Everything you need to know about coyote hunting at night in Oklahoma

Yes! It is legal to hunt coyotes at night in Oklahoma after Nov 1st 2022!

Thermal vision equipment is a game changer for hunters. It allows you to see in the dark, giving you a huge advantage when it comes to locating and tracking prey. As of 1 November 2022 in Oklahoma, coyote hunting is legal at night, and many hunters will use thermal vision equipment to give themselves an edge. While some people argue that this type of hunting is unfair, the fact is that coyotes are nuisance animals that are difficult to get rid of. With a little practice, anyone can learn to use thermal vision equipment to take down these predators. In addition, night hunting provides a much-needed break from the heat of the day, and it can be a great way to bond with fellow hunters. So if you’re looking for a challenging hunt, don’t forget to check out Oklahoma’s night hunting regulations. You might just find yourself coming home with a trophy coyote.

"SUBJECT: Authorizing certain persons to control nuisance or damage by coyotes or feral swine without a permit and by certain means....."

In Oklahoma, it is legal to use spotlights, thermal optics, night vision devices, and other light enhancement equipment while hunting coyotes and feral hogs at night. This is a great tool for hunters because it allows them to see their prey more easily, and to take better aim. However, there are some restrictions on how and when these devices can be used. For example, they can only be used on private property with the permission of the landowner or lessee. In addition, they can only be used to control nuisance animals, not for recreational hunting. But overall, these devices can be a valuable tool for hunters who want to take advantage of the benefits of nighttime hunting.

 An Act 

 ENROLLED SENATE 

BILL NO. 1809 By: Garvin and Stephens of the Senate 

and 

Boles of the House 

An Act relating to hunting; amending 29 O.S. 2021, Section 4-135, which relates to permits to control nuisance wildlife; modifying language; requiring certain written permission; amending 29 O.S. 2021, Section 5-203.1, which relates to headlighting; providing certain exception; updating statutory references; removing certain allowance for hunting predatory animals; increasing penalties; requiring confiscation upon conviction; directing a district court to suspend, revoke, or deny a license upon request and conviction; stating minimum and maximum period of suspension, revocation, or denial; providing for reinstatement; setting fees; making reinstatement fees in addition to other license fees; authorizing certain persons to control nuisance coyotes or feral swine without a permit; requiring agricultural exemption permit issued by the Oklahoma Tax Commission for nuisance control; providing exception for headlighting; providing certain limitation; prohibiting nuisance control at night for persons convicted within certain period of time; providing for codification; and providing an effective date. 

SUBJECT: Authorizing certain persons to control nuisance or damage by coyotes or feral swine without a permit and by certain means 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA: 

SECTION 1. AMENDATORY 29 O.S. 2021, Section 4-135, is amended to read as follows: 

Section 4-135. A. The Department of Wildlife Conservation is authorized to issue permits to landowners, agricultural lessees, or their designated agents with written permission of the landowner or agricultural lessee and to any entity of state, county, or local government to control nuisance or damage by any species of wildlife including, but not limited to, beaver, coyote, deer, bobcat, raccoon, and crow under rules promulgated by the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission. The permits may be issued without limitation by statewide season regulations, bag limits or methods of taking. A permitted landowner, agricultural lessee or a designated agent with written permission of the landowner or agricultural lessee may, with a valid permit issued pursuant to this section, control the wildlife specified in this subsection and feral swine at night to protect marketable agricultural crops, livestock, or processed feed, seed or other materials used in the production of an agricultural commodity. 

B. Except as otherwise specified in this subsection, the permit to hunt at night shall be valid for a period of up to one (1) year from the date the permit was issued. Each landowner, lessee, or designated agent Landowners or agricultural lessees with a valid permit shall be required to have a current agricultural exemption permit issued by the Oklahoma Tax Commission. 

C. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 5-203.1 of this title, a landowner, agricultural lessee, or designated agent with written permission of the landowner or lessee and with a valid permit may use a headlight carried on the person while hunting at night. Nothing in this section shall authorize the use of a headlight mounted on a vehicle or the use of a headlight from a public roadway. 

D. Any person who has been convicted of, or pled guilty to, a violation of Section 5-203.1 or Section 5-411 of this title within the previous three (3) years shall not be eligible to receive a permit pursuant to this section. The permit can be issued by the local game warden in the county for which the permit is to be used or by the Law Enforcement Division of the Department of Wildlife Conservation. 

E. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 1289.13 of Title 21 of the Oklahoma Statutes, it It shall be lawful for any private landowner or designated employee of the landowner or lessee to have a chamber-loaded firearm on property owned by the landowner, and to use the firearm for the purpose of controlling nuisance or damage by any wildlife or feral swine. Nothing in this section shall authorize any convicted felon to carry a firearm. 

