Coyote, photo by David McGowen
David McGowen



Like domestic dogs and wolves, coyotes are canines. When coyotes run, they hold their tails down, unlike wolves, which run with their tails straight out.

Coyotes are extremely adaptable and thrive in a wide range of habitats from mountains to deserts. They are among the most adaptable mammals in North America.

Life History

Coyotes live in a variety of social arrangements. Some live alone, others in mated pairs, and others in packs that might consist of one mated pair, their new young, and offspring from the previous season that have not yet left their parents.

Coyotes hunt mostly at night, and their diet can vary. They are opportunistic and eat what is available to them, but they prefer fresh kills. Mammals are a major portion of their diet, although sometimes they eat snakes and birds. In fall and winter, coyotes will eat fruits and berries along with other vegetation.

Interesting Fact

Coyotes are among the most vocal mammals in North America. The name comes from the Aztec word "coyoti," which means barking dog. Because coyotes are more active at night, vocal communication is more important than visual communication. Coyotes use various sounds in different situations: A coyote howls to let others know its location; short barks warn others of danger nearby; and new pack members are welcomed with yips.

In Oklahoma, coyotes can be hunted year-round with no bag limit.

Hunting Seasons

Year-round. See regulations for details.

Explore more Oklahoma Mammals

Ozark big-eared bat
Photo by: USFWS
Mountain lion in tree.  Photo by Justin Shoemaker/USFWS Mnt-Prairie/Flickr
Photo by: Justin Shoemaker/USFWS Mnt-Prairie/Flickr
Red fox on a rock.  Photo by Terry Burnholtz/RPS 2021
Photo by: Terry Burnholtz/RPS 2021