Night hunting for a coyote is not only exciting, but also a very rewarding activity. You save domestic animals from attacks, promote the spread of native species and get a worthy rival in the hunt.
Coyote is undoubtedly cunning, sly and observant. You will have to make an effort to win and get the trophy. We want to make your hunting preparation a little easier and share information about coyote hunting rules, the best weapons, ammo, bait and calls.
Main rules of a coyote hunt
Before you go hunting, you need to familiarize yourself with the rules for hunting coyote in your state. In addition to the basic rules, there may be local regulations and prohibitions for a particular time of year, terrain, cartridge caliber, number of individuals, and other things that must be observed.
As a rule, a hunting or sporting license is required for hunting. The hunter must declare his trophies no later than 48 hours in person or via the Internet. Tags are attached to the carcasses and stored until the moment of processing. It is forbidden to remove animals from nature without further use. This does not apply to infected or obviously sick animals, which should be disposed of according to local regulations.
You can check hunting grounds on the US Fish and Wildlife Service website. At the planning stage, it is worth clarifying the boundaries of private property and, if necessary, obtaining written permission from the owner of the site with a specific date and signature. Many farmers are happy to give permission because of the threat to livestock, to control the predator population and stop transmission of the infection.
Why you should hunt at night
The answer to this question lies in the behavior of the coyote. The animal is nocturnal. The chances of detection and a successful shot increase dramatically with the onset of darkness and persist throughout the night. During the day, a coyote, quite full and running during the night, can doze off or watch from the thickets beyond the territory. It doesn’t have a strong motive to move, hence it’s harder to spot.
In addition, coyotes always follow their prey and are active when it comes out to feed. And most coyote victims are nocturnal. The hunter must follow the habits of his target if he wants to have a better chance of hitting the coyote. It is worth noting that at night the sounds are carried over long distances. Thus, coyotes from a larger area will come running to your cry and there is a chance to shoot not one, but several animals.
What equipment should you use for a night hunt
Of course, any hunter begins his preparations for hunting with the choice of weapons. In principle, any weapon allowed by local regulations will do. The vast majority of places allow everything from bows to modern rifles, except for fully automatic weapons.
If we delve deeper into the problem of choice, we will find that several factors influence the choice of weapons and calibers. Among them, we note: the remoteness of the target, a single or multiple shot, the degree of recoil of the weapon, the weight of the animal.
Here it is necessary to clarify that in the East of the country, coyotes are larger and tend to roam alone or in pairs. Local coyotes interbreed with wolves and are distinguished by a strong physique and thick fur. They have a habit of appearing almost out of nowhere, right in front of you or up to 50 yards away.
In the West, they weigh less, have thinner skins, and are more common in groups. In addition, there are much more common plains, wide fields, therefore, a long-range weapon is needed.
Thus, we have two different tasks: to hit the target from close and long distances.
For close range shooting, a shotgun is more useful, and for long distances, a rifle. Although, it is impossible to say for sure exactly where the coyote will appear. We have met hunters with a shotgun and a rifle at the same time, although this is somewhat heavy.
Sticks, bipods, monopods, tripods, seats
If you have to make an ambush out of the blue and want to have free hands, then the best option would be to use a tripod with a saddle for pigs. Whatever you choose – monopods, sticks, bipods – all this will be much better than nothing. Your hands are free and will not get tired from the weight of the weapon. They are free for a call, night vision binoculars or a snack. The hunting seat will give you comfort and your legs will not get numb while the coyote rushes to your call.
Particular attention should be paid to the caliber of bullets. If your goal is to get fur for sale, then using .17, .20 calibers will allow you not to damage the skin too much.
If the safety of the fur is not important, then there are many more options. The only limitation is the humane shot principle and state law. The most commonly used calibers are .17, .204, .220, .222, .23, .22-.25, .270.
For shooting from a shotgun, good lethality indicators, without particularly large damage to the skin, a 12-caliber cartridge with No. 4 shot gives.
For long-range rifle shots, .223, 22-250, and .243 will do. cartridges. They guarantee stable behavior of the bullet at distances of about 400 yards and with good night vision optics, the trophy will not be long in coming.
The .223 Remington is considered the golden mean. A rifle with 1 MOA accuracy will cover the needs of most hunters.
If you have to fight over long distances, then you should pay attention to the accuracy of the rifle and look for at least 0.5 MOA. But this is a completely different class of equipment and the level of training of the shooter. Most likely, these are seasoned professionals who are outraged by coyote raids on their personal property.
Calls are electronic with a remote control, diaphragm and reed. Coyotes have excellent hearing, they are curious and always happy for a free dinner. The cry of a rabbit or other animal from the diet of a coyote in distress sounds to them like an invitation to food. In addition to the distress call, during the breeding season, the call of a female coyote or a young male works great.
No animal has yet been able to resist a love fever or a territory trespasser. There are many more sounds, about 50 types. If something is not in the basic configuration, then you can always download it from the Internet. The most important thing is to be realistic. A cautious coyote may be alerted by a too loud, unbelievable cry of a mouse, which comes from a loudspeaker hoarse in severe frost.
The choice of bait, if possible, should coincide with the choice of an electronic call. A rabbit carcass and a rabbit cry work better in tandem than a deer brisket and a mouse distress cry. As a bait, any meat from the market is suitable, it can be frozen in water with blood. Then, thawing for a long time, it will excite the nostrils of coyotes for miles around.
Alternatively, you can use a stuffed animal, a dead carcass or live bait fishing. Before using any type of bait, check local hunting regulations.
Night hunting with special equipment increases the chances of success even among beginners. If you have bright nights, then night vision binoculars or a night vision scope would be your best bet.
Night vision binoculars will allow you to explore the area for many miles around and quickly find the target animal. It helps to identify the animal when in doubt and gives an idea of the distance of the target. For completely dark nights, it will be convenient to illuminate the hunting scene with an IR flashlight. It will be very difficult for a coyote to compete with a hunter who sees him as well as himself.
It should be noted that night hunting requires discipline and to calculate the development of events several steps ahead. It is necessary not only to keep a coyote in sight, but also to be aware of the location of hunting partners, the location of farms, pastures with livestock and roads. It is always worth calculating the trajectory of a bullet in order to exclude an accident.
If you want absolute control over everything that happens, then night vision goggles will free your hands and allow you to quickly respond in the dark to any unforeseen situations. They allow you to safely move in the dark, shoot and even drive a car.
If the night is dark and precipitation is expected, then a thermal imager will be the best choice. He sees through snow, rain, fog and thin foliage. In fact, until the coyote hides in a lair, there is no chance for him to go unnoticed. A thermal imager is more useful in detecting, and for identification and shooting, it is better to use a night vision scope.
Note that hunting with NV optics minimizes the chances of coyotes surviving to such an extent that some states prohibit the use of such equipment. In this case, you can use colored hunting lights, sights with a luminous reticle and laser rangefinders.
Coyote hunting is a challenge for any hunter. The cunning and cheeky coyote doesn’t play by the rules. In order to kill a coyote, a hunter needs not only all his experience, endurance, but also first-class equipment for night hunting. Shotguns with 4 buckshot work best, any .223 caliber rifles or AR15 variants.
In order to have a complete carte blanche, you need to equip the gun with NV optics or a thermal imager. When there is a ban on their use, then a good gun with a luminous sight, along with colored lights, a bait and a bell, can work wonders.