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Here is the meat and gravy
of predator hunting, the calling. This is another area
of hunting predators that you can go over the basics,
but you really need time in the field to get good at.
Calling techniques change from season to season and
area to area. What works one day in one situation
might send predators running for cover another day or
in another situation or area. We will be covering the
basics of a calling sequence and some things NOT to do
Honestly, I really do not
think there is a predator out there that can hear one
animal in distress sound and think, 'That is a baby
Cottontail.' or 'That is a Jackrabbit.' They know what
animals in distress sound like and can key in on the
high pitched squeals.
Another thing to remember
is every animal of a certain species does not make the
same sounds as it dies. They all might have a similar
pitch, but the cadence, speed and tone will be
different for every individual animal.
Predator calls can be
broken down into two groups:
- Recently there has been an absolute flood of new
electronic 'predator' calls on the market. Some
are no more then a simple pre-recorded 'chip' type
player and a speaker in a fancy package. Others
are expensive remote controlled digital
systems that can not only mix different sounds,
but play a certain sequence of sounds. Select one
in your budget and give it a try. One thing to
really remember though. You usually get what you
pay for, and while a cheaper caller may look good
and sound good and work perfectly well for you in
certain situations, it has to fool something that
spends the majority of its life dealing with
similar sounds and if you cannot upgrade or change
the sounds and the animals in the areas you hunt
become aware that that particular sound means that
bullets are going to start flying, you are not
going to get many good responses to your calling
Calling Sounds and
A calling sequence is just
that, a sequence of sounds that is meant to entice a
predator into shooting range. Sounds pretty simple
right? It usually is! The sequence that you use to
call really depends a lot on the type of caller you
are using, the time of the year and the area you are
calling to. First we are going to list types of sounds
and then we are going to take a look at each season
and the possible calling sounds that one might use at
that time. Once again, these are not written in stone.
Play with them and adapt them to your needs and
The basic categories
of calling sounds:
Animal Distress -
Usually high pitched squeals and screams of
something getting beat up, eaten or killed.
Barks - Simply that.
Coyote or Fox barks. Coyote barks are the most
common of these. Some barks are good while others
are bad. Later on we will cover which ones you
want to use and which ones you never want to use.
Howls - Coyote Howls.
There are MANY different types of howls and while
there is some confusion about what each one really
means, there are a few that you want to steer away
from at certain times of the year and others that
come in very handy at other times.
Usually made to either imitate a mouse or rodent
or just something to attract the attention of an
animal once it is in close enough to hear it.
Seasons and possible
calling sounds used in each:
Note: The general dates for
each season is a guideline. The 'seasons' have been
compiled for Utah and surrounding areas. They may
overlap or be different from the seasons in your area.
Winter (October -
Early in the season the
family groups have broken up, but usually the pups
from this year are not all that far away from Mom
and Dad, until the end of the season. This is
usually considered the cream of the crop for
predator hunting. Prey is still pretty abundant and
just about any distress sounds can bring in the
young pups in droves. Locator howls also usually
work really well at this time of the year. Towards
the end of the season the food supply begins to drop
and distress sounds can really work well. The later
in the season, towards the end of January, Coyotes
are entering the breeding season and normally the
pups are pushed out into other areas by the dominant
pair. At this time locator howls can work ok and
distress sounds might draw in a few coyotes or a
fox, but for the most part they are concentrating on
breeding and are interested in little else.
Spring (Mid-January -
This time of year is
usually one of the harder times of the year to hunt
predators. They are usually still in the hardcore
raising of pups and concentrate on little else. At
this time of year a series of challenge barks can
work pretty well to get them interested in who is
stomping around. One important thing to remember
though. The pairs are usually pretty protective of
the den site and will not usually venture all that
far away from it. Distress sounds can work alright,
but for the most part they will pretty much stick to
raising pups. Stick with mainly distress sounds and
maybe a locator or challenge bark if you can find a
Summer (July -
This is when things
finally start to heat up after breeding and pup
rearing. The family group starts getting ready to
break up. The pups are venturing out of the den area
and starting to hunt with mom and dad and towards
the end of the season they might be hunting in small
packs with their siblings. During this time both
distress and howlers start to pick up again. You
might try a short sequence of animal distress sounds
followed by a locator howl.
- October) :
The family groups usually
start to break up around now and there are a lot of
young Coyotes out there with food and survival on
their minds. Food is still in good supply, but the
younger ones have a hard time turning down a meal.
During this time distress sounds work great and the
younger pup can sometimes be pretty comical when
they come in doubles or more. If you are using barks
or howls try to make them sounds like a younger
coyote. Barking like the big dog on the block just
might make everything in the area lay low until they
can figure out who the new big dog is.
Sounds and sequences
to stay away from:
The following sounds and
sequences can have a bad effect on a calling
situation. Steer well away from these.
SOUNDS: This is the biggie. No talking,
coughing, sneezing, farting, joking around, slamming
car or truck doors, stomping up into your stand
area. BE SILENT!!!
Usually a set of two or three barks in rapid
succession.THIS SOUND WARNS ALL COYOTES IN THE AREA
THAT SOMETHING IS WRONG.
Big Bad Dog
Bark/Howl: At times you don't want to
sound like the biggest, meanest dog on the block.
Try to tailor your barks/howls to either sound like
a younger pup during the fall season or a mature
coyote during the breeding season.
much: Limit the number of howls and
barks you use. Don't make it would like a whole pack
of Coyotes are out tearing the prey apart and limit
the time that you scream. Too much screaming or
howling can make incoming predators very wary.