and so much more. Recognize these animals? Yea, that’s right. Those are major sources of food for humans. Along with that, there are many reasons to hunt coyotes, which we will go over, and we will also learn some coyote hunting tips and tricks.
Why Do People Hunt Coyotes?
Well, that is an easy question. The main reason is because they kill many animals, including deer and cattle. This puts a huge negative impact on the deer population. Due to the decline in deer, that means limited license. You see what I am getting at? We need to control the population of coyotes as well, so we can still have deer to harvest. With them also preying on cattle, that’s cutting into the food source of people all over the world. Less cattle means less food and it also hurts the farmers. This is no good. Coyotes adapt very quickly to their surroundings, and they are not afraid to come into a yard. This is when people need to get worried about their pets or livestock.
Another reason people hunt coyotes is for leisure. On top of the benefits to nature, people like to hunt coyotes because of the adrenaline rush they get. Some feel that hunting coyotes is such a challenge, and they enjoy succeeding and taking down a predator. Coyotes have such advanced senses that it really can be challenging to outsmart them and hunt them.
The final reason that most people have for hunting coyotes is for “practice” while they are waiting for other seasons to open. Because there is no “season” for hunting coyotes, its convenient to go whenever you want and work on your hunting skills. Many people like to use coyote hunting to prepare for deer season, and keep their shooting in good shape.
When Do You Coyote Hunt?
While there is no “season” for coyote hunting, there are better times to do it than others. The best time to hunt coyote is late fall or early winter. To be more specific, the first week of cold weather is the best time to go, or after the first snowfall. After the first snowfall, the coyotes know that their food sources are going to become more scarce, so they become more active in hunting for prey. Around this time they are almost definitely sure to come to the sound of a deer in distress. This is a great time to sound a deer in distress call, and get yourself a coyote.
You can actually hunt deer and coyotes at the same time. The deer are used to hearing the sounds of other deer in distress, that your calls will not scare them off at all. You are actually doing yourself a favor by taking a coyote. It has been said that for every one coyote you kill, you are saving two deer.
How Do You Set Up To Hunt Coyotes?
While there are many different ways to do it, we are going to go over the best way to set up to hunt coyotes.
#1 You should make sure that your call is facing towards the wind.
#2 Position yourself so that you are about 30 yards or so downwind from the call. It has been observed that when a coyote hears the call, an animal in distress, they will circle downwind to try and catch the scent. Because you don’t want the coyote to catch your scent and run off, you need to be downwind so hopefully you can go undetected.
If it were to work out ideally, you would sound the call of the deer in distress to get the coyote’s attention. Then, the coyote would circle downwind from the call, but not too far, so that you are still downwind from the coyote. Then you can spot and take the coyote without him ever detecting you. You never want to be right with your call, because once the coyote hones in on where the sound is coming from, they go looking. Coyote’s have great vision, so you will probably be the first thing they see.
Where Do You Hunt Coyotes?
There are many places to hunt coyotes. If you have land where you have personally seen a coyote before or caught on a trail cam, that is a great choice. Another place is somewhere where you know small prey such as birds and mice reside. You can always look for tracks to try and find a coyote. Also, if you howl at a coyote, they will howl back. Some use this as a reliable trick to finding where the coyotes are.
If you don’t personally have land to hunt on, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting permission from any land owner. You would be doing them a service by ridding their land of the predators. Especially cattle farmers, or anyone who has deer on their land that they like to harvest every year. We have coyotes on our land, and it is a huge nuisance. No one likes to hear them calling to each other, knowing that they are likely preying on a fawn. This makes it no surprise really why deer population is on the decline. More and more states are going to a lottery system because of this, making it harder to get a deer tag.
Coyote Hunting Tips and Tricks
- Be sneaky. Coyotes have great senses, especially eyesight. Wear good camouflage and stay as hidden as possible. Coyotes have great hearing as well, so remember to keep as quiet as possible. Coyotes are very aware of their surroundings and are always on edge, so if you aren’t careful it is likely that you will be spotted. This is why it is so important to be downwind from a coyote. If they catch your scent, they will be gone faster than you will even realize they were there.
