Hunting Coyotes at Night: A Beginner’s Guide

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Introduction

Hunting coyotes is just fantastic fun, and although inconvenient, it’s absolutely best done at night and here we have put together a guide for how you hunt Coyotes at night.

At night, both the weather and physics can be used to your advantage. Consider the way sound travels, always further at night than at day. There is also the possibility of less wind during the night. It is the perfect combination to make a call useful in your hunt, and this leads to success.

Most tactics will help you track the coyotes, and you will know where they are. However, you must understand that coyotes are less responsive to calls at night than they would at day time. When setting up a place consider one that is against the wind as the coyotes always travel downwind, and that is towards the wind. 

The bottom line is that you will be well hidden at night, but you can make more effort and get proper cover to blend in well with the environment. 

Tips for Hunting Coyotes at Night Successfully

Understanding the Law When Hunting Coyotes at Night

When it comes to hunting coyotes at night, different states have different rules and regulations. You must understand the laws of the area you want to hunt in. In some states, it is illegal to use artificial lights. In such cases, using a shotgun is highly recommended. 

The Best Season to Hunt Coyotes at Night

Usually, coyotes are active, no matter the season, and this means you get the chance to hunt them pretty much whenever you like. In the summer, there is no competition. However, I prefer to hunt coyotes the entire winter and late fall. It is because it is the fur-bearing season, and I am usually after the fur. 

Hunting in snow makes it easy to spot the coyotes on the contrasting white background. It is also easy to track their paws on the snow, and you will know a new trail. If you combine a full moon and the snow, then hunting at night without lights might just be your new preference. 

Pre-Scouting

Scouting beforehand helps you understand the terrain you will hunt in. You can leave marks during the day to act as your guide in the night. Driving at night is also not easy and often makes a lot of noise that can alert the coyotes of your presence. Pre scouting aids you in getting the best standpoints and knowing the locations of the coyote population. 

Practice Patience

Coyotes are most active at night and they also prefer to use the night for their hunts and general living. At night they are most productive and happy. Do not be fooled that they make easier targets than when the light of day is on. Therefore you need to be as patient as you would in the daytime. Perhaps even more. 

When you make a call at night, do not expect the coyotes to come rushing in. You must understand the right call to make, and even when you do, some may stroll after half an hour or not. All this time, you have to be still as sometimes they pop up in directions you did not expect. 

Laying still for half an hour or more for a coyote sounds absurd. But in the end, it will all be worth it. I have tried and have the rewards most of the time. Hunting coyotes at night will always put you at a disadvantage because you are hunting an animal that has better hearing and vision in the dark. It is difficult to trick coyotes at night, which makes patience your best strategy.  

I have seen many impatient hunters who change spots every time a coyote does not respond to a call. As an experienced hunter, I also made the same rookie mistake. But every single time I was more patient, a coyote showed up in my spot. 

The Hunting Position

It is illegal to hunt on top of vehicles in many states; therefore, the best hunting position, in my view, is the standing point. I find that it gives me more views of my area and I can see my targets quite easily. When in the dark, there is enough camouflage if you have dark clothes on, and there might be no need to hide under bushes. 

Sitting vs. Standing Up

Sitting down might be more comfortable, but the results are more prudent when I tried shooting standing up. I discovered that I was more aware of my surroundings and therefore had the upper hand when a coyote showed up. 

Any time you go hunting, it is always about the perspective you choose. Sometimes you may want to see your prey from above and at times from below hence why people sprawl to the ground. However, I prefer standing up at night because I have the cover of darkness and can see a coyote approaching 

It all comes down to the perspective. Sometimes you want to see your prey from above, just like a coyote does. So, by standing up, you will get a chance to predict the coyote’s move, not to mention that you’ll see the animal when it starts approaching.

When using an electric call, try putting it below where you have made your stand.  A coyote’s head is much lower to the ground. When they rush to the call, they will not see you, and this will make you have the time to get the right shot placement. 

Use of Thermal, Lights, or Night Vision

Hunting at night is not easy, and you will need devices to aid your hunt. The use of high-quality thermal tools will make it easy to spot coyotes many yards from your stand when you are concealed in total darkness. 

