I’m not always the best at changing things up. When I order something from a new restaurant, and I like it, chances are I will order that same menu item every time I go back. Likewise, if I use a specific call or sound and draw in a predator with it, then I will typically blow that same call or use that same sound every stand after that.
I called my first coyote in with a dying-rabbit call, so naturally, I’ve used a lot of dying rabbit over the years. It’s a confidence thing with me. It worked once, so in my mind I find a way to tell myself, “It’s the only one that will work again.” Crazy, I know, but as a hunter I’m constantly paranoid of something working or not working.
Luckily for me, I like to hunt, so I spent a lot of time calling predators or pursuing other outdoor hunting activities. Through sheer boredom of not calling something in after four or five sets in a row, I will change sounds just to keep from going crazy. This has worked for me and occasionally an unlucky predator answers the call. Then, of course, I’ll blow that sound for the next five or more stands!
I’ve begun to move out of my comfort zone. I hunted with Chuck Megli of Custer, Oklahoma last year and it was a great experience. Chuck is a predator-hunting fanatic. He’s been calling predators for the past 37 years and from Dec. 7 through mid March, he’s calling about three days a week. He figures he probably calls in about 300 coyotes a year (not kills, but calls in).
I spent three days calling predators with Chuck and one thing is for certain, he doesn’t stick with the same call. He uses a FOXPRO Prairie Blaster call and makes full use of the extensive FOXPRO sound library. Chuck typical starts his sequence with the Lil Jack sound. He’ll play the sound for about a minute and then nothing for several minutes. Then the list proceeds as follows: Waning Jack, Male Cardinal, Freaky Squeaks, Luscious Lips and Vol Squeaks. If nothing responds after this series of calling and pausing then he’ll throw in more of the same until it’s time to go.
On the third stand of the first morning he played through his sequence and went back to the Male Cardinal sound again — that’s about the time a male coyote came charging past me at 15 steps. I ended up dropping the dog as he came running back through my shooting lane trying to get out of Dodge!
The calling was tough while I was hunting with Chuck and even he thought it was time to add something different to his call sequence after two full days of calling. He added in some coyote vocalizations on the third day and we called in five different coyotes and got two of them.
I can say for sure Chuck broke me of my one-dimensional calling. Within a few days of returning back home to Alabama I had the opportunity to make a few stands near my home one cold, wet morning as a front was moving through. I used rabbit distress, bird distress and on my third stand of the morning threw in kitten distress. That’s when I heard a bird “cussing” something out on the treeline to my right. I looked right and sure enough a large coyote was sneaking through the briars in the cutover I was in and he was heading downwind. I swiveled to the right, picked an opening in the brush and woofed the coyote to a stop when he stepped into the open. One dose of a 115-grain 6.8 SPC Federal Fusion bullet and the 40-pound male dropped in his tracks. His pelt now hangs on my wall.
As the calling season once again descends on us, keep hitting the woods and prairies calling predators. And please don’t do I like I used to and stick with one sound. You never know what’s going to ring the dinner bell for your next fanged target. Good luck this season!