Predator Calling

Uploaded by kdwpinfo on 04.02.2010

Predator calling grows in popularity as hunters learn the challenge of outwitting Kansas’
big predators. Coyotes are number one on the list, but bobcats run a close second. Both
animals are wary and hard to get close to. And that’s where calling is a slick trick.
Sounds that mimic an injured rabbit often bring large predators running. Rabbits often
squeal in distress when caught by a hawk, and hearing this, coyotes charge in to steal
a free meal. Hunters use this knowledge to mimic the sounds on a hand-blown call. Electronic
callers are also legal and allow a larger variety of attractive sounds.
Cold and snowy conditions are perfect for calling, since predators are hungry and a
white blanket makes them easier to spot while coming in. Paul Bryan of Pratt and I tried
it on a perfect day when winds were light and our calls carried nearly a mile. Calm
days also make it easier to avoid detection when predators circle downwind. Coyotes can
smell a human for 300 yards or more, often helping them escape without a shot.
We started early in the morning and set up against cover, wearing camouflage to hide
from the coyote’s sharp eyes. But we were reminded in a hurry that this is tough business
even when things go right. A coyote sneaked in and provided several momentary shooting
opportunities. But Paul’s varmint scope on his .22-250 was dialed up for long-range
shooting, and he couldn’t find the target in time for a shot. So that was a good chance
On our next set, we called a pair of coyotes from nearly ¾ mile away. But for some reason,
the big male hung up and forced a long-range shot. This coyote, a 30-pound male, was in
prime condition with thick fur. Fur hunters take advantage of calling when pelt prices
are high. But this coyote was headed for the taxidermist for a full-body mount to be used
at a Kansas Wildlife and Parks education center.
We hunted most of the day, calling half a dozen times and waiting about 15 minutes at
each set. As it turned out, the same calm conditions that helped our calling also made
it easy for coyotes to detect our approach. Most animals responded with great caution
and stayed well away. We shot another coyote that had mange, a severe problem for this
furbearing species and one that ruins pelt quality. And we missed several more at long
But that’s all part of game calling. Each set is a surprise-in-waiting as you hope to
fool Kansas’ wary predators, and many of them get away. Calling coyotes requires only
a Kansas hunting license and is open year-round, but bobcats require a furharvester license
and are restricted to season which closes this year on February 15.
I’m Mike Blair for Kansas Wildlife and Parks