It is practically impossible to scan with your weapon as it will wear your out quickly. You should consider a monocular thermal as it is quiet and will not scare any approaching prey or predator. If you decide to scour the darkness using lights, I found the wicked light kit with a scanner mounted on my gun to be ideal.

It is perfect as it solves the debate of which light color is ideal since it merges all three standard colors in one view. I tried using my night vision, as well. It worked best when I also used a high powered IR scan to illuminate my targets. The advantage of night vision is that you can still use it through glass and, therefore, can drive to hunting spots with the lights of your truck off.

I would highly recommend that you check out our guide on ATN X-sight 4k if you are on the hunt for a cheap night vision scope, it’s perfect for Coyote hunting at night but it’s just as good for hunting wild hogs at night.

How to Use Predator Hunting Lights 

The Best Light Color

Every hunter has their favorite light they prefer to use when hunting coyotes. However, studies show that coyotes will more than likely come to white lights than any other color. It is all a matter of preference, but green seems to be more popular among hunters than the red light. 

Scanning

When scanning, try to move the light back and forth fast to catch the predator’s eye instead of its full body. The moment you catch sight of a coyote, you should be ready to make a quick hit. Coyotes are swift and will gracefully disappear into the darkness.

When hunting with a partner, you can split the field in half, but be careful not to overlap. Scan until you see something and only take a shot when it is safe to do so. 

It would help if you scanned back and forth very fast, intending to catch the predator’s eyes other than its full body. It would help if you then hit quickly before this animal, which is such swift, escapes from your sight. If you are doing it with a partner, you need to split the field into half without overlapping, then scan until you can see something.

Halo the Animals

After identifying the coyote’s pair of eyes, use the edge of your light as a halo effect to help follow the animal. You should avoid shining the brightest part of the beam directly into the eyes of the predator, and once you hit the eyes, ensure that you don’t take off the light. 

Remember that the light is also your camouflage, and the coyote cannot see you when the light is shining on its eyes. However, not all coyotes respond the same way, and you should observe the body language of the animal you are hunting. 

Wiggle the Light

It is especially useful when you are hunting with a partner. Sometimes it can be a cameraman or another hunter. When you wiggle the light, you communicate to them that the animal is in your line of sight. It is a non-verbal communication that does not spook or alert the coyotes of your presence. 

Shooting Distance at Night

Judging distance at night is the most challenging thing hunters face when shooting animals at a distance. It is advisable to make mental notes of the range before you start to make any calls to the coyote. If you are hunting with a partner, you should agree on estimates of the field, and both of you must be aware of the terrain beforehand. 

As a safety rule, I never shoot at targets beyond the 125-yard mark since it is difficult to tell what lurks beyond the darkness. It may be another animal, hunter, dogs, or fawn. And this is what makes me avoid having accidents in the woods. 

Understanding the Phase of the Moon

Which moon phase is the most ideal for hunting coyotes at night? It is a question I always get from beginner hunters. Most canines prefer to hunt when there is moonlight. It is why you must use lights as camouflage since the coyote’s eyes must adjust to your light source when you shine it on their faces. 

How to Hunt Coyotes at Night without a Light

Why would anyone go hunting at night without lights? It even sounds absurd, but for the experienced hunter, it is becoming a preference as the results are often rewarding. There is no risk of exposure that may come when using artificial light, and that’s the primary reason. 

It is not easy to hunt anything in the dark when you cannot see them. The idea here is to follow the moon phases and schedule your hunts on the days that the moon is shining bright. 

The moonlight, when hunting a nocturnal animal like a coyote, is an advantage as you can see it from far away. In return, you can lure it to your location or an open area where you can get a decent shot placement. 

The trick for hunting at night is also stealth. Any sound will bring the coyote to your presence as sounds travel much faster at night. The slightest noise can be too loud, and you do not want to risk that. 

Most Popular Coyote Calls

Conclusion

When there is darkness as a hunter, you are always at a disadvantage. As humans, we are yet to evolve and thrive in darkness fully. Still, we have an edge over coyotes when hunting at night, but only if you have the right gear and hunt under the right circumstances. Well. If you haven’t yet checked our article on Coyote Hunting Gear, you are missing out.

Understanding how to hunt and call coyotes at night is something that takes practice. You will probably spend more than a few nights out there, trying to catch one, until you get some results. 

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