How To Find A Coyote Den?
The toughest thing about finding a coyote den is the pure intelligence of the animal.
Coyotes have great instincts and are quick to adapt to different situations – natural and predatory. Coyotes should be monitored if you have livestock or significant agriculture, and there are multiple steps on how to find a coyote den that we will discuss here.
Research a coyote den’s characteristics.
First and foremost, note that coyotes do not use dens year round. They primarily use them for pupping, or when elements drive them inside. Typically, coyote dens are located on hillisides and deep creek beds that allow for easy digging and earthmoving. Loose shrubbery and branches also come in handy, giving the coyotes a bit of extra security. Here is a great video about coyote dens:
- Pups move out at a young age, but remain active in any hiding spots around the den. Coyotes frequently sleep outside, and despite being near den, aren’t necessarily going to be in it. Keep this in mind when approaching.
- Dens are typically located below ground level, sometimes up to five or six feet down. There will be a dug-out tunnel that leads to a main living area that is expanded and can fit multiple coyotes.
- Coyotes typically rotate between multiple dens. They will be spread out around an area, and the animals are very careful not to lead others back to their den. This is what makes it so challenging when learning how to find a coyote den. Here is a great article explaining the basics behind coyote denning.
- Identify water sources nearby where you suspect a den may be. The coyotes need to drink water, so if you can confirm they are drinking from a certain source than you are on the right track.
Identify where you’ve seen or heard the coyotes.
Likely, you’ll hear them howling at night, or in the early evening. On the edges of nature preserves, parks, green spaces, and hillsides, coyotes actually tend to make their presence quite known- it’s the exact location that is much harder to pinpoint. Then comes the process of finding a coyote den. Plan to devote several days to the process, if you’re really serious about finding it.
You may find scat or other remnants of their presence in areas near your home. Try walking about fifty feet further out and seeing if you find more, if so, you have identified which direction they are coming from. Here are some tips to help everything go smoothly:
- Coyotes typically prowl about five or six square miles from their den, in any given direction. The further they roam from the den, the more on edge they will be. This means they will be more easily startled and quicker to retreat.
- They are quick and often deceiving because you’ll hear them in one place one moment, and in another the next. Try to track where you most frequently see or hear the coyotes. Even if that’s not their den, you’ll have a general idea of their path and where they spend the most time.
- If you aren’t having any luck, try howling and seeing if you can generate a response from the coyotes. Try different pitches, tones, and cackles that resemble those made by the animal
- Where could other prey be located near your property? Maybe their coming around has nothing to do with you or your property. If there are collections of prey, bodies of water, or other attractive elements nearby, try tracking them from that spot back to the den. For basic tracking techniques, check out this video.
Track the coyote back to its den.
If the coyote has attacked any of your livestock, you’re likely very upset and wanting to get the pesky coyotes as far away from your animals as possible (if not take it a step further!). Be careful when searching around at night, and definitely DO NOT BRING YOUR DOG WITH YOU. Coyote hunting is an exciting activity, but one best done alone.
The animals spook easy and even if you do locate a den, the odds that they will return there are very minimal if they know that you have found it. All things considered, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem tracing the suspect back to its den from the site of the kill. Here’s what to do:
- Look for blood stains, trampled shrubbery or plants nearby the kill site. Figure out the most likely direction of escape and trace the potential route with your eyes back to a nearby hillside or embankment.
- Identify a game trail or other foot markings left by the coyote leading up to the hillside or embankment. If you can’t find any obvious trails, look for markings left on nearby trees or other larger vegetation.
- Follow that path as closely as you can. Remember, it may be up to six miles, so having a four-wheeler or motorbike may come in handy. Although you’ll want to be as quiet as possible during the final or actual approach.
- When close, let out a coyote howl and see if a response happens. If you get one, don’t be surprised if you do not receive another for quite some time. Be ready to track based on the one howl that you got from the coyote.
- Always be careful! Shoo them away but don’t put yourself in danger.
Locating a coyote den is often a lengthy process. Personally, I enjoy it because it’s a good excuse to get out into nature and focus on something direct and real.
Remember to track the coyotes via sounds, tracks, and any sightings you encounter, for several days before attempting to locate their den.
I always suggest perusing around your property regularly just to keep aware of any new ‘neighbors’ and to establish a firm presence and authority.
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