Coyote hunting in Minnesota has grown more popular every year. However, as Minnesota’s coyote population grows, its most significant numbers are still currently found in the southwestern counties.
If you’re considering hunting coyotes in Minnesota, there are many rules and regulations you’ll need to know. As always, check for updates before making your first stand.
Minnesota considers coyotes an unprotected species. Therefore, coyotes may be hunted without a license. There is no closed season, no bag limits, nor are there any possession restrictions.
Minnesota has many other hunting opportunities just waiting for you. To purchase a license click here.
Check out the Minnesota hunting seasons.
Related: Want to learn how to hunt the coyote rut? Read this article on how to hunt coyotes during the mating season.
Related: Learn the laws for hunting fox in Minnesota.
Related: Learn the laws for hunting bobcats in Minnesota.
Using lights hunting coyotes in Minnesota.
In Minnesota, hunters may use lights while hunting fox and coyote (January 1 – March 15). However, hunters must be on foot and not within the public right of way, using shotguns only, possess a calling device, and not within 200 feet of a vehicle.
Night vision equipment.
A person may not possess any kind of night vision or thermal imaging equipment while taking wild animals or while possessing a firearm, bow, or other implement that could be used to take wild animals.
This regulation does not apply when:
- A person legally taking coyote or fox is using night vision or thermal imaging equipment, including the use of infrared illuminators to enhance night vision equipment. This exception does not apply when hunting other species or during the regular firearms deer season.
Related: Hunting coyotes and foxes at night in Minnesota? Read this how to hunt with a shotgun.
Starting with a simple scope mounted light is inexpensive—but truly an exciting way to hunt coyotes. Read this article to choose the right color of light for night hunting predators.
Infrared scopes have their value in terms of better target identification compared to thermal, but they cost a lot more. Beginners should consider the ATN X-Sight 4K Pro, but read this article before buying one.
A thermal riflescope is a major purchase. You must wait until you have determined you are addicted to coyote or predator hunting before buying one. For new hunters, I recommend the ATN Thor 4 (good for up to 150 yards). Please check out my article on ATN Thor 4 scope before buying one.
Using Lights, Night Vision, Drones, or Wireless Devices
Can I legally use lights to look at deer?
A person may not cast artificial light (for example onto a highway or into a field, or forest, etc.) to locate or take a wild animal while possessing either individually or as one of a group, a firearm, bow or other implement that could be used to take big game, small game or unprotected species.
Related: Hunting coyotes and foxes at night in Minnesota? Read this how to hunt with a shotgun.
Shining lights while coyote hunting in Minnesota.
Shining is allowed for two hours after sunset without a firearm, bow or other implement to take wild animals. From two hours after sunset until sunrise, no person may cast artificial light on a highway or into a field or forest to locate a wild animal.
A person may not cast artificial light on land that is marked with signs prohibiting the shining of lights.
The signs must:
Display letters that are at least 2 inches in height and state “no shining” or similar terms.
be placed at intervals of 500 feet or less along the boundary of an area.
A person may not cast an artificial light onto fenced agricultural land or a residential
property or building sites from a motor vehicle.
Without a firearm or a bow, a person who is on foot may use a handheld artificial light to retrieve wounded or dead big game animals.
A person taking raccoons or tending traps in accordance with all other regulations in this booklet.
It is not a violation of this law to use laser range finders or shine lights without a firearm while doing any activity not related to spotting, locating or taking a wild animal. It is also not a violation to use an electronic range finder from ½ hour before sunrise until ½ hour after sunset while lawfully hunting wild animals.
Related: Need more places to hunt? Read this article on how to get permission to hunt private land.
Weapon regulation when hunting coyotes in Minnesota.
Firearms, Bows and Crossbows
How do I legally transport my firearm?
A person may not transport a firearm, including a handgun, in or on a motor vehicle unless the firearm is:
Unloaded and fastened in a case so that no part of the firearm is exposed (a holster is not a legal case); unloaded and in the closed trunk of a motor vehicle; or a pistol or handgun authorized under the Minnesota Personal Protection Act.
