Did you every hear someone explain a procedure, strategy or tactic that sounds so simple you have to ask yourself “why didn’t I think of that?” While presenting at Cabela’s store this winter for their annual Predator Classic I was joined by Predator Xtreme writer Tom Austin. I couldn’t help but listen to Tom as he entertained calling enthusiasts in the cozy seminar setting. One thing I have learned is that no matter how good you think you are about a particular subject or activity, you can always learn more. That’s why I listened intently to Tom’s down-to-earth presentation.
One particular strategy that Tom introduced was rattling a fence for coyotes. Now that sounds odd at first. You’ve undoubtedly heard of rattling antlers for whitetails and even for elk, but what good would rattling a fence do to entice a coyote into shooting range? I thought the same thing, but his explanation quickly made sense, especially when you consider the estimate that 52 billion miles of wire crisscross the country.
Wildlife has to deal with fences daily. Elk walk through them. Pronghorn duck under them. Whitetails and mule deer sail easily over them … at least most of the time. Occasionally deer and other animals don’t clear the obstacle easily and get hung up in the barbed monstrosity. For most it is a death sentence and some, especially fawns, bawl for help. Are you seeing the rattling connection here?
As the fawns bawl and struggle to free themselves they send a vocal message across the countryside and on two channels. First, they send a prey in distress call that most predators listen to with slobbering interest. Fawn bawls are one of my go-to calls in the fur season for many reasons, but particularly since the represent a large meal in the winter when cupboards are bare. The second auditory channel involves the fence itself. The struggling deer send shockwaves of noise down the fence line that may carry a mile or more depending on the construction of the fence. It may not raise an eyebrow from a rancher a mile down the fence, but a coyote could take the fence line jangling to be the sign of desperation from a trapped deer.
Austin has had good luck using the sounds of deer in peril and shaking a fence on setups. He stumbled on the tactic by accident and has used it from time to time when coyotes won’t come to a traditional setup. Like I said, I am always eager to learn, and I'll be trying this strategy this year. Hopefully it will be a Hornady happy ending!