Predator hunting is one of the fastest growing outdoor sports in the United States. Since 1900, coyotes have dramatically expanded their territory from just the western portion of the country to the entire U.S. mainland—urban areas included. In most places, they have become nocturnal in order to conceal their movements from humans and avoid detection.
Coyotes have proved to be one of the country’s most crafty predators, managing not only to survive, but to thrive in a wide variety of different habitats and climates. They now live in every U.S. state except Hawaii.
With this rapid spike in population numbers, there has also been a rise in the number of hunters looking to thin the predator numbers in many areas.
Many hunters are drawn to the sport because coyotes have overtaken much of the country’s farmlands and are now well beyond their natural boundaries. Others point to the fact that coyotes target whitetail deer fawns and other game animals as reason enough to go after them, but there is reason to believe that lots of hunters are attracted to the sport because of all the gear that predator hunters use.
As hunters, there are few game animals that we are allowed to hunt day or night and predators (coyotes in particular) are among that group. Two of the most popular predators hunted in the United States are foxes and coyotes.
Coyote Hunting Gear Checklist
If you’re looking to get started in predator hunting, or you’re still getting your bearings, we’ve put together a predator hunting gear guide of items that you absolutely need to be a successful predator hunter.
Hand Predator Call
Among the things you need most when targeting foxes or coyotes is a reliable call. These are among the smartest animals on the North American continent and are not easily fooled. Packing a hand call is essential as this is one of the most important gear items a predator hunter can have.
Most serious predator hunters opt to use electronic calls that are strategically placed in order to provide the hunter with the most optimal shot opportunity, but should the electronic call fail, you might find yourself relying on a backup hand call instead.
There are many different kinds of calls out there and the price will often determine the quality of the call you purchase. We recommend the Primos Third Degree, which is small enough to fit in any hunting pack and, when used properly, is able to bring in most predators close enough for a shot.
Wind direction is key to successful predator hunting. Knowning where the wind is blowing and being able to determine when it is changing can be the difference in a well-executed plan and being busted by the highly-effective nose of a fox or coyote.
We recommend arming yourself with the Hunters Specialties Windicator. This is a relativeley inexpensive item that can have profound effects on your hunting efforts for both predator and prey. It’s light enough to pick up the slightest wind and scent-free so as not to alert natural animals to your position.
Chair or Stool
Predator hunting can mean sitting as still as possible in a field with little cover for hours at a time. This can be extremely uncomfortable for even the most seasoned hunter. Keeping your backside dry and warm might be one of the more underrated tips any predator hunter can give you. Having a comfortable chair or stool that you can easily pack in with the rest of your gear is as important as any other item you can have in the field.
There are many different varieties of seating gear that you can use for predator hunting. Finding one that offers back support, as well as padding for sitting, is crucial to a comfortable hunt. Check out the ALPS Outdoors Backwoods Chair and Terrain seat for a simple, yet easy-to-use seat.
There are plenty of other kinds of seats out there that can serve their purpose in making sure you don’t have to spend several hours on the cold, hard ground, but remember, you’ll likely have to carry this along with all of your other gear items, so choose one that is easily compatible.
Bipod or Shooting Stick
When the time comes to take your first shot at a coyote or fox, you won’t be sitting upright in a sturdy treestand. If that’s what you’re used to, you need to spend some time taking shots in a variety of different positions—mostly seated and prone.
It’s very important to have either a bipod or shooting stick in your gear pack in order to ensure that you have a steady shooting surface as you’ll most likely be taking some fairly long shots at some of these critters. Like most of the gear items mentioned in this article, there is a wide variety in the cost of some of the different kinds of bipods and shooting sticks.
Choose one that is right for your hunting scenario and practice with it before you go into the field.
Predator hunting is often done in large stretches of open fields and being able to get a visual on any approaching varmints can give you an edge in being able to get ready for a shot in time. Having a solid pair of binoculars or spotting scope is crucial to a successful hunt—especially in daytime hours.
As you might be aware of, optics can get rather pricey. However, there are many choices out there that would serve the purposes you need in predator hunting.
The Steiner Predator 10×42 Binoculars is an aptly-named pick that serve as a quality choice of optics in any outdoor activity, including predator hunting.
