Living in open urban areas can be quite an adventure especially if there are woods around. Taking a walk in fields covered with tall grasses and shrubs is very thrilling but it is best if you avoid doing this at nighttime. Despite the fact that the night breeze has such a cool and calming effect, you will need to be very careful because there is a possibility that you could run into coyotes. For people who live in areas with a lot of coverage such as thickets and bushes, there is a tendency for coyotes to hang around or close to their homes. Usually, coyotes prefer to live away from humans (and their residential areas), so this tends to create the assumption that they like deserted places.
Coyotes are animals so closely similar and related to dogs that sometimes they could be mistaken for dogs, but they are much wilder, unlike dogs who are tame. The natural habitats of coyotes consist of grasslands, mountains, and deserts; as long as they are open areas. Most of their habitats have been encroached on by a man who has settled in these areas, and because of this, coyotes have had to migrate in order to locate new habitats where they could reside away from human detection.
Although the coyotes migrated after a man started to settle in their habitats, coyotes are still seen once in a while (at rare times) and especially at night.
The Physical Description of a Coyote
Coyotes are a part of the dog family, in the dog family can be found foxes, wolves, and dogs themselves.
Physically, coyotes possess certain features such as a bushy tail that droops, a thin face, a lean body, yellow eyes, large ears which are triangular and perked upright, a black nose, and a slender muzzle.
In addition to these features, most coyotes are seen to be black or grey, though the coyotes found in warm climate areas are usually tawny, yellowish-grey, or greyish brown in color. Most of the coyotes with darker coat colors reside in cold climate areas. Coyotes are usually medium-sized; not so large, but also not so small. Adult coyotes commonly have weights that range between 25 to 35 pounds, but it is possible for some adult coyotes to weigh as much as 42 pounds.
Like dogs, coyotes rely a lot on their sense of smell. The nostrils of a coyote are very sensitive to smell and have been seen to smell as intensely as those of a dog’s. Like wolves, coyotes form and move in packs. The pack a coyote chooses to be a part of could consist of its mate and children, or it could consist of other coyotes that it is not related to.
Coyotes prefer to move in packs because there is strength in numbers; being in a pack means that safe territories can be marked, protection will be available for the members of the pack and hunting prey will become easier than if a lone coyote faced all these challenges by itself.
A pack of coyotes is usually made up of about 5 to 6 adult coyotes, coyote pups may also be included in the pack. Sometimes, a coyote pack can also consist of only the coyote pups and an alpha pair.
Coyotes can decide to leave their packs and become solitary, solitary coyotes can be young coyotes or even older and adult coyotes (both males and females).
Some reasons why coyotes leave their packs:
- So that they can join another pack.
- So that they can create their own pack.
If left in the wild, a coyote has a life expectancy of about 3 years, but if captured, it is possible for a coyote to live up to 15 years.
Baiting a coyote
Coyotes are wild animals who can cause a lot of damage to humans and livestock, in order to minimize or fully get rid of the presence of a coyote, you will need to hunt and bait the coyote. Hunting a coyote can be done for different reasons; it can be done as a form of coyote population control or just as a pastime activity.
In order to effectively bait a coyote, there are a few things you will need to do:
- Always bait a coyote at night: Baiting a coyote at night is easier than baiting a coyote during the day. This is because coyotes are nocturnal animals and they are most active at night when they hunt. Since coyotes move very actively at night, it will be easy for them to sense and get attracted to your bait. Baiting a coyote at night also offers you an advantage; you will be able to use the presence of the dark environment as a hiding cover.
- You must bait a coyote by feeding it: The word ‘bait’ means to entice, you entice someone or something through the use of the things they like, value or are endeared to. In order to bait a coyote, you must use food because coyotes rely a lot on their sense of smell and this makes it easy for them to take the bait. A bait that coyotes will be unable to resist should be used. Some kinds of bait that you can use include; frozen deer meat (the best kind of bait which coyotes find irresistible), rabbits, pigs, hogs, rodents and squirrels.
