Some hunters may wonder, “Why should I hunt at night?” Well, just like hunting in the rain and the cold weather, there are certain benefits you get from hunting at night. The opportunities you get from hunting during the night are endless. In addition, some animals are easier to hunt at night, although it may pose a challenge for a beginner night-time hunter.
Hunting during the night would need a lot of skill and precision. It would also need a few different pieces of equipment you may use in the daytime but not during the night. This is because hunting at night time is a lot different from hunting in daylight. The darkness can make it a lot harder, especially if you don’t have the right gear and equipment.
But with the right set of skills, gear, and equipment, you will be able to hunt coyotes, foxes, rabbits, etc., at night efficiently. Although, today, we will be focusing on how you can hunt coyotes at night, which is why we are giving you this little cheat sheet for you to prepare your night hunting with coyotes.
What are Coyotes
A coyote is a medium-sized canine. They are part of the dog family which also includes wolves and foxes.
The coyote resembles a German shepherd or husky, with pointed ears, a thin snout, and a droopy bushy tail. Coyotes are often greyish brown with red undertones behind their ears and even around their face, although their hue can range from silver-gray to black. But their tail is generally black around the tip. Finally, their eyes are typically yellowish rather than brown in color like other domestic dogs.
Coyotes may live in almost any habitat, although they favor open spaces like the grassland and deserts. Coyotes love woodland patches and shrubs in urban settings because they give refuge from humans.
Even in urbanized settings, coyotes maintain highly structured social structures. This comprises coyote packs or groups that protect the territory from several other coyote packs. Coyote packs are often made up of an alpha male and female couple, as well as a few additional coyotes. However, except for the alpha couple, genetic study of coyotes has indicated that virtually all pack members are close cousins.
Despite the fact that coyotes live in family groupings, they generally roam and hunt alone or in scattered pairings. They differ from wolves in this way, which may create the impression that coyotes do not form groups because they are generally observed alone.
Are Coyotes Easier to Hunt at Night?
Coyotes are nocturnal predators by nature. Therefore they prefer to hunt at dawn and twilight when they go out in quest of food. This makes hunting coyotes at night much easier because they are often found hunting their prey.
Due to this, night hunting has also become increasingly popular because the coyotes are the most active. However, their activity during the day rises as the weather cools.
What Is The Best Time to Call Coyotes?
As mentioned, coyotes are nocturnal predators, meaning they are most active during the night and at dusk. That time of day is their ideal time to hunt their prey. So, it would be easier for you to call them out during the night when they are out hunting and are most active.
What are Coyotes Afraid Of?
Naturally, coyotes are afraid of humans, though the more they spend more time with humans in larger populations, they get less and less fearful of them. And in turn, they would sometimes try to attack, especially if the humans are invading the coyotes’ personal space and habitat.
What is The Best Coyote Hunting Color?
A hunters’ light color would depend on their personal preferences because each light color has its pros and cons for the hunter. Not only that, but some animals are uncomfortable with specific light colors, which is why it is a matter of trial and error and, of course, the hunters’ preference on what to use during their hunt.
Below, we have listed three light colors that you might want to check out when you’re planning on hunting at night.
A red light will be much more effective in illuminating the eyes as opposed to white or green light. Utilizing red lights at night when hunting coyotes is perhaps the most conventional method, and it is less likely to impact and be invasive on your own eyes during the hunt, decreasing eye strain.
The naked eye can detect the distinction generated by green light very clearly, which can help you see objects in the dark more clearly instead of using a red light. Although, the only drawback of using a green light is that some people had reported increased eye tiredness when they used a green light in hunting.
Utilizing a white light for signaling and hunting at night provides the most precision. Not only that, but using a bright light such as a white-colored light serves as camouflage. It also gives the hunter a better idea of what’s the range to get to your target. Although, the drawback of using white-colored light is that it will have a more significant impact on your peripheral vision compared to other colored lights.
Tips for a Successful Hunt for Coyotes at Night
Type of Gun
A great coyote hunting gun can come in different types. It can depend on the hunters’ personal preference and experience. But, the best types of guns to use when going on a hunt for coyotes during the night are rifles and shotguns.
Sniper rifles are great for hunting at a long-range because they are much more precise than a pistol or a handgun. Most rifles also feature a scope that can give you a clearer image of your target. However, some scopes do not function that well during the night. Even so, rifles provide the highest precision when hunting at a farther distance. The chances of a successful hunt increase when you use a high-powered and well-built rifle.
