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Video how to call in coyotes with electronic call

A long-time hunting buddy once told me — only half jokingly — that I could not expect to become proficient with a diaphragm call until I’d swallowed one of every color. His point, of course, was that using diaphragm calls effectively in the field — whether it’s for turkeys, elk or predators — requires a lot of practice. To a lesser degree, it’s the same with open-reed and closed-reed predator calls. There is a definite learning curve involved with becoming proficient with these calling tools. And that’s why I, like many newbie predator callers, relied heavily on electronic callers and the recorded sounds of prey animals in distress, to get into the predator hunting game.

When I first began using e-callers, they were somewhat bulky and most used large, heavy D-cell batteries and cassette tapes. Before that there were even phonograph versions that played 45 RPM vinyl records. I have a vintage “Call of the Wild” Game & Bird Caller by Wightman Electronics that I picked up at a trapper’s rendezvous years ago. I’m guessing it’s from the mid-1960s. I’ve never used it but it’s a clear reminder of how far the technology has come in a few decades. Like everything else in the world of audio electronics, e-callers evolved with the technology, from those players using records and tapes to models using CDs and the digital — and even Bluetooth — callers that are common today.

The appeal of the e-caller, of course, is its ability to make an instant “expert” out of its user, because it produces the actual recorded sounds of prey species in distress and the territorial/fighting fracas of other predators. But I don’t want to oversimplify it: There’s much more to hunting with an e-caller than just turning on the machine, hiding in a bush and pulling the trigger when a hapless predator shows up begging for rabbit.

But really, hunters who possess the adequate hunting skills to pick good locations, get well hidden, use the wind to their advantage and are reasonably good marksmen, benefit by adding the final piece of the predator calling puzzle … producing those realistic, tempting sounds hungry predators consistently investigate. In essence, a hunter might have the hunting and shooting skills needed to kill critters, but lacks the calling experience to put them in his sights. E-callers and the multitude of recorded sounds they offer can elevate anyone’s level of proficiency by giving them a tool that delivers that realistic advantage.

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An e-caller is a great beginner’s tool for several reasons. First off, it puts a variety of realistic sounds at the novice’s fingertips that will make him or her proficient in the field, able to produce the actual animal sounds that predators such as coyotes, bobcats, foxes and others respond to. Using recorded animal sounds boosts the confidence of novice callers, who might not be skilled with mouth calls. Realistic recordings assure hunters that the sounds produced by their e-caller will call predators. Armed with an electronic caller, the hunter can concentrate on “handling” called animals rather than trying to produce just the right sounds.

E-callers and their recorded animal sounds can also serve as a teaching aid. By listening to actual animal vocalizations and then replicating those sounds on various mouth calls, the beginner can use the e-caller as a tutorial for learning how to produce the proper sounds and cadence for calling predators. They can simply listen to the prey distress sounds and then mimic them on a mouth call.

And then there’s variety, which is indeed the spice of predator-calling life. The ability to use a wide variety of sounds — both food-related and territorial — means the hunter can cover a wider spectrum of behavioral traits associated with hunting predators — and do it right out of the blocks. The learning curve is very mild because e-callers are intuitive to use. Just select a sound, turn it on and adjust the volume.

Here’s How It’s Done

OK, that’s why e-callers are effective for those new to predator hunting. Now let’s take a look at how they can be used effectively in the field. For the purpose of this article I’m going to assume that the hunter has the skills to select decent locations, hide himself well, play the wind and make the shot.

My suggestion is to select just four or five food-source distress sounds — jack rabbit, woodpecker, rodent and canine pups as examples — and concentrate on the operational process before moving on to the more advanced strategies of using an e-caller, which include mixing and matching sounds, using territorial sounds to locate coyotes, using confidence sounds such as crows and ravens, playing the wind and using an e-caller and mouth calls in tandem to mention a few. It’s best to keep things simple until using the machine as a calling tool becomes second nature.

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Pick a good stand location and position the speaker so it will provide optimum coverage. I like a slightly elevated stand, if possible, so I can see better, and the sound disperses better. If I’m hunting alone — especially in tight terrain — I often keep the speaker right next to me or sit downwind from it so I can intercept those sneaky critters circling the call. If I’m hunting with a buddy, I’ll keep the speaker close to me and position him downwind. Most of the e-callers available today are remote controlled so the hunter can turn the speaker on, switch sounds and the control volume independent from the speaker.

Select a sound from the e-caller’s menu and switch on the machine, beginning with the volume on a very low setting. If there are predators close by, it’s important to not blow them out of the county with overly loud volume. Let the player run for a minute or more and then switch it off and wait for a few minutes. I do this so I can hear what’s going on around me.

Oftentimes, coyotes will hold up and bark at the call, which to me is a clear indication that they are hung up and not inclined to come any farther. If this is the case, I might try a different sound, try to work in a little closer if the terrain permits, or quietly back out. Some hunters I know prefer to let the sound run throughout the duration of the stand. I’m inclined to do this if I’m targeting bobcats or black bears because of their loafing hunting styles. These critters typically take their time coming to the call and often lose interest if there are lulls in the calling. For coyotes I typically stay on stand no longer than 20 minutes, depending on the terrain and how much land I have available to hunt.

Increase the volume as the stand wears on and nothing shows up, and switch to a different sound or sounds before calling it quits. It’s like turkey hunting, or fishing for that matter. Sometimes it’s necessary to try several different sounds (or lures) before finding one that works. If I’m hunting in an area that I know has been worked pretty hard, I might stay away from the rabbit in distress sound that 90 percent of other callers are using. I might go with a gray fox in distress, for instance, which has often worked very well for me. And that’s the nice thing about e-callers. they provide that flexibility.

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At this point — as it is with all types of calling — it’s a numbers game. Make as many stands as possible within the time frame and property available, mixing and matching sounds along the way. I find that once I hit on a sound that works for one stand in an area — whether is a bird, rabbit or rodent in distress — that sound will appeal to other local critters as well, and I’ll stick with it until it quits producing.

The Bad with the Good

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the possible downsides of using e-callers. While newer digital models are generally very reliable, they are still mechanical/electronic devices and can malfunction at the most inopportune times. Batteries die, speakers blow and internal components fail, leaving the hunter stranded without the means to complete the stand. That’s why I never leave the truck without a mouth call (and extra batteries) in my pocket. The last thing I want is to be a mile from the truck in fur rich territory, have a mechanical failure and have to return to the truck without making one or several stands. Even for those hunters who lack confidence in their calling ability, their worst efforts on a mouth call are better than none.

Using an e-caller also requires carrying additional gear — and associated weight — into the field. While this is usually not a big deal, it can be a hindrance when planning to cover a lot of ground in rough terrain. And there is the additional movement when you’re setting them up.

And then there’s the cost. Electronic callers can be somewhat expensive — with high-end models running as much as several hundred bucks — a much larger investment than purchasing a variety of mouth calls. But for those who are serious about calling predators it’s a good investment that will pay dividends in the amount of fur collected. There is some trade-off going with less expensive models: typically less volume and diminished sound quality.

E-callers might not be the right calling tool for all occasions or even all predator hunters. But for those new to the game and those who lack confidence in their calling skills they can certainly level the playing field. It might be the difference between being a predator calling virtuoso or a hack.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>