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Coyotes range across the lower 48 states from coast to coast, and the state of Alabama categorizes them as game animals and fur bearers. Some in the state consider them agricultural pests and a danger to domestic pets. A state hunting license lets you hunt the canids with a gun or bow and arrow. There's no bag limit, and coyote season runs throughout the year.
Before heading out into the field for the coyote hunt, you'll need a hunter safety certificate if you were born after August 1, 1977. You can take the entire course online and you don't have to pass a field exam. You can then get a recreational hunting license for all game or just for small game, which excludes deer and turkey. You can purchase a small game license for as little as $17.15 as of 2014. You may also trap coyotes providing you have permission from the landowner where you set your traps.
Know the Difference
While there's no bag limit on the coyotes, there is a one-per-day limit on foxes. Red foxes go through coat phases ranging from red to gray, sometimes appearing similar to the color of coyotes. You can usually tell the difference by the white tip of a red fox's tail and its black ear tips. A coyote has orange or gray on the back of its ears and a black tip on its tail. Gray foxes have a black stripe down their back and a black tail tip, with reddish gray coloring easily confused with a coyote. A coyote is larger than a fox -- about 22 to 33 pounds -- while foxes generally weigh 13 pounds or less. A fox's tail is long -- roughly equal to the length of its body -- while a coyote's is significantly shorter, reaching only down to its hocks.
While your state hunting license permits you to hunt coyotes by day, you'll need a special permit to hunt them by night, when they are most active. You'll need to hunt on land where the owner has applied for a crop depredation permit with the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The permit only allows night hunting after 3 a.m. when it's not turkey or deer season. The state allows you to hunt coyotes using night-vision equipment or artificial lighting such as spotlights, headlights or flashlights.
Another legal method for taking coyotes in Alabama is trapping. You must have the landowner's permission to set your traps, and you're only allowed to do so between November and February. Make sure each of your traps has a metal tag with your name and address, or the DCNR will confiscate it. Trapping coyotes is much more cost-effective for residents than visitors: getting a non-resident trapping license will run 10 times the amount you'd pay as a resident. As of 2014, a trapping license for a resident is $20, but a non-resident pays $200.
- Hunter Course: Get Your Hunting Certificate - Alabama
- Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources: Hunting License
- Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources: Carnivores
- Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources: Coyotes
- Alabama Outdoor News: Calling Summer Coyotes at Night
- Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources: Trapping Regulations and Enforcement
Indulging her passion for wide open spaces and outdoor fitness through the written word on a full-time basis since 2010, author Jodi Thornton-O'Connell takes the mystery out of outdoor skills and guides readers to discover fun ways to physically connect to natural surroundings.