Fuel prices may be low now, but if you expect them to remain low forever I have some ocean-view property in Wyoming for you to consider.
Even with the low fuel prices it’s never a bad idea to get the most out of your predator hunting trips. This time of year can be frustrating — many predators have been called to more than an attractive woman passing a New York City construction site — but that doesn’t mean your trip has to be a waste of money if the predators ignore your calls. Sure, just getting out is mental therapy, especially for the office crowd, but consider one of the following add-ons to ensure you get the most bang from your buck, and the government doesn’t make you drive a solar-powered Prius.
Add Varmint Hunting
You may be headed toward a predator meeting, but it doesn’t hurt to toss in another shooting iron and gear to target the varmint crowd. Most predator country also harbors animals that fall into the varmint category. Depending on your home base, this includes gophers, prairie dogs, hogs and even crows. Even on warm, winter days you can expect prairie dogs and other rodents to stick their heads out of a hole for an hour of long-range practice. And if you bring a shotgun along make sure to toss in handful of upland game loads in addition to the Hornady Heavy Magnum Coyote. After a sit, you can crank up the crow conversation and possibly end a dismal setup with a crow slam.
Acquire More Land
As your driving from location to location, take the opportunity to visit with landowners. Oftentimes I’ll catch a rancher opening a gate in the mornings on their way to feed cattle. I don’t waste time, but I use the impromptu opportunity to ask about hunting permission. For me, the visit is twofold. First, I sincerely want to inquire about predator hunting and if they need a coyote or two removed before spring calving. My second goal is to cement a relationship where the landowner sees my respect for the land. This can lead to further hunting opportunities down the road for deer, turkey, elk or whatever. Never pass by a chance for a one-on-one with a landowner if it appears as if you are not bothering them at a busy moment.
Scout Big Game
Like many predator hunters, I also big-game hunt and I predator hunt many of the same locations I pursue these species. This means I always keep a spotting scope in truck and take short detours to survey winter herds. Most big game species group up after the rut and these herds are easy to watch from afar with good optics like my Nikon EDG spotting scope. If you primarily call predators in dense, whitetail country, your trips can double as trail camera checks. Putting cameras on trails leading to high-quality nutrition may not only land you a check of big game densities, but also the predators that are stalking them for a winter meal.
Shed Antler Hunting
Finally, the sport of shed antler hunting has exploded in the past decade. Late winter is the time when many deer shed their antlers. Elk shed in early spring. Regardless, if your setups appear to be falling on deaf years there’s no reason you can’t take a short hike down a creek bottom to look for a fresh shed antler. Last weekend, I hiked in for a morning setup and missed a coyote I jumped right where I was going to plop down for the set. After that frustrating encounter I hiked a short distance and was rewarded with the sight of five nice bull elk. In a couple months I’ll return to the hidey hole and hopefully pick up a pack load of elk antlers.
Yes, fuel prices may remain low for the near future, but global economics will change that situation sooner than later. As for the ocean-view property in Wyoming, that was approximately 2 billion years ago. Nevertheless, the view is still fantastic in the Cowboy State.