When it comes to hunting foxes, coyotes, bobcats, etc. at night, your flashlight is the piece of gear that makes the hunt possible. If you can’t see you can’t shoot. So having a good light is critically important. Having a bad light can make the adventure more challenging than it’s worth. On this episode I cover everything you need to know about predator hunting flashlights.
- The only good color for predator hunting lights is red. There is no other option. Green is workable to get started if you already have one, but do not spend money on any color but red.
- The light MUST have a red LED. There is no other option. A red filter over a white LED is going to suck away your range and brightness. If you already have a white light with a red filter, you can start with that to get your feet wet but ONLY buy a red LED light.
- You want to have more light range than you think you need. A good minimum is 400-500 yards.
- The light is hardly visible at its max range. A 500 yard light will only give you reasonable illumination at 300-400 yards, and may only be bright enough to distinguish between animals at 200 yards, which is already shooting range.
- If you have even a fair scope, you can see through it just fine using a red light to illuminate your target. No need to buy a special scope to get started predator hunting at night.
- You want to buy a light with changeable LEDs so you can use a white LED, a green one, and a UV bulb in addition to your red bulb, this makes the light versatile so it can be used for searching, tracking wounded game, hog hunting, or anything else you would want a powerful light for. It also helps you get the most out of your investment.
- Re-chargeable batteries are a must, this is a non-negotiable.
- I use and recommend Sniper Hawg Lights, here you can see that the 66LR will throw red light over 700 yards, and the light packages are here.
Hunting coyotes and foxes can be done more comfortably and effectively with the right gear. However, depending on how you hunt them, you can start with very basic equipment and then work your way up as you get deeper into the sport. In this episode I cover the simplest level of gear you can use and then what would be ideal for the new hunter to use. Everything we talk about on this episode centers around the strategy of hunting predators at night.
- You can start predator hunting with almost anything that is warm enough for the weather as long as it’s dark colored. Black is best, but dark greens and grays would work as well.
- Its important to match footgear to the weather and terrain. Because you won’t be sitting for much more than an hour, you can get away with less footgear than say for deer hunting.
- Hand and foot warms can be a lot of help, especially if you are dressing light!
- Ideal attire for night hunting is full camo with gloves, hat, and a face covering, but your flashlight handling will play the biggest role and how well you can stay hidden.
- You do not need to have a heavy pack for hunting foxes, coyotes, bobcats, etc. The basics include a search flashlight, a head lamp, a knife, rubber gloves, some paper towers, plastic bag, and whatever tags might be needed in your area.
- Look for clothing and footwear that is quite above all.
- Noise and scent matter more than having perfect gear. Practice stealth for the best results!
When it comes to hunting coyotes, foxes, bobcats, or larger predators, you a rifle that does a handful of very specific things. Any rifle can work, but there may be downsides. On this episode I talk in-depth about what attributes you want in a rifle, what chamberings are most effective, and what a new hunter should be looking for in a gun for predator hunting. My recommendations might surprise you.
- Any gun can be used, from a shotgun to a magnum rifle, and if that is what you have, then start there to see if you enjoy the sport and want to invest more in it.
- Predator hunting rifles should fire a small bullet, at high speed, that is very accurate at long range.
- You want a round with minimal bullet drop, that will kill the animal quickly and humanely, without doing excessive damage to the fur.
- Your benchmark distance should be 200 yards. You want to practice for that range and have the equipment to effectively take game at that range. Your ability and environment may call for longer or shorter shots, but this is where to start.
- Adjustable trigger, longer barrel, and 4-12x or better scope are major features you want to have.
- The smallest effective round for coyotes is 22 magnum at short range, it is not viable at long range.
- The largest advisable round is .243 Winchester which is a little bit too large but is a versatile rifle that can be used for deer as well. Larger rifles are fine for pest control but not for preserving the quality and value of the fur.
- Three of the major ideal rounds are the .223, the 22-250, and the 204 Ruger.
- My recommendation for new hunters, is hands down the .223 for many reasons stated in the episode. The other calibers may be used more effectively by a master, but most hunters will not have the skill or environment to make use of any additional benefit they provide.
- Savage makes Model 11’s and Model 10’s in various configurations that are ideal for the new hunter, as does Ruger with their American rifle line. Expect to spend between $400 and $600 for a new rifle with scope already mounted depending on what sales and deals you can find.
- Only buy a package deal if the scope comes with it’s own warrantee.
- New hunters should seriously consider getting a used rifle to save money. Which is one of the reasons for the .223 recommendation, there are many more of these guns out there.
Keep in mind the size of the rifle you use for predator hunting is directly connected to what you intend to do with the animal. If you are wanting to save or sell the fur, then my above recommendations are on target. If you are out for pest control, then the equation changes. If that is the case, then you can use any rifle caliber because you are not trying to preserve meat or hides. When it comes to pest control, you can use just about anything.
