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Close-up shot of a Coyote looking to the side with a rock stone background

Coyote Hunting: Everything You Need to Know!

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Coyote hunting is a very different type of hunting to your traditional deer, small game, or waterfowl hunts.

You won’t be hunting these guys for the sake of a good meal, you hunt to limit a rapidly growing population. As a result, you also don’t have to worry about bag limits, tickets, lotteries, and seasons — you just snag your firearm of choice and head out.

Coyotes are resilient and adaptable predators and absolutely love to go for the local cats and small dogs. Although they’re typically not a threat to humans, they’re still cunning predators that need to be kept in check.

In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about coyote hunting!

Let’s get into it —

Coyote hunting

A lil’ Coyote Hunting History

I’m gonna be completely honest, the history behind coyote hunting isn’t exactly a grand and riveting tradition. For most of history, coyote hunting has just been a simple practice of pest control and sport.

Way back in the day, Native American tribes would hunt them for their pelts and as a rite of passage for boys entering adulthood (why don’t we do that no more?)

When the European settlers came over, coyote hunting turned into more of a protection of livestock and property, which is mostly how it remains today.

Coyote hunting is a whole separate category in the hunting community because it’s an activity that is typically not about sustenance; but protection and conservation.

So Why Is It Different from Other Types of Hunting?

I’m glad you asked!

First off, I want it to be known that coyotes are super fun to hunt. They’re incredibly intelligent and adaptable animals with a wonderful sense of smell, hearing, and vision. I will say that because of their elusive and agile nature, they’re a fairly difficult game to go after, but that’s all just part of the challenge.

To me, coyote hunting feels like a strategic game of wits, and not just brute force with a gun that goes “boom”.

More importantly, the reason I love coyote hunting so much is that it’s a necessary activity to protect local ecosystems and livestock.

Because of their predatory nature and adaptability, they love to go after house animals and other local wildlife that can easily plummet in numbers the higher the number of coyotes.

Coyotes breed quickly so their populations can often run rampant.

As a result, there’s a certain need for hunters like us to go out and take care of this highly evolved pest.

Although I’m not going to use the meat (I use the fur!), I still feel a great sense of purpose and accomplishment every time I land a kill — because that kill will help protect my local ecosystems, wildlife, and house pets.

A coyote wanders the fields on a sunny day in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, United States

When Is The Coyote Hunting Season?

Year ’round baby!

Unlike other game species that have a defined season, coyote hunting is allowed year-round in most jurisdictions. This is to manage their burgeoning populations effectively and help prevent damage to local ecosystems.

Coyotes only breed once a year around late winter/early spring, and have a very short gestation period which is why their populations grow so rapidly.

This is why you’ll rarely see bag limits and restrictions placed on coyote hunting because as long as you’re not a rambo-maniac killer who needs tons of daily coyote kills to keep going – you’re probably not going to hurt coyote conservation.

What firearms are best for Coyote Hunting?

I’m just going to tell you what we typically use, with some alternatives.

Personally, for coyote hunting, I’ve always gone with my .243 Winchester. The range on it is just really convenient when it comes to trying to outsmart the coyotes in my area, as I typically have much longer vision through the scope than they do.

I also like the Winchester for how flat the trajectory is compared to the velocity, which is just super helpful when it comes to how precise you’re going to have to be with these guys.

I also like to preserve the pelt for use later, so I like to use soft-point bullets to prevent as much damage to the pelt as possible.

If you’re not a big Winchester fan, I’d go for anything with flat trajectory and high-ish velocity. Remington has some great options, so I’d start the search there!

If you’re not too worried about the range and want to go for a shotgun, I’d go with a 12 or 20-gauge and use No. 4 Buckshot bullets.

If you’re wondering what else you should look for when choosing a firearm, check out my guide on just that right here!

Fun fact: Did you know you can legally hunt coyotes with handguns? Not really the way I swing but if you’re an experienced hunter and wanna try it, let me know how it goes!

Sports shooting. Hunter reloading cartridge. Smoke from the trunks of smooth-bore hunting rifle

How Difficult is Coyote Hunting?

It’s worth noting that coyote hunting is actually quite a bit more challenging compared to most other game species.

Predators, even coyotes, are hunters themselves — and thus stalking them often turns into a game of wits and who is the “better hunter”.

They’re super elusive, intelligent, and have keen senses that vastly outdo those of us humans.

I wouldn’t recommend going out in the brushes for these guys if you’re not already an experienced hunter.

You’re going to have to max out your stealth tree, put your patience hat on, and ensure you have very very sharp shooting skills.

Why don’t we eat coyote meat?

Well, you technically can. However, in addition to being dry and just not tasting very good, the meat tends to have more parasites than in most other animals.

This means that the cooking process is long, and even after all that you’re still at risk of consuming parasites that will be less than pleasant for you.

Coyote fur however is a great fabric that you can keep, sell or turn into garments and accessories!

Coyote biting a carcass

Coyote Hunting; Fun, Challenging, Highly Satisfying

Coyote hunting is a challenging and difficult part of our sport, but because of the need for population control and its role in maintaining the balance of local ecosystems (as well as protecting the cats), it is one of the more satisfying ways of hunting should you succeed.

It’s a little lame to not be able to use the meat on the animal, but I find that the task of outwitting another predator gives me a thrill and sense of accomplishment that traditional hunting just doesn’t provide.

If you’re an experienced or seasoned hunter, I truly recommend you give it a shot (get it???).

You might not succeed on your first try, but the skills you learn going after these animals are ones that translate wonderfully into all other kinds of hunting — which is why I will often use coyote hunting as my “off-season” training (since you can hunt them year-round).

Good luck, and happy hunting!

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