Thursday, September 3, 2009

Predator Calling Tips

Predator hunting for coyote, fox and bobcat has not yet begun this season so I thought this might be a good time to reflect back on some good predator calling tips and techniques. Here are some of my thoughts on three of the predators I hunt the most; coyote, bobcat and fox.

Coyotes - Coyotes will respond best to the sounds of rabbits, woodpeckers, canine pups, gray fox in distress and rodents in distress. For best results, you may want to wait 10-20 minutes at a stand. If coyotes howl at you during your stand, pack your bags and head to the next stand. The coyotes usually won't come in when they’re having a howling party. Now, if you’re a coyote howler yourself, grab your coyote howler and let it rip. Some coyote hunters seem to do OK with howling. Who knows, you just might get lucky.

Coyotes are scent driven so they usually like to come in downwind of you. Skunk scent is a good cover scent to use. I have had good success using the two-part type that was made by Isabel. I can’t find it anymore, so if anyone out there knows of a good source, please let me know and I’ll buy the store out.

Coyotes will usually leave quickly if they see the slightest movement or if they hear any unusual sound. They do however, respond well to a hand kiss or lip squeak for close range calling. I have stopped many a coyote just long enough for me to take that last standing shot using a lip squeak or hand kiss. If you use a hand kiss or lip squeak, coyotes will sometimes come back even after being spooked.

Gray Fox - Grays respond extremely well to gray fox in-distress calls. They will also come in quickly to woodpeckers, puppies and rodent calls. The “Nut Cracker” squirrel call from RedHunterLLC is excellent for calling fox. If they are around, they’ll usually respond in about 10 minutes or less.

Ordinarily gray or red fox won't spook quite as easily as coyotes will. Don’t forget that fox have a good sense of smell too. Once I had a nice size gray fox come in after switching the type of calling sound in the middle of the stand. I switched from a rodent or rabbit squeal to a squirrel bark. Zap! He was there in less then one minute. Generally, gray fox are found in wooded or rocky terrain. Your stands can be a bit closer than what you would normally do when hunting coyotes. When hunting out West, you may only need to move only about 1/4 to 1/3 mile between stands. Back East, due to sound absorption of the dense woods, in thicker cover or forested areas, you need not even move that far.

Bobcats - Cats respond best to woodpeckers, rabbits and rodent calls. They can take up to 30 minutes or longer to respond. Usually, they are very deliberate and methodical in their approach. Cats respond poorly to excessively high volume so try and keep it low once you think you’re working a cat. They will not use their noses as effectively as coyote or fox. Skunk scent is again a good cover scent here. They travel brushy bottoms, creeks and other low areas. They will go from tree to tree and bush to bush on their approach. Bobcats tend to hesitate when crossing large open areas. As I said, give bobcat some available cover and they will stalk you from bush to bush until they’re right on top of you. You should call bobcats from fence rows, back country fields, rocky areas and creek bottoms. Again, your distance between stands can be a bit shorter depending upon the type of terrain you are hunting in. If you’re in heavy or bushy cover one-half to one-quarter mile or less between stands should do the trick.

Don’t forget to check out RedHunterLLC for field proven calls and your other predator hunting needs. They have engineered a lot of our equipment and they field test all of the products before they sell them. Good luck and I hope to see you in the field sometime….Coyote Jake

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