When choosing a predator call, don’t get hung up on brand name, but focus on the dining preferences of the coyotes in your backyard. Without a doubt, most sporting goods giants have shelves full of rabbit in distress calls. Since coyotes dine regularly on hasenpfeffer, it’s fine to mix a dying rabbit into your setups, but it doesn’t take long for a savvy coyote to determine that screaming rabbits may equate to hidden humans.
To outwit coyote intellectual geniuses, vary your distress sounds. Coyotes eat anything that moves so they respond to a variety of animals in distress. Don’t overlook the distress calls of rodents, woodpeckers, fawns, chickens, cats and canines. Talk to animal damage control officers for their view on what coyote’s dine on the most in your neck of the woods.
If you’ve yearned to be bilingual, try mastering the language of the coyote to provide another realistic dimension to your setup. Coyotes have a wide range of howls, barks, yips and whines. Steer clear of barks, which represent a warning, and focus on nonaggressive, welcoming howls. A drawn-out howl tells other coyotes “I’m here” and sparks a curiosity from local coyotes to look for the urine-marking territorial invader.
You can begin and end your prey in distress setups with howls, or use howls alone to attract coyotes. If you do use howls, stay longer. I always stay at a site for at least 30 minutes and have shot the majority of my coyotes late in most howling setups.
If you haven’t tried a new electronic caller, you’re missing out on the hottest thing in predator hunting since the invention of the squealing rabbit call. Modern electronic callers are lightweight and dependable, they provide clear and loud sounds via digital-chip technology, and supply a variety of animal calls never before heard. Look for a unit that advertises and can deliver more than 120 decibels of sound and runs on a dependable battery source. High volume will allow you to reach further in windy conditions or long-range settings. Battery power aids in throwing the sound out there, but speaker quality provides a clear and true sound. After reviewing several models, make sure you look at models with a 15-watt speaker such as the Johnny Stewart Preymaster or Extreme Dimension’s Phantom Pro-Series.
Finally, be sure to inspect the unit for ruggedness and reliability. Predator hunting is a demanding sport on equipment. Dust, dirt, snow and rain find their way into most of hunts along with the occasional bump and bang from dropping equipment and throwing it in the back of a pickup.
Besides the variety of sounds, digital callers are capable of playing two or more sounds at the same time. This is a good idea whether you use an electronic call or not. You can begin your setup with a dying rabbit and add a flock of crows into the mix, and then end the setup with coyotes growling to defend their dinner. Primetime reality television shows would have a tough time mimicking the realism in these new digital devices.
When mixing sounds, make sure they compliment each other and fit the region you’re hunting. Following your prey-in-distress calls with a serenade of magpies gives it a distinctively a Western flavor. Successful coyote hunters know they need to mix and match their calls to overcome educated coyotes. Try something new and you might lure a slippery coyote into an inescapable meeting.
Johnny Stewart Preymaster and Bushwhacker Digital Caller; www.hunterspec.com
Burnham Brothers Compucaller II; www.burnhambrothers.com
Extreme Dimension Phantom Pro-Series; www.phantomcalls.com