April 22, 2022 5 min read

Coyotes are basically nocturnal predators. This means, you may successfully call in them using different types of calls during the daytime, but calling them into effective range during the nighttime is no mean feat. Note that coyotes are not just highly active, but they are also extremely vocal at night.

Usingartificial lightto hunt coyotesis not lawfulin all states, andcoyote huntingwith ashotgun is allowed in some states.Moreover, there arestatesthathave strict regulationsfor thecoyote hunting season, particularly related to coyotehunting in thenighttime.So,it’s wise tofirstunderstandand follow the regulationsof the region,where youwantto hunt beforeyou seekcoyoteswhenthe sun goes down. 

Using the cover of darkness to pursue coyotes during nighttime hours may seem easy – and maybe even like deception. But, you should never make the mistake of underrating the coyote. Coyotes are born to hunt and flourish in the dark – their nose, ears, and eyes always give them the edge, regardless of the time of day (or night).

Thankfully, there are a handful of tools and tricks that will aid you in successfully hunting a coyote during a calling session after the sunset. Put them into practice to up your odds of successful hunts.


Scouting for the Coyote Calling Setup at Night

  • Scout during the Day for Nighttime Hunting:Hunting in the dark requires scouting, but you may not get that outstanding hunting spot at night. So, you should scout during the daytime for the areas, where coyotes live and hunt, to ensure successful coyote hunts at night. Look for transition zones and edges, where grasslands, creeks, and croplands come together. While scouting for coyote calling and hunting areas at night, thinking like a predator that hunt rodents in the dark will help.


  • Don’t Avoid the Wind after Dark:Unlikehow you call coyotes during the daytime,you do not need to avoid being skylined and disruptyour outline after dark.Darknessacts as a greatcamouflage at night, butwhile setting up,try toavoid moonlight from shiningonyou.When choosing a location, consider wind first, andthen a superbvantage point. Just because thesunlight is not there at nightdoes not mean that theolfactory senseof a coyotewill becomeless effective.Make a planto huntdownwind orcrosswindso asto avoid your smellreaching the coyote.Remember thatmost coyotes will trytoapproach your call fromthedownwind side.Whilescouting a hunting areainthe daytime, factor inthe effectiveness of your lightduring thenighttime. Open areasalong withevensomeelevationcould allow youto takemaximum advantageofyourlight.Foliageorterrainthatmay blockthelight’s beam cancause difficultieswhilehunting,by obstructingyour view ofcoyotesthat arecoming into your call.

 Tactics for Coyote Huntingat Night

  • Search for Coyotes by Scanning with Your Light: Calling coyotes in thenighttime is morethanjust switchingon a flashlightto makethe coyotein distress. Tosucceedincoyotehuntingat night,search through your hunting area, usinga high-qualityhunt light. Scaninstantly, and then scanone more time.When you scanthe area (where you anticipate to observe predators coming to your call) back and forthquickly usinga high-performance light, youincrease your likelihood ofseeing an oncomingpredator’s shining eyes. Don’tsearch for a wholecoyoteinitially, buttry to discover theeyes reflecting from your light.


  • Pick a Weapon-Mounted or Handle light for Coyote Hunting: Hunters can choose to use either a light with a handle or a weapon mounted light source; or both. Based on your specific situation, one kind of light can perform better than the other one. When you use a handle-based light, you need to support your weapon on a bipod or tripod, but this setup provides the best maneuverability and versatility when it is about casting the light. Choosing only a weapon-mounted light will restrict your potential to scan instantly using your light and can also restrict where you can point the light safely since it’s attached to your coyote hunting rifle or gun.  


    You get the best of both worlds when you hunt predators, along with a partner. Assign your partner the task to run thelight and handle the calling, while you can be the shooter with your weapon-mounted light. Take turns on the trigger and on the light from one stand to another. While hunting with a partner, define communication rules prior to the hunt to ensure minimal talking. For instance, shaking the light’s beam to and fro when it is over a target can aid both of you in staying on the same page.

  • Look for Eyeshine: As mentioned earlier, do not look for the coyote’s full body in the beginning. The light, reflecting back from the game’s eye (or eyeshine) can be observed at a greater distance than the distance you require to shoot effectively at night. This gives you ample time to find out your target and even modify your calling strategy as per the body language of the game. Once you are successful in identifying a pair of shining eyes, you can make use of the light’s “edge,” or the outer perimeter of your beam to follow the coyote. Keep the light on the coyote after identifying it positively, since other animals, such as fox, raccoons, and deer will have eyeshine, similar to your targeted predator.


The Most Suitable Light Color for Coyote Huntingat Night

If you ask any three random coyote hunters about their light color preferences, you are likely to get a different answer from all three. Each light has its upsides and downsides. So, it is totally up to you to decide which light color suits you most. While some hunters have found animals not to be comfortable with one light color or another, it ultimately boils down to your personal choice and your hands-on experience.

  • White Light: White light forhunting andcallingin the nighttime provides youwiththemaximumamount of detail. The bright lightacts as acamouflage during thenighttimehunt. White light allowsashooterto havea betterideaof the range,butitmay impactyour peripheral vision more thananyotherlight colors. 


  • Red Light: Coyote hunting at night with red light mayallow you to see eyeshinebetterthanboth green light andwhite light. Using red lights fornighttimecoyote hunting isperhapsthe mostconventionalapproach. Plus,itisless likely toimpactyour eyeswhilehunting,thereby loweringeye fatigue.


  • Green Light: The contrast developed by green light can easily be picked by human eyes. In comparison to red light, green light may aid you in seeing dark objects better at night. Having said that, some people have reported experiencing more eye fatigue while using green light.


Predicting Distance at Night

Finding out the precisedistance tothetarget can bechallenging at night.Arangefinder, capable of working low-light conditions,may come in handy in such a situation. Focus on ranges and possible shooting zones while scouting during the daytime. Things may appear quite different at night, and using landmarks to predict distances in the dark might not help.

Restricting your distance to shoot to shorter ranges is probably the best approach for nighttime hunting. In the dark, it is tough to identify both a predator positively at longer ranges as well as what lies beyond the animal.


Final Words

Wherever legal, seeking coyotes in the dark is an excellent way to affect the predator’s population, collect fur, and enjoy the game of hunting. Whether you choose to use a light with a handle or weapon-mounted light, or shine a white light or a colored one, scouting the areas you have planned to call in the daytime is critical to the success of your coyote hunting expedition.

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