Coyote hunting is a popular sport in the southwest and mid-west states. Most people hunt coyotes to protect their livestock or because they’re looking for the sheer adrenaline rush that comes with dropping wild canines from yards away. In states where it’s legal to hunt, coyotes usually have a bounty on their heads as they provide valuable pelts.
Whatever your reasons for hunting coyotes, choosing the right gear for the job is the critical first step. A few supplies you’ll need to hunt include baits, calls, and decoys. As for the hunting weapon, low caliber and high speed varmint rifles that use .22-250 or .223 rounds provide the best performance. With that being said, your riflescope is perhaps the most important piece of equipment when hunting coyotes.
Coyotes are sharp critters with an acute sense of smell. They can also detect movements that are not quite right in their immediate surroundings. So, chances are you’ll not be able to come close enough to get a clear shot without scaring off your prey. However, a good riflescope allows hunters to shoot down coyotes even from a long distance off.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a scope for hunting any type of game. To that end, this guide will talk about some of the vital aspects that you should consider in order to choose the best scope for coyote hunting.
Variable power scopes can turn out to be a great asset when hunting coyotes. Sometimes, bait also can lure coyotes to appear within close range, like 20-50 yards. In other circumstances, you’ll have to deal with targets sitting more than 300 yards from your current position. A riflescope that adjusts magnification offers much flexibility because you can target coyotes from a variety of distances.
There are a few factors to consider before selecting a scope for coyote hunting. For instance, what’s the terrain of the area you will be hunting? What do you anticipate to be the average range or the furthest shots you have to make?
In general, scopes that can crank up the magnification to 9x will be ideal for shooting coyotes from 400 yards. On the other hand, if you’re deep in the woods and your furthest shot is no more than 150 yards, a 1.5-5x scope would suffice. Remember that the key to choosing an ideal scope magnification ultimately comes down to your particular environment and shooting conditions.
Size of the Objective Lens
Scopes that have large objective lenses would make a great addition on your varmint rifle. The only drawback with a large objective lens is that your riflescope will be a bit heavy and it will require taller rings to prevent contact with the barrel. However, the larger the objective lens, the better it will perform in low light conditions. If you plan to hunt coyotes at dusk or dawn, riflescopes with at least a 50mm objective lens are highly recommended.
Coyote hunting can present a very dynamic environment. For example, you may find that your target is always moving, hiding in the dark or sitting hundreds of yards away. This dynamic shooting environment calls for a good reticle.
A fast focal plane (FFP) reticle will come in handy when aiming at moving coyotes. Unlike riflescopes that use second focal plane technology, scopes with FFP reticles maintain the size of the target relative to the crosshairs even when the magnification changes.
Illuminated reticles are not necessary but certainly appropriate when hunting nocturnal coyotes. Lastly, if you plan to hunt coyotes from long range, then settle for a Mil-Dot reticle. Such reticles will come in handy when estimating range and holdover on long shots.
Rugged Scope Design
A good coyote hunting riflescope should be shockproof, fog-proof, and water resistant in order to withstand the rigors of field use. As a predator hunter who drives a lot, chances are your varmint rifle is always going in and out of the truck. Needless to say, you’ll find that your gun will be bouncing about, falling, and perhaps slamming into things during the drive. In addition, most coyote hunts involve wading through marshes or even crawling on the ground. Therefore, it’s important to pick a rugged scope that was built to last and won’t compromise visibility in rainy or foggy weather.
A good scope for hunting coyotes should provide variable magnification and excellent light gathering abilities through a large objective lens. It should also be rugged and equipped with a fast focal plane reticle. The ability to make range estimations and compensate for wind drift with a mil-dot reticle is desirable as well, especially when planning to shoot from long distance. Once you have all these aspects covered, you’ll be one-step closer to choosing the best scope for coyote hunting.