Coyotes are medium-sized, wild canines that draw the attention of nearly everyone in the lower 48. Even though their population range is massive, coyotes are not native to much of the eastern US. Removing wolves and other large predators from the landscape has allowed coyotes to expand into these areas and become the dominant predator. Coyotes in rural areas can decimate the deer and turkey populations by preying on fawns and ground nests. More urban and suburban dwelling folks will also recognize the problems that arise as coyotes focus on house pets like dogs and cats.

So, what’s to be done about coyotes taking down our game animals or family pets? They must be controlled by hunting. Many states recognize coyotes as varmints allowing them to be taken during most seasons and with almost any gear. This “open season” includes trapping, hunting at night, and using electronic calls. The important role that coyote management plays in the ecosystem’s overall health creates the opportunity for many hunting properties to offer predator hunting as an add-on to whatever daytime hunts they are already conducting. Frankly, the extra few hours of hunting at night is an excellent way for both parties to extract more value from the trip.

Coyotes are traditionally nocturnal creatures, so hunting them requires patience and planning. Sure there’s a possibility to happen upon one, but to get reliable results, you need a plan. To start, you’ll need to know the habits and habitats of coyotes in your area. Do your research and find areas with a high population of coyotes and the correct type of terrain and vegetation to host them. Denning sites, field ditches, and thick cover are top choices.

Once you’ve identified a prime coyote hunting area, setting up a predator call is next. This device mimics the sound of a wounded animal and entices coyotes to come closer. It’s important to choose a call that is appropriate for the season and terrain; but it can be complicated. For example, in the spring, you can use a rabbit in distress call, while in the winter, a coyote pup in distress call can be more effective. Experienced hunters have their preferences and will likely use a mixture of howls, pup distress, breeding sounds and fighting sounds. For beginner hunters, generally rabbit distress calls are an inexpensive option and yield great results. For those newer hunters who may not have the budget to purchase a wireless caller, a variety of mouth calls are available, and even apps on your phone. 

Weapon choice is entirely up to the user. However, a few considerations exist before grabbing your favorite hunting arm and heading out. Firstly, coyotes are small targets. Not small like a prairie dog, but at 30-40 lbs, the average coyote is a small target. Secondly, they can make good pelts so a light centerfire rifle, like a 223 or 22-250, will damage less fur than larger calibers like .308 or 30-06. The choice of weaponry for a majority of hunters is the AR platform. They are infinitely customizable for hunting in any condition and can easily be outfitted with a suppressor and night vision or thermal optic for nighttime hunting. The rapid follow-up shot also gives the AR an edge, whether that shot is for a second coyote or to guarantee a quick kill.

Are you interested in trying coyote hunting out for yourself? Check out this list of expert guides on Venku that offer predator-hunting packages. If you are interested in some additional reading on varmints, and even states that offer bounties, check out our other field guides.