- Have a Call, Or Two with You. You can bring just hand calls, like a rabbit squealer, or something a little more high tech. There are many different kinds of electronic calls out there, which give you different options of animals in distress to choose from. Around prime hunting time for coyotes, it is also deer hunting season. Because of this most hunters choose to go with a sound of a deer in distress to use to call in a coyote.
- Use a Decoy. When a coyote hears your call of an animal in distress, they are looking for prey. They will track down the sound and try to find a wounded animal. It’s a good idea to have a decoy, or even a stuffed animal. Have something to catch the coyote’s eye and bring it closer. If you don’t have a decoy there, a coyote may get suspicious. They can easily find out where the sound is coming from, and may find it odd that they can’t see a downed animal at the location where the sound is coming from.
- If You Aren’t Having Any Luck, Change Spots. Do give it a little bit of time, though. Coyote’s do respond to calls fairly quickly, but don’t jump ship right away if you don’t see anything. Call for about 20 minutes before you decide to relocate. It’s a good idea to relocate after that long if you don’t get any action. This is not a problem for those who have huge plots of land to cover. The more land you cover, the more coyotes you could possibly call in.
What Do You Do After You Shoot a Coyote
- Skin It. Some people can actually sell the fur. It all depends on where you are, and if there is anyone or any business that will buy the fur from you. While you definitely won’t get rich, you can probably expect to get anywhere from $10-$50 a pellet from the right buyer. From what I hear, most states don’t give you much for them.
- Eat it. While this is really odd sounding, and I can’t say that I have ever done it, but some people do eat coyote and like it! Sounds bizarre to me, but don’t knock it till you try it I guess. IF you were to be crazy enough to go this route, please be careful. With any wild animal there is always risks of diseases possibly carried by them. If you are after some recipes for coyote meat you can click here and here.
- Check With Your State DNR. Some states offer a bounty on coyotes. At times populations get so out of control that they need to take matters into their own hands. That means, for every coyote you kill, you get paid for it. Some states pay $50 for every coyote. Because typically coyotes are not hunted regularly enough, the populations grow so high that we basically need to step in before it gets worse. That is when the state decided that its worth it to pay for carcasses. That’s enough reason for me!
- Bring it to A Taxidermist. Some people like to get them mounted, or made into different things. You can always have a taxidermist skin and tan the hide for you, too. Some people actually really like to keep the hide, especially if you get yourself a pretty looking one.
- Leave it For The Birds. Literally. Some people just leave the carcasses for the eagles and vultures to eat. If you do it this way, look at it as you are helping the endangered eagle survive. I have even read that coyotes actually eat other coyotes. Yikes. So, you can leave it as bait for your next one!
Be Sure to Check Your State’s Regulations
Being from Minnesota/North Dakota, I am only speaking about what I know for these states. If you are in Kansas, or Texas (or any other state), you may likely have different laws and regulations. Some states have no rules, some have strict regulations that you need to abide by. I am in no way telling you to go out and hunt now, some states have specific times that you should and should not be hunting coyotes.
So, be a good citizen and responsible hunter and find out what the laws and regulations in your state are. This is of utmost importance, because you don’t want to find out what the possible penalties are if they find you breaking the law. Plus, if you find out there is a bounty in your state, you now found yourself an opportunity to make some extra cash!
Just as it is with any other hunting you do, always stay safe. Be sure to know what is behind your target always, and wear proper orange clothing. This is especially important if you are out during deer season. There are many other hunters out there, so be sure to make yourself visible to them, and keep their safety as your top priority as well. Hunting accidents happen every year, and each time they could have been prevented. Make sure to do your part in being careful and staying safe.
Also, coyotes are predators, so that is something to be careful for as well. It is generally said that coyotes will very rarely attack humans. Most coyote attacks are the result of coyotes being fed by humans. Coyotes will usually run away, unless they have become used to human interaction. In this case, they aren’t usually aggressive, but it has happened where they have attacked. Just make sure you have your rifle (or shotgun) on you and you should be good.
Lets Hear From You
So, now its your turn. We want to hear all about your experience with hunting coyotes. Do you have any helpful hints that I didn’t add? Did you do something unique with the coyote(s) you shot? We want to know!