How to Hunt Coyotes at Night
Hunting down coyotes can be really rewarding and for the lucky ones, a life-changing moment to say the least.
It is one of those experiences that can either make you jump around in joy or scream in frustration – depending on how geared up you are of course.
Coyote hunting is emerging as one of the best ways to reconnect with Mother Nature as you have to remain 100% locked in the moment when it all goes down. As with any predator hunt, you have to know specific details such as the temperatures, weather patterns, etc. In a nutshell, the devil is always in the detail.
Coyote hunting at night is emerging as the in-thing and for obvious reasons. Why spend an entire day tracking down a nocturnal creature, while you can easily hunt one at night?
With the right hunting gear, equipment and tips, coyote hunting at night may just end up being one of those thrilling expeditions you’ve always wanted. As always, we will share some basic techniques with you on how to hunt coyotes at night including lighting, scanning and location selection.
Must-Have Gear for Hunting Coyotes at Night
As mentioned, the success of your hunt could all boil down to your equipment. In short, the right coyote hunting gear can make all the difference. The list of products below can help ensure your next trip is successful.
It is worth noting that hunting down these predators requires a lot of skill. You can choose to hunt with electronic coyote calls, mouth calls or both.
The best part about using electronic calls is that they take the sound source away from the hunter. This allows you to position yourself for a perfect shot.
Basically, the coyote will solely focus on the sound source and make is less likely to spot you. That said, there is a wide array of quality electronic calls designed for both amateurs and pros. Check out our electronic game call reviews for more info on the best products.
Using both electronic and mouth calls may sound a little excessive. However, this add another dimension and tool for you to convince that coyote to come.
As with electronic calls, there is a wide array of different mouth blown calls available on the market. Using the howl distress call or the rabbit distress call can be quite effective especially for skilled hunters.
Coyotes are cautious creatures; more so when approaching a call. During the day, camouflage is a critical part of the process or you will be spotted by the coyote.
However, camouflage during nighttime hunting is less important as the darkness hides you. You don’t need to set up with your back against a bush or tree as cover.
Just make sure your silhouette isn’t visible against the horizon or in the night with a bright moon.
As mentioned above, coyotes are really cautious and spook very easily. A decoy might be that extra incentive needed to convince a coyote to come to you.
Hunters have mixed opinions and experiences using a decoy (day or night). However, if you are hunting in the snow or on a night with a bright moon, then a decoy might be a great addition.
The best weapon for coyote at night is a controversial debate best left for another day. Make sure you follow the rules for your local area.
That said, AR-15’s can be quite effective and is the rifle of choice for many hunters. A semi-automatic rifle is preferred as it greatly increases your chances for double’s or even triples.
However, shotguns can be more effective if the coyote is close to you. This is a situation you will find yourself in a lot during nighttime hunts.
The best option is to carry both a shotgun and a rifle. Hold the shotgun so you are ready for those coyotes that quickly show up at a short range. If you spot a coyote at a distance then you can easily shift to your rifle.
Coyote Hunting Lights
You need a scanning light unless you are using night vision or infrared.
Scanning lights can be handheld, gun mounted or head mounted. I recommend getting a handheld scanner so you don’t wear yourself out constantly moving your gun back and forth.
Some people like to use a combination handheld red light to scan the fields with a gun mounted light to take the shot.
Shooting Chair or Seat Cushion
If you’ve ever had to sit down in the snow for more than half an hour then you’ll likely never go on a hunting expedition without a shooting chair or seat cushion. The latter may seem as a gimmick on the surface, but wait until you realize that your leg is dead after holding still for extended periods in awkward positions.
Steps for a Successful Hunting Adventure at Night
Now that you have the gear, it’s time to prepare for that nighttime coyote hunting trip. These tips on coyote hunting at night will help you to have a great night hunting experience!
Hunting down coyotes at night is not as hard as it may sound at first. However, you must be very disciplined if you want to head back to the truck with a game in hand. You want to start by finding a suitable location to set-up shop. Try to stay away from over-hunted areas or locations with a lot of human activity.
Scout in Advance
Scout the area you are going to hunt in the daytime so you know where to set up at night. You want to set up your equipment as quickly as possible. Try practicing how to set up your spotlight, calls and sticks way before hitting the field.
Once you have everything in place, silence and stillness is your goal. Most predators can detect minor movements from far away and any movement might arouse their suspicion. Remember that coyotes can see a lot better than you at night. And if they see you, they are as good as gone.
Calling Coyotes at Night
You want to have a number of common call sounds such as a bird, rabbit, yip or howl in distress in order to achieve a successful hunt. What works one day won’t work the next. You need to experiment and be creative until you find the right mix…at least for today.
Generally speaking, both electronic and mouth calls can work effectively at hunting coyotes at night. However, the latter is best suited for skilled hunters.
For amateurs or convenience, electronic calls have a slight edge over their conventional counterparts. With electronic calls, you get loud, clear and surreal sounds of distressed animals, making them extremely believable to coyotes.
In most locations, spot lighting is legal when hunting coyotes. You should check your local laws to be sure.
If you aren’t using night vision or infrared scopes, then you will need to use a spot light to see coyotes approaching. Spot lights typically come is white, red or green lights and every hunter has their favorite.
High powered spotlights allow you to illuminate coyotes roaming up to 400 yards away. Nocturnal animals are really easy to identify in the dark when using spot lights because their eyes will shine.
Once you locate a coyote, keep your light on it using the “halo” or outer band of the light. This will allow you to see it’s eyes while it approaches without spooking it. The light halo also provides you cover as the coyotes eyes have to adapt to the light so it is less likely to see you.
Hunting is always extremely fun and exciting. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and throw all caution to the wind. Try to be extra careful at night and be patient before shooting. Closer shots are preferred so you can be absolutely positive with what you are taking.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q. When is it legal to hunt coyotes? What is the best season?
A. Coyote hunting rules differ by state so check your local DNR. Many states allows year round coyote hunting on your own property. However, the best seasons to hunt are during fur bearing seasons usually between September and March.
Q. How long does it take for coyotes to get into a call trap?
A. It all depends on the terrain you’re hunting in. For instance, hunting in remote areas requires great patience as it takes time for the call sounds to travel the long distances and the coyotes to get your hunting grounds. Conversely, it may take less than a minute for the predators to answer your call if in a populated area.
Q. Can coyote calls attract other predators as well?
A. When hunting for coyotes, it is always of important to stay prepared for anything. Bobcats, lynx and foxes are all predators that may come rushing in.
Wrapping It Up
Gather the right gear and give nighttime coyote hunting a try.
Coyote hunting at night is thrilling and worth the investment in time and money.
Always remember that safety comes first, meaning you should be completely sure of your target before thinking about going for the kill. Good luck!