Coyote Hunting in Arizona (AZ): Tips, Tricks, and Regulations to Know

by Derrick | Last Updated: June 1, 2023

If you’re a hunter in Arizona, you’re in luck because the state is home to a large population of coyotes. Coyote hunting is a popular pastime in Arizona and for a good reason. Not only is it a thrilling experience, but it also helps to control the coyote population.

Before you start your coyote hunting adventure in Arizona, you must know the rules and regulations. The Arizona Game and Fish Department has specific guidelines to ensure hunting is done safely and responsibly. You’ll need to obtain a valid hunting license, and knowing when and where you can hunt is essential. Additionally, you’ll need to be aware of the laws regarding firearms and hunting methods.

Coyote Hunting in Arizona


Coyotes are Arizona’s most common predator and can be found throughout the entire state. They are known for their intelligence, adaptability, and elusiveness, which makes them a challenging target for hunters. Coyotes are active during the day and night, but they are most active during the fall and winter months.

Coyote Hunting Regulations in Arizona (Season and Regulations)

Coyotes are classified as predators and have a year-round hunting season in Arizona. A valid hunting license is required to hunt coyotes, and state law bans firing a gun, bow/arrow, or crossbow within a quarter-mile of an occupied residence or building while taking wildlife unless you have the owner’s permission. There is no bag limit for coyotes, and non-residents can also hunt coyotes in Arizona with a valid hunting license.

Where To Get a Hunting License In Arizona (and Some Requirements To Be Aware Of)

In Arizona, hunting licenses can be obtained through the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Both residents and non-residents aged ten years and older must have a valid hunting license to hunt wildlife, including fish. Several types of licenses are available, including a general hunting license, a combo hunt and fish license, a youth combo hunt and fish license, and a short-term combo hunt & fish license. The general hunting license allows the holder to hunt small game, fur-bearing animals, predatory animals, and upland game birds. The combo licenses allow for both hunting and fishing. Special licenses are also available for specific circumstances.

Hunting and fishing licenses can be purchased online, at all Arizona Game and Fish Department offices, and license dealers statewide. All licenses are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. The Arizona Game and Fish Department also offers an auto-renewal service for hunting and fishing licenses. For those interested in long-term investment in Arizona’s wildlife conservation programs, there’s an option for a lifetime general hunting and fishing license.

Please note that no one under fourteen may take big game without completing a Hunter Education Course, and no one under age ten may take big game in Arizona. Also, the licensee must practice safe, responsible recreation and respect private lands when hunting or fishing.

Equipment and Techniques

When hunting coyotes, it is essential to have the right equipment and techniques. Shotguns, rimfire, and pre-charged pneumatic weapons are popular for coyote hunting in Arizona. Night vision and thermal equipment can also be used to hunt coyotes at night. Coyote calling is a common technique used to lure coyotes into the open. Electronic callers and hand calls are both effective in attracting coyotes. Decoys can also be used to attract coyotes into the open.

Hunting Locations

Coyotes can be found in various habitats in Arizona, including deserts, grasslands, and mountainous regions. Coyotes are also found in urban areas, which can be a nuisance to homeowners and pets. Private property hunting is allowed with the owner’s permission, and public lands are also available for hunting coyotes in Arizona.

Remember always to follow hunting regulations, permits, and licenses. Taking a hunter education course is also recommended before going on a coyote hunt. Coyote hunting can be a thrilling experience , but it is crucial to hunt responsibly and for informational purposes only.

  1. Sonoran Desert: The vast desert region in southern Arizona provides ample opportunities for coyote hunting. Look for areas with dense vegetation, washes, and rocky terrain.
  2. Tonto National Forest: Located near Phoenix, Tonto National Forest offers diverse landscapes and a healthy population of coyotes. Explore the forest’s remote areas and canyons for hunting opportunities.
  3. Kaibab National Forest: In northern Arizona, Kaibab National Forest is known for its wildlife and offers excellent coyote hunting opportunities. Focus on the forest’s rim country and the high-elevation plateaus.
  4. Coconino National Forest: Located near Flagstaff, Coconino National Forest provides a mix of Ponderosa pine forests and open meadows, which are ideal for hunting coyotes. Target areas with a higher concentration of prey species.
  5. Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest: This forest, located in eastern Arizona, offers a diverse landscape of forests, grasslands, and high-elevation plateaus. Look for clearings and open areas for successful coyote hunting .
  6. Prescott National Forest: Situated in central Arizona, Prescott National Forest offers a variety of hunting opportunities, including coyotes. Focus on areas with mixed vegetation, such as pinyon-juniper woodlands and chaparral.
  7. San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation: Located in eastern Arizona, the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation provides a vast area for hunting coyotes. Ensure you obtain the necessary permits and follow the reservation’s regulations.
  8. Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge: Located near the Mexico border, Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge offers an expansive area for hunting coyotes. Check the refuge’s regulations and designated hunting areas.
  9. Arizona State Trust Lands: Throughout the state, Arizona’s State Trust Lands offer public access for hunting. Check specific trust lands in your desired region for coyote hunting opportunities.

