By Josh Boyd
For many, the onset of fall and winter signals the beginning of their annual predator hunting expeditions. The allure of such pursuits is unmistakable, as few circumstances will accelerate one’s heartbeat quite as readily as a slinking coyote’s approach across a frost laden field.
This substantial draw is certainly not lost on predator hunting aficionado Tad Brown. Brown has traveled the nation in search of hot predator hunting action for decades. In the present, Brown lends his predator hunting expertise to Hunters Specialties, as a member of the company’s product design and development team.
Throughout his lengthy predator hunting career, Brown has learned more than a thing or two about bringing wary coyotes and bobcats to the gun, and commonly shares his knowledge with others.
The following are several of Tad Brown’s top tips for predator hunting success.
Advance Preparation Pays Dividends
Tad Brown often relates the virtues associated with preparing one’s predator setups in advance. He feels that by visualizing how predators might approach his setup, he is better able to key in on any available opportunity which presents itself.
Furthermore, Brown feels that advance preparation also eliminates a number of unexpected variables, which can potentially rob a hunter of their success.
“Sizing up a spot, before hunting it, allows me to make decisions about where and how to set up for a certain wind, as well as how best to call. Knowing these things in advance, and preparing each spot, allows you to be a more efficient predator hunter, and put more fur on the board,” says Brown.
Be Mindful of Your Entry
Brown is always quick to emphasize the importance of making a clean entry when heading to each calling setup. He points out that many hunters unknowingly stifle their chances at success, by alerting wary predators of their presence, long before the first call has rung out over the countryside.
“If a coyote sees you, or smells you, it is almost a 100-percent guarantee that he won’t respond. So to me, it is really important to try to slip in somewhere,” says Brown. “Not all coyotes are going to see you, but if you don’t try to hide yourself, you are going to get seen.”
Keep Calling for an Unexpected Double
Though many hunters silence their call after an initial shot, Brown feels that doing so can be a tremendous mistake. Over the years, he has been provided with additional shot opportunities, solely because he has continued to call, even after he has downed a coyote or bobcat. Brown reiterates the fact that predators are unable to differentiate between a gunshot and a clap of thunder, thus leaving little reason to put an early ending to an already successful hunt.
“Guys tend to think that once they have fired a shot, they have scared everything in the country, and there is nothing further from the truth. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have fired a shot and kept calling, only to have another critter show up,” Brown says.
Do Not Waste Time on Unproductive Sets
Another word of wisdom that Brown often shares is that hunters should avoid getting wrapped up in any wives tales related to waiting a particular amount of time at a given set. He feels that predator hunting is an odds game, that often requires hunters to cover ground to find success. Brown says that if a set does not prove to be productive after a reasonable amount of time, move on.
“I used to wait quite a while when calling. Anymore, ten to fifteen minutes is plenty enough time for coyotes. I typically kill 85-percent of the coyotes I kill in the first five minutes. Same with bobcats. Bobcats notoriously come in slow and take thirty minutes. I’ve been told to wait for an hour if you want to kill a cat. So I used to sit in a cat area and wait that long. I have since found out that if I go into an area that is good, a lot of the cats I’m killing are coming in five minutes.”
Let Silence Finish Wary Predators
While many hunters attempt to vary their calling when a coyote or bobcat hangs up just outside of range, Brown feels that there are few better tactics for such a situation than sitting quietly. He says that predators are naturally inquisitive, and because of this, are unable to turn away from a sound that they are certain of hearing.
“Most guys go to a squeaker bulb, or a coaxer sound to finish cats or coyotes. Instead, I tend to do nothing. I either stop calling or turn my volume way down, and it seems to present a curiosity killed the cat type effect. They know what they heard, and shutting everything off is more than a coyote or bobcat can stand,” says Brown.
Next Level Predator Success
In many instances, predator hunting success does not come easy. Coyotes and bobcats remain at the top of their respective food chains for a reason, and it is a hunter’s job to fool these alpha predators, with reasonable regularity. This season, give one or all of Tad Brown’s tips a try, in order to better your odds of coaxing a wary predator within gun range.