Best Setup For Night Hunting Coyotes

One of the most vital keys to consistently calling coyotes is the setup. If the proper setup is not made, the hunter takes the chance of being seen by coyotes or missing an encounter with them. The probability of a coyote catching the smell of human scent can also increase if not correctly set up. Equipment failure is another possibility when considering a proper setup. Failure to call coyotes into shooting range can occur if not using equipment correctly or missing a vital piece.

Hunter at night getting ready.

To ensure that everything is ready for a successful night calling stand, you must consider a few things. The proper setup begins before the hunter ever sits down and starts to call, especially when calling coyotes after dark. When darkness falls and visibility is limited, the challenge of producing a successful calling stand becomes even harder to achieve. Following these three steps will ensure that success follows.

Proper Sitting Placement

The specific location that a coyote hunter sits in is vital to success. It is imperative to know what the surroundings look like, even in complete darkness. Knowing the surroundings keeps the hunter's safety and others the main priority. Scouting before hunting not only allows the hunter the benefit to know where the best spots to call in coyotes may be, it also allows for a daytime visual of where a safe shot can be made when a coyote approaches after dark.

When scouting, I prefer using a hunting app such as OnX Maps to view an aerial satellite image, boundary lines, and a topo map that shows me the different terrains of where I will be hunting. Once I use my OnX Maps app to visualize my hunting ground, I scout the land on foot a few days before hunting.

After finding the best location for producing coyotes, I look for a spot that I can approach at night that is slightly elevated. A raised spot allows for a better view when using my lights to shine and enhances shot opportunities. As if I was hunting during daylight hours, I try to find areas with a solid background to keep myself concealed when coyotes are approaching the call.

Having the setups found and in place before returning to hunt increases the chance of making a better stand.

Wind Direction

Although determining the wind direction falls into the same category as making the proper setup, it is vital enough to have its own section.

Do not let the complete darkness take away the focus on how vital wind direction can be when calling coyotes. Wind in the face or a crosswind blowing from side to side is critical when calling in the daylight or after dark. If the wind direction is not in the hunters' favor, they should not call in that spot, period. A coyote has one of the most incredible senses of smell among all creatures. When calling with unfavorable wind directions, a coyote will likely smell the hunter and head in the opposite direction without the light ever catching a glimpse of them.

Equipment Setup

There have been instances on the first night of the season that I quickly realize that I do not have the proper equipment setup. I find that lights need new batteries or lights malfunction. I have also found that I can not use my lights the way I want or get my gun into the proper position. When mishaps occur, it is best to return home, regroup and return when everything is properly working.

My ideal night hunting setup consists of a rifle with an attached light on the scope or my AR-style rifle equipped with a thermal imaging device that takes the place of a scope. With extra hardware included on the gun, it doesn't take long to realize its heaviness. It is necessary to have bipods such as the Swagger Bipods QD42's. When my QD42's are in place, I can keep the rifle in a ready-to-shoot position without holding extra weight. Plus, my hands are free to operate the remote of my electronic caller, as well as a hand-held scanning light.

After using the QD42's, I never feel that I lack enough hands or fumble around trying to find what I need when a coyote approaches the call. That alone makes for a better predator hunter.

When calling coyotes at night, I prefer someone to accompany me. When two people are hunting, one can use a scanning light to spot coyotes when they first approach the call and keep the light on the animal until a shot can be made. The other can be the designated shooter when a coyote is spotted. By having my rifle attached to my QD42 bipods, I can help scan using a hand-held light until a coyote is spotted. After an animal is located, I let my partner stay on them with their light, and I quickly use my gun-mounted light or thermal to make the shot as quickly as possible. An adequately installed bipod makes a smooth transition from light to gun without any fumbles that prevent a successful shot.

The chance to enjoy the hunt and successfully take coyotes can be an experience that keeps the hunter hungry for more. Ensuring the best setup while night hunting coyotes requires a complete package—confirming the right location with the right wind direction and the proper equipment setup when scouting must be marked off the checklist before venturing out at night to harvest these intelligent creatures.