With the exception of late squirrel, rabbit, pheasant, geese and snow goose seasons, the big game seasons are over and the hunting lull begins. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you give coyote hunting a try. And it’s the only species where AR-type rifles can be used. There’s also no closed season or bag limit.
Coyotes have become numerous in the Lehigh Valley with pet owners in suburban and populated communities concerned that these local coyotes could kill their pets when outside. There have been reports of coyote sightings and encounters on the Ironton Rail Trail in the Stiles, Egypt, Ironton, Orefield area.
Many veteran coyotes have made substantial investments to hunt these predators such as night vision scopes, rifle tripods, electronic game calls and decoys as “yotes,” as they’re often called, are primarily hunted at night.
If you’ve never hunted coyotes before and would like to give it a try, the folks at Montana Decoy Company in Hummelstown, Pa offer these tips to get you started.
*Understand The Coyote: Coyotes have the eyesight of a turkey, nose of a deer and the intelligence of a domestic dog, they can be challenging to hunt. Keep in mind breeding occurs between January and March and this is time they are most active and a bit less wary. They usually move in early morning or late afternoons and it’s at time when their fur is thickest and their pelts most saleable. In open country, driving dirt roads on public or private land Montana says to keep an eye on the road and watch for fresh tracks crossing the road.
* Know What’s For Dinner: Coyote’s diet consists of rabbits and rodents but they’ll also feed on birds, insects and carrion. As a side note regarding the latter, there’s a road-killed doe in the cornfield on Mauch Chunk Road in South Whitehall and it appears its belly has been torn open and white fur spread next to it most likely done by a coyote. They’ll also go after yearling fawns especially if hunting in packs or two or more. If you find prey, coyotes will be nearby.
*Speak The Language: Coyotes are vocal and can be very territorial. A lone howl is a coyote’s way of alerting other coyotes of its whereabouts and to search for a hunting partner. Their howls can be heard from over a mile away. Their yip-howl promotes community and can also be a rallying cry or to warn away potential intruders. Barks are a sign of agitation for other coyotes that invade their territory and getting too close to a kill.
*Ace Your Setup: Know the wind is critical to coyote hunting success. Set up with the wind in your face, wear camo and hide in the shadows. If using an electronic call or decoy, place it 100 yards away and upwind of your hide. When coyotes don’t respond in open country, try your call and decoy set up for 30-45 minutes and move to another mile away and set up again. Don’t set your decoy or call in close to cover but far enough to where they must expose themselves. Hide electronic calls in gullies and thick grass so curious coyotes have to get closer to see the sound source.
Hope these tips help and as far as weaponry is concerned, some hunters use low-caliber rifles (i.e. 223 in AR caliber) while some use shotguns for close-range work.
As for table fare, I once ate a piece of coyote meat and it was very metallic tasting and I presume it’s from their diets. It’s certainly not gourmet fare.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.