By Mike Willis
Before you clean the rifle and put it away for the season, get out and shoot some predators! Not only is this a good management practice, but it’s also therapeutic as well.
Don’t get those post-season blues. Get a dying rabbit in distress call and start experiencing a whole new world of outdoor activity.
For those who have devoted themselves to patiently sitting in a tree stand, predator hunting can be a perfect change of pace.
Predators can be lured in using mouth calls or electronic calls. The FOXPRO electronic predator calls have become a staple in the depredation industry.
Regardless of which type of call you use, focus on distress calls. A dying rabbit in distress is the perfect starting point for anyone looking to try things out.
Warning: listening to dying rabbits for extended periods can lead to psychological issues!
There is something eerie about sitting in the middle of the woods, in the dark, listening to something dying. I remember almost ruining my son’s desire to hunt by inadvertently subjecting him to this too early in his little hunting career — sorry son.
Make sure to check your local regs to determine whether night hunting is allowed. Some states allow the use of spotlights for predator hunting. This presents an excellent opportunity to encounter varmints while they are most active.
Pay careful attention to your wind. This matters more than ever before. Predators will adjust their attack angle to be downwind of their potential prey. Position yourself accordingly. Electronic calls allow you to be a couple of hundred yards away from the call so that you can position yourself outside of their direction of travel.
Once the calling begins, don’t move! It is especially difficult to remain still in the dark as you have a false sense of security. Be assured, they can see you!
It is not impossible to entice a leery predator during the day, but it is more difficult. If you are new to calling predators, make sure that you call long enough. You should remain in your “stand” for 20 minutes before considering relocating. This will ensure that you don’t get busted as you pack up.
I have had some animals come barreling through the woods at me immediately, while others inched towards me for the entire 20 minutes. The fox pictured above took about 10 minutes to respond to my calls and then ran in, barking like a dog.
If you have been in an area where others have attempted to call before, a visual attractant may be required. FOXPRO sells an electronic “jack” that dances to the call. These can be particularly helpful in giving a leery predator the confidence needed to close-in.
If you choose to get an electronic game call, such as the FOXPRO, look into the FOXBANG features. These automatically emit a pup-in-distress call, which will start immediately following your first shot. This feature will allow you to get another shot off if you missed, or there are multiple coyotes, foxes, or wolves that have come in.
So, before you put everything away for the season, consider giving predator hunting a try. These exciting encounters may very well be the highlight of your hunting season!