There’s a massive variety of game you can choose from to practice your bowhunting, but there are few better choices to choose from compared to coyotes.
They can have major impacts on their environment when left unchecked and can be a great test of your bowhunting skills, making them worth valuing as an ideal target.
If you’ve ever wanted to get into bowhunting coyotes or haven’t been having much success in your hunts, these tips and common questions should help you get a better idea of how to quickly and easily improve your coyote bowhunting skills.
Why Hunt Coyotes?
Many hunters might suggest coyote bowhunting because of their small size, interesting migration patterns, and the challenge in tracking them. But coyotes are more worth hunting because of their immense spread and threats to livestock, forests, and neighborhoods. They have spread massively across North America over the past few decades, and they can cause all kinds of harm on free farms and various ecosystems.
Hunting coyotes is not the only way to control their population, but if you’re in an area with a large wild coyote population, it can definitely help provide safer public areas and reduce the threats to various industries.
Top 8 Coyote Bowhunting Tips
Coyotes are small, fast, and vigilant creatures who can be especially hard to hunt for amateur bowhunters. If you want to raise your hunting prowess, you’re likely going to need to try at least a few of these bowhunting strategies to get a better edge over your target.
Call From Another Location
Your usual coyote lure is going to be a call, which essentially involves you making the sound of a rabbit in distress that can convince them to come looking for food. There are all kinds of resources that can help you make a call, but where and when you make the call is just as important.
The sound of your call won’t travel far, but coyotes that are attracted will come right towards the source of the sound, meaning you don’t want to wait in the same place you call from. Instead, call from the location you want the coyote to arrive at, then move to a well-camouflaged area where you can get a clear shot.
Use a Prey or Coyote Decoy
Just because coyotes have finely tuned senses doesn’t mean they’re clever enough to always tell the difference between fake and real prey. When combined with a great call, you should be able to easily place prey in the space you want to attract coyotes towards, letting them investigate a specific spot and give you a more guaranteed shot.
Alternatively, a life-size coyote decoy can do just as good of a job in many instances since coyote packs aren’t confrontational with each other and will see other coyotes as allies. This will often let them put their guard down and walk more in the open, rather than prey decoys which will cause coyotes to lurk in foliage.
Don’t Block Your Shot (With Rocks Trees, etc)
As with any bowhunting, you want as clear of a shot as possible. It’s not helpful to have anything blocking the path of your arrow, and no matter how skilled you are as an archer on targets, it’s important to make sure your arrow has as much free space to fly without hitting an obstacle in the middle of its path.
As important as it is to remain camouflaged while hunting coyotes, it’s even more important for you to have a ground advantage on them as well.
This will let you get a clearer view of the area they’re exploring around your decoy, and give you a much easier shot. Remember, you don’t get any extra points for making things harder for yourself.
Use the Wind to Your Advantage
Compared to any other weapon, the wind is especially likely to cause trouble while bowhunting.
Your arrows might seem heavy and powerful when firing on a range, but when you have to choose a particular angle to fire from to hit live prey, you’re going to want to be extremely careful not to let it ruin a long-distance shot.
Position yourself so your shot isn't impacted by the wind. It can sometimes help arrows fly faster if you fire it alongside the wind, but at the very least, make sure not to put yourself in a position where the wind could push your arrow too far to the left or right, as even a little wind can immensely alter its path.
Wear Full Body Camo
As mentioned earlier, coyotes have high senses in terms of vision and sound, so they know when a human is nearby if they aren’t properly hidden. You’ll want full-body camo while bowhunting coyotes since all the camouflage you can get will help you in the long run.
It might seem wasteful to pull out such heavy gear for such a small animal, but the smallest prey can often be the most challenging to hunt if you aren’t prepared. If you want to have your time lining up shots, it’s worth the time and investment to load up on full-body camo.
Don’t Neglect Scouting
Any bowhunter can tell you that scouting is the most important thing you can do for any hunting excursion. If you set up your hunting ground in an area where coyotes don’t gather, or that’s too far from where they’re roaming, you won’t get an opportunity to take a shot whatsoever, ruining your hunt and wasting your time.
Simply put, the fundamentals of bowhunting should always apply when hunting any living creatures. With the additional challenges that come when bowhunting coyotes, though, you’ll want to make extra sure you’re ready on every front.
Get the Setup Right
Just like scouting, you always want to make sure you have a strong and secure setup before using your call and trying to attract a coyote to your position. You want an open space for your decoy to be placed in, and you want to put yourself in a camouflaged position where you can easily view it.
