Predator hunters oftentimes take on a Donald Trump approach when calling in coyotes and other toothy quarry — louder is better. Being loud can be effective when trying to reach distant predators, or when a wind buffers your calls. It’s also easier than ever to call loud by simply turning up the volume on an electronic caller to the point where even 1980s hair bands wonder if you’re calling too loud.
Keep this in mind. Sometimes a softer, quieter approach is better. Why? Consider nature itself. When was the last time you heard a blaring prey animal screaming in the wild? I spend weeks in the field year-round whether I’m big-game hunting, coyote hunting, shed antler hunting or summer scouting. I can count on one hand the times I’ve heard the sounds we imitate weekly during fur season.
Another reason to try a softer approach is that it’s different than what other hunters are blaring. With predator hunting at an all-time high predators are being educated faster during fur season and the first sound they hear is usually the loud squall of a dying rabbit. This scream-and-run attitude even takes place in calling contests. Hunters oftentimes follow the 15-minute rule in an attempt to pile up as much fur as possible and they call loudly in that short window to lure in the easy ones. I understand the reason, but I believe some coyotes are unintentionally educated when hunters leave a setup. If a coyote hears a dying rabbit and then senses a hunter it could associate loud calls with danger.
With those ideas in mind, the squeak or soft squall of a small animal more adequately represents the safe prey predators prefer. Think mice, rodents, rabbits and hare. Coyote diet varies by season and geographic region, but mice especially make up a large portion of a coyote’s diet. In fact, in many areas it can account for up to 50 percent of overall diet. If you look at the size of the lungs on any small animal you quickly determine that they can’t blare as loud as you and me. By toning it down you match nature itself.
And don’t think those squeaks won’t carry. I’ve tested it on coyotes in open country. On calm mornings or across an open pasture the soft sound of a rabbit in distress can carry farther than you might imagine. I’ve watched coyotes react from nearly 500 yards away to a simple squeak I couldn’t hear across my living room. Don’t underestimate a predator’s hearing ability. Take coyotes for example. Hard evidence is hard to come by on their hearing potential, but research clearly indicates that domestic dogs can hear frequencies nearly twice what you I can hear and they can detect noise at a distance four times greater than us. Coyotes are likely similar or better.
On your next predator hunt leave The Donald at home and try a softer, gentler approach to calling. It may just be the winning ticket to a successful day in the predator field.