Think Like a Coyote
First off let’s think like a coyote. Why does a coyote need to move about? To hunt, defend their territory, breed, etc. Since they rely heavily on their nose or olfactory stimuli, the biggest factor that limits their movement is wind speed. Because of this, when the wind picks up coyotes seek cover. Now, that being said let’s talk about other factors to consider when deciding when the best time to coyote hunt is.
Coyotes are no different than any other animal. When it is hot, they like to stay cool. They will do most of their hunting during the night when it’s cooler. This isn’t to say that you can’t call them in on a hot summer morning because it happens, but when the temperature is cooler they are more responsive. So just what is a good temperature? I have found when the temperature stays below 65 degrees I can call all day long and still have success. As soon as it gets above this temperature coyote activity declines.
What about barometric pressure? This is something that I haven’t taken the time to capture specific numbers on, but I can tell you that it does affect coyote movement. Just before a storm, the air pressure will drop and after the storm, the pressure will rise again. Mississippi State University did a research project on carnivore ecology and found that coyote activity decreases as the pressure decreases and increases as the pressure increases.
So that being said, the best time to hunt would be after a storm instead of before. My theory is that the prey animals hunker down before a storm and come out as soon as it is over. On the other hand, I remember a morning of calling as a light snow storm was rolling in and the coyotes were active. We had to leave at noon but had responders on six of the ten stands. So if you have the time, hunt both before and after, but if you are like the rest of us, you go whenever possible.
And lastly, what about the moon phase? One thing I like to do is keep a log of the days I go out calling, how many I called in, shot, etc. I went back through the years of data with the moon phase in mind to see if there was a trend indicating which phase was the best for coyote calling. As I did so I found that the moon phase didn’t seem to have an effect on the movement of coyotes. There weren’t any trends that corresponded to the moon.
So in answer to the question what is the best time to coyote hunt, I think if I were to describe the ideal day of calling it would be one that has minimal wind, cooler temperatures, overcast skies, and just after a storm. But since those days don’t come around all the time, just make the most of and enjoy those days when you can get out in the field.
Read more: Coyote Hunting Tips and Tactics