Best Time To Hunt Coyotes

The Best Time to Hunt Coyotes


As with any form of hunting, the more knowledge you have, the higher your chances of success; with coyotes, this is even truer. Coyotes are smart and fast and need to be respected as a predatory animal, knowing the best time to hunt coyotes will save you time trouble and disappointment. The traditional advice has always been to set up in February to take advantage of the mating season, but there is a lot more to consider, especially based on the State you’re in.

Coyotes have been a blessing and a burden to farmers, ranchers and homesteaders for centuries; knowing how and WHEN to take some down is something everyone who respects the land needs to know. Here is our take on what the best time is to successfully hunt coyote:

The Season

Different Weather Seasons

Depending on where you are based, you can either hunt coyote year round or just during a specific season. You’ll know the rules for your own State, but if you plan on travel and hunting you’ll need to not only get a local State license but also be aware that some places have set seasons (like New York state for example which is only from early October to late March).

In places like Georgia or California you can hunt year round, but your best chance of actually bagging some coyotes is to hunt smart and choose your times wisely. Think about why you’re hunting and what you hope to achieve. Are you after good pelts? Is it population control? Or after you after some really challenging sport? Each season offers something different to the predator hunter.

It's worth considering what equipment you have and if whether you will need any specialized gear for the area and season you want to hunt. Despite often being a solitary sport, hunters are a tight-knit community and will readily give advice on their local area. Get involved in local hunting forums and pick up some pearls of wisdom from those that know the area and what gear you might need.

Spring

​Most predator hunters will take the summer off and go fishing, but it is still possible to get coyotes if you’re prepared to use decoy dogs and spend some early mornings and late nights out and about. The coyote will be lazier in the summer and will require a lot more effort to try and draw it out; it won’t be out lazing on a hillside, but in shade and most likely not too far from a water source.

Some hunters suggest that unless you’re trying to get a bumper crop of prey animals for the next season, it’s worth leaving the coyotes to get on with their denning. This will improve your sport when October rolls around and ensure that a good balance of predator and prey is ensured.

However, if you do want to hunt, be prepared to put in some time and effort. The adults will be more wary with their youngsters around, and you might find regular tracks are left alone for weeks at a time.

​Summer

Most predator hunters will take the summer off and go fishing, but it is still possible to get coyotes if you’re prepared to use decoy dogs and spend some early mornings and late nights out and about. The coyote will be lazier in the summer and will require a lot more effort to try and draw it out; it won’t be out lazing on a hillside, but in shade and most likely not too far from a water source.

Some hunters suggest that unless you’re trying to get a bumper crop of prey animals for the next season, it’s worth leaving the coyotes to get on with their denning. This will improve your sport when October rolls around and ensure that a good balance of predator and prey is enabled.​

Winter

Coyote Lying In The Snow

Winter is considered the prime time for coyote hunting by those that are after a really good pelt as the cold weather will “fluff up” the pelt. With a lot of the vegetation being covered in snow, the coyote will be out and about seeking further afield for prey, this gives you an advantage.

In winter, you can use a range of methods to appeal to the coyote's drives. Food, mating (later in the season) and even distress calls can work well, but you’ll need to put more effort into cover; especially if you’re on plains.

Contrary to the pervasive belief, bagging coyotes in winter can be very beneficial to the overall population. Food is harder for them to find, so fewer mouths to feed often leads to a healthier band.

Check out this video of a successful winter hunt:

Fall

There’s no doubting that late fall is the most beautiful and scenic time to hunt, and in terms of getting some good sport, there’s probably not much better. The denning is over and the cubs are out and about.

This is the time of year when you'll be able to put your hunter and tracker skills to good use, too. Many hunters like to change up their style by switching between waiting and tracking; it's a good way to really push yourself and develop your talents.

It’s a good time to use distress calls and it can be considered a Conservationist benefit to get rid of some of the extra coyotes before winter kicks in.

​Day or Night?

Night Time Sky

Many hunters will tell you that there is little difference between morning, noon and evening when hunting coyote, but this isn’t strictly true. Coyotes prefer not to be out In the very bright sunlight, so it makes more sense to hunt either in the early morning or around dusk. However, on overcast days, you can call coyotes at almost any time. If you are going to be hunting at night, then make sure you get​ a good coyote hunting light for the job.

The best time (or most successful time) to hunt coyotes will depend very much on the local conditions. Speak to fellow hunters, try to separate the exaggerations from the information and make the best decision based on what’s best for you AND for the animal population.


Jonny
 

Hunting is something that has been a big part of my family history for generations. Typically every spare weekend I have is spent outdoors either hunting or doing something else adventure related. This site uses my years of knowledge in the field to hopefully help improve the hunting experience of others.

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