Last updated on August 10th, 2023
Coyote hunting has gained popularity in Georgia as the coyote population has increased across the state. As a versatile and adaptive species, coyotes have managed to make themselves at home here in the Peach State.
Their success has resulted in increased human conflicts, as well as negative impacts on deer and other wildlife populations. But it has also resulted in increased hunting and trapping opportunities for Georgia hunters.
In this article, we’ll look at license requirements and hunting regulations for coyotes on both public and private land, as well as some tips and techniques for improving your odds of success. My hope is that this article will prepare and inspire you to try your first Georgia coyote hunt this year!
Hunting License Requirements
Georgia coyote hunters age 16 or older must possess a hunting license, except when hunting on land owned by the hunter or their immediate family (blood or dependent) residing in the same household. Nonresidents must possess a nonresident hunting license. Hunting licenses can be obtained online, by phone, or in-person at select locations.
Additionally, hunters born after January 1, 1961, must complete a hunter education course before obtaining a license.
Coyote Season Dates
In Georgia, coyote hunting is permitted year-round on private land, with no closed seasons or bag limits. Legal hunting methods include firearms of any caliber, archery equipment, and trapping.
On public lands, coyote hunting opportunities are much more restricted. Coyotes can be taken during a small or big game season with the appropriate lawful weapons for that specific season.
For example, during small game season on a WMA, coyotes can only be hunted with small game legal weapons, which includes .22 and smaller rimfire rifles, shotguns using shot shells with size 2 or small shot, air rifles, muzzleloaders, and archery equipment.
There is also a specific Feral Hog and Coyote season from May 16-31 on all WMAs (unless otherwise specified). During this two week hunt, any legal firearm for big or small game may be used, except on Archery Only areas.
Also keep in mind on Georgia public lands that hunter orange is required when hunting coyotes, and no night hunting or baiting is allowed. Electronic calls may be used.
Public Land Opportunities
Georgia offers a variety of public lands for hunting, including Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), national forests, and national wildlife refuges. WMAs such as Redlands, Clybel, and B.F. Grant provide excellent opportunities for coyote hunting, but you’re likely to find coyotes on any of the state’s 100+ tracts of public hunting land.
Be sure to consult the individual WMA regulations and restrictions before hunting.
National forests like Oconee National Forest and Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest also offer hunting opportunities, as do locations such as Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge. It is essential to follow federal and state guidelines when hunting in these areas.
Private Land Opportunities
Hunting on private lands in Georgia requires permission from the landowner or leasing the property for hunting purposes. Guided hunts can also be arranged through outfitters who have access to private lands. It is essential to ensure liability and insurance considerations are addressed when hunting on private properties.
Coyote Hunting Techniques
- Calling: Coyote calling involves mimicking the sounds of distressed prey or other coyotes to lure them within shooting range. Electronic calls and mouth calls can be utilized effectively. It is crucial to master the various sounds and learn when and how to use them.
- Decoys: Decoys can be used in combination with calling to further entice coyotes into the open. Decoys resembling injured prey or other coyotes can be particularly effective.
- Night Hunting: Hunting coyotes at night is permitted on private lands in Georgia and can be a productive method. Using lights, thermal, or night vision optics helps hunters spot and target coyotes during their most active hours. Be sure to follow all regulations regarding night hunting and the use of specific equipment.
- Trapping: Trapping coyotes requires skill and knowledge of proper trap placement, baiting, and scent control. Traps must be checked and maintained regularly in accordance with state regulations.
Coyote Hunting Tips
Here are some valuable tips for successfully hunting Georgia’s most prolific predator, the coyote:
Selecting the Perfect Hunting Spot
The ideal hunting location is essential, and hunting with a partner can significantly improve your chances of success. Focus on areas rich with prey, such as overgrown clearcuts or beaver swamps, where coyotes are likely to be hunting naturally. Use your woodsmanship skills to approach your calling location stealthily, taking wind direction into account and ensuring a clear view downwind.
Calling Coyotes Effectively
Various calls can attract coyotes, including distressed rabbit, mouse squeaks, injured bird, and fox or coyote pup calls. Start calling softly and gradually increase the volume with each calling sequence. Call in short bursts, waiting for about 15 minutes between calls. Put emotion into your calling to imitate a distressed animal convincingly.
Timing and Frequency
The best time of year to hunt coyotes in Georgia is late winter, during the months of January and February when natural food sources are in shorter supply. During this period, a small animal distress call, like that of a rabbit, is likely to get a reaction from a hungry coyote looking for an easy meal.
Late May and early June can also be prime times when fawns are abundant.
The best time to day to hunt coyotes is from dawn until mid-morning, as hungry coyotes are more easily lured during these hours. Late evening near last light can also be effective, as well as night hunting on private land.
Limit hunting a specific spot to no more than twice a month to avoid pressuring coyotes.
Camouflage and Concealment
Coyotes have exceptional vision, so blending into the surroundings is crucial.
Choose camouflage patterns that match your hunting environment and make use of natural cover, like rock piles and blowdowns.
Choosing the Right Weapon
As coyotes are classified as unprotected nongame species, there are no caliber restrictions. A 12-gauge shotgun with 3- to 3 1/2-inch shells loaded with large shot like BBs to 00 buckshot is suitable for solo hunting in thick brush.
In open areas, .17, .222, or .22-.250 rifles are great options. If you’re on a budget, your deer rifle will suffice for most situations.
Other Important Considerations
Always identify your target before shooting, especially at night or in areas with pets. Be aware of foxes and bobcats, which have specific hunting seasons and weapons restrictions. Obtain permission to hunt on private land, and respect landowners’ requests to avoid hunting during deer or turkey seasons. Locate coyotes by howling or using sirens at night.
Coyote hunting is not only a thrilling pursuit but also contributes to managing the coyote population. Follow these tips, and you may even be rewarded with a beautiful coyote pelt for your efforts.
Coyote hunting in Georgia provides a unique opportunity for hunters to engage in an exciting and challenging pursuit while potentially saving a few fawns and turkey poults in the process. So, take advantage of the “off season” to give coyote hunting a try this year, and let us know how it goes!