Another great gun to use for hunting is a shotgun. Although shotguns are not as precise and accurate compared to a sniper rifle, a shotgun has the ability to fire out multiple ammo, making them ideal for hunting moving targets such as coyotes. Another reason is that shotguns are quite powerful, especially if they have a lower gauge and thicker shell. With a longer and thicker shell, the more powerful the shot of the shotgun can give you.
A scope helps a hunter get a closer and more detailed view of their target even at a long distance. But using a scope at night might be a little bit harder if the scope does not have features that would fit best for night hunting. These features are digital night vision and thermal imaging.
Ambient light is converted into a digital image that may be viewed on a screen using digital night vision devices. Most digital night vision scopes have visual quality comparable to Gen 2 classic night vision devices. Some digital night vision scopes may also be used during the day. These digital night vision scopes can also feature capabilities that can allow a hunter to record, magnify, and switch between reticles.
On the other hand, thermal imaging technology produces a visible image by using heat rather than light. This technique has high-contrast black-and-white pictures and can detect heat variations as small as 0.01° Centigrade.
Thermal imaging, like digital night vision, may be utilized during the day. Thermal imaging allows for the rapid and effortless detection of live objects. Unfortunately, the pictures might lack resolution at times, making precision shooting difficult for a few hunters.
What Ammunition/Cartridge to Use
The ammunition you use also comes into play when you go out hunting for coyotes. This is because some types of ammunition such as pellets do not have a great impact that could kill a coyote. If your goal is to only injure the coyote, then a pellet or BB will be sufficient, but if you plan on taking the coyote home, dead, then you must use a .22LR to a .30/06 and a 12-gauge cartridge.
It would be best to be prepared with the right gear because it can get quite cold during the night. So you must prepare hunting gear that is perfect for the weather. You arrange your equipment a few days before your hunt. Also, do not forget to check weather updates to make sure that the gear you use and bring for your hunt will be able to serve its purpose of protecting you from any harsh weather conditions of the night.
Know The Hunting Restrictions of your Location
Before going out hunting for coyotes at night, you must be aware of your area’s hunting restrictions. This is because some places do not allow night hunting. Some have limitations on the amount of light voltage used, while others have limits on how lights may be mounted on your weapon. You should be aware of the places that require you to inform your local sheriff’s office before going hunting.
Do your research and ask the authorities what is allowed and what is not to ensure you have a peaceful night out hunting.
Hunting requires a lot of patience because you can’t just run straight ahead, shooting at any animal you see. This can cause chaos, which we don’t want. So, when hunting, you need to be patient. Planning ahead of time and not just running straight into the hunting field.
It would help if you also waited for your prey, in this case, the coyote, to leave their habitat and go out hunting for their food. Waiting for them to go out hunting is one of the easiest ways to get them out and pursue them. But you can’t just shoot at them once they leave their habitat. You must observe them and wait for the perfect moment.
Continuously scan the surroundings for any signs of activity. A monocle viewer with thermal imaging will provide you with an excellent view of the surroundings, although it is not necessary as it can be quite expensive. But if you have the means to purchase one, then that would be a great addition. Calls should be made every three to five minutes. However, if you’ve been in one area for 45 minutes to an hour and haven’t seen a coyote, it’s definitely best to switch locations.
Plan Ahead and Always Stay Safe
Typically, undomesticated animals prefer to flee away from people, but if they feel threatened or agitated by your presence, some may pounce and attack you. In any case that you encounter a feral hog, a wolf, or even a mother with piglets, then run and relocate. They have quick reflexes and have sharp teeth, and they would be able to injure you severely. In addition, these animals tend to be very aggressive and would likely attack you if they sense your presence.
That’s why it’s a good idea to explore the area before going out at night, so you can securely flee if required. If a wild hog or a group of coyotes appears to be a bit too dangerous, the wisest choice to do is either relocate or postpone hunting for another night.
Due to the reasonably evident widespread availability of electronic calling equipment, anybody can become a competent coyote caller with the touch of a few buttons. Although electronic calls are losing their effectiveness since almost every predator hunter in the country uses one, and to the hunters’ dismay, coyotes learn very quickly. Coyotes are slowly learning how to differentiate an electronic caller from a real one.
Coyote calls are quite tricky if you’re not using an electronic caller device. So you should offer calls and vocalizations that appeal and attract coyotes without alarming nor intimidating them. According to several studies about coyotes, the most successful howl for attracting them is a lone howl that is low frequency, high pitched, and lengthy. It advertises the existence of an unfamiliar, young, tiny, non-aggressive coyote, which any other canine within hearing range will be eager to explore.
