The Wyoming sage peppered the yellow grass valley where a dozen or so head of Black Angus were grazing. White capped mountains in the distance warned me that the heavy snows of winter would fall here soon. I parked the Tacoma out of sight from the valley I planned to call and carefully snuck along the 10-foot deep, red-clay ravine, which split this valley into two equal halves. After gaining some distance from the Tacoma, I ascended out of the ravine and quickly sat down on its edge concealing myself with a sage tall enough to hide my silhouette. I chambered a round of Dead Coyote into the Benelli and began a stint of the bunny blues with a well-used FOXPRO, open-reed hand call known as the Lil’ Skyote. I groaned and wailed quivering tones into the call for less than 30 seconds when I caught motion right in front of me. Coyote! Totally unaware of my presence, the coyote came double time to my cries stopping seven yards from my feet. I decided that was close enough so I put the Benelli to work. I gathered my calling gear along with the coyote and snuck back into the ravine quietly so I could call this stand another day.
At 30 seconds into the series, that coyote had to be less than 100 yards away when I started. The stealth approach to my stand location put another hide on the stretcher. It takes planning, practice, and some good old fashioned woodsman skills to sneak that close to a coyote without his awareness. I get a lot of opportunities to mentor newbie predator callers with my guide service, Predator Strikeforce. As a result of this, I’ve developed some rules for approaching a stand with stealth and precision.
Don’t rev and race your motor while approaching a stand. I realize in NASCAR this type of behavior will draw a crowd, but when predator hunting, you’ll finish last.
Coyotes and bobcats could care less if you have 1,000 Watt’s of power crashing through your speakers. Keep the windows rolled up, turn the music down, and don’t slam the doors.
Any sound you make while crossing a fence will travel both directions sending a telegraph to critters that you’re in the area. Cross as quietly as possible and if you happen to snag your delicates on barbed wire, scream in silence.
Stepping on sticks, crashing through leaves or tripping over rocks are all great ways to ruin your stand. Slow down, watch where you’re stepping and tread lightly to avoid making a lot of noise.
If a predator sees you, that predator will leave. Don’t expose yourself while approaching your stand and expect to consistently call in predators. Plan your approach using the terrain for concealment.
Most of us loved to play Army when we were younger, some of us still do. Figuring out the terrain, sneaking in on the enemy and planning the attack are all part of it. Apply these five simple rules, use some discipline, and make a plan of attack on a battlefield near you.
For the past 26 years, Tom’s passion has been calling predators and because of that passion, Predator Strikeforce was born. As owner and operator of Predator Strikeforce, Tom has daily opportunities to hone his skills “hunting the hunter.” Predator Strikeforce allows individuals of all ages, both male and female, the opportunity to get up close and personal with the hunters of the animal kingdom. Individuals who embark on a predator hunting adventure with Predator Strikeforce have an opportunity to “get their 15 minutes of fame” through the film.
Tom writes editorials for AR Guns & Hunting and authors a monthly column for Predator Xtreme magazine titled “Caller for Hire.” He literally hunts predators from Canada to Mexico and every hilltop and valley floor in between. For Tom, predator hunting isn’t just an obsession; it’s a way of life.