If you don’t have the right amount of space and distance, it can easily mean your shots will be far harder than they need to be. As mentioned before, you don’t get bonuses for making hunts harder for yourself, so do everything you can to give yourself an edge over your prey.
Draw When the Coyote is Looking the Other Way
Any hint of movement can get picked up by coyotes in a heartbeat, so you never want to give them a reason to think they’re unsafe while investigating your decoy. They’ll always be cautious when looking at anything, so you never want to draw your bow while they might see you, as they will never hesitate to flee if they feel unsafe.
Take your time, and wait for the coyote to look away before drawing your bow. You’re welcome to have your arrow ready so you can draw quickly and smoothly, but hunting coyotes is not a race, and you’re more likely to make a successful shot if you wait to draw until you’re least likely to be seen.
Factors to Consider When Hunting Coyote
Beyond these general tips, there are all kinds of ways you can improve your skills when it comes specifically to hunting coyotes. These are much more cut-and-dry things to know, and you should make sure you know the answers to these before going on a hunt in the first place.
What is the Best Time to Hunt Coyotes?
There are two things to consider about the ideal coyote hunting time, those being the general season and your hunting space’s local time. Time of year is the easiest since coyote hunting is usually doable all times of the year as they don’t typically hibernate during winter months, but since their food sources in the winter become more scarce, they can usually be easier to tempt with prey decoys.
As for the time of day, you will be able to find coyotes most frequently from dusk to dawn, meaning night hunting and early morning hunts can be much more fulfilling and successful. Weather is also something to consider if you want a more comfortable hunt, but depending on your area’s coyote population and movement habits, you can still try hunting in rain or snow if you like a little extra challenge.
Where’s the Best Place to Shoot a Coyote With an Arrow?
Unlike most game, coyotes are extremely compact with their organs, making it tough to know where the kill shot is. Usually, the heart and lungs are your main target, but these are close together on account of the compact size of coyote bodies compared to other animals.
The best place to fire is usually through the front shoulder since this has the highest chance of entering their chest cavity at an angle that’ll hit these sensitive areas. Lethal shots aren’t too challenging so long as you aim properly, but they can still be disabled nonetheless with a successful shot elsewhere on the animal.
What Bow Should You Use to Hunt Coyotes?
Generally speaking, the best bows for coyote hunting are usually going to be compound bows. These provide the most accurate shots, thanks to relying on cables more than bow tension, meaning they’re often much better when hunting live targets than when using longbows. More than that, they’re exceptionally quiet while drawing, meaning they won’t tip off a cautious target as easily.
This isn’t to say you can’t use other types of bows, but they’re sure to be far less reliable against smaller targets. If you plan on using other bows, make sure you’ve had plenty of practice and have tried hunting other live targets before, since it can be more difficult to use these bows in your first bow hunting expeditions.
What Equipment Should I Have When Bowhunting Coyote?
Your gear for bowhunting coyotes isn’t too different from most hunts. As mentioned earlier, a compound bow is ideal when hunting this style of target, and you’ll also want some full-body camouflage to remain successfully hidden.
Otherwise, you simply need your usual bowhunting gear and any other equipment you usually include. If you want some extra tools, an electronic call can make it much easier to call them from a distant shooting position, and bringing something comfortable to sit on or kneel over will help you easily remain focused while aiming.
Bowhunting coyotes is a difficult and challenging task, but it’s worth doing if you want to improve your bowhunting skills overall. It’s an animal that’s bountiful and challenging in just the right ways for aspiring bowhunters, and an excellent entry point for those wanting to try more predator hunting in the future.
People Also Ask
There are a few final things that many new and experienced bowhunters tend to wonder about, particularly when it comes to putting these skills to use. If you feel like you have a few more questions, these might be the final answers you’re looking for before you get ready for a coyote bow hunt.
How Far Can a Coyote Hear a Call?
Coyotes have incredible hearing, and despite their small size, they can pick up quite a long distance. With a high enough volume, you can hear a coyote from about three to five miles away, but more often, they’ll pick up on calls from about a mile or so away from you. You can pick a pretty wide amount of ground to hunt with since their speed will often result in them traveling quite far to check on your calls.
Is Hunting Coyote Difficult?
As with many forms of predator hunting, coyote hunting can be difficult compared to most other forms of live bowhunting. They’re small animals with a lot of speed and great senses, meaning it can take a lot of time to lure one in and even longer get a successful shot. That said, with the right gear and preparedness, they’re much easier than other larger predators, making them a solid middle-ground in terms of bowhunting difficulty overall.