Do Coyotes Hunt & Travel In Packs?

Coyotes belong to the canine family and are similar to wolves in many ways. They are smaller than wolves and live in packs as the wolves do. However, their pack is smaller than wolves and usually consists of close family members. They also live in dens like wolves, but their solitary behavior makes them different from their closely related wolves, i.e., they are often seen alone. Since they are so many similarities between coyotes and wolves, a common question asked is:

Do Coyotes Hunt In Packs?

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Coyotes hunt alone and also in packs. Adult coyotes usually do not hunt in packs. They either hunt alone or in pairs. However, a coyote remains part of the pack and does not hunt or travel independently before reaching adulthood. It also depends on the size of their prey.  If they are after a bigger game, they usually prefer to hunt in packs to feed pups and female coyotes in the pack.  In the case of smaller prey, they like hunting alone or in the form of pairs.

Adult coyotes travel in packs, but they often part away from their packs and are seen alone. So coyotes travel alone, too, in some scenarios. Due to the adventurous behavior, coyotes face many dangers throughout their life since there are more chances of being attacked by predators while hunting alone. Coyotes travel and hunt throughout their life to get food and ensure their survival. They are intelligent hunters that can survive in packs and also alone. Their smart hunting tactics make it easy for them to kill the game and enjoy the feast alone.

Are Coyotes Nocturnal or Diurnal?

Coyotes are not strictly nocturnal. Dark or nighttime is their favorite time to hunt, and they tend to be more nocturnal than diurnal. However, they are very opportunistic in nature and love to hunt and easy prey even in the daytime.


Usually, 14-21 coyotes form a pack, including 3-7 puppies and 11-14 adults. However, the size of the packs is affected by many factors. Usually, large packs are seen in the urban areas where plenty of food is available for them.

During the day, coyotes are either seen in the early morning or before sunset. They tend to be more nocturnal and are seen active at night.

Male Coyotes exhibit aggressive behavior during their mating season from January to March. In this period, they become more active and are also seen hunting in urban areas.

Wrapping Up

Coyotes belong to the dog family, but their solitary behavior makes them quite different from close relatives like wolves and foxes. Their aggressive nature and clever hunting tactics help them hunt and survive alone for many days in harsh environments.

Additional Questions

What is the typical pack size of coyotes?

In protected habitats, you’ll usually find a coyote pack comprising of about **five to six adult members**, not counting the pups that are born within the year. Coyotes are territorial animals, they don’t easily share their territory, they defend it from other packs making these territories to have very little overlap. However, in rural areas where they’re frequently hunted or trapped, the pack might only be made up of the alpha pair, along with their pups. A fun fact is that I often observed this territorial behavior during my research on them in rural areas, and it is absolutely fascinating to see how they defend their territories.

How many coyotes typically hunt together?

Interesting enough, coyotes usually opt to **hunt alone or in pairs**, and on rare occasions, as a pack, this usually happens when they are hunting for a deer or other large prey. The time of their hunting largely depends on human activity. In areas with minimal to no human activity, they prefer hunting during the day. However, when they have a litter of pups to feed, they may be forced to hunt continuously, round the clock. People usually think that coyotes always hunt in packs, but I confirm, from years of studying their behavior, that this is hardly true.

Do coyotes tend to roam or stick to one area?

Coyotes are creatures who ‘follow the food’. That means if they cannot find food in their current location, they’ll **move swiftly to another location**, they are indeed mobile. Expediency rules their movement, they change territories quite quickly, though if they find a reliable and consistent source of food, they might establish and zealously defend a home territory. In my experience, I have seen many coyotes who quickly adapted and settled in new areas after just a short time of food scarcity in their previous territory.

What is the size of a coyote pack’s territory?

A coyote pack in Cook County operates on a fascinatingly organized system. They share and collectively defend their territory. For coyotes living in packs, the size of their territories is generally smaller than that of the solitary coyotes. These territories average **less than 2 square miles** (about 4.95 km2), although they can sometimes go up to 4.3 square miles (11.1km2). I’ve conducted studies in Cook County, and found this shared responsibility for defending their territories to be a common trait among pack coyotes in the area.