Coyote-Takers Calender: April
By Martin W. Duke and Renee Nolan
After enduring winter when the chill holds coyotes closer to their dens, early spring’s warmer weather can bring forth different predator responses.
Calling critters is universally fun, and distress is the celestial love language for constantly hungry predators. In our world, mammals with eyes on the front of their faces instinctively know sounds of distress. Rabbit distress is the most common sound that predator hunters use in North America.
We all have used clichés, joking about seemingly prolific reproductive rates of rabbits. Interestingly, rabbits have much in common with wild turkey eggs, being that the moment they’re born or laid, something is trying to eat them. With rabbits, their mobility generally makes them more susceptible than a quiet, hidden egg.
A word of caution… you never know what, or who, you might encounter… After setting out my e-call, I quietly slipped into my hide, mindful of wind direction, and pressed the remote’s play button. The pained cries began. Soon, I caught movement to my right, 300 yards away, across two barbed-wire fences. A tall, thin one, and curiously, a much smaller one held tightly by the tall one were responding to my e-call. Given the responders were on my non-shooting side, I debated whether to let them continue closing the distance, chancing smelling me, or to slowly move to face them for better view. As their path would cause them to pass 30 yards to my front, I sat tight while the in-bounders continued their open approach, carefully negotiating the spiked fences, gate and half-grown hay. The closer they got, I could see without optics that every hair was neatly in place. I remained stone-still as they continued straightway toward the unseen source of tormented cries. As the pair reached a point squarely in front of me, I could no longer restrain my patient stillness and quiet…
“Hey,” I boldly spoke, “I’m trying to hunt here.” The well-coiffed, turned-out father clutched his equally appointed off-spring at the sudden sound of my voice and upon seeing the previously inanimate bush begin to stand. That chance encounter could have progressed several pleasant or unpleasant ways. The gentleman was flush with embarrassment and departed quickly, with no further dialogue needed from the bush with a rifle.
Certainly, in these sociologically interesting times, some people, sometimes well-intended, seem to make other folks’ business their own, regardless of the situation.
Once, a well-meaning landowner, who had given me permission to predator hunt on his land, to whom I identified my truck and parking spot, and with whom I had spoke about the importance of stealth while predator hunting, drove his UTV down to his field’s edge where I was set up, pulled alongside my concealed firing position, shut off his vehicle, and whispered, “Have you seen anything, yet?”
That event was preferable to the folks who were sitting on their front porch shooting high-powered rifles in the direction of the “howling coyote,” who happened to be me.
With the freedom to hunt comes the responsibility to remain alert to potentially inadvertent human interaction, which does not always end jovially. I learned long ago to stay mindful for the unexpected. Along with getting permission, I faithfully follow my careful plan and routine, which includes notifying landowners when I’m on their grounds, and I leave an identifying notice on my vehicle’s dash. It’s wise and imperative to take safety seriously and make safety awareness an active part of each hunting trip.
Distress is universal and attracts all sorts of predators.
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