Coyotes in Winter
Coyote and predator hunting is gaining in popularity every year in the Badger state. Coyote numbers and their range have continued to expand despite man’s continued development and encroachment. The ability of coyotes to live close to man and adapt to changing conditions has allowed this predator to survive, grow, and even thrive.
Hunters in Wisconsin hunt coyotes two ways; one and the most common is to drive the back roads in agricultural areas and scope the countryside with a good pair of binoculars and or a spotting scope. The best time to look for these varmints is early in the morning or just before sunset because these are the times coyotes are out feeding. Get the best binoculars you can afford and take your time driving the open farm land while scoping the countryside for coyotes. If hunting this way, be sure to have permission before entering any private land. Most of these shots will be long ones with more shots over 200 yards than 100 yards.
Now, during the months of January and February are the best months for hunting because this is the mating season and the animals are active. This time of the year gives you the best chance of getting close to the coyote. It’s possible to find numbers of coyotes together because of the mating urge. The sunny and south side of hills is the best location for finding coyotes because they will often be out sunning themselves in winter.
The second way to hunt coyotes is to have a large tract of land and drive around in trucks or ATV’s till you find tracks and then let your hounds run the tracks and scent. It’s important to have hunters scattered around the land and have a knowledge of the hunting land and its layout, so that someone gets a shot at the predator. Two-way radios are important once a coyote is spotted for hunter communication. It’s also becoming more popular to use electronic callers (legal in Wisconsin) in coyote territory and use the calls to bring the predators into shooting range. The most common and best call is that of a crying rabbit.
A hunter needs a rifle that is capable of making long shots. A .270 caliber rifle is perfect when loaded with a 100 or 120 grain bullet. A good scope is necessary because the target that you’ll be shooting at is only 6 inches high and 18 inches wide horizontally. Coyotes are relatively small, averaging between 20 and 25 pounds.
Hunters need a small game license, but the season is open year-round except for 19 days in northern Wisconsin during the gun and muzzleloader deer season. There is no bag limit. Coyote hunting is another way to get outdoors after most hunting seasons have closed and it will definitely improve your shooting skills for the deer season!