E-Callers — Sometimes More Can be Better

Intermittent or constant calling — which is better?

E-Callers — Sometimes More Can be Better

The author has taken a lot of predators by using both intermittent and constant calling on his electronic caller, but his vote is to stay continuous for better success in most situations.  

To say I was disappointed was an understatement, as I watched the minute hand on my wristwatch sweep past the 10-minute mark of the third straight calling setup with nary a critter in sight. The constant, consistent and invariable squalls being emitted by the small speaker of my brand new first-of-its-kind electronic predator caller were downright boring — with little intensity, anguish or panicky prey sounds — the same blasé sounds as when I first started using mouth-blown calls. That was before I got a real-world lesson in the intensity, panic and sound variations made by a snared jackrabbit. The better I got imitating and mastering these sounds on a mouth-blown call, the more my success rate increased.           

During my fourth session I varied the volume, muffled and un-muffled the mouth of the speaker and pointed it in different directions to break up and add differentiation to the sound. Even without being able to adjust the intensity of the sound, it worked, and I called in a curious South Texas coyote. I was on my way to making electronics a vital addition to my predator hunting equipment. Somehow, I got the idea that my intermittent calling played a part in this song-and-dance routine so incorporated it into my electronic calling.             

It wasn’t until I read a study on coyotes by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, conducted during the peak of its government control programs on utilizing government trappers to control and manage predators, that I considered changing my strategy. The study showed that a wild canine’s keen, perceptive hearing is by far its most effective hunting sense. Far more efficient than its sharp vision and discerning sense of smell. All of which when combined with their survival instincts make a very challenging adversary.           

Today, with the increase in quality, countless recordings and true-to-life vocalization reproduction, e-callers are far more effective and realistic sounding than ever, producing everything from wolf howls to rodent squeaks and bird chirps. But for me, the question remained: Which method is more effective — constant or intermittent calling?           

Mike Dillon, president and designer for Foxpro Game Calls, and avid videographer and predator hunter Byron South, designer of the Convergent Bullet HP Bluetooth e-caller and professional predator control specialist, are both die hard believers in constant calling tactics when using electronic callers. According to both, they keep the call running once they get a response — appearance or vocal — thereby giving the incoming critter a constant audio attraction. Shutting the caller down at this point, they say, might cause a wary or skittish critter to stop its approach or change direction to get the wind in its favor.           

I came to realize the validity of this approach when I was calling intermittently in heavy cover and had critters spook from downwind when they shouldn’t have been coming from that direction in the first place. In retrospect I’m sure there are many times when by shutting down the caller I gave the incoming predator the incentive to move more downwind and possibly catch me off guard. Dillon, who does a lot of calling for foxes back East both night and day, says that these shy canines are more skittish than coyotes in areas where they compete with larger canines for food and are ultra-skittish about approaching sounds that they can’t pinpoint precisely. Constant calling provides a guiding beacon.            

However, when using howls to locate coyotes, intermittent sequences is the only way to go. Letting the responding canine carry the bulk of the conversation will generally work better than over doing it with howling. South, who works lots of depredating coyotes on Texas ranches, says that once he gets a coyote to respond to howling but hangs up, his best tactic is patience. Many a Lone Star coyote has been grounded by searching for the now silent interloper after a 15 minute to hour wait before sneaking in for a look.           

There is one predator that requires constant calling and that’s the black bear. Bears are motivated by their appetite but have extremely short attention spans — losing interest in only a few minutes once the calling stops. Stop calling, and they immediately stop coming. Keep in mind, though, that stopping the sound is a great tactic for positioning a bear for a shot once you have called it into range. Most states do not allow electronic callers for hunting bears so check before using one. But constant calling for at least a half-hour with a mouth blown call will work, too, if your wind holds out.           

I have taken a lot of predators by using both intermittent and constant calling on my electronic caller, but my vote would be to stay continuous for better success in most situations.  


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