February 2006
Predators & Prey

CALLING ALL CRITTERS




CALLING ALL CRITTERS

It was difficult to contain my laughter as I watched my partner use his caller. In many ways, he reminded me of an Indian snake charmer. While he used the caller, his head weaved back and forth. His fingers moved like a musician with the rhythm of the sounds. Unfortunately, my friend was not aware of his actions. He was not aware his actions were defying the use of a caller.

When using a manual (mouth-blown) caller, hunters should always remember a couple of factors: (1) They are creating the sounds that will hopefully lure the predator to them. (2) The sounds are being made from a precise position. (3) The super-keen hearing capabilities of the predator will direct it to the source of the sounds. (4) The keen eyes of the predator will then pinpoint the source of the sounds. (5) If the hunter is acting like my partner, odds are the predator will see him and quickly vacate the area. Think about it. When a predator hears the sounds of a rabbit in distress, and responds, it is expecting to see a distressed rabbit, not a bulk of camouflage singing the bunny blues.

SONGS SUNG BLUE…

When using a manual caller, hunters should remember what we have just reviewed. Hunters should also remember to call with enthusiasm. Simply blowing air into a caller does not really accomplish our goal. If suddenly some big hairy critter dug their claws into your ribs, sank their teeth into your back, and planned on eating you, would you go, "Ouch"?

Personally, I would express my feelings loudly and angrily. Pain is not a pleasant experience. Therefore, when we use a caller to mimic something in distress, make it sound distressful, and put the sounds of agony into your calling. Use your imagination while you are calling. Learn to create the sounds of pain and misery with the caller without moving. This is accomplished from learning to adjust the amount of air you exert into the caller.

BEING THE PIED PIPER…

When used properly, a predator call can be somewhat of a magical instrument. The predator caller can lure the critters we seek from their hiding places. The caller can place critters in our gun sights and make us happy. Using a caller properly comes from knowing the sounds we wish to mimic and practicing with the caller until we achieve our goals.

Practice with the caller should not be conducted in the areas we plan to hunt. Hunting areas should be reserved for our best calling and nothing else. Practice should be conducted with either a friend or tape recorder. In fact, when possible, practice in a manner for which you can observe or review your moments. This can be very important, as in the case of my friend, we often do things without realizing exactly what we we’re doing. But I can promise those critters we’re trying to call know the difference.

THE MAGIC MACHINES…

My introduction to electronic calling was during the early days of the 1970s. After earning money throwing hundreds of bales of hay, I became the proud owner of a Bounty Hunter electronic game caller.

The caller basically was nothing more than a portable record player. The machine ran off of six "D" size batteries that generally were drained within a couple hours of operation. A big and bulky speaker with twenty-five feet of cord was also part of the apparatus. Sounds were created from the 45 r.p.m. records which were extremely delicate. The slightest scratch was almost fatal to the recording. But the machine and its records proved to be deadly on varmints.

Advancements in electronic game callers quickly became an annual event. The machines became smaller and lighter. Sounds transformed from records to cassette tapes. Speakers became smaller and easier to hide from the keen eyes of the critters. Units became available with rechargeable batteries. Life was getting better for those who viewed the callers as a necessity.

MODERN MARVELS…

Today anyone can be game calling guru with a modern electronic caller. Units of the day all basically feature state of the art digital programming. Some units like the Fox Pro FX3 features 32 different sounds, an enhanced TX5-LR remote can be used up to 700 yards away. This unit also has numerous other features that make calling almost any critter possible. Check it out on the web at www.gofoxpro.com or at www.predatorandpreymag.com.

The main reason I like to use a remote controlled electronic caller is because it allows me to place the sound away from my exact position. Therefore when the critter responds to the sounds they are focused on the caller and not me. This allows me to freely move without being detected. In most cases the critter never knows its dead until it is dead.

Calling and controlling pests has never been as easy as it is today. So why not take advantage of what technology has done for us, and have fun doing it. The varmint you shoot today could be saving you money tomorrow!

Bill Bynum is one of the first people in the eastern U.S. to become serious about predator calling. He has written extensive articles and has published a book, Predator Hunting, on the subject.