By Mark Kayser
It’s no secret that coyotes and other predators oftentimes avoid moving around in daylight, especially when you hope to lure them into a call. Don’t toss out your varmint gear yet. Below are some coyote hunting tips to help you try a nighttime assault.
It’s one of the top three coldest and snowiest winters on record, so you likely have a snowy background nearby to try an evening calling setup. Check for a bright night, preferably with a moon. Now check to make sure it’s legal in your state. Is everything on track? Now put some of these tips into play.
Strategy and equipment for daytime or nighttime predator hunter are essentially the same. Stick with calls that imitate enticing prey, stay downwind of your calling area, and position yourself high to pinpoint incoming predators.
One important difference is a replacement for the sun in the form of a red-beamed spotlight or bright light. The beam should be able to pierce a minimum of 100 yards into the distance, and some models can blaze a path beyond 300 yards like Surefire flashlight models. Most night hunters opt for rechargeable units that either mount to the scope or are constructed in a headlamp fashion perched on your head. Check out those made by Lightforce . Riflescopes with large objectives such as Nikon’s Monarch series or lighted reticles are recommended for aiming assistance. Other alternatives include low-power scopes with lighted dots, laser sights and even night vision optics. Are you geared up? It’s time to hit the field.
As you call, sweep the light back and forth across the area you expect predator action. It’s best to sweep with the edge or halo of the light, instead of using the harsher middle section. Once you locate a set of approaching eyes, keep them illuminated, and as you prepare to shoot, re-aim the main beam of light onto the target.
After experience you’ll be able to identify animals by the size of their eyes and the manner in which they approach. Coyotes, fox, bobcats and raccoons all have different gaits and styles of stalking, and it’s common to have two or more species show up at your nighttime setup. Coyotes are probably the most cautious of the bunch and usually require a riflescope to reach into the darkness. Also consider hunting with a buddy. One hunter can sweep the beam and the other can concentrate on the shot because when the lights are out, predators suddenly lose their inhibitions.
Daytime calling has its positives, especially if you like to watch a bounding coyote approach your call, but nighttime calling might be the answer to your calling woes.