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Print

It’s always coyote season

February 27, 2010 at 07:26 AM

SPRINGFIELD STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER

Late winter nights when the moon shines blue on bare trees, coyotes howl up and down La Harpe Crik.

Coyotes howl to mark their territory, to call members of the pack back in from a hunt, or to find out where other coyotes are prowling. Some say when a coyote answers another’s howl, the boundaries will be respected and the first howler will go on down the crik.

Coyotes are the only animals in Illinois for which there is an open hunting season. There is a coyote-trapping season, just like there is for all Illinois furbearing animals. But if you’re a hunter, it’s always coyote season. And the rules are fairly lenient. Illinois coyote hunters can call them in with electronic calls and even hunt them with dogs. Plus, you can shoot them at night from Nov. 10 to Feb. 15. spotlights can be used by a person on foot.

In Illinois, coyotes take a toll on small game, upland birds, white-tailed fawns and even pets that live outside. Landowners with livestock don’t want coyotes around. Those farmers, who might not allow other types of hunting, will sometimes welcome a coyote hunter.

Because there are so many of them, and because of the open season, coyote hunting sounds a lot easier than it really is. White-tailed deer are wary, turkeys can get call-shy and an old cock pheasant will run a mile before he flies. But none of these creatures have to be on the lookout for hunters year-round.

If you’ve never hunted coyotes, a good place to start is the same places where you hunt turkeys and deer. The coyote you saw slipping out the side door when you were sneaking into your deer stand is still around.

Get a predator call and practice with it before you go out. Practice a lot. For daylight hunting, calling is the key. Most coyote hunters go out in full camo and set up on the ground, calling from behind a fallen tree, in a brushy fencerow, or even behind a stump. Any place that breaks up a hunter’s shape and still offers some clear shooting lanes will do.

Coyotes have a home range of several miles. A day’s hunt may include multiple setups over a distance of three or four miles.

Hunters who can successfully call one in are mindful of the wind direction. Coyotes won’t come in on the dead run like a rattled buck. Expect a slow and cautious downwind approach.
Just like in deer hunting, the first shot you get is likely to be your best one. Make sure your target is within your effecting shooting range.

On sunny cold days — if you want to try still-hunting — you might catch a coyote napping on a sunny hillside. Make your approach with the wind in your face, and use the lay of the land to stay out of sight as long as possible. If you can get within 100 yards of him, take your best shot.

Coyote hunting is about as challenging as hunting gets in these parts. If it were easy, there would be no need for an open season.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

I’d like to point out an error, Coyote Season is not 24/7 every day. Night hunting is legal during Fox season only….Nov. 10 to Feb. 15th…Not open at night now…

Posted by Bob Coine on 02/27 at 08:12 AM

“and spotlight them after dark.” That’s also an error that may get some readers in big trouble. Spotlights can only be used by a person on foot, not in any vehicle and the person useing the spotlight must be off the road and public right of way. (Sec. 2.31. It shall be unlawful for any person to take or attempt to take wild birds or wild mammals along, upon, across, or from any public right?of?way or highway in this State.) and (Section 2.33i….. coyote may be taken during the open season by use of a small light which is worn on the body or hand?held by a person on foot and not in any vehicle.)

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/27 at 09:02 AM

just think how many coyotes there would be if your average coyote hunter followed the rules!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/28 at 08:28 PM

I keep hearing that you can hunt coyotes in Illinois with a rifle. I’ve heard that you can hunt them with a .243 rifle??

Anyone know where I can find out for sure?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/28 at 09:26 PM

Travis…it is legal to any caliber of HP rifle to kill coyotes, foxes, ground hogs, and a few other animals in IL.
Rifles are NOT legal for deerhunting, in IL.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/28 at 10:24 PM

Interesting. I knew you couldn’t hunt deer with them, so I was a little suprised when I heard that you could hunt yotes with them.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/01 at 06:25 AM

An addition to the spot light rule is it can’t be powered from a vehicle either.  It must be battery powered…
  Apparently the author doesn’t do much night hunting based on is comment about yotes not running straight into a call.  I’ve seen them burn across a wide open field to a caller at night.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/01 at 07:46 AM