The majority of the calls are aggressive in nature which is crucial to understand the different types of calls since most coyotes will be alarmed and/or intimidated by such calls. After hearing howls, submissive coyotes will typically retreat to their core regions and stay there once they are accompanied by another member of the group or until enough time has gone for them to call back or examine.
Coyotes are one of the ultimate omnivores of nature. Coyotes will consume nearly everything they can get their jaws on, including pebbles, plastic bags, harness fasteners, and even rare rabbits. Considering this, it really doesn’t matter much what kind of prey distress call you to use. This is because most modern electronic callers can simulate anything from a deer fawn to a domestic cat as long as you set up within a coyote’s hearing range.
The term “challenge howl” is misleading because a “challenge howl” to a wolf encourages fighting. Coyotes do not behave in this manner. Instead, a “challenging howl” of a coyote threatens and demands that the outsider leave. Unlike wolves, coyotes will avoid conflicts if possible. For example, a wolf pack will pursue and kill an outsider, while a pack of coyotes will chase down an outsider, force him to submit, and then release him from the territory.
For such reasons, electronic callers should only utilize this type of call if you are confident that you are in a pack’s central area. During the whelping or denning season, a caller who sets up near a den might be provided with excellent results.
Whines and Yelps
A nonaggressive call often made by puppies is the most effective coyote call as they trigger several behavioral triggers for coyotes. You can target socialization, possessive instincts, and protective maternal/paternal instincts with just a click of a button on an electronic caller device. Although you might also be triggering their appetite as some studies show that some coyotes cannibalize puppies.
It would help if you were patient with this. Try to raise the volume and intensity of the whines and yelps before you go on and switch to a different sound to try and reach out to faraway coyotes. Doing this has shown to be highly successful in all seasons, geographical areas, and any time of day.
Tips for a Safe Hunt for Coyotes at Night
Hunting during the night for coyotes can be pretty dangerous. But there are benefits of hunting during the night, so you have to follow through with these tips to avoid any complications and have an easy, safe sailing hunt.
Scout The Area During The Day
Be smart and plan ahead by scouting the area where you’re going to hunt during the daytime. Why? This is because exploring the area beforehand can help you when you are in a dangerous situation where you might need to run or retreat.
You do not know what may happen during your hunt, especially if you’re in an area that is unfamiliar to you. Planning ahead can save your life. In any case that you feel that you are in danger, use your knowledge of the area when you scouted it beforehand to run and retreat to a safe place.
Prepare gear that fits the weather in your location because some areas can get very cold during the night. Also, always prepare for the unexpected such as using multipurpose gear. Multipurpose gears can lessen your baggage but can be used in many different ways. An example of this is a poncho. An excellent quality poncho can be used as a tent cover and, of course, a full-body cover, just in case it rains during your hunting trip.
Rain hunting gear can also be used even if it isn’t raining because rain gear can provide great warmth and insulation. Not only that, but you also become extra ready for any circumstances that it might rain during your hunt.
It’s never bad to be fully prepared for what you might face.
Bring a GPS With You
Even if you’re familiar with the area and you’ve scouted the site, if you have the means, bring a GPS. You can never be too confident because most would panic and lose their way when a dangerous situation arises. This is why having a GPS on you is one of the safest ways to assure yourself that you won’t get lost out in the night in an unfamiliar area.
But take note that your phones’ GPS is not enough. This is because some areas may have spotty or don’t even have any cell service. So, it would be in your best interest to have a separate GPS.
Always Carry a First Aid Kit With You
One of the essential hunting tips is to always carry a first aid kit with you. Being prepared for any situation is the best way to have a successful and safe hunting experience, especially if you’re hunting out at night. The very last thing you need is to ruin your hunt by cutting yourself on a limb or falling and gouging yourself. Remember, bandages and antiseptics should be included in your first-aid kit.
Have Proper Lighting
When going on a hunt during the night, you must have proper lighting equipment. Even on a moonlit night, it’s challenging to navigate in the darkness. If that is the case in a city, consider just how much more difficult it will be in a forest. Even though you investigated the area during the day, you may trip over even a stump or sprain an ankle by walking in a pit. You’ll need adequate lighting to be able to help yourself navigate throughout the area to prevent any accidents that may occur.
Check Out The Moon Phase
The saying you should always follow when hunting in the night for coyotes is that “the darker it is, the better.” Why? When the full moon is out, it is much brighter, and animals can see through the night much clearer. However, studies have also shown that animals are wary during a full moon.