- You must use a bait that is allowed by the law: The kind of bait you use to hunt a coyote must be one that has been approved and deemed acceptable by the law. Using a bait that has not been legally and lawfully approved could get you sanctioned.
- You must check if coyote hunting is allowed in that governing jurisdiction: There are laws put in place almost everywhere and for almost everything, so coyote hunting is no different. Before you begin the process of hunting and baiting a coyote, you must confirm if it is legally acceptable for you to hunt and bait a coyote in the governing jurisdiction or area that you are in.
Steps To Take When Baiting a Coyote at Night
Baiting a coyote is not just about you getting some food, placing it in a spot and waiting for the coyote to show up; it goes beyond that.
For you to successfully bait a coyote, you will need to be tactical as coyotes are extremely smart.
Even if you use a bait, coyotes could still be wary and may not even want to take the bait, so you will need to employ other stealthy methods apart from just placing food in a spot and expecting a coyote to come running to it.
When baiting a coyote, it is advisable for you to abide by the following steps:
- Scout the area: Scouting the area is very important when hunting a coyote. It helps you to note the areas where coyotes are active, doing this also helps you get familiar with the area in advance so you can know the best spots to set up your bait. Being familiar with the area you decide to hunt a coyote will help you stay protected and safe.
- Prepare your bait and gear: When baiting a coyote at night, you can not just go empty handed without any bait, gear or plan. You will not be able to bait a coyote without literally a bait. Your bait must already be prepared (it can be deer meat, squirrels, pigs or hogs) and in addition to having your bait ready, you will need to pack up some gear. The reason why your gear is needed is because; you are going to be hunting the coyote at night so you will need to have a way to properly see the coyote and also protect yourself if things go south. Some of the gear you will need consist of a flashlight (it can be white light, red light or green light), a gun with a light source, thermal and night vision and an electrical call (for making howling sounds to attract the coyote).
- Set up your bait in a location frequented by coyotes: The location where you set your bait is very crucial to the success of your hunt. Your bait location must be favorable enough to offer you protection and it must also be strategic enough to attract and entice coyotes. After placing your bait, keep some distance away from it and carefully observe for any coyote movement. At this point in time, you should have your gun, thermal and night vision and flashlight handy. The flashlight helps you spot and focus on the coyote, the thermal and night vision highlights the heat signatures of the coyotes without any attention being drawn to you and the gun is needed to shoot at the coyote when it has taken the bait.
- Employ the coyote calling method: Usually the smell of the bait should be enticing enough to catch a coyote’s attention, but it is possible for there to be a slow response or wariness on the part of the coyote to take the bait. When this happens, you will need to put your electrical call device to use. After it has been turned on, the electrical call mimics the howl of a coyote, this catches the attention of the coyote you are hunting; especially if it is mating season. When the coyote hears the howl, it sends its own response howl and this can help you pinpoint its location. Not all electrical calls make the same sounds, this is why you will need to be careful in choosing and purchasing one. Certain howls have their own various meanings so the electrical call you get should be one that fits the purpose you are going to use it for. Some electrical calls produce howl sounds (howler call) while others produce sounds of an animal or a prey in distress (predator call).
- Take a shot at the coyote: When you have been able to successfully catch the attention of the coyote and it is now in your shooting range, you can then take a shot at the coyote.
After following these steps, being able to successfully hunt and bait a coyote is a high possibility.
When baiting a coyote; even if it is just for the fun of it, try not to get too carried away with your hunting plans that you forget to lay down plans for your protection. In spite of having safety plans in place, it is also best if you have certain backup plans in case something goes wrong. In addition, when baiting a coyote, it is best if you take the wind direction into consideration. The wind can be a very powerful tool in spreading the scent of your bait. The availability of good wind presence will make the activity far easier and more enjoyable for you.