Hunting Coyotes at Night: 8 Proven Strategies for Success

Hunting coyotes at night is my passion and my profession. It is the one hunting sport that, properly prepared for, you can be successful at on your first night. But I warn you now; night hunting coyotes is addictive. You’ll never be satisfied, even on your best night. And just when you think you have mastered the sport, landowners, ranchers, and farmers will start asking you to protect their land.

Hunting coyotes at night
Dennis V. Gilmore Jr. with a large eastern coyote taken at night.

Hunting coyotes at night means tricking a coyote into coming to you using sounds heard in nature that you artificially replicate by the use of a mouth, hand, or electronic caller. Then using a light, infrared or thermal scope, you will locate, identify, range, and take that targeted coyote.

Related: Read my article on “How to create the perfect coyote bait pile.” A bait pile can almost guarantee you’ll kill a coyote at night.

1. Myths about hunting coyotes at night.

Hunting coyotes at night uses all the same tactics as during the day, but it is easier, more productive, and less expensive. There really aren’t any ”tricks” you have to use. You certainly do not need to buy any costly gear. If I had to limit myself to one tip, it would be: Don’t buy anything except for light (to put on your old shotgun or rifle) your entire first season.

If you have never hunted coyotes before, be sure to check out this article, “Coyote hunting tips and tactics for new hunters.”

Author’s note: If you eventually decide to buy some of the more expensive products I mention, I urge you to consider any product protection agreement offered. Night hunting coyotes is filled with slips, trips, falls, and broken scopes. 

Related: Here is why night hunting coyotes is so productive, When is the best time to hunt coyotes?

Coyote hunting at night.
Photo Credit: Dane Kitner.

Dane Kitner is part of KeyStone Predator Management. Dane removes livestock killers from farms and ranches and he can’t afford to sit on empty stands all night. Dane recommends using sounds, especially his favorites ACE ‘N’ ANN PAIR (2-Year-old male & female coyotes pair howls) and BO ‘N’ EVE PAIR (Young male and young female coyotes pair howling). According to Dane, “It seems like every time I need to get them going, I hit one of those two, and they just light up.”

You can hunt coyotes at night in your work clothes.

It is a long and repeatedly disproven myth that you must wear a ghillie suit to hunt coyotes. Trust me, or look it up on Youtube; you can take a coyote in broad daylight while wearing a Santa Suit. At night, the coyotes will never see you at all. Save your money; you don’t need camouflage clothing for coyote hunting.

And even if you work in a perfume factory and will be hunting in your work clothes, you don’t need any scent-killing products. I’m 99% sure they are all garbage, but that is irrelevant. You will be ”playing the wind,” and the coyotes will never get a chance to smell you.

The last myth I want to address is safety. It is not safer to hunt coyotes at night. All firearms safety rules remain in place. You must identify your target and know what is behind it. When you call turkeys, bring the coyote to you; don’t try to find the coyotes you hear calling. You could be approaching another coyote hunter’s stand in the dark.

2. Know your local laws before coyote hunting at night.

You can begin by checking my Laws for Hunting Coyotes for every State page. Be careful; every state has different rules about when, where, and with what equipment can be used. Then check your local regulations to ensure you are 100% legally allowed to hunt coyotes at night in the town you will be in.

It would be best if you also considered the possibility of encountering law enforcement during your hunt. I recommend, where possible, you notify local police of your intentions. Another great tip from predator hunter Andrew Lewand is to leave a prominent sign on your vehicle stating you are hunting coyotes at night and with the landowner’s permission.

Coyote hunting at night
Photo Credit: Bryan Mealy. PA.

Bryan Mealy of and Keystone Predator Management recommends something a bit different from his partner Dane Kitner. “Keep it simple. Vocals in the Summer, territorial calls in the Fall, prey distress in the Winter, and pups in the Spring. Remember, when calling, always tell a story.”

3. Calling coyotes at night.

I strongly recommend you read my article “Coyote Calling Sounds Your Successful “Pals” Keep Secret.” Why? It turns out there are only two particular sounds that most experienced callers regularly use. These sounds work day or night.

