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Predator Hunting Tips

October 28, 2010

It’s the thrill of the hunt… whether it be for coyote, fox or your other favorite predator/varmint.  Knowing your prey and knowing what it takes to make for a successful (which doesn’t always guarantee a kill!) hunt will help to make for a memorable hunting trip!

There are several key concepts that all predator/varmint hunters should strive to master to achieve more successful hunts.  These tips apply basically to hunting coyotes or foxes; but can be used for hunting a multitude of other species.  The following topics will be covered:

  • Hunting Regulations
  • Calls
  • Scouting
  • Camouflage
  • Equipment
  • Rifle / Scope Maintenance
  • Preservation (Taxidermy)

Hunting Regulations

It should go without saying… but here it goes any-who!!!   Don’t go hunting without possessing a valid hunting license and know the predator/varmint hunting regulations for the state(s) that you plan to hunt in.  If you are unsure about a regulation, contact the game warden for the area in which you are hunting for further clarifications.

Nothing ruins a day than being visited by the game warden and either not having a current hunting license or to find out that you have violated some hunting regulation!!  If you wish to support your state’s wildlife management agency, send them a donation… don’t fund them by paying fines!!!

Calls

There are several calls that today’s hunter can choose from:

  1. Hand calls (open-reed and closed-reed)
  2. Electronic/Digital calls

There are many details of these calls that won’t be covered in this entry.  They alone deserve an entry all to themselves!  Using the electronic or digital calls are the most simplistic of the calls one can use.  They are quite effective but for me, they take away from the thrill of the hunt.  For me, I desire to lure in my prey using hand calls and employing my own techniques.  In doing so, I learn more about the prey than I would using the electronic/digital call.

When using the hand calls, the goal is learn how to use the call effectively.  Learn as much as possible of how the different calls that nature uses and try to mimic them as best as possible.  The calls you, the hunter, should learn are:

  • howl (both male & female)
  • distress
  • challenge
  • serenade

I’ll have another entry discussing these calls in more details.

Scouting

One of the key elements to a successful hunt is to conduct thorough scouting of the area(s) you plan to hunt.  Visit these areas during various parts of the day.  And always ensure that you gain landowner permission before hunting on any land that is not either public or your own personal property.  If you are hunting on public land, it is best to know where the public land extends to and where private property begins to ensure that you are not hunting illegally on private lands.  When hunting on other’s property, be sure to leave it clean and leave nature as undisturbed as you possibly can.

Camouflage

Concealment is the key.  These animals have keen eyesight and the better you’re camouflaged, the better they won’t see you …. until it’s too late, if they even see you at all!  Ensure that your camouflage gear is both weather-appropriate and surrounding landscape-appropriate.  Some hunters use ground blinds of sorts but I find that they can be more of a hindrance rather than of a benefit.  Mainly I like to travel light but mostly it’s because I find having the openness of the area around me available in case I need to quickly reposition to squeeze off another shot.  Make sure you don’t have any reflective devices uncovered; such as a wrist watch… nothing more alarming to the prey than to see the sunlight reflecting off of that watch!

Equipment

So much can be covered in this topic so I’ll keep it to it’s simplest measure… only going to be covering the essentials!

  • Comfy boots — make sure you have comfy hunting boots.  If you’re going to be crossing waterways or hiking through snow/ice, make sure that your boots are waterproof.
  • Rifle supports — these are a key item to have on your hunt as they help to stabilize your rifle when you make your shot.
  • Energy Food/Water — not really “equipment” but are necessary in keeping you “equipped”!!
  • Decoys — these can be either stand-ups deployed out in the field or battery-operated mojos.  Just be sure to set these up far enough away from you such that the coyote or fox isn’t right on top of you when they come in to investigate the decoy.
  • Range Finder — it’s a wise choice to have a range finder along on the hunting trip.  Once you’ve set up in your stand you can find several landmarks in the area and get their ranges.  Then, once the prey has come into shooting distance you’ll have an idea how far away they are because you’ve already estimated the landmark’s range.

Rifle / Scope Maintenance

Make sure your rifle and scope are maintained properly.  If it’s been awhile since your rifle has been cleaned/serviced, do so.  The same goes for your scope.  If it’s been a long time since you’ve zeroed in your rifle, take the time to get it zeroed in.  There’s nothing more embarrassing than missing a shot because you haven’t zeroed-in in a while!

Preservation (Taxidermy)

One of the best ways to celebrate your successful hunt is by taking your prized prey to the taxidermist.  Select a reputable one so that you’ll be proud of the work done in order to preserve your trophy predator!  Some may opt to just have the skull cleaned … known as a European mount.  But whatever method you choose, get someone that knows what they are doing!!

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Always be safe during your hunt.  If you’re hunting with a buddy, keep each other in sight!

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Happy Hunting!!

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