Under the following circumstances, a person may transport unloaded, uncased firearms (excluding pistols) in a motor vehicle, including ATVs:
- While at a shooting range with permission.
- While lawfully hunting on private or public land or while traveling to or from a site the person intends to hunt or trap or has lawfully hunted that day.
Firearms must be transported unloaded and cased: within Anoka, Hennepin, or Ramsey counties.
As otherwise restricted in laws related to game refuges, shining, thermal imaging or night vision laws.
Related: Don’t over hunt your favorites spots. Read how to avoid over hunting a location.
What does ”unloaded” mean in Minnesota?
Unloaded means a firearm without ammunition in the barrels or magazine, if the magazine is in the firearm. A flintlock ignition is unloaded if it does not have priming powder in a pan. A percussion ignition muzzleloader is unloaded if it does not have a percussion cap on a nipple.
How do I legally transport my bow?
Archery bows and crossbows may be transported uncased in a motor vehicle but cannot be armed with a bolt or arrow. If the vehicle does not have a trunk, the firearm or bow must be placed in the rearmost location of the vehicle.
Related: What are the best hours to hunt a coyote?
Additional firearms regulations for hunting coyotes in Minnesota.
Can I shoot from my vehicle?
No person may take a wild animal with a firearm or bow from a motor vehicle, except hunters with a disability permit.
Can I hunt with a handgun?
Persons age 18 or older may carry a handgun to hunt or target shoot.
Persons under age 18 who meet firearms safety requirements (see page 34) may carry handguns for hunting under the supervision of a parent or guardian.
• Unless authorized to carry a pistol or handgun under the Minnesota Personal
Protection Act, a person may not possess a firearm while bow hunting for deer.
• A person may take bear and elk by archery while in possession of a firearm
• Persons authorized to carry a handgun or pistol under the Minnesota Personal Protection Act may carry it uncased and loaded while hunting and while traveling to or from hunting locations by motor vehicle.
A firearm is unloaded, cased, and in the closed trunk of a motor vehicle; or a bow is cased or unstrung, and in the closed trunk of a motor vehicle.
Related: Learn how far apart your coyote stands need to be.
Using electronic devices while you hunt coyotes in Minnesota.
Can I use a drone when hunting? Drones cannot be used to take big game or small game.
It is also illegal to harass hunters, trappers or anglers with a drone. No person may use aircraft over a WMA in a manner that chases, herds, scares, or otherwise disturbs wildlife, except in
emergencies or by authorization of the wildlife manager. Drones may not be flown over wildlife management areas.
Can I use wireless devices to take game?
• No. Using walkie talkies, cell phones, remote control or other radio equipment, including drones, to take big game or small game is unlawful.
Other electronic equipment regulations:
• A person may use radio equipment without a permit to take unprotected wild animals.• Dog training collars are allowed.
• Motorized decoys controlled by remote may be used for taking migratory waterfowl or mourning doves where allowed.
• A remote controlled animal noise caller can be used for crows, furbearing animals and unprotected animals.
• Unattended electronic devices may not be used for taking wild animals.
Other regulations for coyote hunting in Minnesota.
Hunting while under the influence.
You may not hunt or be afield with a loaded or uncased firearm or an uncased bow while under the influence of a controlled substance or with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher.
Hunter/trapper harassment prohibited
A person may not prevent or disrupt another person from taking or preparing to take a wild animal. A person may not disturb wild animals with the intent to prevent or disrupt another person from hunting.
What should I do if there’s an accidental shooting?
A person who shoots and injures another person with a firearm, or believes that another person might be injured, and any witnesses to a shooting, must immediately investigate the extent of the person’s injuries and give reasonable assistance, including calling law enforcement or medical personnel to the scene.
A person must allow inspection in the field of firearms, licenses, wild animals, motor vehicles, boats, or other conveyances used while taking or transporting wild animals.
Wild animals that are unlawfully taken, bought, sold or possessed may be seized and confiscated. The person may be liable for wildlife restitution in addition to criminal fines.
