How to locate a Coyote’s Spring and Summer Den

Coyotes do not stay inside their dens all year, but during the summer they’ll stay closer to their den than at any other time. Here’s the best way to quickly locate a coyote den.

Who might look for coyote dens?

  1. Farmers trying to locate a coyote or group of coyotes preying on livestock, chicken, or ducks.
  2. Predator control workers attempting to trap and remove nuisance coyotes.
  3. Predator hunters looking for coyotes during their peak population numbers.

Most coyote dens are easy to recognize.

In the summer, sometimes it’s as evident as a group of small pups standing in or near a hole as much as two feet wide, with coyote tracks running back and forth to the opening.

Harder dens to find will be in thickets, under logs or overturned trees, and in the sides of hills or banks. But even here, the excavated soil mounded in front of the entrance is a dead giveaway.

Looking for a few photos of coyote dens in various locations? Click here.

Howling early in the morning.

Coyotes with pups have an irresistible urge to return any howl they hear near their dens. With at least one, if not both, coyotes typically being near their dens between 2 to 3 hours after dawn, a howl should elicit a response and give you a general idea of where they are calling from.

Pro Tip: After you get a response, note the direction it came from and the howl volume. Then change your location, moving closer to the sound of the returned howl. After at least an hour has passed, howl again. Note any changes in volume and direction to narrow down the probable location of the den before taking the next step.

Approach from downwind.

Expect the adults to be on full alert. The female will likely be in the den, with the male nearby and actively patrolling the area. You must not announce your approach on the wind. Say stealthy and stay downwind.

Expect to be detected.

Every coyote den will have several nearby areas of hidden resting places and observation posts. The adults use these shrubs or areas of tall grass to watch over their dens and provide quick concealment for the pups. It’s a good bet that you will be busted, but this can be more of a help than a hindrance.

If you are spotted first, the adult will alert the pups by emitting a short, low woof sound. This warning call is a very short-range call, intended to travel just far enough for the puppies to hear it but not alert other potential predators to the den’s location. This woof sound is all the proof you need that you are very close to the den.

If you spot an adult coyote first, keep an eye on it. The moment the coyote detects you, it will stare in your direction for a moment and then turn to look directly at its den.

Interested in taking a deeper dive into dens?

Here’s an outstanding, if nearly 100 years old, article on Dens.

Den Hunting as a Means of Coyote Control.

Could a fox be your target animal, then read my article on Locating Fox Dens here:

Now, go out more fur in the back of the truck.

Banner photo credit: Shutterstock/Warren Metcalf

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr.

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr. is a former Marine Sergeant and the author of several books, including two on night hunting coyotes and red and gray fox. He has written several hundred articles on predator hunting for

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