Calling in a coyote in total darkness is more of an art than a skill. You have to create a scenario that matches what a coyote would really encounter in the field. I discuss this in my article, ”How to Call in Coyotes and Keep Them Interested.”

The two easiest to use callers for night hunting coyotes are closed reed callers and electronic callers.

Closed reed coyote callers.

Closed reed calls are the easiest to use for one reason; they are made with the reed length already determined by the manufacturer and secured in place. While this limits the number of sounds you can create and their volume, it allows you to rapidly-produce a consistent sound that can reliably be used in the field.

In my article ”How to Master the Best Closed Reed Coyote Call,” you can read and watch Brian Rush of Rush Custom Callers, who calls in and takes over 100 Eastern Coyotes a year, demonstrate how to use his rabbit squealer/distress call.

With practice, you should be able to make the raspy whines and cries you hear in all those Youtube videos. At this point, you’re ready to begin coyote hunting. Your sound won’t be perfect like those mass-produced electronic callers, but that can be a benefit if everyone else around you is making the same darn sound. Your sound’s imperfections might just bring coyotes running to your call, dragged along like metal shavings to a magnet.

How to hunt coyotes at night
Photo Credit: Michael Richey

Mike took these coyotes in central Missouri. Mike tells us, “I used an MFK Edition Foxpro X2S and the MFK Coy Fem Inv. Howls and MFK Bump and Grind (breeding sounds). I used those two coyote vocalizations to kill around 30 coyotes from Jan-Mar.”

Night hunting coyotes with an electronic caller.

Many new predator hunters believe an electronic caller is a flawless tool, but that’s not true at all. Yes, if everything goes perfectly, they work great. 

Unfortunately, batteries die, remotes refuse to connect, and speakers crack in the cold. You cannot always find the remote in the dark, and you often drop parts in the snow and never find them again. Plus, if you don’t program it correctly, you might broadcast the wrong call at the wrong volume. They’re also extremely expensive.

Regarding electronic predator callers, you’ll want one with high-quality sound that’s easy to use, has a remote control with 50-100 yards of range, and a suitable internal library of various calls. It should also be water resistant and rugged enough for the rough conditions it will be operating in.

I’ve bought quite a few electronic predator callers. Only one has met every challenge. 

Fox Pro Hammerjack

I use the Fox Pro Hammerjack for almost every calling session and stand I make. Other predator callers distorted their sounds when the speaker horn froze, failed to connect between the remote and the speaker far too often, or were too hard to use in the dark.

It is still available today, and I recommend it over the newer Hammerjack 2. If not check for FoxPro callers here.

I also have been using rechargable batteries in this predator caller for the three years. My favorites are these:

4. Where to hunt coyotes at night.


Rabbit-tat is Brian Rush’s word for the perfect predator place. It’s more than just a location with everything a bunny needs to live and reproduce in incredible numbers. It’s a place where a hunter can slip in and make a high percentage stand.

“Topography.” Brian uses this word almost as often as the word “safety.” Rabbit-tat is often very brushy land, and a hunter needs a place to call from that offers an excellent view and one more secret ingredient: a single, predictable route for a coyote to take.

Brian strongly urges coyote hunters to spend some time studying the topography of the rabbit-tat they plan on calling from before hunting it. The best stands are where coyotes have only one way to get to you and your call. Areas with a cliff or steep slope on each side are prime locations, but any terrain that limits your target’s approach will help you choose your stand location and predict where the coyote will appear.

Related: Don’t even start coyote hunting at night until you have read, ”Coyote Facts: Inside the Life of a Predator.”

5. Playing the wind when hunting coyotes at night.

In this article, ”How to Find a Legendary Coyote Stand From Home,” I discuss how to find the perfect hunting location, and how to use the wind to keep from being detected.

