How to Hunt Coyotes
Flexible, adaptive and highly intelligent, coyotes have a well-deserved reputation for being true American survivors. Once confined to the Western Plains, this cunning creature has managed to expand across much of North America. The increase in the coyote population is largely attributed to their extreme adaptability, along with a lack of apex predators that would normally keep their numbers in check.
All of this is to say that hunting too many coyotes is not really a big concern. While they don’t breed like rats, they do seem to become stealthier and grow their populations without much effort.
If you want to know how to hunt coyotes, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to give you a crash course in hunting the elusive song-dog. So get your camo, grab your gun case and let’s get started.
Choose Your Weapon Wisely
There is no “best” gun for hunting coyotes. A rifle or a shotgun will both do the job, depending on where you’re hunting and how close you can call the coyote. Shotguns are great if you can get the coyote within range, while rifles are better if the coyotes are hanging back.
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The best rounds for hunting coyotes depends on what you want to do with the coyote afterward. If you want to mount your coyote to a wall or sell the fur, a .204 Ruger caliber is a fast, flat-shooting bullet that will do minimal damage to their pelt. Otherwise, a .223 is probably the most common round you’ll find when hunting coyotes.
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Know How to Track Coyotes
Obviously, you don’t want to hunt in an area that is completely void of coyotes. That’d be a big waste of time! So, how do you find coyotes?
There are several ways you can track coyotes. One way is to drive around and look for coyote tracks and scat. You can also park your truck and listen to their excited yelps at night. Once you hear their sounds, you’ll have an approximate idea of where they call home.
Select the Perfect Coyote Stand
Coyotes are quick learners with good eyesight, great hearing and an incredible sense of smell. If they pick up on your scent, hear you stomping in the woods or see you on the horizon, they will take off and your hunt will be over.
Selecting the right coyote stand is key to calling in more coyotes and being successful in your hunt. An ideal coyote stand should conceal you while providing a good vantage point (think: a small hill with brush you can hide behind).
You should also try to control your scent as much as possible. Make sure the wind isn’t blowing on your back in the direction you’re calling the coyote. It’s also a good idea to invest in field spray to help mask your scent and fool the coyote into thinking you’re farther away than you actually are.
Establish a ‘Kill Zone’
Distances can be deceiving, especially when you’re hunting on terrain that all looks the same. To increase your chances of making a clean shot, pick up a decent rangefinder. A rangefinder will help you establish a good stance between you and the coyote, setting you up for that perfect shot. They’re particularly useful when you have a coyote that isn’t responding to your call.
Get Creative with Your Coyote Calls
Coyotes can be deceptively difficult to call. Many older coyotes have been called before and have caught on to humans attempting to hunt them with the sounds of coyote whimpering and yelps.
If you’re not having much luck with basic coyote calls, switch it up with something they don’t hear as often. Bird calls, such as a turkey or a crow in distress, may potentially lure an older coyote into range.
Pro tip: Use electronic calls before trying a hand call. Let yourself get the hang of coyote hunting before worrying about making the right sound with a hand call.
If you want to successfully hunt coyotes, you must outsmart them on every aspect of your hunt. From the calls you make to your scent control strategies, coyotes will make every hunt a challenge—and that’s what makes it so rewarding.
To fool one of these cunning dogs, you must be every bit as cunning and adaptable as they are. Best of all, you can hunt them all-year-round, giving you plenty of opportunities to earn the rank of an expert hunter.