We have all seen coyotes while we were deer hunting. Is there anything more frustrating than hearing footsteps from your stand only to turn and see a coyote trotting through your set up? These dogs are definitely not “man’s best friend” when it comes to your hunting lease.

Lucky for you, (not so much for the coyote) most states have very liberal coyote hunting seasons and regulations. Of course, it’s always best to check your local laws before it you hunt, but it’s a good bet you can hunt them late into the winter and even into spring.

Off-season Hunting

Most of us hate to see hunting season fade away. Spring with all its pollen and summer with its blazing heat make all deer hunters long for fall months. The truth is that it doesn’t have to fade away, at least not so soon. If you haven’t tried coyote hunting, now is the perfect time for many reasons. First, as it gets colder across much of the country, hungry coyotes are up and looking for food more than ever. A new coat of snow on your lease really brings them out to hunt and makes them much easier to see. To make it even funner, breeding season for coyotes starts in January and can go through March. Just like during the whitetail rut, sightings can really start to climb now. Hey, even a coyote needs love!

Calling Coyotes

Calling can get a little tricky and like most other types of game calls, it takes practice and some know- how. The “what call and when to use it” is what makes good predator hunters good. Typically speaking, coyotes are hunters and eaters first and that makes food their weakness. A rabbit or squirrel in distress call has been the downfall of more dogs than any other call.

Coyote Hunting Tactics

The rest of coyote hunting is simply hunting like you always do. Good cover (camo), scent control and hunting the wind pared with a little patience should pay off nicely. Most serious coyote hunters have a favorite coyote weapon or round. While it’s nice to have, a high powered rifle isn’t a requirement. Many coyotes have been killed with buck shot coming into thick cover downwind. On the other hand, a good slug gun or the muzzle-loader you use to deer hunt can also get the job done.

For those of us that enjoy a hunting lease, a little predator culling is not just a good time, but can have a pretty dramatic effect on the deer population on your lease. It also gives you a sometimes rare look at how the deer move through your lease. Since the leaves and foliage are mostly gone, trails tend to stand out more and travel patterns become clear. Once you have that information, you start to see new opportunities and tree stand locations for next year.

Now, throw in a little shed hunting and you have yourself a downright enjoyable day on the lease