Every year I receive calls from a handful of entrepreneurs who hope they’ve discovered the hot, new predator-hunting product. I help when I can. Unfortunately, despite a good design or concept, the schematic of taking a solid idea to market is a rough road. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your eye out for products from the little guy. Some of them have merit, especially since many were designed to handle specific issues or hunting problems for regional conundrums.
One of the biggest startup areas in predator hunting is predator calls. It’s difficult to design, build and manufacture electronic calls, but don’t let me stop you. Instead, a number of hardcore callers still turn out new models of hand calls. Some are elegant and more at home in a museum than in your daypack, while others are like Stanley Hammers and ready to do the job.
Call maker Steve Thompson has made both, but his “Stanley Hammer” models work the best. Thompson, a retired animal damage control officer for the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks worked as a professional coyote hunter. Today he manufactures and tunes calls from home along with crafting custom lanyards. His company, Dakota Coyote Howler, specializes in open- and bite-reed calls. They offer unlimited variability in creating everything from predator to prey sounds that all predators respond to with vigor. He has clients who use them to call everything from raccoons to bears and his howlers provide a wide range of variability to match sounds made by pups and adults alike.
If you’re looking for another option for rifle rests you may want to give Mitch Gallo a call (406) 232-4879. Gallo is an avid predator caller and trapper. In his Montana backyard long hikes and long shots are the norm, but it can pay off in big coyote dividends. Posed with these long problems Gallo kept visualizing a better rest that could be used as a hiking staff, a prone rifle rest and a kneeling rifle rest. He finally came up with a design that hits all issues with bull’s-eye precision. A textured handle gives hikers a solid grip to use as a hiking staff. By attaching a Harris-like bipod you can use the staff as an extended arm to cradle a firearm for a bench-style rest while shooting prone. An additional rifle cradle on the hiking staff gives offhand shooters a quick way to rest a rifle when a sudden encounter occurs.
There are all sorts of great ideas out there waiting to hit the market. Some might make it, while others might only show up at a local sport show or an online review. Regardless of where you see a custom predator hunting idea, take notice. It may be the next big thing or just the tool you needed to bag more fur.