The following items you will need or do to be successful at predator hunting. This will be just a brief overview of the basics. You can find more in-depth information on other web sites, magazines, predator hunting clubs, forums or you can post a question to my blog or email me.

Hunting Laws and Regulations:

            Before you do anything you need to know your state’s hunting laws and regulations. For instance coyote hunting regulations in some states doesn’t even require you to have a hunting license. And in most states you just need a hunting license for hunting coyotes.  Open seasons and bag limits also varies from state to state. The bottom line is to know the state’s laws and regulations before you ever go on any predator hunts in the state(s) you plan to hunt.

Camouflage Clothing:

If you don’t have camo hunting clothing, you will need to get a hat, camouflage pants, camo jacket / coat, shirt, gloves and face mask or camo face paint. It’s best to get them with the same camo pattern and that it is similar to the area you will be doing most of your hunting. The main thing to remember is the camouflage clothing is only effective when you stay still. Predators will bust you if they see movement. Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops and The Sportsman’s Guide have a good selection of camo hunting clothing.

Predator Calls:

            Predator calls come in two basic types, hand call and electronic game calls. Within hand calls there is open reed and closed reed calls. For a beginner I suggest starting with a closed reed hand call, because they are easier to use. The main advantage of an open reed hand call is you can vary the pitch by were you place your lips or mouth on the reed. Just about all electronic game calls made today are remote controlled and vary greatly in price. Like everything else, higher the quality the higher the price will be. The hand call is manufactured by many companies; here’s a few of the more popular ones; Knight and Hale, Primos Calls, Hunters Specialties and Sceery. And there is more and more manufactures of electronic game calls every year; here’s a few of the more popular ones; FoxPro Calls, Johnny Stewart, Primos Calls and Wildlife technologies. With everything there is pros and cons. For the hand call the main advantage is you can vary the tone and pitch. The biggest knock is the sound attacks the predator’s attention to where you are. And for electronic game calls it’s basically the opposite with the advantage of many more sounds to choose from. In heavy cover areas electronic game calls don’t really have an advantage over a hand call except for the number of sounds. In open areas the electronic game calls have an advantage. With this said you can still take predators in open areas with a hand call, I’ve done it many times. You just need to have the wind, sun angle and cover in your favor. Both Bass Pro Shops and Amazon have a wide variety of hand calls and electronic game calls. In my opinion Sceery makes the best distress hand call for a couple of reasons, it’s easy to use and quality of the sound.

As for electronic game calls I use a Wildlife Technologies Mighty Atom 21. It has very clear sounds and is one of the loudest on the market.

WT MA-21

WT MA-21

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before I purchased the Wildlife Technologies electronic call I used a Flextone Echo Electronic Game Call.

For about $140 it has pretty good range on the remote, 100 sounds, volume and clarity is good. I still use it when I’m using two electronic calls on a stand.

Weapons:

You will need some sort of weapon unless you are just taking pictures or videoing the predators. However, I do suggest having a sidearm or maybe a good quality pepper spray for protection, especially if you are out by yourself. It’s always better to have it and not need than need and not have it. The main weapons are rifles, shotguns, pistols, bows and cross bows. For a beginner I would stay with a shotgun or rifle until you have success calling in predators. Your local Bass Pro Shop and some gun stores will have a good selection of weapons. Brownells has probably got the best selection of ammunition.

The shotgun is used mainly in thick cover where the shooting distance isn’t more than 50 to 60 yards. You don’t want to use anything smaller than 12 gauge shotguns. The best ammo is dead coyote Hevi Shot, however if you can’t afford it, #4 buckshot is the next best. Using 2 ¾” shot shells and a full choke gives you about 30 to 40 yard good kill range, 3” about 40 to 50 yards and 3 ½” about 50 to 60 yards. The yardage will vary with each shotgun, ammo, choke and choke type. One of the most important things with a shotgun is to pattern your shotgun with the ammo and choke you are hunting with.

The rifle is used in more open areas where the shooting distance will be over about 60 yards. With your rifle you will need a scope and I prefer Nikon scopes for their quality and price. And Nikon Spot On software is a great tool. There isn’t one caliber for all predators. The following is my opinion for a beginner. Hunting coyote, bobcat and fox you want a caliber that can knock down a coyote and not do too much damage to a bobcat or fox pelt. Hornady ammunition makes a 45 gain 223 bullet that fragments on impact. This is big enough to take down a coyote and with good bullet placement; pelt damage will be to a minimum on a bobcat or fox. AR15 rifles are a good platform for the 223. One of the nice things about AR15 rifles is you can change the upper receiver and barrel combination to a different caliber for hunting different game. Another caliber that is effective but doesn’t have the same range as the 223 is the 204 Remington. And the Remington 17 fireball is easier on bobcats and foxes, but might not take down a coyote. If your hunting cougars you are going to want to use a caliber you would use on deer, say a 243 Winchester or larger.

Shop Brownells.com!

 

Where to Hunt:

            You have everything you need and know the hunting laws and regulations; you just need a location for your predator hunts. Below is a brief description of the habitat predators are found in. Once you find an area similar to below, you will need to look for sign (tracks and scat).

 

Coyote:

They are found just about anywhere there is a food source. With the highest concentration in and around urban areas and near agricultural areas.

Bobcat:

They prefer thick and/or rocky terrain in more isolated areas.

Grey Fox:

Similar to bobcat.

Red Fox:

Highest concentration is near agriculture areas.

Cougar:

Elevated areas where there is deer.

 

Before you hit the road and burn that expensive fuel looking for an area to hunt, I would suggest purchasing your state Atlas & Gazetteer and downloading Google Earth (Free) to your computer or smart phone. Google Earth is a satellite view of earth that can be zoomed in enough to see the terrain of an area. Another resource is the National Forest Service to obtain National Forest Maps.

 

How to Hunt an Area:

 

            Now you have found an area and have seen some sign; now you’re thinking where to setup (stand), how long to call and what sounds to use. The ideal stand is located in the cover and shade of a bush or tree with the wind in your face or a cross wind and with a good shooting area or shooting lanes. Below is a brief description of a stand for each of the main predators.

 

Coyote:

Wind is the most important part of the location of a stand. Call for 20 to 30 minutes using about any distress call and coyote vocalizations with probable rabbit distress the best.

Bobcat:

Cover and shade is the most important part of the location of a stand. Call for 30 to 45 minutes using most small animal distress call with bird, mouse and baby rabbit the best.

Fox:

Cover and shade is the most important part of the location of a stand. Call for 20 to 30 minutes using most small animal distress call with grey fox distress call being very effective with grey fox.

Cougars:

Cover and shade is the most important part of the location of a stand. Call for at least 45 minutes to a hour using about any distress call and cougar vocalization with fawn, deer and calf distress probable the best.

 

With all this said, probable the most important thing while on stand is to keep all your movements to minimum. And when you move, move slowly.

 

Final Note:

 

I highly recommend joining a predator hunting club if there is one in your area. Most have novice hunts and/or novice training. The knowledge you can get form an experienced caller will get you calling in predators a lot faster than learning on your own. If there isn’t one in your area join a couple a forums. It’s not as good as a club, but there is some good information on them. You can always post a comment on my blog or email me. Best of luck and have fun.

Be Sociable, Share!