6 Proven Predator-Hunting Tactics

Want to put more predators on the ground? Try these proven tactics.

6 Proven Predator-Hunting Tactics

If you plan to hunt coyotes with shotguns, make sure to put in appropriate range time so you'll optimize the gun, ammo and choke tube. (Photo: Alan Clemons)

Whether you're a predator-hunting rookie or veteran, picking up hunting tips can add a coyote, hog or bobcat to your bag.

Over the course of a couple of decades of hunting I've been able to talk with veterans who have experienced highs and lows. Predator-hunting isn't easy. You'll make mistakes and learn from them, just like with deer, ducks, turkeys or other hunting experiences.

Try these tips the next time you're out in the field.

Be Patient, Move Slowly

For years the standard rule of thumb is "call and wait 15 minutes, then move to a new spot." That's not a bad idea. Unless your calls sound like Aunt Maude seeing a snake near the porch steps, a coyote or bobcat probably will respond within 15 minutes. If not, head out.

Veteran hunter Dan Thompson told me years ago one of his biggest pieces of advice is to be patient and sit still. Don't wiggle. Don't move your head, turn your shoulders or anything. Use your eyes to scan for movement, because that's what coyotes and bobcats are doing. They know where the sound came from. They're looking for quick movement. If you do need to move, do it slowly.

Become the Terrain

When I hunt in the Southeast, depending on the time of year I'll likely be wearing green or brown camo. Green in spring and summer, shades of brown in autumn and winter. We don't get snow (too often) in the Southeast so white garb like in the Rockies, Plains or Midwest doesn't work. If I'm in Texas or Oklahoma, chances are good I'll have on boots and jeans but a camo top with some dull colors to blend into the muted mesquite and terrain. And I'll seek shade, if possible to lean against a tree. Blend into the terrain.

Call With Feeling

If you're not using a remote caller like this Foxpro model, you're the amplification device. That means you need to learn to call softly or raise the volume when necessary. Sometimes a routine with screaming rabbit sounds might get the job done. Other times, you might need to just be a raucous bird in a fight and then dial up the intensity. Put some emotion and feeling into your calls. Ty Webb told Danny Noonan on the putting green to "be the ball, Danny" in Caddyshack. You have to be the bird, rabbit or other critter in the clutches of danger. Think that way when you're calling.

Simple Decoys Work

Today's fluttering, dancing decoys with remote callers are great. Foxpro, Lucky Duck, Mojo and others have different models. But if you're using a mouth call or need a quick fix, here's a simple solution: bend a wire clothes hanger to stick in the ground and tie a white feather on the end with string so it flutters. Put it about 40 yards (or whatever range you want) from your hiding spot. This inexpensive decoy can catch the eye of a coyote or bobcat and give you a bit of an advantage.

Don't Overthink It

In Texas a couple of years ago with Mike Mattly, we were using jackrabbit and cottontail mouth calls from Rocky Mountain Hunting Calls. Mattly wasn't concerned if he got one instead of the other, saying, "I don't believe a coyote is out there thinking, 'Hey, that's a cottontail rabbit and we don't have those here.'" If you're making a good routine, a predator isn't going to analyze the species. It's just hearning something in distress and, hopefully, will come looking.

Wind and Stealth

Whether you're going after feral pigs or furbearers, know your terrain and know what's going on with the wind. Use treelines, ditches and other cover to help conceal your movements whether you're placing a remote call and decoy or slipping to a specific spot. Check the weather forecast for the wind direction and speed, of course, and take a little bottle of powder or flour to puff so you can discern the direction. Another friend of mine would tie a brown string to his rifle barrel to give him constant feedback. Little things add up when you're matching wits against wily predators.


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