Of all the problems I encountered as a novice predator caller, the ones that perplexed me most were the fox or coyote that stopped 100 or 200 yards out and wouldn’t come closer. If I lifted the call, trying to coax them in, many times they turned and ran. This was frustrating, because I did not know what to do or what calls to make. This is a big bugaboo for both novice and veteran callers.
The key to high success is pulling predators in the last 100 yards. Standard calls start them in with regularity because they’re at a distance and can’t see the caller or the dying critter they think they’ll find when they get there. Once a predator gets close and can’t see the source of sound it becomes suspicious and cautious. The cure for this is a decoy.
The magical thing about decoys is that, regardless of what sound you are using, once they come into visual range of a decoy, even though that decoy doesn’t match the sound, it will often lure them in all the way. The killing instinct for an easy meal overrides considerations of caution, suspicion, and safety.
Check out the options on the following pages.
Edge by Expedite Yote Coyote Decoy
There are action and stationary decoys. Some come in one piece; others are easily put together on stand. Some are silhouette decoys, others are full bodied. A simple yet effective one is the Edge by Expedite Yote Coyote Decoy, a fold up silhouette picture of a coyote that hunters can stake into the ground or hang from a branch. I stake mine 30 to 40 yards away from my calling station, always upwind and with the sun at my back, if I have that luxury. The idea is to convince approaching coyote that one of their kind is closing in on the same meal and feels safe doing so out in the open. The decoys are lightweight, easy to carry, deploy, and pick up.
Renzo Coyote Decoy Kit
The Renzo’s decoy people have come up with a unique product idea they call their Coyote Decoy Kit. This consists of five different weatherproof plastic silhouettes of a coyote, fawn deer, red fox, and two rabbits. You can fold the larger ones up for easy carrying. The intriguing thing about this package is that you can use any combination of these four depending on your hunting situation and what you’re trying to bring in.
Montana 2-D Coyote Decoy
Jerry McPherson offers predator hunters his Montana 2-D Coyote Decoy. This is actually a high-resolution picture of a full-size coyote printed on both sides of a cotton/polyester fabric. A sewn-in steel band supports the decoy’s form, while leg poles can be insert into sleeves for ground staking. Like any silhouette, you can also hang the decoy from a bush. You have the option of twisting the band to reduce its size for easy carrying. New 3-D predator decoys are in the works from Montana Decoys, which should be even more interesting.
Flambeau Master Series Lone Howler
The famous waterfowl decoy firm of Flambeau now offers the Master Series Lone Howler, a full-bodied coyote decoy with a wool tail and flocked body. Like silhouette types, these become confidence decoys. The full-bodied model has a slight edge over a roll up as animals can view it from any angle, and it’ll still look natural. As with all decoys, regardless of form, while animals have their attention on your deke, you can take the shot.
Flambeau Spotted Fawn Decoy
Another Flambeau full-bodied decoy with great attracting power is their spotted fawn. Newly dropped fawns and young deer are seasonal prey animals that coyote — and to some degree, bobcats and fox — hunt. Coyote learn to hunt fawning grounds each spring when newborns are dropped. Setting this decoy in the open can produce spectacular results, especially when you add the distress-bleat call of a young deer. It’s a natural combination few predators can resist, including spring bear!
Kanati Tek TR-1 Decoy Topper
Kanati Teks’ motorized decoys fall into this category. They offer their TR-1 Decoy Topper, perched on a 6-inch vibrating rod, and also a TR-2 Topper. Both are fuzz balls with big eyes and a whipping tail driven by a quiet motorized rod. Kanati’s PX-2 includes a single unit, which houses dual internal speakers, two remotely controlled fluff decoys atop rods, plus a high-quality digital game caller in the base. Flambeau also offers a similar remote game-call decoy combo in their MAD Minaska line, and although I’ve not seen it yet, word has it that Foxpro now offers a call with built-in remote controlled decoy. More are sure to follow.
Edge by Expedite Prowler Bait
If you hunt in bobcat country, the Edge by Expedite Prowler Bait and Digital Caller works well on wild cats. This is a small bird on a low stand in which the base also houses a digital caller that chirps to add a measure of realism that is hard to resist. This unit is deadly on cat sliding in for a kill. To back this up, packages of three extra bird bodies are available should your original one get chewed up. Like many motion or sound decoys, AA batteries power this one.
Edge by Expedite Wounded Woodpecker
Another popular bird decoy that works well on bobcats or fox is the Edge by Expedite Wounded Woodpecker. This decoy has a spring-snap clip so you can clamp it on a branch close to the ground. You have a choice of both wings flapping, unable to get airborne, or detaching one wing to really give it that wounded, wobbling look.
An unusual attractor with a different slant is a rubber roll-up fox decoy called the Foxxy Fox. It comes with a two-piece stand for ground staking. This set-up will bring in other foxes, but manufacturers actually designed it to attract coyote. In the wild, coyote always run fox off of a meal because they’re higher up the food chain. That aggression is what this decoy was designed to trigger, but it also pulls in fox.
For the predator hunter who likes to “roll his own,” buy a few feet of PVC plastic pipe, a can of PVC glue, and make two small “A-frames” for front and back feet. Use a 14-inch section to connect the two as a backbone, and another 5-inch piece at one end for the head. You can drape this simple frame with any animal hide, jackrabbit or cottontail skin, or even a coyote pelt. Outline the legs by simply using snap ties to pull them against the form. You can make these for pennies — in any size you desire — and snap them together at your calling sight. They don’t move, but can work just as well as other commercial decoys of this type.
Under homemade alternatives, the simple turkey feather on a stick. A turkey tail feather, discarded arrow shaft, a fishing swivel and a bit of 20-pound monofilament combine to make one of the deadliest decoys you can carry afield. It is a multi-tasker that will also show wind speed and direction. Predator Sniper Styx currently offers a store-bought version of this simple deke (Yellerdog Predator Calls recently bought Predator Sniper Styx, www.yellerdogcalls.com).