Coyote hunting is an excellent way for hunters to hone their shooting and tracking skills all year round. Permits are easy to apply for, beginners are welcomed, and best of all, there's an abundance of game in the country!
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What Beginners Should Know About Successful Coyote Hunting
What Is the Point of Coyote Hunting?
Coyotes are everywhere, so it's not really much of a prize for a hunter to bring home one or two coyotes from a single trip. Plus, there are plenty of other games that taste better. Why would you hunt coyotes?
Some of the most common reasons include:
1. Practice Hunting
Whether you're a newbie hunter who has never shot a wild animal before or a tenured hunter who hasn't gone on a hunting trip in a few years now, you can practice your skills through coyote hunting.
What makes coyotes the perfect target practice is there's an abundance of them. In most states, there are no daily/seasonal limits, so hunters are free to shoot down or bring home as many of these canines as they want.
2. Bounty Hunting
Ranchers and farmers often hire hunters to shoot down stray coyotes attacking their livestock. In cases like these, it's best to prioritize efficiency and speed rather than having fun. Remember: you're not hunting for sport, but rather to make a living.
3. Land Scouting
Let's face pre-hunt scouting is boring. Rather than just going around the area tracking game activity, why not sharpen your skills by shooting down a few coyotes along the way.
4. Skin and Sell Hide
There are seasons where coyote hide can be sold for around $20 to $30 per piece. If you shoot enough coyotes and collect large, high-quality hide, you might be able to make a decent profit.
What Is Needed for Coyote Hunting?
Preparation is the key to success. Before you head out on your trip, make sure you have all the essentials including your coyote hunting rifles, hunting boots, and pocket knife, among others.
What Is the Best Time to Hunt Coyotes?
Coyotes are nocturnal canines, so it's definitely a good idea to go coyote hunting at night. Set the actual hunting session anywhere from 5:00 P.M. to 5:00 A.M. for a more exciting and active hunting experience.
Pro Tip: Do not underestimate the night vision prowess of coyotes. The only way you'll be able to land a shot on one of these canines is if you have a reliable hunting lamp with you.
What Is the Best Bait for Coyote Hunting?
One of the best ways to lure coyotes into your hunting site is to use high-quality bait. Choose something that will drive their animalistic instincts wild, cause them to ignore subtle signs of threat, and dive into your trap.
There are plenty of baits in hunting shops, but we discourage using them. Bear in mind that coyotes are some of the smartest predators in the wild and their keen sense of smell will alert them right away if something's off. Trust us, store-bought bait is not something they'll fall for.
Instead, try using natural options you can find in the wild such as the remains and carcasses of strong-smelling animals such as:
Deer carcasses are much larger than other small game so they emit stronger, more potent scents. Plus, coyotes naturally prey on deer, so the scent of a dead deer—if positioned properly—is guaranteed to attract at least a handful of coyotes.
The best way to get your hands on deer carcasses is to look for roadkill. Deer-car collisions are very common in America. In fact, there are around 1,000,000 cases of deer-car collisions annually in the country.
Note: Make sure your state does not have any regulations against the hauling of dead deer.
Coyotes don't have as much access to beavers as they do to deers. It's fair to say that coyotes see beavers the same way humans see junk foods, candies, and chocolates. They may be willing to take the risk if a rare treat like beaver carcass is used as bait.
Bear in mind, however, that some states have strict regulations regarding beaver protection. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the law and only acquire beaver carcasses through safe, legal means.
Perhaps the most efficient option to use as bait on your coyote hunting trip is hog/pig carcass. Pig and hog carcasses are cheap, but they project a powerful, potent scent that's guaranteed to attract the attention of any coyote within a hundred-meter radius.
Now, they might not be as attractive to coyotes as deers and beavers, but they're a lot easier to acquire. In fact, you can ask your local hog farmer if they have any hog carcasses that need to be disposed of.
Extra Bait: Afterbirth
If you're not comfortable using animal carcass as bait, try afterbirth. These are the fetal membranes and placenta that female animals expel while birthing.
Just be careful not to touch these bodily fluids directly. These are disgusting—even more so than carcasses—so make sure you use a pair of gloves and a secure container when transporting the afterbirth.
Can You Eat Coyote Meat?
There are many game hunters that choose to eat their prey. In fact, it's a tradition for hunters to feast on the pheasant, deer, or duck they bring home after a hunting trip. Why should coyote meat be any different?
For hunters who are wondering, yes, wolf meat is definitely edible. However, if you're asking whether you should eat the meat or not, the answer might depend on a case-by-case basis.
The meat itself is edible, but it's also not very tasty. Many people complain that coyote meat tastes a bit too tough and gamey for their liking. Meanwhile, others simply feel that coyotes aren't appetizing.
What to Do With Coyote Carcasses?
If you're hunting purely for sport or to collect a bounty, you can just leave the carcasses on the ground. For those who plan to skin the coyote and sell the hide, make sure to dispose of the skinned carcass properly.
You can either bury or burn them, depending on where you reside. The worst you can do, however, is to skin the wolf, collect the hide, and just leave the carcass out on your neighborhood dumpster.
Check out this video by Informed Outdoors and find out 3 Beginners Coyote Hunting Mistakes:
Overall, coyote hunting is an acclaimed sport for hunters of all levels. You can scan terrains while tracking your game, sharpen shooting and tracking skills, or just stay active during the off-season. Different hunters have varying goals.
Just make sure to prepare for the trip beforehand. An abundance of prey doesn't automatically equate to a great hunting session. If you forego basic coyote hunting gear preparation tactics, don't expect to bring home even a single coyote back from your trip.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on January 15, 2020, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.