I know the questions is already sort of answered, but I can confirm. The shotgun only rule is ONLY for DEER HUNTING. You can use Rifles outside of deer season for anything you wish (unless prohibited, ie: waterfowl, turkey), anywhere you wish. However, I would be very careful about:
- Carrying or possessing buckshot during deer season - this will get you a huge fine, and "I'm going coyote hunting" won't get you any slack.
- Wearing Camo during the gun deer seasons, unless deep in the night and definitely not deer hunting. I usually avoid coyote hunting during gun deer altogether...
- using a .22 during deer season in any gun zone. This is the rifle of choice for night poaching, and is also explicitly outlawed for deer, so don't tempt the ire of the warden.
Hope that clears things up - I am not a warden, but if you read the rule book (which I have to do every year for Hunter Ed classes), it is pretty clear the prohibition is for deer only. It is also pretty easy to figure out what matters to the wardens and what doesn't if you really read it (intent comes across strongly in the way the rules are written). Most wardens do care about their jobs and the resources they are charged with protecting, and don't really "get off" on the power. Shure there are a few, but I find in Wisconsin they are really few and far between. Also, if you talk to enough wardens, you will find that they see the coyotes as a public enemy, but really value the whitetail deer (their meal ticket). They will not give you hassles or a hard time if they believe you are there with good intent and an educated view of the game rules.