Every hunter knows predator or prey; animal noses bust you and ruin more hunts than we’d like to admit. We are constantly talking about “Wind direction” and saying, “Hunt with the wind in your face,” but most of us don’t go any further than wetting a finger and holding it aloft. And that, usually only as an afterthought; 15 minutes after calling and wondering why that huge Eastern Coyote never showed up—or worse, took off 500 yards away from us.

Related: Adie from the article ”How to hunt eastern coyotes,” you should also check out, ”When is the best time of day to hunt eastern coyotes.”

Coyote hunting at night
Photo Credit: Nathan Owen. Iowa

Nathan Owen sent us this picture of his father and daughter scoring a double. Nathan’s advice? “I usually always open a stand with coyote vocals. Usually, start with a female invitation, then wait a minute or so. If nothing responds, I will answer with a young male howl.” “These two responded within 4 minutes. Pup distress made them seal the deal, putting them at around 100 yards for their first double together. Pretty special night for us all.”

Use the wind to defeat a coyote’s nose.

You’ll want the caller 50-100 yards in front of you. Set it with the wind blowing in your face or to the left or right. Either way is acceptable, just as long as the wind doesn’t blow over you and toward the caller. In other words, it isn’t rocket science.

In a perfect setup, the caller faces one of the elevated locations where the coyote would like to stop and check out the terrain below. Under these circumstances, the coyote or fox hearing your caller will have to either make a straight run-in or attempt to circle downwind to pick up any suspicious scents.

If the predator circles around you, that 50-100 yard space between you and the caller will provide you with a bit of wiggle room and a constantly nearing target to shoot at if it decides to flee.

6. Weapons and lights for hunting coyotes at night.

The best weapons for new predator hunters are an old deer rifle with a 1.5 x 3 scope or a 12 gauge shotgun. If you do not have a rifle or shotgun, then know that you don’t need to buy expensive brand names. You’re looking for rifles like Winchester and Ruger, not Benelli or Barrett.

Coyote hunting requires a degree of marksmanship you can only get from a weapon you have used in the past. A field-scarred .243 or dad’s old Sears Model 200 is more likely to be familiar to you. You’ve used it before. You know how to use it safely. It has a history of dependability. It’s been someone’s trusted hunting buddy and deserves an extra season of use every year. So after you kill that trophy buck, please give it a good cleaning and a touch of oil. The two of you still have months of coyote hunting to enjoy this year.

Coyote hunting at night.
Photo credit: Casey Wood.

Casey Wood is an administrator of the Coal Country Killers and he invites you to stop in and look around. Until then he recommends two MFK FoxPro calls: “Hello howls” to locate them, and then “Pound Town” to seal the deal.

Red lights are the best color for hunting coyotes at night.

Regarding color selection between red and green lights, here’s my opinion: Red. I have used red and green a lot, but two things bothered me whenever I used green.

First of all, green does seem to reach out further (using the same light and switching bulbs will prove this to you), but I always felt like the light was unnatural and too strong. 

Secondly, I think green gave my position away. The minute a deer or eastern coyote got that green light swept over them, did they take skedaddle. I never scored a single hit while using green lights.

Save money and skip the helmet light

You can hunt alone with a scope or barrel-mounted light, but avoid the temptation to spend a penny on any color of helmet light. I don’t care what the lumen count or battery life is; they suck. Your neck will hurt, you’ll light yourself up when you try to look through your scope or sites, and they never stay in one dang place. I get sick thinking of the money I wasted buying helmet lights. 

In the final analysis, helmet lights are a 1980s technology. Let the coal miners where them. 

Get an adjustable zoom for hunting coyotes at night.

No matter what color you use, you always want to use the light to scan the coyote’s eyes first. Buy a zoomable light and expand that beam as much as needed to scan. Once you got eyes, keep the shaft of light from shining directly into the dog’s face. Just let the edge of the light give you a respectable target.

In any event, the first time you see a coyote’s eyes at night, you’ll forget everything you learned. You’ll burn 500 lumens straight into the dog’s eyeballs, stun and blind it for 3 minutes, and scare it nearly to death before you realize what you are doing. That’s fine; pull off the second you notice and shoot the poor, staggering mutt before he trips in the dark and hurts himself.

