Hunting various critters involves different strategies and tactics, from slinking and cow calling for elk to bugling for moose and being downright stealthy quiet going after whitetails and bear.

When it comes to coyotes, though, getting emotional when you’re using hand-held or mouth calls may be one of the key elements to success. I first heard this more than 15 years ago while hunting in west Texas for coyote and bobcat. Caleb Wilson was guiding our crew and said there’s no mistaking the need for a good, emotional call that gets a coyote’s attention.

It’s not that you’re trying to be loud, he said, but that you’re trying to emphasize that something’s freaking out and getting the $@#* chewed out of it. For a couple of nights around Snyder and Colorado City, we handily dropped several big coyotes and bobcats that couldn’t resist his calls.

Rocky Mountain Cottontail Predator Distress Call

Mike Mattly pretty much said the same as our crew listened to his explanation of how the Cottontail Predator Distress call from Rocky Mountain Hunting Calls & Supply sounds with different emphasis.

“Think about what’s going on and what you need to sound like — a rabbit that’s been caught by a coyote or fox, and is trying to escape or is dying,” he said. “That’s not a “Waaaa waaa waaa” sound, right? That’s a WAAAAAAHHH! WAHHAHHAAAAA! WAHHHHHHHH! scared screaming sound. Whatever’s going on is pretty intense.”

We’re in west Texas with Savage Arms, Federal Premium Ammunition, Bushnell, Camp Chef and Rocky Mountin for a few days at Clear Fork Ranch near Albany for coyotes and hogs, with a few of each already on the dirt. The 54,000-acre low-fence ranch has about 34 miles of the Clear Fork of the Brazos River running through it. It’s stunningly rugged, beautiful country replete with whitetails, wild quail, hogs, predators and a brazillion stars overhead at night.

Mattly hunted coyotes Monday morning and had a couple of songdogs come barreling in to the distressed cottontail. His typical setup is to find a good spot with good sightlines, get situated and then call.

“I’ll run a call for about two minutes and then watch and look,” he said. “I’ll wait for about 10 minutes and then I’m out, moving to the next spot. There’s plenty of places to hunt and check, so I don’t waste time when you have good opportunities.”

My morning included dropping a nice 165-pound hog with the Savage Model 110 chambered in .223, a new rifle introduced in January 2018. A short stalk into the gusty wind as the hog and three others fed around a spincast feeder resulted in a lung-smashing shot. She ran about 30 yards and fell hammer dead. JJ Reich with Savage Arms told me it was the first feral hog ever killed with the rifle; I’m ready to add a few more to its credit.

More about on this short, fun hog hunt and the Model 110 will be coming soon. Meanwhile, I’m hoping to get all teary-eyed and emotional with some coyotes.