The Rich History of Coyote Hunting in Arizona

Native American Cultural Significance

Coyotes hold significant cultural importance to many Native American tribes in Arizona, including the Navajo, Hopi, and Apache. The coyote is often seen as a complex figure in Native American mythology and folklore, embodying trickery, wisdom, and transformation traits.

  1. Navajo (Diné) Culture: In Navajo mythology, the coyote is one of the most significant figures, known as “Ma’ii.” Coyote is often portrayed as a trickster, a clever and cunning character who uses deceit to achieve his goals or to cause mischief. However, Coyote also plays a role in teaching important moral lessons about the consequences of negative behavior. The Navajo people also believe that coyotes have the power to influence the balance of nature and can bring about change in the world.
  2. Hopi Culture: The Hopi people also regard the coyote as a figure of great importance. The coyote is seen as a symbol of fertility and abundance. In Hopi folklore, the coyote is often depicted as a humorous trickster who reminds us of the chaos that can ensue when one does not follow societal norms or respect the natural world.
  3. Apache Culture: The Apache tribes also have stories about the coyote. The coyote is seen as a creator figure, involved in the creation of the earth. However, like in other cultures, the coyote is also a trickster, demonstrating nature’s creative and disruptive forces.

The coyote is generally seen as a symbol of survival and adaptability due to its ability to thrive in various environments. It also serves as a reminder of the importance of respecting the natural world and the consequences of failing to do so.

It’s important to note that interpretations and beliefs can vary widely even within these cultures, and the coyote’s significance is not limited to these descriptions. The coyote’s role in Native American culture is deeply rooted in oral tradition and storytelling, which continues to be passed down through generations.

The Challenges Of Hunting Coyotes In Arizona

Coyote hunting in Arizona presents several challenges that hunters need to overcome. Here are some of the main challenges faced when hunting coyotes in Arizona:

  1. Terrain: Arizona’s diverse and rugged terrain poses a significant challenge for coyote hunters. The state is known for its deserts, mountains, and canyons, which can make tracking and locating coyotes difficult. Navigating through rocky, uneven terrain requires careful movement and patience.
  2. Camouflage and Concealment: Coyotes have keen senses , including excellent eyesight and hearing, making them difficult to approach without being detected. Achieving proper camouflage and concealment is crucial to avoid alerting the coyotes. Hunters must blend into the environment effectively to remain undetected and increase their chances of success.
  3. Weather Conditions: Arizona’s climate can vary greatly depending on the region and season. Extreme heat in the desert areas during the summer months can make hunting uncomfortable and physically demanding. Additionally, monsoons and heavy rain can make tracking coyotes more challenging by washing away tracks and disrupting their usual patterns.
  4. Nocturnal Nature: Coyotes are primarily nocturnal animals, making hunting them during the day more challenging. They are most active during dusk and dawn, so hunters often have to adapt their strategies and hunting schedules accordingly. This requires being patient, setting up in the right locations, and utilizing effective calling techniques to lure the coyotes .
  5. Hunting Regulations: Coyote hunting in Arizona is subject to specific regulations and restrictions. Hunters must be aware of the hunting seasons, bag limits, and any special permits or licenses required. It is essential to stay updated on the latest hunting regulations and abide by them to ensure responsible and legal hunting.
  6. Coyote Intelligence: Coyotes are intelligent animals and can quickly learn to associate certain sounds or scents with danger, including hunting calls. This means that hunters need to be creative and adapt their calling strategies to overcome the coyotes’ wariness and increase their chances of success.
  7. Competing with Other Predators: Arizona has a diverse range of predators, including other carnivores like bobcats, mountain lions, and foxes, which also prey on small game like coyotes. Hunters may need to compete with these natural predators when targeting coyotes, as they can be attracted to similar bait and calling techniques.
  8. Ethics and Safety : Coyote hunting, like any other form of hunting, requires ethical conduct and responsible practices. Ensuring the safety of yourself and others is paramount. It is essential to understand the proper handling of firearms, practice good marksmanship, and respect private property rights and boundaries while hunting.

Overall, coyote hunting in Arizona presents a unique set of challenges due to the diverse terrain, coyotes’ nocturnal nature, and the need for effective camouflage and calling techniques. However, with careful planning, knowledge of the regulations, and adaptability, hunters can increase their chances of success in pursuing these elusive predators.