The sun was at its apex in a clear and cloudless September sky as I exited the cab of the Tacoma. I studied the vast rolling hills choked with sagebrush in front of me and I knew there had to be coyotes hiding within. Without a sliver of shade, calling this stand would be futile, right? Oh, but it looked so good and I really wanted to play a stint of the dying-rabbit blues. If only I had some shade to hide my 6-foot-4-inch frame. Just then, an idea popped into my head. I blindly felt around beneath the seat of the Tacoma, finally settling my hand on the handle of an umbrella—a large camouflage umbrella that I keep in the truck. I slid it out and tethered it to my belt loop as I gathered my calling gear and firearms. On stand I chose a hip-high piece of sage and deployed the umbrella resting the handle within it’s gnarled and twisted branches creating just enough shade to hide my stature. The screaming was brief as I noticed a large, beautiful coyote walking towards the FOXPRO, he was totally unaware of my existence. A 3-inch load of cooper-plated lead to the head and it was all over for the toothy customer.
Often times in my travels I’ve had to bend or even break the “unwritten” rules of successful predator calling, such as call with the wind in your face. One windy blustery day in January, I found myself making a stand with the wind directly at my back. It was all that I could think of in an effort to trump the howling wind. A coyote entered dead downwind of me at 249 yards and died at 248.
Coyotes as well as other predatory animals haven’t read these so called rules. They follow none and maintain a flexible attitude to survive. A good coyote hunter will have his own set of rules to follow, but a great coyote hunter will break his own rules to achieve success and think outside the box when the predators won’t play fair. In fact, the words always and never don’t exist to a coyote so don’t bank on predictability. In the past 26 years of calling, nothing has brought me more success than training myself to be ready for anything. Here’s an example.
A client visited my webpage and called to book a coyote hunt. As we traveled to our calling area he began to explain the hours upon hours of practice he had shooting targets off his sticks. He assured me that any coyote, which stumbled into view of his reticle, was as good as dead. First stand of the day found us screaming in some thick evergreens. A coyote stepped out of the trees at 60 yards and walked right past us at 15 yards. He never fired a shot. I jokingly questioned him about the incident. He explained he was unable to get his sticks into position for the moving shot. The fact that he didn’t need sticks on a 15-yard coyote never even crossed his mind because he hadn’t practiced for that. Next time he has a coyote that close, you can bet he’ll forget about the sticks and make an easy offhand shot instead.
I advise you to think outside the box when the normal tricks aren’t working for you. Toss the rules out the window, get out of your comfort zone and try something new.
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.