Did you ever 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 a Cabela’s store one winter a few years ago for their annual Predator Classic I was joined by Predator Xtreme writer Tom Austin. I couldn’t help but listen as he entertained calling enthusiasts in the cozy setting. One thing I have learned is that no matter how good you think you are at a particular subject or activity, you can always learn more. That’s why I listened intently to his down-to-earth presentation.
One particular strategy Austin 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 estimates that about 52 billion miles of wire crisscross the country.
But, Rattling Fences?
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 they represent a large meal in winter when cupboards are bare.
The second auditory channel involves the fence. The struggling deer sends shockwaves 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 a 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!