An excellent red or green hunting light—look for a well-rated one that claims 200+ yards—should go for $150 or less.
I still have my first one! It is easy to strap on to a scope or a shotgun, runs a long time on a single set of batteries, and has been dropped, drowned, and one year it wasn’t found again till spring.

An attachable light like this mine lets you hunt alone. Attach it to your scope or shotgun barrel—as long as it’s straight; you should get a wide beam of light that allows you to aim through your scope or over the shotgun sites. These small lights are powerful, but you will hardly feel the weight they add.

My old Orion isn’t available for sale, but they’ve upgraded and produced another highly-rated replacement. Check out all the different attachment devices that come with this one.

Related: When to shoot a coyote that is staring at you.

How to use a scanning light when coyote hunting at night.

Using light to hunt coyotes at night is best done with a partner. In this setup, one hunter operates the light, and the other handles the weapon. Because most of us will be alone, this section will deal only with how to hunt coyotes with a scanning light by yourself. If you have a partner, just split up the duties and use the same scanning method described below.

I believe the best way to scan for coyotes at night is to always have the light on. Never shut it off, and never stop scanning. From the moment before you start calling, start scanning and keep sweeping the area ahead of you. Move the light quickly back and forth.

What you are looking for is the coyote’s eyes. Coyotes have a mirror-like membrane called the tapetum that lays just behind the retina. This membrane is not present in the human eye. When your scanning light sweeps over a coyote’s eyes, the tapetum will cause the entire eyeball to shine like balls of fire. 

While scanning remember you are not looking for the coyote’s body at first, but the eye-shine. After you spotted the eye-shine, then it’s time to start looking for a the perfect place to shoot a coyote.

One thing you should know is coyotes can see your scanning light. That’s okay, and they will not flee from the area if you are careful to keep the light from making too intense a sensation on their retina. To do this, the second you spot a coyote’s eyes, shift the light to place just the edge of the beam on the eyes.

Finally, make sure you are targeting a coyote. Lost and loose dogs will also reflect your light, as will foxes, bobcats, deer, and other animals. Always positively identify your target when hunting coyotes at night.

Mounted or hand held scanning light for coyote hunting at night?

If you are hunting alone, you will need a weapon-mounted light to make an accurate shot. Even if you use a tripod to hold your weapon, hunting coyotes with a mounted light is much easier. You can still scan, with the added benefit of already being on target when you first sight those glowing orbs in the darkness.

If you have a partner, they can run a separate light that is either hand held or weapon-mounted as well.

For safety reasons, I recommend you have one additional handheld scanning light with you, whether hunting alone or with a partner. You can use this light to help you find a recover a downed coyote. But remember, a mounted light cannot just be pointed anywhere—it is attached to a firearm.

Hunting coyotes at night with infrared scopes.

There are three price levels for hunting coyotes at night; cheap (red light), expensive (infrared), and bankruptcy (thermal). In this section, we will only look at ATN scopes (because all the infrared scopes I own are ATN—hey, I can’t speak for what I have never used).

Related: Most of the content of this section comes from my much longer article on The Best Infrared Scope for Beginner Coyote Hunters.

Remember, this review is for new predator hunters. I know you want the most powerful everything, but that’s not a good idea with scopes. The first ATN X-Sight night vision scope I bought had a magnification of 5×20. 

Let me explain what that means in the highly technical terms we used in the Marine Corps.

Hunting at night with a 5×20 scope is like standing on the Empire State Building and searching the streets below for a lost puppy—THROUGH A FREAKING STRAW.

Trust me, you want the widest field of view possible, especially at night. Right now, with the ATN X-Sight 4K Pro, the best magnification is 3-14. For the record, I own 2

Check out my field of view while following this fox:

The ATN X-Sight 4Pro helps you quickly identify the animal in your scope. You don’t want to take a fox out of season, or mistake a Labrador Retriever for a coyote, right? That’s always a possibility when you are just using a red light, but with the ATN X-Sight 4K Pro, you‘ ll be able to quickly identify your target.

