A great coyote hunting location may be closer than you think. It could literally be in your backyard — or at least just beyond the barbecue grill. Think urban environment. Coyotes are more adaptable than a veteran U.S. Marine and their hopscotch homesteading of the eastern part of the nation proves that point without debate. If you want to take advantage of this hunting opportunity close to home you need to look for coyote hideouts close to the city and understand the etiquette of hunting near city limits.
One of the largest and longest studies ever on coyotes is in Cook County, Illinois — basically Chicago. It was started in 2000 and continues today. Some of its findings are not only interesting, but are also helpful to hunters across the nation hoping to target coyotes in an urban setting. Research shows that coyotes use nearly any habitat to survive, but one component that the Cook County Coyote Project found is the existence of natural areas — large or small. If you’re on the lookout for urban coyotes, keep this in mind. City parks, county nature areas, undeveloped lots and even golf courses provide these natural areas for hunting and den sites. Coyotes may roam the streets and alleys in the dark of the night, but they retire to natural areas for security and additional hunting.
Of course you won’t be able to hunt the putting greens of a city golf course so instead begin searching for likely hideouts on the fringe of the city within a distance coyotes won’t find insurmountable for daily city visits.
There are a few steps to take for locating an urban coyote hideout and then what to do after finding the gold mine. You should first determine the predominant travel route of the targeted coyotes. Are they hunting more on the country side of city limits or shopping near the city center? This will help you to determine setup sites and where to ambush coyotes as they leave and return to preferred natural areas.
Your next step is determining legal shooting zones and that means locating city limits. As more and more cash-strapped municipalities seek extra funding they extend the borders of the cities further and further for tax revenue from property owners. Undeveloped properties don’t necessarily indicate a free pass to go hunting. Study current city borders and any laws governing the discharge of firearms in or near city limits.
Taking the next step means knocking on doors for permission or locating public land open to hunting. Educate yourself on any problems coyotes may be causing including preying on pets and the spread of rabies. These arguments can go a long way in swaying a landowner on the fence whether to allow you to hunt or not. You may also want to consider using a shotgun or even a high-power air rifle to minimize trajectory issues in a suburban environment.
Finally, check state laws Since the state ultimately sets the hunting seasons for wildlife and game species, there could possibly be a law on the books pertaining to the hunting of urban wildlife. Remember, you’ll be under the scrutiny of many watchful eyes when you hunt urban coyotes so you need to be on your best behavior. Your rangefinder can come in handy to determine legal shooting distances.
One property I used to hunt had borders to a city. The coyotes routinely left the hills above the city at dark and dropped into the streets below for nighttime rummaging. My strategy was to set up before sunrise and wait for their return. Oftentimes it only took a lone howl to direct them my way. One morning I watched a solo coyote target my call as it crossed an open pasture at dawn. He had literally just left the city boundary. I shifted my Bergara rifle to match his route and waited until he crossed a coulee before sending a Hornady V-Max to end the hunt. Being patient and setting up further into the property ensured I didn’t wake the neighbors or give away my ambush site to other coyotes enjoying the city life.