According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, coyotes are reserved but opportunistic creatures that will scavenge for food in almost every area in the state. They are omnivores, meaning that they will virtually eat anything they find. You might find them going through your trash bins or looking for prey in either day or night. They feed on small rodents and rabbits and are a significant part of the Wisconsin ecosystem due to their being one of the top hunters in the food chain. Because of this, they will eat practically anything and will go into residential areas to feed or hunt.
Because they’re curious and take few precautions when wandering into populated areas, they can cause problems. Farmers have reported losing livestock, such as chickens and cattle, as well as pet dogs to coyotes. Essentially, coyotes are a nuisance to both people and animals alike, and it is apparent that the heightened birthrate of the wild coyote in Wisconsin has very little chance of declining in the near future.
As a means to control their population and the havoc they create, the state of Wisconsin has called for year-long hunting seasons for coyotes with certain restrictions in effect. These restrictions include:
Having a small game hunting license for native Wisconsin residents
Local residents of Wisconsin are required to have a small game hunting license in order to legally hunt coyotes in non-residential and wooded areas. However, a landowner has the right to shoot or trap coyotes and other furbearing animals within the boundaries of their land. This exception to the small game hunting license is also applicable to family members of the landowner. In addition, the landowner is allowed to skin the carcass and sell the pelt.
Having a furbearer license for non-Wisconsin residents
Non-Wisconsin residents are required to have a furbearer license in order to legally hunt and trap coyotes within Wisconsin state boundaries. This license also grants them the privilege of hunting all other furbearing animals, such as raccoons, foxes, bobcats, opossums, and weasels.
Allowed hunting hours
Hunting coyotes on any day of the year is legal, but there are certain restrictions during hunting hours. Regular hunting times apply except for species which are legal to hunt or trap during the nighttime, coyotes included. Hunting on state park and trail property territories begins one hour before sunrise and ends at 11 PM. An exception to this rule applies for the 9-day November deer season which extends daily hunting hours to 23 hours.
There are certain restrictions regarding legal hunting hours of coyote, including:
- Hunting with a bow or crossbow is limited to the time written on pages 31-32 of the Small Game Hunting Regulations, Fall Turkey Regulations and Spring Turkey Regulations.
- Hunting with legal firearms is limited to the time written on pages 31-32 of the Small Game Hunting Regulations, Fall Turkey Regulations and Spring Turkey Regulations.
Using electronic game calls
Unlike certain other states in the United States, Wisconsin allows for the use of electronic game calls to attract and kill coyotes. The only exception to this rule applies for when hunting migratory birds and wild turkeys. For coyotes, foxes, and unprotected species during hunting season, the use of a game caller is completely legal.
Using decoys such as plastic statures and stuffed animals to attract coyotes is perfectly legal.
Using appropriate firearms or missile launchers
The only firearms that can legally be used against coyotes and other hunted animals are all legal firearms in accordance with state law. In no way is it legal to hunt coyotes, or any animals for that matter, with an automatic firearm. Other weapons such as air guns, bows, and crossbows are also legal in catching and killing wild animals.
Unless you hold a federal license to possess and utilize a suppressor/silencer, it is illegal to use when hunting coyotes.
Using appropriate ammunition
While hunting, it is illegal to possess and/or use any tracer bullets, incendiary shells in either cartridges or ammunition. Shot-shells loaded with a single slug are perfectly legal to use during any season when hunting small game, including coyote.
Possessing and transporting carcasses and pelts
Any carcasses and pelts obtained in a lawful manner may be sold at any time.
Only a flashlight may be used in finding your way around designated areas and up to the point of hunting and killing coyotes and other furbearing animals. A flashlight is defined as a handheld, battery-operated source of light.
Shining in illegal in cases of:
- Intending to use a light source, including car headlights or laser sights on firearms and missile projectors, to blind or stun an animal when hunting with a legal firearm, bow or crossbow. There is an exception for Class C Disabled Permit hunters, allowing them the use of laser sights for hunting.
- Intending to use a light source, including car headlights or laser sights on firearms and missile projectors, to blind or stun an animal between the hours of 10 PM and 7 AM from September 15 through December 31, regardless of whether a person is in possession of a legal firearm, bow or crossbow.
- Using vehicles
Hunting any animal with the aid of aircrafts – unmanned or otherwise – and drones is strictly prohibited when hunting coyotes.
Planting bait with the intention of drawing in game animals is strictly prohibited. However, hunting in or around crops and wildlife food plots is legal. In addition, hunting over seeds that were dispersed due to natural occurrences or normal farming operations, including during harvesting and post-harvest, is not considered as a form of baiting. However, manipulating crops or natural-forming vegetation before harvesting through methods of mowing, shredding, rolling, chopping, and flattening is considered a form of baiting and, thus, illegal.
Having assistance from dogs
Being accompanied by dogs when hunting small game mammals, including coyotes, is legal. Hunters are required to keep dogs leashed at all times when hunting for coyotes and other small game mammals.