Target identification, especially for new night hunters, is critical. You need some experience first, because this is a thrilling sport and you’ve got a caller running hot, and what else could possibly be out there? Right?

Well to help you identify your target, I recommend (and yep, I own THREE of these) the ATN IR 850 light.

Special features for predator hunters hunting coyotes at night.

While the ATN X-Sight 4K Pro has a One Shot Zero, 1080p Full HD Video, a Day/Night Mode, and ballistic calculator, my favorite features are the WiFi/Bluetooth and the incredibly long lasting battery life. Downloading video of your shots to a iPhone or iPad takes just a few minutes, even for those not overly talented with computers. And the battery? It has taken me through multiple low temperature nights on a single charge.

With video your tracking success rate will greatly improve.

After the shot, you’ll be able to replay the video inside the scope. As a result, you’ll be able confirm whether or not you need to begin tracking. If your coyote or fox isn’t down on your video, the ATN X-Sight 4K Pro gives you excellent visual evidence of what direction it fled in, and what condition it was in.

If you are shooting an AR, the scope can easily handle the recoil, record the shot, and be instantly ready to do the same with your follow up shots.

There’s no upper limit to how much you can spend on night vision. But there is one for your budget and, seriously, one for your skill set.

As a new predator hunter, you’ll be able to take coyotes at up to a 150 yards with the ATN X-Sight 4k Pro. Any further than that, and your “WOW! A Coyote!” adrenaline rush will make you miss the shot, or misidentify your target.

And for new coyote hunters: You couldn’t ask for a better view of your target for the money.

Using thermal scopes for hunting coyotes at night.

Selecting the best thermal scope is the most critical step for a new predator hunter. The right choice of thermal scope will yield more sightings, improve marksmanship, and provide value far beyond its cost.

The answer is simple: The ATN Thor 4 1.25-5x, 384×288 Thermal Rifle Scope.

Fair warning, this is not a list of every thermal scope on the market, nor is it a side-by-side comparison of “the top ten” or “best new thermal scopes of 2021.”

Reviews of multiple expensive scopes done by individuals raise a lot of red flags. Did they buy all those scopes and spend a year hunting with them? Or are these reviews nothing more than a bit of googling and a crap ton of copy and paste?

This review is different. It has one purpose; to give you all the facts you need to convince you to purchase the ATN Thor 4 1.5-5 384×288 thermal scope.

I’ve spent a lot of time using my ATN Thor 4, probably more than you ever will. It has never failed to perform.

Frequent, bug-free usage.

I estimate I have turned my ATN Thor 4 on and off over 1,000 times. It has consistently rapidly powered up and provided a perfect image in the reticle within seconds.

Flawless field performance.

I’ve mounted my ATN Thor 4 on four different rifles; two AR-15’s, a .223 Savage Trophy XP, and a Ruger American .308. The scope performed well on each of these platforms.

I’ve used my thermal scope during the daytime and at night. The picture quality remained consistent and required no change of focus.

It took a coyote one night when the windchill was -32. But, on the other hand, it’s worked flawlessly at temperatures in the 80’s.

I’ve used the in-scope camera to record every shot taken. Reviewing the videos frame by frame, I’ve never had a miss that wasn’t my fault—a trigger jerk here, a poor position there. The video clearly shows where your crosshairs were when you pulled the trigger.

Did you win the lottery? Then buy this thermal scope for coyote hunting at night!

I just purchased the Pulsar Thermion 2 LRF XP50 Pro Thermal Riflescope in July, and I am trying it out this coyote hunting season.

I’m still ironing out some wrinkles (using ATN for so long means I have to create some new muscle memories), but WOW!

When you need perfect clarity—the Pulsar Thermion 2 LRF XP50 Is the way to go.

I will write a review of this scope after the season. For now, however, stay away from it—it’s too expensive for beginners.

