If an adventurous heart is beating in your chest, then you must be yearning for a thrilling expedition in the great outdoors. Your inner huntsman just cannot ignore the need to feel the thrill of the chase. And why should he?
One of the most rewarding ways to reconnect with our hunting ancestors is to chase and hunt down coyotes. As they are nocturnal creatures, it will make no sense to go looking for them in broad daylight. You will have to read up on coyote behavior and migration patterns in order to track them successfully.
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Going on a coyote hunting expedition at night will require that you pay attention to a number of details. In this article, we offer ten tips to make the whole trip worth your while.
1. Do Your Research
As we already said, coyotes are nocturnal canines. That means you will have to get to know the hunting terrain well before setting out on an expedition. Regardless of your previous experience, it would be illusory to expect that you find a perfect location in pitch dark.
So, you need to explore the terrain before you actually go looking for coyotes. We suggest hunting during the daytime, or just driving around the area in order to get to know it. In both cases, we strongly recommend taking notes about the weather patterns, temperatures, terrain features, etc.
Keep in mind that coyotes tend to choose swampy terrains, river-bottoms or creeks as their habitat. So, scouting out the area beforehand will be of great help for when you cannot rely on your eyes. Furthermore, keep in mind the coyotes’ keen sense of smell. Hunting on windy nights is not a good idea.
2. Use a Predator Call
Attracting coyotes’ attention is not an easy task, and they will surely not follow you around closely. You will most likely have to wait for them to go on a search for food.
Most coyotes keep at a safe distance more often than randomly charging in when they approach a call. Therefore, we suggest that you try to place your electronic caller within 30 to 50 yards behind your hunting position. That way, you will ensure that you see the coyotes before they figure out it is a false alarm.
Additionally, some hunters will recommend using a combination of an electric caller and hand calls. It is said that this strategy confuses the coyotes to such an extent that they become much less cautious.
3. Make It Look Easy
Generally speaking, coyotes prefer hunting on easy prey. That is precisely why they sometimes choose to live near sheep farms, or in areas full of small rodents. If you position your caller near a game trail, you will surely attract them faster.
4. Consider Using an Elevated Hunting Stand
One great thing about hunting at night is that you do not have to crouch and hide in bushes and trees. The darkness is the best camouflage there is, so you can allow yourself to hunt standing up. What’s more, the higher you stand, the easier it will be for you to spot your predator.
Therefore, we suggest that you consider lifting your shooting post off the ground. You can achieve that by doing one of the following:
- Use a tripod. By mounting your weapon on it, you gain the ability to quietly rotate left-to-right. Furthermore, if you add a P.I.G. saddle to it, your hands are free for occasional scanning of the surroundings.
- Make a predator ladder. This portable hunting platform can particularly come in handy if you are hunting in the early season when the grass is tall. You can either buy it or construct one yourself.
- Climb on top of your vehicle. Doing so would give you an elevated hunting post without the trouble of carrying additional gear around. However, bear in mind that hunting from atop a vehicle is illegal in most states. Make sure you check the local hunting laws before doing it.
5. Mind the Moon Phase
Like most canines, coyotes have exceptionally sharp night vision. Most coyote hunting happens just when the new moon appears because that is when you are most likely to catch them out in the open. Just like you, they will use a dimly-lit night to hunt. Your hunting light will play a key role as your camouflage. It will blind the coyotes for a while, forcing their eyes to adjust.
6. Choose Your Hunting Light Wisely
The biggest question when choosing a predator hunting light is which color to go for – red, green or white. The trick is to choose the one that is least likely to scare off coyotes.
Red hunting light is the traditional preferred choice, as it will reflect off coyotes’ eyes. They will remain confused long enough for you to take a shot.
Green light, on the other hand, is becoming more popular nowadays as it allows hunters to see in the dark. Therefore, if you are hunting on unfamiliar ground, consider using it.
In case you want to record your hunting trip and review it later, think about using white light. However, keep in mind that there are conflicting opinions regarding its usage. Some hunters claim white light is the best, while others insist on the fact that it scares the animals away.
7. Avoid Setting Up In the Field
Coyotes will almost never completely leave the safety of the woods to go into the open field. So, do not set up your post out in the open either. Instead, try setting up just within the wood line.
8. Prepare for a Long Wait
Depending on the hunting area, you might have to sit and wait for longer than 15 minutes for the coyote to appear. Especially in thick cover, coyotes rely heavily on their hearing and their sense of smell. They tend to be overly cautious, and thus move around much slower.
9. Bring a Hunting Partner
There are a few reasons to consider bringing a partner along on a coyote hunt. However, the most important reason to do so is that a partner can help you cover the so-called “back door”. Namely, coyotes tend to circle around, and they always have at least two ways of getting out of the shooting range.
In situations like this one, it is of great help if your partner is located somewhere behind you. Depending on the direction of the wind, they might need to move a bit to the left or right.
10. Determine the Shooting Range Beforehand
It is of utmost importance that you put safety first when hunting at night. When pre-scouting the area, make sure to make some notes regarding the best shooting distance for your expedition. Defining it is of utmost importance if you are hunting with a partner. Knowing each other’s exact location and determining the shooting range will not only guarantee a successful hunt but also protect all (human) parties involved.