SECTION 2. AMENDATORY 29 O.S. 2021, Section 5-203.1, is amended to read as follows: 

Section 5-203.1. A. No Except as provided in Section 3 of this act, no person may attempt to take, take, attempt to catch, catch, attempt to capture, capture, attempt to kill, or kill any deer, feral animal or other wildlife except fish and frogs by the use of a vehicle mounted vehicle-mounted spotlight or other powerful light at night, by what is commonly known as “headlighting”. Provided, however, nothing in this section shall prevent one from possessing a .22 caliber rimfire rifle or .22 pistol and a light carried while in pursuit of furbearers with hounds during the legal, open furbearers season, while possessing a valid hunting license. 

B. Any person may use a shotgun, using No. 6 size shot or smaller, longbow, light and a call for the purpose of hunting predatory animals, provided that written permission is obtained from the local game warden for each twenty-four-hour period of hunting. 

C. It shall be illegal to hunt from a boat with a firearm from sunset until one-half (1/2) hour before sunrise. This shall not pertain to hunting of waterfowl enroute from bank to blind with unloaded shotguns. 

D. C. Except as otherwise provided for in this section and in Section 3 of this act, no person may harass, attempt to capture, capture, attempt to take or take, kill or attempt to kill any wildlife with the aid of any motor-driven land, air or water conveyance. A nonambulatory person may hunt from said conveyances with written permission of the Director of Wildlife Conservation. A person may hunt from an air conveyance if issued a permit pursuant to Section 1 4-107.2 of this act title. Nothing in this section shall prevent the use of motor-driven land or water conveyances for following dogs in the act of hunting, when use is restricted to public roads or waterways. Motor-driven land or water conveyances may be used on private property for following dogs in the act of hunting with the permission of the landowner or occupant. 

E. D. Employees of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry Wildlife Services Division and the United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services while engaged in wildlife management activities for the protection of agriculture, property, human health and safety and natural resources shall be exempt from the provisions of this section. 

F. E. Any person convicted of violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not less than Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($250.00) One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) for a first offense and not less than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00) for a second offense or by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than ten (10) days nor more than one (1) year, or and by confiscation pursuant to Section 5-402 of this title or by such fine, imprisonment and confiscation. 

F. A district court, upon request by the district attorney, shall order the hunting and fishing license privileges of a person convicted of a violation of this section suspended, revoked, or denied for a period not less than one (1) year nor more than ten (10) years. Upon completion of the period of suspension, revocation, or denial of licensure, the person may apply for a new hunting or fishing license or request a reinstatement of a lifetime license, if the person previously held a lifetime license. The person applying for a new or reinstated license shall be required to pay a reinstatement fee of Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) for residents of this state and a reinstatement fee of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) for nonresidents. This fee shall be in addition to any other fees required for the hunting and fishing license. 

SECTION 3. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 4-135.2 of Title 29, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows: 

A. Except during deer gun seasons, a landowner, agricultural lessee, or their designated agent with written permission from the landowner or agricultural lessee may control nuisance or damage by coyotes or feral swine without a permit as provided for in Section 4-135 of Title 29 of the Oklahoma Statutes during the day or night, and without limitation by statewide season regulations or bag limits, and with the use of any legal means of take, to protect marketable agricultural crops, livestock or processed feed, seed, or other materials used in the production of an agricultural commodity. Landowners or agricultural lessees performing nuisance control activities shall be required to have a current agricultural exemption permit issued by the Oklahoma Tax Commission. 

B. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 5-203.1 of Title 29 of the Oklahoma Statutes, a landowner, agricultural lessee, or designated agent of the landowner or lessee may use a headlight, thermal, or light enhancement device carried on the person, a vehicle with or without a mounted spotlight or night vision equipment while controlling nuisance coyotes and feral swine at night. Nothing in this subsection shall authorize the use of a headlight, thermal or night vision equipment, or a spotlight from a public roadway. 

C. Any person who has been convicted of, or pleads guilty to, a violation of Section 5-203.1 of Title 29 of the Oklahoma Statutes or Section 5-411 of Title 29 of the Oklahoma Statutes within a previous three-year period shall not control nuisance or damage by coyotes or feral swine at night. 

SECTION 4. This act shall become effective November 1, 2022. 

Passed the Senate the 8th day of March, 2022. 

Presiding Officer of the Senate 

Passed the House of Representatives the 25th day of April, 2022. 

Presiding Officer of the House 

of Representatives 

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR 

Received by the Office of the Governor this ____________________ day of ___________________, 20_______, at _______ o’clock _______ M. 

By: _________________________________ 

Approved by the Governor of the State of Oklahoma this _________ day of ___________________, 20_______, at _______ o’clock _______ M. 

_________________________________ 

Governor of the State of Oklahoma 

OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE 

Received by the Office of the Secretary of State this __________ day of __________________, 20 _______, at _______ o’clock _______ M. 