7. Where to shoot a coyote when coyote hunting at night.

To see the full article this section is based on, read Guaranteed Dirt Naps: Best Place to Shoot a Coyote.

First things first, everyone tells you where to shoot a coyote, but no one ever tells you how to make the coyote stand still. A stationary target at night is money maker!

So the first rule for shooting a coyote in precisely the perfect spot is to ask it to stop moving. Here’s how to get a walking or running coyote to stop and stand still.

How to get a coyote to stop moving:

Here are a few tips to help you make your bark, whistle, lip smack, or woof stop the coyote, but not scare it off.

  1. Use just enough volume to reach the dog. You want to get its attention, not startle it.
  2. Raise the volume and keep trying to stop the dog. Be prepared to have to issue several stop noises.
  3. If the dog stops and starts moving before you can get your crosshairs on it, make more noise. Most foxes and coyotes will stop several times, providing you with additional shooting opportunities.
  4. If the dog spooks and starts fleeing the scene, rather than taking a wild shot, go crazy on your volume. A loud bark or woof may work, especially if the dog thinks it has moved away from immediate danger.

The truth is the heart and lungs (the vitals zone) in a coyote or a dog are behind the shoulder joints and centered above the forelegs.

This 6” zone, when properly hit with a varmint round, will cause DRT coyotes the majority of the time.

The problem for any new predator hunter is finding the aiming point when the coyote isn’t facing broadside. 

coyote internal organs, heart location, shot location
Photo Credit: Shutterstock/SciePro

Coyote shot placement: Best place to aim when quartering toward you.

At first glance, a quartering toward shot looks less favorable, but by aiming for the midpoint 6” above the top of the foreleg, your shot is more advantageous.

With the target presented this way, there’s less risk of a splash against a bone, and you have a cleaner shot at the vital organs.

Coyote shot placement: Best place to aim when facing front.

Coyote shot placement

Many coyote hunters consider the facing front to be their favorite shot, especially for long-range targets.

The reason for this is simple, a coyote, especially a seated one facing you on a windless day, doesn’t require excellent distance judging on your part. Therefore, a forward-facing target gives you more room for error as any bullet drop will still connect and produce a DRT.

Coyote bait pile
Plenty of room for bullet drop at longer ranges.

The aiming point on forwarding facing coyote can be the tip of the nose for long shots or the top of the head for even longer shots.

However, for a new predator hunter, a coyote directly facing you presents a difficult target for DRT hit, even at close range, as seen above. The coyote’s vital zone is smaller when facing forward, and all the fur surrounding it isn’t essential.

If you find yourself with a coyote staring at you, your best opportunity for a shot will be to wait until it begins to turn away, and take the quartering toward you shot.

Coyote shot placement: best place to aim when quartering away.

Where to shoot a coyote
Photo Credit: Shutterstock/SciePro

The quartering away shot virtually reduces any chance of striking a bone, opens up vitals for a clean shot, and even if the round fails to open up and passes through, it creates a much longer wound channel than a broadside hit.

The quartering away shot is my favorite and produces some dramatic DRT results.

8. Hunting coyotes at night: How to track a wounded coyote.

Please read the full article, “How to track a wounded coyote” for more information.

What’s the most challenging part of coyote hunting? Most predator hunters would agree, it’s trying to track a wounded coyote. Even hurt, these elusive critters sometimes leave less sign behind than a lizard tiptoeing across bare rock.

It is a skill you can learn, however, and one you’ll get to practice in the field if you coyote hunt long enough. 


Once you pull the trigger, you have duty to do everything you can to recover that coyote.

Remember: Always make sure they are dead. This girl tried to trick me!

Inexpensive tools to help you track a wounded coyote.

Your eyes and ears. You’ll naturally expect the evidence to be on the ground, but keep your head up and on a swivel. Not only is it a great way to avoid getting a branch in your eyes, but it’s also the only way you can scout ahead for potential hiding places or notice that a wounded coyote staring at you 20 yards away. 

