The Excitement of Coyote Hunting 

Video predator hunting at night

“Right there, right there,” my wife excitedly whispered as she shined the light on two fast-approaching coyotes. After only a few seconds of calling, coyotes had responded to our calls on our first night hunt.

In February of 2021, my home state of Missouri began legalizing hunting coyotes with artificial light. For many years, infrared, artificial light, or thermal imaging to pursue coyotes had been prohibited. However, as of February 2021, the Missouri Department of Conservation instated a new law allowing landowners or persons with the landowner’s permission to pursue coyotes and wild hogs at night while using artificial lights. With the new laws in effect, many predator hunters could partake in more opportunities to pursue their passion of calling coyotes. As for me, the new laws provided an opportunity to introduce my wife to predator hunting for the first time. After having a successful first calling stand on our first night of hunting, I think it is safe to say that she is hooked.

Hunting coyotes is an exciting time that hunters enjoy, no matter what time of day. Add the thrill of being in complete darkness during the middle of the night, only to see your surroundings down the beam of a hunting light, and the thrill level becomes indescribable. For predators hunters who have never called at night or for the ones who have never predator hunted at all, night hunting is a must-try. Below are three tips to successfully get started calling coyotes at night.

Pre-Scout During Daylight Hours

One of the biggest thrills of night-hunting coyotes is the uncertainty of what is in the distance, remaining unseen; this also is one of the biggest challenges.

Not being accustomed to the surroundings before trying to call coyotes can cause a calling stand to be unsuccessful in many ways. The way a coyote is most likely to approach, obstacles that could detour an approaching coyote, and a safe range to shoot are all things that can only be identified by scouting during daylight hours before the hunt. When I know I will be hunting an area at night, I check the area out a few days prior. I don’t recommend scouting the area where you will be night hunting on the same day due to the risk of spooking predators from the area or leaving human scent.

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When scouting an area for night coyote hunting, look for the signs that confirm coyotes are living in the area. Next, find different locations where the visual field extends for a long distance, even when the sun has gone down. Also, be sure to find several exact locations where to sit when you return to hunt—knowing the exact locations of where you will be calling days before hunting will put you in the best scenario for successful calling in coyotes.

Call Placement

The Excitement of Coyote Hunting

One of the biggest mistakes that beginners will make is setting their electronic caller in the wrong location. It is vital to remember that the only way to see approaching coyotes is by hunting lights only. Typically, most hunting lights shine a beam a couple of hundred yards away. Yes, using lights can help identify the reflection of eyes several hundred yards away. However, the coyote needs to be much closer to make a successful shot. When placing an electronic caller out in front of you, it is vital to remember the effective shooting range. If the caller is set a hundred yards away and a coyote only comes within a hundred yards of the sounds, the coyote is likely out of shooting range. Instead, place the caller at a closer range when hunting at night. By keeping the call at close range, predators will be more likely in shooting range when responding to the calls.

Night Hunting Light Selection And Use

After spending time and effort finding a great location to hunt and placing the caller, the name of the game is now having and using the proper lights. Not only are lights needed to see approaching coyotes, but they are also needed when making the shot.

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Many hunters question the best light for hunting, whether green, red, white, or other colors. The correct answer to that question is using the light with the best results. I wish there were a more specific answer, yet the only way to know what light works the best is to simply try them and see what you like, what provides the most success, and then narrow your selections.

A scanning light is a light that you or a hunting partner use to scan the area back and forth to catch movement or glowing eyes. When using a scanning light, it is crucial to keep the beam of light on the coyote the entire time as they are approaching. When the beam of light is taken off the animal, the risk of being seen is highly probable. In my personal experience, I prefer using a red or white light as my scan light and a red or green light on my weapon light. A white or red light seems to reach a long distance, and both work well for concealment until ready to make the shot. Recently, I have been using the Hunters Specialties/Johnny Stewart Predator Spotlight. The Johnny Stewart light can change from white, red, or green by the push of the button. As for my weapon light, I use the TruGlo LED Predator Hunting Light, mounted directly to my scope with the included scope mount. The TruGlo Predator Light is lightweight, which keeps my rifle from being too bulky and heavy when hunting. I can also control the 300-lumen output light by pushing a button directly on the back of the light or by using the optional pressure switch that is included and can be mounted to the side of the rifle near the trigger.

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The Excitement of Coyote Hunting

When using my TruGlo Predator Light, I prefer keeping the light off until a coyote has been spotted with a scanning light. I typically have my wife or another hunting partner use the scan light on most occasions. By letting them do the scanning, I do not have to wave my rifle back and forth to use the attached light. Scanning with my rifle creates more unnecessary movement for coyotes to spot when responding to the call. As soon as we spot a coyote with our scanning light, I immediately turn on the TruGlo light and keep the rifle and light on the coyote until ready to shoot. If hunting by yourself, I recommended keeping the rifle on a tripod or bipod and using a scanning light until a coyote is spotted; quickly get on it with a weapon light, then turn off the scan light to make the shot.

The thrill of an approaching coyote during the night hours is unexplainable. The adrenaline created from the unknown in the darkness is a rush in itself—and knowing that success is never out of sight of a hunting light when done correctly is the cherry on top.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>