I would normally never advise you to use something like a 300 Winchester Magnum but if you are shooting from long range for pest control then the only downside is the cost of the ammo. But traditionally you are keeping or selling the fur. So for those scenarios you want to use a caliber that quickly and humanely kills the animal but does minimal damage to the hide.
Listen to the whole podcast episode to learn more.
When it comes to hunting coyotes and foxes, you need to not only talk the talk but also look the part. Calls and decoys enable you to get predators to not just come close but to let their guard down enough for you to get a shot. In this episode I talk about how to find predators and what kinds of calls and decoys you can use to get started hunting them.
- When scouting, look for tracks, droppings, and the remains of previous meals. Predators tend to move around a lot looking for food, they will leave evidence behind if they are in the area.
- Its best to look after it snows or after rain. This make tracks easier to find and it ensures they will be fresh.
- Ask people who live near by if they have heard coyotes, they can be quite vocal and can be heard from a long distance.
- Hand calls take time and practice to use effectively, and lots of energy to use for a long period of time. For beginners it is best to use an electric call, you can produce lots of excellent animal sounds with the push of a button.
- Electronic calls typically come in three categories, junk, good, and great. Don’t bother with the junk ones.
- Good calls typically have 12-24 animal sounds preprogrammed in. They are perfect for the beginner. Here is a good entry level call I talked about in the episode.
- Great calls enable you to custom program in hundreds of calls so you can hunt just about anything. Here is a FoxPro call I talked about in the show, this is the one I use.
- Decoys are important because they give predators something to see that connects to the sounds they have been hearing. And it gives them something to focus on that isn’t you! Just a piece of moving fur is all you need. Here is the MOJO decoy I talked about, this is all you need to get started.
- They also make call/decoy combos which are very handy. Here is the combo call I discussed.
Predator hunting, specifically coyotes, foxes, bobcats, etc., is a great pursuit for beginners and experienced hunters alike. It is so different from most types of hunting that both a seasoned deer hunter and a first time beginner can go out together and have a great time. The most effective time to hunt predators is right after sundown, which makes this an activity you can do any night of a week, even after work. On this episode I cover the basic tactics and general approach to predator hunting.
- To do it right, you need a red LED spotlight, a call, a decoy, and a shooting stick. What you wear is less important, but camo or black will do fine.
- Hunting right after dark is best because that is when coyotes, foxes, and bobcats are the most active and looking for food after laying low during the day.
- Scouting in advance is important for hunting in an area where there are predators. The best things to look for are tracks, droppings, and bones from the last thing they ate.
- Coyotes also are good for letting you know they are around because they will often howl, bark, and make noise that you can hear from far off. Ask people who live in the area if they have heard anything lately. Most farmers will be very keen to their presence because they tent to attack chickens, pets, and livestock.
- Predators are prized for their fur, which is best in winter time. The skins make great trophies and you can often sell them to make extra cash to fund more hunting.
- Coyote populations have boomed out of control across much of the country, making them a terrible menace because they kill off many other game animals. Cross breeding with wolves has made them large, hardier, and more destructive to other wildlife. Every coyote you take helps preserve wild game, livestock, and pets.
Predator hunting is one of the most unique and fun types of hunting you can do. The tactics and strategy are unique, everything about it is different. I think it is the best change of pace you could ask for to follow deer season. In this episode we talk about the basics of predator hunting, when, where, what type of gear, general strategy, and tips to be successful.
- The best time to hunt most predators in most places is in the winter, and right after nightfall up until maybe midnight.
- Summer is good too, but their fur is thickest in winter.
- The three most hunted predators include coyotes, foxes, and bobcats.
- Coyotes are one of the most out of control nuisances in America that has far exceeded its native habitat and population and are devastating our nations game animals.
- In many states you can hunt Coyotes 365 days a year, day or night.
- You need three specialized items to really do it right, a red LED flashlight, a call, and a decoy.
- This is a team sport, 2-3 people is best.
- Its best to use smaller caliber centerfire rifles if you want to preserve the fur. The rule of thumb is to use the smallest caliber you can that you can accurate shoot at 200+ yards, a small sample of the many good calibers includes .223, 22-250, and 204 Ruger.
- The basic approach is to arrive at your spot, setup your decoy and call, wait 15 minutes in silence, and start calling. Rotate calling one and off for as long as 30-45 minutes and then pack up and move on to the next spot if there is no action.
- Use your red light to sweep the field until you see it illuminate a predators eyes, then never ever take the light off of them until you shoot or they run away.
- Great book by master predator hunter Michael Huff: Understanding Coyotes: The Comprehensive Guide for Hunters, Photographers and Wildlife Observers