You’ll need a handy pair of binoculars in your predator hunting exploits, but you will also need to keep them close enough to use if you catch sight of a ‘yote and, yet easy enough to quickly put out of the way when you get ready for a shot. Get a solid binocular harness to keep your binoculars in an easily-accessible location.
Electronic Calls and Decoys
One of the more exciting parts of predator hunting is watching a coyote or fox come in after being called by an electronic calling system. Years ago, hunters were tasked with using hand calls and having to remain perfectly still so as not to spook their (predator) prey. Now, with the advent of electronic calls, hunters can strategically place them at the right spot and sit back and wait for their targets to come into range.
There are many different kinds of electronic predator calls and different schools of thought on what actually works for both foxes and coyotes. An electronic call might not set you back as much financially as you think. There are some more affordable options out there, and also some fancier ones that offer a wide variety of different sounds and settings to let you customize your decoy.
Pairing your calling device with an electronic decoy is the ultimate predator hunting setup and can result in huge success, especially in areas that are densely populated with coyotes or foxes.
Check out the FOXPRO Jack Jr. Electronic Decoy for one of the more popular items in 2019. The FOXPRO Jack Jr. is actually made to mimic a wounded woodpecker and can be paired with a variety of FOXPRO predator hunting calls.
If you’re looking to spend a few extra dollars to get one of the biggest, baddest calls on the market, check out the ICOtec Outlaw Programmable Electric Game Call with Decoy. The ICOtec Outlaw puts out an impressive range of sound and can be easily packed and set up when time is of the essence. This one also packs in some impressive technological capabilities that will give you a serious edge over predators in your hunting area.
Sidenote: Always carry extra batteries and remember to charge your electronic hunting devices before going afield.
Most of the best time to hunt for coyotes is at night as these critters have opted to go nocturnal in most heavily hunted areas to avoid humans. This means having a handy spotlight will make a huge difference in getting a good shot on a ‘yote.
While it is true that just about any old spotlight will work, there are some truly outstanding new brands and models that offer unreal candlepower to light up the night sky. Check out the FOXPRO® Fire Eye Light Kit for one of the most powerful lights on the market today.
This one is made for nighttime hunting and features trigger action, four-color LED lighting options, and a brightness control slider that lets you set the exact level you want.
One of the most innovative hunting tools that has been developed in recent years is a hunting vest that also features a seat that’s built into the material, otherwise known as a seat vest. Hunters are more than thankful for a convenient tool like this as anyone who has spent more than a few hours sitting on the cold, hard ground will appreciate having a seat that’s virtually tied to your outer gear and can be easily deployed at a moment’s notice. These are also very popular among turkey hunters, and rightfully so.
One of the most popular brands of seat vests is the Cabela’s Speedy Yote Kickstand Vest that is designed specifically for predator hunters who need a solid vest to tote their gear and also require comfortable seating for the hunt. The Speedy ‘Yote Kickstand Vest is surprisingly comfortable and has plenty of pocket space and straps to carry gear items with.
The Alps OutdoorZ Men’s Grand Slam Turkey Vest is also a great choice, although the name entails a different kind of game animal. The Alps OutdoorZ Grand Slam has more pocket space than you probably need and one of the most comfortable seats you’ll find. Warning—once you hunt with one of these, you’ll probably never be able to go back into the field without one.
Smartphone Hunting Apps
Most of the hunters that grew up using a rotary-dial phone might not be aware of just how handy some of the new smartphone apps designed for hunters can be. There are a variety of hunting apps out there and those who use them are singing their praises.
Smartphone apps like OnX Hunt Maps and HuntWise tell their user exactly where their position is and where the boundaries of their hunting land is in relation to surrounding properties. These mapping features show topographical views, and many other digital features that hunters will find exceptionally useful on a predator hunt. Most of them work using GPS signals so they will still be functional when you are out of range for your cell phone service provider.
For predator hunters, especially those who are hunting with multiple people spread across a wide range of property, these apps allow you to pinpoint exactly where you spotted predators and mark the position or direction they were headed in order to help you let your buddies know when and where the ‘yotes will be moving from. This is truly a game changing factor for a lot of predator hunters.