I don’t think people realize how many coyotes are really out there. I’ll see 1 or 2 a day. I started hunting them and shot 14 this winter off of one farm.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/01 at 07:53 AM

Most state parks are rimfire and shotgun only.  The national parks are normally wide open.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/01 at 09:32 AM

Anyone know why we can’t hunt them at night year-round?  I would never allow night hunting during any part of the deer season though.  That would give too many deer poachers legal reason to be in the field at night with a gun and a light.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/01 at 10:25 AM

Treehugger,

I believe the night hunting coincides with fox season. At night it’s too hard to identify a fox from a coyote so when fox season is over so is night hunting.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/01 at 12:37 PM

“Coyotes won’t come in on the dead run like a rattled buck.”  Well - I don’t know about that.  My son and I just started hunting them this year and in 4 hunts - we’ve have them run right in on us 3 of the 4 times.  We may be hunting unpressured animals but it’s been impressive how fast they respond to the calls.  Hunting over carcasses has been a waste of time… (so far)

But we’re hooked.  I’m enjoying this a LOT more than I thought I would…

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/01 at 12:42 PM

What works better?  A mouth call or an electronic caller?  I’ve tried the mouth call with very little success…very little.  Every coyote I ever shot was unplanned.  Bowhunting deer and here comes a coyote.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/01 at 12:53 PM

Rat,
I used to hunt them a lot years ago and in my opinion if they aren’t hunted much or the dog is a young one they come in quick and less wary. Miss ‘em and educate them and they become much tougher to call in.

Treehugger- I always used mouth calls and my cousins used the old Johnny Stewart tapes. Both of them worked. Howl calls work well too especially now in the breeding season. Have Fun!!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/01 at 09:35 PM

Jeff you are the master at putting articles on here that cause conflict, keep up the good work!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/02 at 08:31 AM

Went out this weekend and had a perfect set up. Wind was right, caller sounded great and the twiching rabbit decoy was life-like. Didn’t see a ‘yote all day. I’m assuming they are still in the standing corn.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/02 at 09:45 AM

Full moon = poor yote hunting in most cases…

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/02 at 01:00 PM

Full moon seems to make hunting hard in the morning.  Afternoon and sundown seems to be the best during that time.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/02 at 01:08 PM

i just bought me a 243 and lookin forward to killin a few yotes any one got any good tips for evening hunts

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/02 at 02:38 PM

On more than one occasion I have had a yote that I called come in so hard and fast I couldnt even get the gun up before he nailed me trying to get on him to shoot…. Just last year I started to call ( from a tree stand, nice snow, colder than cold ), and before I finished blowing my first series of calling, a yote busted from over a hump and was less than 10 yrds from my tree. I dumped him but it was darn lucky cause I snatched my gun off the hanger, pointed it down, saw hair, squeezed, and dead yote….yes they sometimes come on a dead run and dont stop until a few feet away….......PW

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/03 at 07:50 PM

@ Treehugger…...Flip a coin about what works best. If you know how to call, a good mouth call works fine. Thats what I choose because I throw a call around my neck and away I go. Also the electronics can work well also. A good set-up is important. I try and call into heavy brushy areas keeping the wind in my favor. If the coyotes in an area have been messed with or called alot, it doesnt much matter. They can be tough customers…Thats all there is to it!......PW

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/03 at 08:10 PM

Once the IBS got the law changed so we can legally shoot them from a treestand, I started shooting more of them. The height advantage works well. A decent remote control electronic call works wonders in this setup. Jan thru March is a great time since it is breeding season. (Most breeding is in late Jan thru the 2nd week of Feb, however it drags into March)
A great time to call is Sept and early Oct. The younger ‘yotes’ are very vulnerable at this time of the year.

Jodie

Posted by archernut_ibs on 03/04 at 06:20 PM

Is it legal to hunt them over roadkill or anything like that?  I hit a nice buck this past rut with my truck and messed him up so bad no meat was worth the taking so I just loaded him up and dumped him on my property.  Within one day the coyotes had him, day two the carcass was nowhere to be found.  Seems like it would work for hunting, but is it legal?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/05 at 10:15 AM

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