By: _________________________________ 

Coyote hunting is open year-roud and has no limits.

You can check with the Oklahoma Wildlife department website for the most recent coyote regulations.

Why hunt coyotes in Oklahoma.

Coyotes are a nuisance animal in Oklahoma and can be a danger to both people and pets. Their numbers appear to be on the rise and show no signs of stopping. They are attracted to areas with lots of food and water, and will often raid trash cans or pet food bowls. Coyotes will also kill small animals for food, and have been known to attack humans, particularly children. 

Except during deer gun seasons, the landowner or agricultural lessee (with a current agricultural exemption permit issued by the Oklahoma Tax Commission) or their designated agent with written permission from the landowner or agricultural lessee may control nuisance or damage by coyotes day or night by any legal means of take, to protect marketable agricultural crops, livestock or processed feed, seed or other materials used in the production of an agricultural commodity. Hunting, use of any artificial light, thermal or night vision equipment from a public roadway is prohibited. Any person who has been convicted of, or pleads guilty to, a violation of Section 5-203.1 of Title 29 of the Oklahoma Statutes or Section 5-411 of Title 29 of the Oklahoma Statutes within a previous three-year period shall not control nuisance or damage by coyotes at night.

Oklahoma has an open hunting season year-round for coyotes, with no daily, season or possession limits. Hunters need only a hunting license to take coyotes with any legal firearms or archery equipment at any time during daylight hours. It is now legal to use spotlights, thermal scopes, and every type of night vision or visual aid you can get your hands on to hunt these destructive pests after dark without a special permit, but there are certain criteria that must be met first. The coyote must be causing damage to property or pose a threat to human or animal safety in order for the hunters to be legally protected from law enforcement while using these methods. Thankfully, due to the population boom of coyotes in Oklahoma and their aggressive nature, it is highly likely that anyone meeting the aforementioned criteria will be able to find and dispatch a coyote without much difficulty.

Oklahoma Coyote Hunting Information

Should you buy thermal equipment for coyote hunting?

....We think so

Thermal imaging presents a massive tactical advantage when mounted to a firearm. You want to be sure of the target you’re seeing, and sometimes it can be hard to discern what you’re looking at. Quality thermal optics help you identify your target species and makes it possible to see its body shape, read its body language, etc. Because coyotes are an increasing nuisance to important livestock, providing an easier way to control the population increasingly helps improve the ecosystem. Coyote hunting at night is made easier with the use of thermal optics. This technology gives hunters the confidence they need to take quick and humane shots on coyotes, without risking collateral damage. Thanks to this technology, coyotes can be controlled without causing undue harm to other innocent animals, either from the coyotes themselves, or difficult nigh hunting without thermal technology.

Oklahoma Coyote Hunting FAQ

This information was last updated 7 Sep 2022, visit the Oklahoma Wildlife Department’s official website for the most current rules and regulations.

What is the best public land in the state to hunt coyotes on?

Coyote populations are variable and it is hard to determine the best public land on which to hunt them. Contact other hunters and area managers of public land for more information.

Is coyote season open year-round on a WMA?

Yes, coyote season is open year-round. When there is a deer and/or turkey season open on the WMA, only appropriate methods, hunting hours, and weapons for that deer and/or turkey season are authorized for taking or pursuing feral coyotes. Also, during the firearms deer seasons (muzzleloader, modern gun and special antlerless seasons) you must possess a filled or unfilled deer license for that appropriate season, and you must comply with other regulations that apply to that season (blaze orange requirements, for example).

Can I run them with dogs for sport only on WMAs (during daylight hours)?

Except as otherwise provided, nothing shall prohibit the year-round pursuit of coyotes for dog training or sport only during daylight hours.

Can I shoot coyotes at night on public lands?

 

No, under no circumstances (including while hunting furbearers).

What can I use to hunt coyotes on public land?

 

Consult the Oklahoma Hunting Guide for most areas. However, during any open deer and/or turkey season, only appropriate methods, hunting hours and legal equipment for that deer and/or turkey season are authorized for taking or pursuing feral hogs.

For instance, you can not shoot at a pig:

  • with a .22 rifle if you are rabbit hunting on Oct. 15
  • with a shotgun, if you are duck or quail hunting on Dec. 10
  • with a concealed carry gun while check traps or setting up a tree stand on or waterfowl hunting from Oct. 1-Jan 15 (deer archery season).
  • With a rifle while predator calling on Jan. 10
What kind of licenses do I need on public land?

A hunting license is required for hunting coyotes on public land, unless exempt.

Additionally, if you are hunting during one of the following seasons with a shotgun and rifled slug, or any rifle or handgun larger than .22 caliber rimfire, you must possess a filled or unfilled license appropriate for the current season, unless otherwise exempt.

