Mastering Predator Calling: An In-Depth Guide for Successful Hunts

Posted by Joseph Sears on

Predator hunting requires a unique set of skills and a deep understanding of animal behavior. Among the various techniques employed by hunters, predator calling stands out as a highly effective method. By imitating the sounds of prey or other animals, hunters can lure predators into range. This guide will equip you with the knowledge needed to master predator calling, including insights into different types of calls, essential equipment, techniques, and seasonal strategies.

Understanding Predator Vocalizations

Predators are highly vocal animals with a range of sounds they use to communicate and hunt. Understanding these vocalizations is crucial for effective calling.


  1. Distress Calls: High-pitched, frantic sounds that mimic prey animals in distress (e.g., rabbit squeals, rodent distress). These calls trigger a predator's instinct to investigate and hunt.
  2. Howls and Barks: Used primarily for coyotes, these vocalizations can establish territory, communicate with other coyotes, or locate pack members.
  3. Pup Distress: High-pitched sounds that mimic young coyotes in distress. These calls can draw in adult coyotes looking to protect or investigate.
  4. Challenge Calls: Aggressive sounds used to challenge other predators. Effective for territorial species like coyotes and foxes.

Types of Predator Calls

To effectively mimic these vocalizations, hunters use various types of calls:

  1. Mouth Calls (Hand Calls): Handheld calls that produce sound when blown into. They are versatile and can produce a wide range of distress sounds but require practice to master.
  2. Electronic Calls: Pre-recorded predator sounds played through a speaker. They offer convenience and a variety of sounds but may be restricted in some hunting areas due to regulations.
  3. Howlers: Specialized calls designed to mimic the howls and barks of coyotes. These can be mouth calls or electronic devices.
  4. Bite and Blow Calls: These calls use a combination of biting down on a mouthpiece and blowing air through the call to create sound. They are user-friendly and effective for distress calls.

Techniques for Calling Predators

Successful predator calling involves more than just making the right sounds. Here are some techniques to enhance your calling effectiveness:

  1. Location and Timing:

    • Scouting: Prior to the hunt, scout areas where predators are likely to be. Look for signs such as tracks, scat, and territorial markings.
    • Prime Times: Early morning and late evening are the best times for calling, as predators are most active during these periods.
  2. Sequence and Realism:

    • Realistic Sequences: Combine different calls to create realistic scenarios. For example, start with a rabbit distress call and mix in some rodent squeaks.
    • Vary Your Calls: Change the pitch, tone, and volume of your calls to avoid sounding repetitive and unnatural.
  3. Playing the Wind: Predators have an excellent sense of smell. Always stay downwind of the area you're calling to prevent them from detecting your scent.

  4. Patience and Movement:

    • Stay Still: After calling, remain still and silent. Predators may approach cautiously and any movement can give away your position.
    • Relocation: If you don't get a response after 15-20 minutes, consider moving to a new location and trying again.

Seasonal Strategies for Predator Calling

Predator behavior changes throughout the year, and so should your calling strategies.

  1. Winter (Late December to February):

    • Distress Calls: Food is scarce, so distress calls are very effective. Predators are more likely to investigate sounds of potential prey.
    • Locate Dens: Focus on areas near known dens or bedding areas.
  2. Spring (March to May):

    • Pup Distress: As young are born, pup distress calls can be particularly effective in drawing in protective adults.
    • Breeding Season: Use coyote howls and barks to challenge territorial males.
  3. Summer (June to August):

    • Early Morning and Late Evening: Predators are less active during the heat of the day. Focus your efforts on cooler parts of the day.
    • Water Sources: Predators will be near water sources. Set up near these areas and use distress calls.
  4. Fall (September to November):

    • Territorial Calls: As territories are being established, howls and challenge barks can be very effective.
    • Transition Areas: Focus on areas where different types of terrain meet, such as forest edges and open fields.

Advanced Tips and Tricks for Predator Calling

  1. Calling with a Partner: Having a partner can create a more realistic scenario. One person calls while the other positions themselves for a shot.
  2. Mimicking Multiple Animals: Use multiple calls simultaneously to mimic a herd, increasing the chances of attracting predators.
  3. Adjusting for Pressure: In heavily hunted areas, predators become call-shy. Use softer, less frequent calls and focus on more remote locations.


Calling predators is an art that combines knowledge, skill, and experience. By understanding predator vocalizations, using the right equipment, and employing effective techniques, you can improve your chances of a successful hunt. Remember to adapt your strategies to the season and the specific conditions of your hunting area. With practice and patience, you'll be able to call in predators and experience the thrill of a successful hunt. Happy hunting!

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