Predator Hunting at Night: 5 Tips to Hunt By

Coyote Hunting, Night Hunting, Predator Hunting -

Predator Hunting at Night: 5 Tips to Hunt By

Predator hunting at night, similar to varmint hunting, initially gained popularity due to the financial impact varmints and predators caused farmers and ranchers. Predators kill livestock while varmints tear apart feed bags and eat livestock food. These mishaps have since turned on an industry focused on predator calling, electronic predator calls, predator mouth calls, predator hunting lights, night hunting clothes and more. 

Out of all the predators to hunt for, coyotes earned the top spot as the most commonly targeted predator across the nation. They’ve rightfully earned this spot due to their desired meal being small, weak, or vulnerable livestock. This may be a newborn calf, a ewe sheep lagging behind the pack, or a wandering goat.

What are the 5 tips to hunt by when predator hunting at night?

1.) TAKE ADVANTAGE OF NIGHTTIME PREDATOR HUNTING

Coyotes (and other predators) are nocturnal animals by nature, which work to their advantage in targeting their next meal. Their target prey are most active during the day and lay up at night. This has led to some of the most successful predator hunting being done in the dark. During certain times of the year, namely the winter months, coyotes are more likely to be out during the day time. 

It’s important to be able to effectively light up predators in the dark, and to do so you have to understand their stellar night vision. The article The Science Behind Choosing a Red or Green Light for Night Hunting does a great job at explaining the color blind ranges of predators and other dichromate vision animals. 


2.) UNDERSTAND PREDATOR CALLING BEHAVIOR

Predators prefer to feast on animals that are in a vulnerable state. Whether that be an injured rabbit screaming for help, a lost calf looking for its mother, or a wandering goat trying to find its herd, these noises are equivalent to ringing the dinner bell for predators. Predator calling is the act of literally enticing predators in by mimicking distress sounds their prey make. By essentially ringing the dinner bell, we entice the predators to come out into our field of vision. 

While coyote calling, it’s important to understand the behavioral traits coyotes use to communicate. Optimizing these for the situation at hand can give the predator hunter an edge for a successful trip. The article Callin’ all Coyotes: Proven Tips for a Successful Coyote Hunt Across the United States does a great job at diving into detail on what communication styles coyotes use and ultimately how to utilize them to harvest more coyotes.

Many people use electronic coyote calls, but we have found that a properly used mouth coyote call or diaphragm coyote calls can be equally as effective at a fraction of the cost for luring in coyotes. 


3.) PLAY THE WIND OR THEY’LL SNIFF YOU OUT

Predators, especially coyotes, have a very keen sense of smell. Often times when they hear a distress sound, they rely on multiple sensors to confirm the source and location of the sound. Hearing can be done from far away, smell has a little bit smaller of a range and vision has an even shorter range depending on how wooded the terrain is.
 
The phrase “don’t get winded” is one of the most common ones in coyote hunting, referring to the importance of always playing the wind. If you don’t play the wind, well the coyotes will and they’re likely to bust you. 

What does it mean to play the wind while coyote hunting?

Playing the wind while coyote hunting refers to keeping your self down wind, with the wind blowing in your face, or keeping a crossing wind. Whatever you do - don’t be upwind and have the wind blowing your scent directly to your call or the location you most commonly see coyotes come from. The coyotes are constantly relying on all of their senses to confirm the distress sound, and if one of them alerts them, they will leave and not come back. 


4.) SCOUT FOR NIGHTTIME PREDATOR HUNTING

If the predators aren’t there, then regardless of your calling tactics, it is unlikely they will come. It’s important to confirm that predators are in the area first, and then do some scouting to better determine their hang out spots. This may be talking to local farmers and ranchers, walking the fence line and looking for holes or hair on the fence, or even just listening for coyotes to sound off at dark. Coyotes will literally tell you where they are when the night falls by groups of 3-5 of them letting out loud yips and howls.


5.) CLOTHES FOR PREDATOR HUNTING - SCENT CONTROL

The fifth and final tip to hunt by for predator hunting has to do with utilizing the right clothes for proper scent control. Using deodorizing scented washes on your clothes prior to going predator hunting is not a good idea. It’s best to be scent neutral and it doesn’t hurt to “rub some dirt on it” (or grass) to help blend in with the terrain around you. 

Regardless, if tips 1 through 4 above are implemented properly, this tip should naturally be less important. If you are playing the wind right, and can effectively convince their other senses (visual and hearing), it is less likely that the fragrance on your clothes will send them running. 

As a tournament predator hunter, its important for every tip listed here to be implemented both properly and perfectly to ensure the highest probability of success while hunting. When hunting animals, there are never guarantees. We have to do what we can to give ourselves the edge to be successful.

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