  • youth deer gun
  • bear muzzleloader (in open counties),
  • deer muzzleloader,
  • deer gun,
  • Holiday Antlerless Deer Gun (in open zones),
  • elk gun (in open counties)
  • antelope gun (in open areas)
Is hunter safety required for coyote hunting?

Hunter safety certification is not required specifically for hunting coyotes. However, if you are hunting on public land or if you are hunting on private land during any firearms big game season, a hunting license and/or appropriate big game license is required, and these licenses may require proof of hunter safety certification to purchase.

What about Commercial Hunt Areas?

Commercial hunt areas are licensed by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. These areas can not sell coyote hunts, but hunters may shoot coyotes if they are encountered on the area if allowed by the commercial hunt area. Coyotes may be shot year-round in commercial hunt areas.

What are the rules at sporting facilities?

 

Same as on private lands. Additionally, hunters must have a $25 license from ODAFF. You can get that license here: http://kellysolutions.com/ok/swinehunter/newapplication/applynow.asp

What about “guided” coyote hunts?

 

There are two options:

  • Hunt on private land
  • Hunt at a sporting facilities licensed by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

Persons shooting coyotes at night on a night shooting exemption may not shoot from, to, on, or across any public roadway.

The following is legal when night shooting with this exemption:

  • Night vision
  • Thermal imaging
  • Infrared technology (night scopes)
  • Spot light including those mounted on firearms
  • Vehicle headlights or vehicle mounted lights (not on public roads)
  • Pursuit with vehicle such as an ATV (not on public roads)
What is required inside and outside of the deer gun season as it relates to night shooting?

Outside of the 16-day deer gun season:

  • Everyone night shooting coyotes must carry written permission from the landowner or landowner designee.
  • At least one person in the group must have a copy of the exemption (from either the landowner or his/her designee).
  • Encouraged, but not required, to provide notification of night shooting activity to local game warden.

During the 16-day deer gun season:

  • Only the landowner or the landowner designee (who has obtained the exemption) may night shoot.
  • Family members (parents, kids, grandkids, sons/daughters-inlaws) of the landowner or the landowner designee can assist, including shooting.
  • At least one person in the group must have a copy of the exemption (from either the landowner or his/her designee).
  • The exemption holder (landowner or landowner designee) must be present.
  • Some type of advance notification to the local game warden is required.
  • If you are not the landowner, the landowner designee or family member (see above) you can not night shoot.
What are the different types of exemptions?

Landowner Exemption – held by the deed holding landowner

Landowner Designee – The deed holding landowner can designate one person annually to hold his/her exemption.

Coyote hunter – a hunter who does not own land or who has not been named the landowner’s designee can hunt at night coyotes “under” the exemption of the landowner or his/her designee.  With a copy of the exemption and written landowner permission on their person.

What if I want to shoot coyotes at night without pursuing with hounds?

 

Only on private land and you must have an immediate exemption obtained through web site, app or through a game warden. Plus you must possess written landowner permission.

Can I chase coyotes at night with dogs on private lands?

No. Hunting or chasing coyotes at night year-round with dogs is illegal, however, you are permitted during daylight hours.

Can I transport coyotes and/or keep them on my property?

No, you may not transport coyotes without a permit from The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC). They reserve the right to transport the coyotes as well as anyone given a direct permit by them.

While not illegal to be on your property, coyotes are a territorial and aggressive animal and it is not recommended to treat them as pets.

Where can I find a list of state trappers?

 

Call USDA Wildlife Services (405) 521-4039

Do I have to tag or check the animal in at a check station?

No, there are no tags or check stations for coyotes.

Is their a daily limit for coyotes?

No, there are no limits for coyotes.

What licenses are required for trapping coyotes on private lands?

In addition to a resident hunting license and resident fur license (if required), a resident trapping license is required for all persons who trap any furbearer, unless exempt.

What can I use to hunt coyotes on private land?

 

You can use any type of weapon you want to use on private land.

Can I use buckshot?

 

Yes, any time but only on private land.

What about non-residents hunting?

Same license requirements as for residents as it relates to coyotes (both private and public land). These licenses are designated as “non-resident”.

How about Hunter Orange? Do I have to wear it?

You must wear a head covering or upper garment while hunting coyotes during the day on public and private lands during any open big game season.

What if I am hunting with archery equipment or knife?

For daylight, any legal firearm or archery equipment is allowed.

For night time, hunters may possess a .22 caliber rimfire rifle or .22 caliber rimfire pistol and a light carried on the person while in pursuit of furbearers, while possessing a valid hunting license, unless exempt.

What kind of hunting license do I need on private land?

A resident or non-resident hunting license is required.

In addition to a resident (or non-resident) hunting license and resident fur license (if required), a resident trapping license is required for all persons who trap any furbearer, unless exempt.