Orange marking flags. Place an orange marking flag at every spot you find blood from the original point of impact until you find the coyote. The first 100 yards will give you the most critical information you’ll need—the direction of flight.

Please note: I get a small commission—at no extra charge to you— if you use any links in this article to make a purchase.

Hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide makes blood turn white and frothy. Old, dry, or invisible to the naked eye, a quick spritz of hydrogen peroxide stored in a colored spray bottle will make the blood stand out.

A Primos blood light. A blood light turns blood into a neon sign and everything else into a dull grey background. At night, an indispensable tool. For years, my favorite was unavailable, but Amazon now has a few back in stock. Get this one!

Expensive tools to help a coyote hunter track a wounded coyote.

Thermal Viewer. I never recommend buying a thermal viewer, but if you need to find a wounded deer or a dead fox it’s perfect. Other than that, they are useless, expensive toys. Spend your money buying a thermal scope, instead.

I hope you do not buy one. If you still think you need one, I hope is out of stock. Seriously, save your money.

Thermal scope with a camera. I recommend the ATN Thor 4. It is affordable and has a good range (130 yards). It also allows you to capture your shot on video and review it to determine the coyote’s reaction to the shot and the direction it fled in. It’s also perfect for helping you not only track a wounded coyote but place a follow-up shot on it if needed.

The best thing to do before you track a wounded coyote.

Always take your shot using the least amount of magnification required. The widest view of your target allows you to observe and track the coyote after you have fired. Knowing how it reacts and the direction it moves in will help you begin your track.

To track a wounded coyote, first note its reaction to being shot at.

The instant you shoot, the coyote will react in five possible ways. Here’s what each reaction could mean.

  1. Runs away. You may have missed or had a round that failed to fragment and passed through without hitting a vital organ (pencil holed).
  2. Spins in a circle. Your round hit somewhere behind the shoulder. The coyote is spinning as it tries to bite the source of pain.
  3. Drops flat. It could be fatally wounded, knocked out, or temporarily paralyzed. Sometimes, a hit is immediately fatal and the dog collapses straight to the ground. But, a glancing blow to the head can knock a coyote out for as long as 15 minutes. Another nonlethal injury is a round striking the neck. This can shock the spine causing temporary paralysis. A coyote wounded in the neck may regain its senses within 5 minutes and run off.
  4. Limps away. This could mean a paw, leg, or shoulder injury.
  5. Remains in the area. It may stare at you, run off a short distance and then return, or continue as if nothing had happened. The loud report of your rifle got the coyote’s attention, but did not alarm it for some reason. You’ll have time to determine what went wrong with your shot and shoot again. That coyote isn’t afraid of you.

When to take an immediate follow-up shot when you hunt coyotes at night.

Reshoot the coyote immediately if:

  • It is vainly struggling to regain its feet or suffering.
  • It has fallen and attempts to raise its head or stand back up.
  • It stops spinning and lifts its head into the air. It’s possible this dog is painfully wounded, but believes an unseen attacker bit it.

Protip: Once the coyote is down, keep your scope on it and start calling again for a few mintes using a coyote distress sound.

Coyote hunting at night: Coyote behavior 0-5 seconds after your shot.

A wounded deer may head downhill and make for water, but a wounded coyote will run for a place of known safety, despite the terrain.

In the first five seconds after the shot, the coyote will take one of four actions to reach that safe location:

  1. Missed or hit, a coyote will immediately turn in the direction it came from before being attacked. To a coyote, this direction equals safety.
  2. Once pointed in the right direction, it will use as much speed as possible to travel at least 100 yards. The coyote is attempting to break contact with you. It will not turn aside from this original escape route until it believes it is free of immediate danger.
  3. A lightly wounded coyote will (after 100 yards) use game trails to increase the distance from the point of attack, eventually turning for a known safe location.
  4. A badly wounded coyote will (after 100 yards) attempt to get into the heaviest cover available.

Hunting coyotes at night.

That’s it! That’s all you need. Now get your gear together and go hunting coyotes at night. Good luck!

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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