The Ultimate Guide To Coyote Hunting For Beginners
Are you wanting to get out and go coyote hunting but don’t really know where to start? Below we will take you through the basics of coyote hunting. We start with how to plan out your coyote hunting trip even before leaving your house. Then we go on to what to do on the day of your actual hunt. From picking a stand to shooting your first coyote.
As the saying goes, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” The same goes with coyote hunting. If you don’t have a solid game plan together before you even walk out the door, you aren’t going to be successful. Below are some of the things you need to plan out before going coyote hunting.
Coyote Hunting Location
You will have more success if you know the area you are going to be hunting in. You will have to do a little more planning if you don’t.
Google Earth is going to be your go to tool if you haven’t seen the area you are going to be hunting if before. It is great for finding roads and seeing what type of terrain you will be hunting in. You will not be able to tell how thick the brush will be but this should give you a general idea of what the area will look like.
You will want to plan your stands with the sun at your back. This gives you several advantages. First, it will be harder for the coyotes to see you because more than likely they will be looking into the sun. Second, you will be able to find plenty of shade to sit in.
Unless you have permission to hunt on private land, you must stick to public land. It is on you as the hunter to know where public land ends and private land starts. There are several options for maps like Avenza Maps or OnX Hunting maps, which will give you land status as well as your location.
Weather and especially wind will play a big role in whether you are successful or not. The higher the wind speed the less likely coyotes are to hear the call. 0-10 mph is the best. 10-20 mph is tougher. Anything over 20 mph will be a lot harder to call any coyotes in. That isn’t to say that you can’t do it but your chances of success will go down if the wind is over 20 mph.
Coyote Hunting Gear
It’s best to get all your gear together the night before. This way you will not forget anything. One of the most important things will be your camo clothing. Plan accordingly for the weather you will be hunting in. Take whatever you feel is necessary for the hunt. Below are some of the basics.
- Shooting Sticks
- Coyote Call
- Coyote Decoy
- Hunting Chair
Make sure to fuel up your vehicle the night before. Coyotes have an extremely sensitive sense of smell. We all know that the smell of fuel can be strong. Not having any fuel odor on you will play to your advantage.
All the planning is out of the way and now it’s time to hunt. There are a lot of things you still need to do to be successful. Below we will take you step by step through them. Also if you are interested in how the guys from Hidden Instinct pick their stands, check out the video below.
Pulling Up To Your First Coyote Stand
Coyotes are extremely smart animals. It’s not as easy as just pulling up, jumping out of the truck and walking up to your first stand. There are some things you need to consider first.
Hiding The Vehicle
You need to find somewhere to hide your vehicle. You shouldn’t be able to see your vehicle from where you are calling. Most people choose to walk up and over a hill from their vehicle which works great. Another good spot is in a wash bottom or in the shade of a bunch of trees. The point of hiding your vehicle is so any coyote coming into the call will not see something shiny and stop.
Put On Your Camo
Put on all your camo at the truck. The less movement when you get to your stand the better.
Be As Quiet As Possible
This means gently close your vehicle doors. Don’t talk loud to each other. Definitely do not push the lock button on your keypad so the horn goes off.
Sun and Wind
This is where your planning is going to pay off. You should already have a stand in mind that has the sun at your back. The wind is going to be the tricky part. You looked at the weather forecast so you know the general direction of the wind but it might be a little different on the ground. Preferably you want to a location where the wind is blowing in your face but a crosswind will also work. You don’t want to make a stand where the wind is at your back.
If you plan on making a stand on the other side of a hill, try not to walk in the skyline. Try to walk lower on the ridge. Eyes are drawn to movement and if you are walking in the skyline, you will be extremely easy to see for a coyote.
You found the spot you want to make your first stand. It looks perfect. There’s only a few things you need to do before you can start the coyote call up. Also, below is another video from Hidden Instinct about sound and call placement.
The first thing you will need to do is find where you are going to sit. Find a spot with alot of shade. Think about where the sun is going to be in 20 to 30 minutes and make sure you will still have shade then. Shade is going to be your best camouflage. Something in the shade is much harder to see than something in the sun.