Personal property such as firearms, traps and archery equipment that were unlawfully used may be seized and confiscated.
Blaze clothing requirements required for coyote hunting in Minnesota?
Hunter safety is a top priority. Blaze clothing has been found to be one factor that has helped make hunting one of the safest sports/activities.
• All hunters and trappers in the field during the open firearms/muzzleloader deer seasons must display blaze orange or pink on the visible portion of the person’s cap and outer clothing above the waist, excluding sleeves and gloves.
• When no firearms/muzzleloader deer season is open, a person may not take small game unless the visible portion of at least one article of clothing above the waist isblaze orange or pink. See exceptions noted below.
Exceptions: Blaze clothing is not required when no firearms/muzzleloader deer season is open if:
Hunting raccoons and predators (coyote, fox, bobcat).
Trespass laws apply when hunting coyotes in Minnesota.
The trespass law applies to all outdoor recreation, including: hunting, boating, fishing, trapping, hiking, and camping. When taking part in outdoor recreation, you may not enter legally posted land or agricultural land without permission.
Landowners, lessees, or authorized managers need only post their land once a year.
The signs must be placed at intervals of 1,000 feet (500 feet in wooded areas) or signs may be placed at primary corners of each parcel and at access points to the property.
Signs must state “No Trespassing,” or similar words, in 2-inch high letters and have either the signature or the name and telephone number of the landowner, lessee, or manager.
There can be civil or criminal penalties for violation of the trespass laws with maximum fines up to $3,000 and license revocation. All conservation officers and peace officers enforce trespass laws. If you have doubts about whether you may be trespassing on private land, ask the landowner for permission.
A person may not enter legally posted land for outdoor recreation purposes without permission.
• A person may not enter agricultural land for outdoor recreation purposes without permission.
• A person may not remain on or return within one year to any private land for outdoor recreation purposes after being told to leave by the owner, occupant or lessee.
On another person’s private land or a public right-of-way, a person may not discharge a firearm within 500 feet of a building occupied by humans or livestock without written permission of the owner, occupant or lessee of the building. This does not apply to people hunting on their own property.
• A person may hunt from the water, a private shooting preserve, or from public land that is within 500 feet of a building occupied by humans or livestock.
• A person may not discharge a firearm within 500 feet of a corral of one acre or less confining livestock for the purpose of normal livestock holding or sorting operations without permission. This does not apply to persons hunting during an established season on state or local government-owned land that is not road right-of-way.
A person may not take a wild animal on any land where the person is prohibited from lawfully entering by this law. This prohibition includes coyote hunters intentionally running their dogs on posted or agricultural land without permission of the landowner, occupant, or lessee.
• A person on foot may, without permission, enter land that is not posted to retrieve a wounded wild animal that was lawfully shot, but may not remain on the land after being told to leave.
A person on foot may, without permission, enter private land without a firearm to retrieve a hunting dog. After retrieving the dog, the person must immediately leave the premises. This exception does not authorize the taking of the wild animal.
A person on foot may, without permission, enter land that is posted with “Walk-In Access” signs.
Permission is required on agricultural land even if it’s not posted.
Hunters and trappers must always respect private lands. Ask first before entering lands not posted as being open to hunting and trapping.
Notification to stay off private land, authorization to remove a sign posted to prevent trespass, or legal permission to enter private land or to take wild animals near occupied buildings or corrals, may only be given by the owner, occupant, or lessee.
What is agricultural land in Minnesota.
“Agricultural land” is land that: 1) is plowed or tilled; 2) has standing crops or crop residues; 3) is within a maintained fence for enclosing domestic livestock (including horses); 4) is planted to native or introduced grassland or hay land; or 5) is planted to short-rotation woody crops (hybrid poplar and other woody plants that are harvested for their fiber within 15 years of planting).
Posting is not required on lands considered agricultural, including:
All planted grassland and hay land.
All hybrid poplar and other woody plants harvested for fiber within 15 years of planting.