FRANKFORT – A new regulation allows hunters to use lights to hunt coyotes at night in Kentucky now through May 31 in permissible areas. The coyote hunting season opened on Feb. 1,
Hunters may take coyotes either during the day or at night year-round in Kentucky. However, lights may only be used at night during the upcoming season.
Hunters should be aware of the different regulations which apply to coyote hunting during the day or the night.
During the day, coyote hunters may use shotguns, rifles, bows, crossbows or air guns with a minimum size of .22 caliber. At night, however, the only firearm a hunter may use is a shotgun. Night hunters must use shells which contain more than one projectile.
Several federal areas are closed to night coyote hunting. These include Land Between The Lakes in western Kentucky; Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in southeastern Kentucky; and the Daniel Boone National Forest in eastern Kentucky.
The Boone forest closure includes certain properties owned by the federal government but managed by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. These include Beaver Creek, Cane Creek, Redbird, Mill Creek and Pioneer Weapons wildlife management areas (WMAs).
Other federal areas closed to night coyote hunting include Clark’s River National Wildlife Refuge in Marshall, McCracken and Graves counties; Jefferson National Forest in Letcher and Pike counties; and Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge in Fulton County. Hunters should verify with landowners any property they wish to hunt coyotes at night.
State-owned WMAs are open for night coyote hunting. Night hunting of coyotes is allowed on private and other properties with the permission of the landowner, as long as there are no local ordinances prohibiting the discharge of firearms in the area.
Hunters may not spotlight and shoot coyotes from a vehicle. People may not use a vehicle’s headlights or a light plugged into a vehicle for hunting. Lights that are used for hunting may be any color.
Regulations allow hunters to use decoys, mouth calls and electronic calls to lure coyotes. Unless license exempt, hunters must have a valid hunting license to take coyotes.