During rifle season for deer here in Missouri, for whatever reason I am not nearly as focused on shooting that big buck this year as I have been in the past. Coyote hunting has now taken over the part of my brain that wants and needs to hunt.
The Right Way to Call Coyotes
Someone recently asked me if I coyote hunt during rifle season, and the answer is “yes.” Now, there are some things to consider if you do choose to call coyotes during rifle season.
Consider Your State
First thing would be your state regulations on coyote hunting during the deer firearm season. In Missouri, in order to coyote hunt during the rifle season, you must wear orange just as if you are deer hunting. Not all states, such as Colorado, require hunters to wear orange.
Another thing to consider would be hunting pressure. As you know, rifle season means there are more people in the woods and fields than there are during any other time of the year. If you have permission to hunt on private ground, check with land owners to ensure that no one is deer hunting, and you are good to go. You want to make sure to be respectful and eliminate any risk of upsetting the landowner and losing property.
I remember pulling up to one of my coyote stands during gun season and noticing orange in a tree just on the other side of the fence. I eased back out to the truck and went on to another stand. Although the fellow hunter was not on the same property, I did not want to go and make a bunch of noise with coyote howls and rabbit distress sounds that would likely spook the deer and ruin his hunt.
Deer Vs. Coyotes
Another thing to consider if you are coyote hunting during rifle deer season is the hunting pressure that comes along with it. Coyotes are being pushed around by a lot of hunters and their scent is being blown everywhere, which puts the coyotes on high alert. On top of that, there are remains of freshly field-dressed deer on almost every 40-acre parcel. This is why I tend to have fewer successful stands during rifle season. Coyotes are on edge due to increased hunting pressure and have plenty of food from harvested deer and deer that were shot and not found by hunters.
Strategy – Pup Distress Sounds
With this in mind, I change my strategy and try and stick with pup distress sounds and target areas where I know there is as little pressure as possible. If you’re lucky like myself and live close to a bordering state that has a deer season that falls at a different time, work on finding coyote hunting ground in that bordering state.
Predator Hunting Lights
For those of you who live in states that permit night hunting with the use of predator hunting lights or night vision optics with an infrared illuminator, make sure and check hunting regulations and still be mindful that coyotes have plenty of food in areas heavily deer hunted. Rabbit Distress sounds are not out of the question, however, in my experience pup distress and coyote howl sounds have been the go-to during this time. Any predator call sound imitating a coyote fight over food would also be good to use, considering coyotes are likely battling over the readily-available deer remains. To be respectful, make sure you check with landowners to ensure there is no one deer hunting the next morning.
Take no risk in losing property or burning bridges with the people who allow you to do what you love on their property. Not only that—but be mindful that a lot of deer hunters work hard to manage deer and have two weeks out of the year to enjoy it with their children and family.