If you’ve been itching to hunt in the off-season, then a coyote hunt could be a chance for you to get back out there. Coyotes are a challenging adversary.
They are very intelligent, and you’ll not only need to have your strategy down pat (check out our coyote hunting tips for beginners article for that!, but you’ll also need to have your shot placement right if you want to recover the animal.
As hunters, we should all strive to make quick, clean, and ethical kills.
Coyote Shot Placement Diagram
Coyote broad-side shooting placement
While placing a shot behind the shoulder will kill the coyote, it will likely take them much longer than expected to die, because you’ll be hitting the liver.
The heart and lungs of the coyote are a little further forward, sitting directly behind the shoulder joint. This means aiming for the shoulder itself and penetrating the bone is where you should shoot for the cleanest kill.
Another bonus to this shot placement, besides offering a quick and humane kill, is that’s it’s a good placement to save the pelt if you plan to keep and sell them from your hunts. Shoulder shots generally have a small entry point, and the bullet often does not exit the body, providing you with much less pelt damage.
As for ammo selection, if you’re wondering how to shoot a coyote to save the pelt, go for something with good penetration which will not create a large exit wound. Anything above a .243 caliber will likely be a poor choice for this purpose, so buyer beware.
If you’re having trouble finding the right spot for this shot, then visually draw a line up the front leg to the widest part of the torso. This exercise should help you to get in the right area to penetrate vital organs for a quick dispatch.
Coyote front-side shooing placement
A frontal shot on a coyote can easily produce a quick quill, but it is a bit tougher to pull off. If you’re not yet confident in your shooting abilities, then waiting for a broad-side shot may be advisable. As an off-center shot on a smaller target like the head can cause your coyote to spin and run off into the wilderness, never to be seen again.
Your best bet for a frontal shot is aiming for the throat/chest area, a few inches below the chin. This will give you a good shot at a lot of vital areas and will quickly drop a coyote. While a head shot will also drop them, it’s best to avoid this placement. It’s a smaller target, and it’s just too easy for the coyote to shift out of the way of the shot, causing a miss, or worse, an injured but lost kill.
Where to shoot a coyote with a 22?
If you plan to shoot a coyote with a .22, then you should know that it’s not necessarily advisable to do so. While it is possible to kill a coyote with a .22 on a lung shot, it’s also equally likely that it will just run off.
A head shot is your best bet for shooting a coyote with a .22, but as previously stated, that’s a tough target to hit. The brain cavity of the coyote is pretty small, so unless you’re shooting one which you have trapped, it may be impossible for you to actually recover the animal, even if they are, eventually, dispatched.
In any case, while a .22 will “work” it’s not the most ethical choice for hunting coyotes. As hunters, we should all be concerned with putting the animal through the least amount of suffering possible, even if they are an animal which many people see as a nuisance, they still deserve a death which is quick and humane and the .22 does not make the cut.
Where to shoot a coyote with a bow?
Bow hunting coyotes can be really tricky. It’s tough to get a good shot that will have enough penetration to actually take them down and allow you to recover the animal. A head shot is do-able, but quite difficult to pull off. A shoulder shot, which is recommended for rifle hunting, could result in sub-par penetration, causing the injured animal to run off. So, what do you do?
Your best bet is probably a front-facing shot to the chest area. This gives you a good space to hit the vital organs and will quickly drop a coyote in its tracks.
However, if you need to take a broad-side shot then you could attempt to hit them in the throat area, or get your arrow directly behind the shoulder to get at the vital organs, bypassing the bone.
This is often chosen as a shot placement if the animal is quartering to you, but it can be a tricky one to get off. If you are patient, you can wait until the leg moves out of the way of the chest cavity, exposing a good area to take your shot.