Coyote Call Placement
If you are using an electronic coyote call, you will most likely want to place it about 30 yards away from you. This gives you enough distance to still get a shot at the coyote if they run straight to your call. If you are sitting on a high spot you will also want to place the coyote call below you.
Sit Down And Get Ready
Everything is ready and you are about to hit play on the coyote call. There are a few final things you need to do.
- Chamber a round.
- You don’t want to have a coyote in your crosshairs only to hear ‘click’ when you pull the trigger.
- Set up your shooting sticks.
- Get set up in the direction you think the coyote will come from. Be prepared to move them though because more than likely, they will come from a different direction.
- Get comfortable.
- It’s recommended that you stay on the stand for at least 20 minutes. That is a long time when you aren’t in a comfortable position. Remember, the less movement the better.
Everything is in place and you are ready to start calling. There’s a lot of questions when it comes to what sounds to use, how long to use them and volume. If you ask 10 different coyote hunters, you will get 10 different answers. It comes down to putting in the time for your area to find out what works. We will go over some of the basics below.
Coyote Call sounds
- Hunger Sounds
- These will be your sounds that mimic something a coyote can eat like rabbits. Can work any time of year.
- Territorial Sounds
- These will be your sounds that mimic a coyote being territorial. Usually a bark or a barking howl.
- Mating Sounds
- These will be your sounds that mimic a coyote during mating season. Usually a chirp or a yip.
Just like with call sounds, volume differs between different coyote hunters. Some prefer to start quiet and go louder. Some prefer to start loud and stay loud. Figure out what works for you and go with it.
Again, this differs with different coyote hunters. Some will play sounds for 30 seconds and then wait. Others will continuously play sounds. Find out what the coyotes like in your area and go with that.
Ok, you’ve done everything right so far and you spot a coyote who is coming into the call. Here are some things you need to think about.
- Stay as still as possible
- If you need to change positions, do it when the coyote is moving. He is less likely to see you that way.
- Have patience
- Wait until the coyote is within 100 yards and you feel confident in your shot.
- When you are ready, stop the coyote with a bark, whistle or kiss.
- Avoid shooting at a moving coyote. Their actual body is really small under all the fur and you will risk missing the coyote.
- You will have some adrenaline running through your body. Just breath and squeeze the trigger.
After The Shot
After you shoot, whether you hit the coyote or not, that doesn’t mean it’s over. There is still a chance that another coyote is still coming in. A second coyote isn’t always scared off when they hear a gunshot.
Stay Still, Keep Calling
Another coyote might be coming in still. Stay still and keep calling. Give it 5 minutes and see what happens.
Did You Kill The Coyote
If you did hit the coyote and kill it, you have to decide what to do with it. Some hunters choose to drag it back and then skin them. Coyote fur can be sold at fur auctions. Some states also offer coyote bounty programs, where they will pay you per coyote you kill. Make sure to be familiar with all the local rules and laws.
On To The Next Stand
Most coyote hunters make multiple stands in a day. Just because you killed one doesn’t mean your hunt is over. Head back to the vehicle and drive to the next stand you planned out the day before. Then do it all over again.
When To Go Coyote Hunting
- Time of year
- October – February is when coyote hunters spend their most time hunting.
- Time of day
- Sunrise – Noon is your best chance at calling in coyotes. Most coyote hunters make their first stand at first light. As the day goes on it will get harder and harder to call coyotes in.
- Night Hunting
- Night hunting coyotes is extremely fun but comes with its own set of challenges.
- You will need to scout during the day so you know the terrain and be prepared to shoot at night.
- There are some awesome night vision products out there that help with these challenges like the Digital Crosshairs 1000 Night Vision Clip on from Digital FOV and other night vision scopes.
- There are also some awesome thermal scopes on the market. These are a game changer for coyote hunting at night.
Coyote Hunting Basics Final Word
Coyote hunting can be very difficult. Even though they may not seem like it, they are extremely smart animals. Coyote hunters who have been hunting for years can go a day or more without calling one in and still make plenty of mistakes. If you are just starting out and not having any luck, don’t get discouraged. Keep at it and sooner or later you will call in your first coyote and when it happens, it will make it even more rewarding.