A bright moon might reflect from a gleaming vehicle or window, warning a nearby animal to steer away from you. Predators call from a long distance, and they rarely approach the origin of any prey noise. Predators hunt at night time and have great night vision. So, throw even just a slight amount of light, there is no doubt that they’ll be able to immediately identify you as a threat during a full moon phase.
Stay Quiet and Minimize Movements Unless Necessary
Another important tip when you hunt coyotes during the night is to stay quiet and minimize any movement that might cause noise. Why? It’s because it is much quieter during the night, so it carries out noise far better than during the day. Also, predator movement starts when the sun slowly goes down, and it increases during the night. Because of this, it is crucial that you stay quiet as much as possible to avoid startling any coyote.
If you’re with a group, you must keep communication at a minimum, especially if you’re already close to a coyote’s habitat. Ensure that your guns, belts, shoes, or just anything that might make noise will not startle any coyote. Move with caution and use blankets to lessen any unnatural noises so that you won’t alert any predators nearby of your presence.
Scan The Area With Your Light to Find Coyotes
There’s a lot more to calling coyotes in the night than putting on a light and imitating a distressed animal or coyote vocalization. To be effective at predator hunting at night, use a high-performance hunting light to survey your hunting area. The scanning of the area should be done as quickly as possible, followed by a second scan. You are more likely to detect an incoming coyote’s eyeshine if you scan back and forth swiftly with a bright light where you anticipate seeing coyotes responding to your call. First, don’t search for a complete coyote, but rather identify the eyes that reflect from your hunting light.
Look for Eyeshine
When you scan the area with your hunting light, look for the coyote’s eyeshine or just even the reflection of your light from its eyes. The distance of a coyote can be determined when you scan the area with your light. This gives you the upper hand, giving you time to identify your target and change up your calls, depending on the coyote’s body language.
Please take note, keep your hunting light on the coyote to ensure that it is indeed a coyote rather than a different animal such as a fox, deer, raccoon because these animals give off the same eyeshine as your targeted coyotes.
Keep Your Gun Loaded
Keeping your gun loaded is an intelligent choice when hunting coyotes. However, certain situations may be unavoidable, and it would be in your best interest to be ready—Ready for any case that the coyote may become aggressive and attack you.
It is also so that you don’t have to ramble with your bullets and make a ton of noise when you get the perfect shot because you might startle the coyote. Startling the coyote might make them flee from the scene, so it would be best to have your bullets ready to avoid any unnecessary noise.
If You’re Not Shooting, Remove Your Finger from The Trigger
A vital tip to remember when hunting coyotes at night is that when you’re not planning to shoot or don’t have a clear view of your target, remove your finger from the trigger. Many accidents like this happen more than you think when somebody constantly has their finger on the trigger.
A person typically has a “flight or flight” response when they get startled or sense any danger. So, thinking that having your finger on the trigger would be best because you can get a “faster shot” if there are any predators, but in reality, having your finger on the trigger can be more dangerous to yourself and anyone with you.
Never Point Your Gun at Something that You’re Not Planning to Shoot
Many gun disasters occur on hunting trips when someone playfully aims a gun at someone, believing it is not loaded, but it is. Never point your weapon at anything other than the subject you intend to shoot to avoid any of these accidents from occurring. Pointing a gun at someone is nothing to joke about.
Identify Your Target Before You Shoot
Even when you’re hunting at night using any night vision or thermal imaging equipment, a cow or a deer in the dark can be mistaken for a bigger animal. Unfortunately, there are often times when a person mistakes an animal to be a coyote, even if it isn’t. If you want to avoid getting into conflict with farmers and law authorities, be sure you know what you’re shooting before you fire. To be sure of what you’re shooting, use hunting lights and find the animals’ eyeshine. There, you can determine if it is indeed a coyote or a different animal.
Don’t Forget To Tell Someone Where You’re Going
Lastly, when hunting for coyotes during the night, the most important tip is never to forget to tell someone where you are going, especially if you’re planning to go hunting alone. Even if you are hunting with a group or just by yourself, it is essential to inform someone of where you’re planning to hunt just in case that you don’t return home. This can help you if you are in any danger because someone would know where to find you.
These coyote hunting tips will be a great help for you during your hunting trip. Following these tips and studying coyotes will increase your success rate in catching a coyote. These coyotes are becoming more intelligent, so you must outsmart them using this guide! So, always remember to be prepared, plan ahead, stay safe, and of course, have fun!