|Predator and Prey|
|Predator and Prey|
The Do’s and Don’ts of Calling
Unfortunately many hunters fail to understand some important factors pertaining to successful calling. This includes the use of electronic callers that only require the push of a button to create the sounds. How could a mistake be made by simply pushing a button? By pushing it at the wrong place, the wrong time, or both.
The location we call from is a critical factor in successful calling. One of the factors in selecting a calling location is visibility. It’s always fun to watch a predator respond to a caller. However, some people, I feel, try to seek too much visibility when calling. These people seek areas such as large open pastures or fields where they can see for a mile or more. These areas I avoid unless they are bordered by some sort of concealment.
Predators have little reason for hunting in wide-open pastures. Predators know the prey must have concealment from its enemies to survive. This is simply a fact of Nature. Therefore, the more natural an area we call from, the better our odds are for success.
There are many things which can foil a calling site even before the first call has been made. Often as not, I have found a hunter will expose his presence while traveling to the calling site. Hunters will generally take a path of less resistance or the shortest route. This can expose the hunter to the predator from a distance. Hunters who conceal their movements are usually more successful than those who do not.
THE NOSE KNOWS…
Scent is another factor predator hunters must always be aware of. This is especially true when dealing with coyotes. Coyotes possess some of the keenest olfactory senses found in Nature, and they use them to the fullest. Hunters must always be alert to the air current at all times. In short, you can fool a coyote’s ears with a caller and its eyes with a decoy, but you can’t fool its nose. It’s that simple!
The degree of wind velocity, humidity and temperature all affect how quickly and far our scent will travel. The best means of combating the factor of scent is to always travel and call into the wind. The same can apply with a crosswind. However, hunters should always be prepared for the animal to try to respond from a downwind direction. Therefore, whenever possible, have an area of good visibility downwind of the calling site. Odds are this is where your target will present itself.
THE BUNNY BLUES…
The type of calling sound we use also plays an important role in calling success. In most instances the sounds of an animal in distress is the sound of preference. Predators are opportunists and the sounds of an easy meal can create a quick response. However, all predators have a brain and if the sounds are not of a natural manner it is reason for alarm. Predators also learn from experience. Therefore, if a sound represents a negative experience, they naturally react with caution. This is commonly referred to as the animal becoming "call shy."
The most common of distress sounds used for predator hunting are those of rabbits. Both the sounds of a cottontail and/or jackrabbit are used. Both of these sounds are proven even in areas where one of the species may not exist.
Personally, I favor the sounds of a jackrabbit. I have simply had better response from both coyotes and bobcats with this sound. The key, I feel, is to use the call sparingly instead of using a continuous calling rhythm.
In most instances I will produce a calling sequence of approximately 15-20 seconds. Then I will allow 2-3 minutes of silence to pass before repeating the calling sequence. This not only lures the predator with sound, but also keeps it moving during the silent periods. Moving objects are easier for the human eye to detect, thus increasing the hunter’s odds for success.
THE PIED PIPERS…
In most instances, newcomers to the sport of predator hunting begin with a manual (mouth blown) type caller. These devises are inexpensive and very effective when used correctly. Unfortunately, most manufacturers do not put the really important factors in the instruction material, such as not over calling as I have reviewed. They also do not emphasize remaining still while operating the caller.
Hunters must remember the eyes of a predator can detect the slightest of movements. Therefore if we are moving our head from side to side or wiggling our fingers we can be detected. Even the finest of camouflage cannot guard against the super keen eyes of a predator.
Forty-odd years have passed since I became a predator-hunting addict. During these years I have seen a lot changes in the sport of the predator hunting.
I have seen the coyote expand its ranges from the west to the east. I have seen bobcat populations reach all time peaks. I have seen space age technology become incorporated to the sport. The thing I have not seen is the majority of predator hunters learning to respect their game.
The coyote has proven it is one of Nature’s greatest survivors. Its senses are far superior to that of the common dog. It has been proven a coyote can hear a mouse squeak beyond fifty yards. The eyes of a bobcat can detect the breathing movements of a rat far beyond the eyes of a domestic cat. These animals survive by their senses and instincts. Hunters who respect their game and apply themselves as a predator will prove to be the ultimate predator.
Bill Bynum has written extensive articles about predator calling and has published a book, "Predator Hunting," on the subject.