Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Night Hunting Coyotes

It should be no secret that setting up a quality coyote bait for the night hunting season is no easy task. First one must select that perfect location that provides effective cover for spooky predators as well as good shot opportunities. Small ponds, fields and clear cuts are prime locations. This small wood lot pictured below, required about 12 hours of work with the chainsaw and hauling brush to get it "perfect". AND of course most importantly you got to make sure nobody dies.

To attract coyotes (night hunting) and other predators like fox and bobcat (legal day hunting only) your bait pile must contain protein sources to entice these scavengers. My bait pile this year includes deer, hog and one ill fated porcupine. Local butcher shops will be able to provide you with meat scraps BUT if you have the means, nothing attracts coyotes quite like a stinky old beaver carcass. 

In previous years, I have been plagued with coyotes and other predators stealing away the bait too quickly. I have tried to solve this problem, in past years by freezing the bait into 5 gallon buckets. This makes the hungry coyotes scratch and dig at the frozen "soup" throughout the entire season as it freezes and thaws. 

This year, as you can see in the picture below, I am trying something new. By wrapping the bait in chicken wire, I hope to make predators "work" at the bait, slowing down the time it takes to eat it all and providing me the added benefit of hopefully allowing a better shot opportunity. I currently have a game camera capturing video on the bait site, so stay tuned to see how this experiment ends. *Note in Maine you must clearly label your bait sites.

A comfortable 70 yard shot from the coyote blind, clear of visible obstructions, helps to make sure every shot opportunity amounts to a clean ethical kill. Note I attempted to tuck the hunting shack into the wood line but after over a month in the same location, I feel confident in assuming that it won't bother the coyotes.

Though may rifle options exist for the hunting of coyotes and other Maine predators, for quick follow-up shot opportunities, easy of use, reliability and a laundry list of possible modifications, it is difficult to beat the AR15 platform. Pictured below is the R15 in .223 . . . nicknamed "my Precious" (see her in action). It is topped with a Nikon 2x7 variable power scope. 

When the cold winds howl and the temperatures growl, it pays to have as little exposed to the elements as possible. A heavy curtain with a peep hole just barely large enough to fit through the rife's barrel and  scope provides visibility without sacrificing loss of heat. To the left, hangs the light switch to the red light that will illuminate the bait site on overcast or moonless nights. When operational, it runs off a 6 volt battery and the switch attaches directly to the rifles front hand guard.

The angle of death awaits any Coyote (Night Hunt 12/16/12-8/31/13), Red Fox (10/15/12-2/28/13) or Bobcat (12/1/12-2/14/13) that approaches the bait site.



  1. I haven't used bait yet, just calls, so this is very helpful. There's always something new to learn. I think I have everything I need but a carcass, and that should be easy to get.

  2. Never hunted coyote before, that looks like quite the elaborate setup - looks like a lot of hard work went into it!
    Good luck this season, I hope you bag a few.

  3. Interesting post. What was your inspiration? ;)
    We can not bait in our state, but I like the way you're thinking. Good advice.

  4. Very interesting Steve. Nice set up too!
    Had to put a coyote down this week that had my youngest dog cornered. I haven't tried baiting them....well, unless my chicken coop full of chickens counts. :)

    Looking forward to seeing how this works out for you.


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