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Calling Them In: A Beginner’s Guide to Predator Calls

Predator calls are (literally) a different animal from your ordinary game call, so take these tips to heart.

In deer hunting, waterfowl hunting, or turkey hunting, we think of animal calling almost exclusively as sounds made by the animals we are hunting to attract other animals of that same species. A deer call may be the bleat of a doe, meant to attract a buck, or a duck calling to others to signal that a food source has been found.

However, in other hunting settings, calling concepts are actually entirely different. When hunting coyotes, bears, wolves, mountain lions, or other predatory game, a hunter doesn’t aim to produce the sound of one of those animals, but rather of the prey that they hunt and eat.

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For instance, a hunter who is hoping to add coyotes to his or her hunting repertoire – which, if you want to be a predator hunter, is a given – is going to need to also add to the repertoire the calls that mimic the sounds of prey throughout the forest or plains. These different calling methods can be mastered through both mouth blown calls and electronic calls, depending on the hunter’s preference.

If you use calls at all for your deer or waterfowl hunting, you probably have an idea of how you like to call your prey. Some hunters swear by electronic calls and believe that they have essentially revolutionized the ease and success of hunting. Others swear electronic calls don’t work and prefer more traditional methods. Regardless of which persuasion you belong to, your opinion probably isn’t going to change when you make the switch to predator calling.

In other words, don’t waste time fretting about whether a mouth blown call is “better” than an electronic one. Go with your gut and buy what you think will work best for you. 99.9 percent of the time, you’ll choose the correct call.

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More important are the sounds that your calls make and the volume at which they can produce those sounds. Since most predator hunters are targeting coyotes, many hunters assume that general predator call sounds – fawn cries, rabbit distress calls, baby woodpecker sounds, other squealing bird distress sounds, etc. – are meant specifically for coyotes. However, these types of sounds are almost universal signals for predators, and will generally bring coyotes, mountain lions, or other higher food chain animals to your location in search of an easy meal.

Coyotes and other predators will eat a wide range of smaller animals – especially those eliciting distress calls – so predator calling can actually prove to be a pretty simple process.

If you can find an electronic call that rates well on decibel level and richness of sound, go for it: most E-calls provide a great sampling of sounds. However, if you want a dependable and traditional call, there’s nothing wrong with choosing a mouth blown call. These, as you probably already know, come in both open and closed reed, with the former being louder and the latter being slightly easier to use for most. When in doubt, get one of each and decide which you like more based on performance.

Of course, remember that as with any other calls, predator calls won’t guarantee success. You will still need to have decent tracking skills and you will still want to consider using decoys and other baiting methods.

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Calling Them In: A Beginner’s Guide to Predator Calls