Extend your hunting season by hitting the field for prime-time winter predators.
By Andrew McKean
It’s almost February, and the first turkey seasons are still weeks away. If you don’t have frozen water where you live, then you can’t dull your deer-season hangover with a dose of icefishing.
What you do have, whether you live in Maine or Mississippi, Missouri or Montana, is coyotes, and a growing number of your neighbors are figuring out that chasing them in the dark months is a great cure for the winter blues.
The reasons are obvious:
- Sheer Numbers: We have more coyotes in more areas than at any time in our nation’s history.
- Long Seasons: Hunting seasons are long and liberal, and many states don’t even require hunters to buy a license.
- Hunting Challenge: Outsmarting a predator is no easy task, so bagging a coyote or a fox requires all the stalking, scent-elimination, and sign-reading talents that consistently successful deer hunters employ.
- Easy Transition: Chasing coyotes in the winter months is also a great way for those new to the shooting sports to transition into hunting.
- Great Payoff: There is a nice payoff to coyote hunting—literally. While fur markets fluctuate wildly, and prices depend on the region, size and grade of animal, and other unknowable factors, prime coyote pelts were fetching around $50 at the time this was written (with higher prices in northern states and lower fur prices in southern states). Put together a dozen dogs, and you can buy a lot of gas and shells to subsidize your next outing.
If you’re like most deer hunters, you’ve probably killed a few coyotes opportunistically, as you encountered them going to or from a deer hunt. And you’ve probably pledged to invest in the gear and knowledge to extend your season by targeting coyotes through the winter. This guide is for you, the educated beginner.
About the Author
Andrew McKean is a longtime outdoor writer and the former editor-in-chief of Outdoor Life. He lives in northeast Montana with his family and yellow Lab. You can follow his adventures on Instagram @aemckean or on Facebook @andrew.mckean.
Special thanks to StepOutside.org for providing this insightful content.
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