FRANKFORT - Hunters may now pursue coyotes at night.
New regulations allow hunters to use a shotgun to take coyotes at night year round. Lights or night vision equipment can only be used from February 1 through May 31.
“This new opportunity offers landowners another tool to assist in the removal of coyotes associated with livestock depredation,” said Steven Dobey, furbearer program coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “Coyotes are generally less wary at night and hunting at this time can result in increased harvest success.”
While Kentucky’s General Assembly enacted a law allowing night hunting of coyotes earlier this year, lawmakers left it to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife to create regulations for the seasons. The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the new regulations in the spring; the proposed regulations recently won all the necessary approvals from legislative committees to open a season.
A shotgun loaded with shells up to size T is the only legal firearm for night coyote hunting. Hunters will not be able to use slugs. Decoys and electronic calls will be allowed.
Hunters on private property must have permission from landowners to be there. “In developing these new regulations, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife has taken special precautions to prevent the illegal harvest of antlered deer and minimize human safety concerns,” Dobey said. “No hunter should jeopardize those precautions by trespassing just because they are hunting at night.”
The night light season will correspond with the time of year when deer have shed their antlers. This should lessen the motivation to poach deer. Late winter is also when vegetation is at its lowest, food is most scarce and when coyotes are actively breeding, making them easier to call into a set up. Lights cannot be connected to or cast from a vehicle. Any color of light can be used.
Daytime hunting for coyotes is open year round. Hunters may use shotguns, centerfire rifles, bows, crossbow, air guns with a minimum size of .22-caliber and rimfire rifles during daylight hours.
There is no limit on the number of coyotes which hunters may take at night or during the day.