Calling All Wildlife
My presentation ended and a young boy made his way to the front of the room. “How did you learn to call so well?” he asked, smiling. “I started practicing when I was about your age,” I told him, “and I never stopped; I drove my parents crazy.”
Reflecting on my introduction to game calling, I probably drove the local animals crazy, too. After winning or placing in more than 25 turkey-calling competitions, carrying on conversations with countless animals, and speaking to hundreds of people each year on calling techniques, I have learned what works for calling wildlife.
Being successful at calling in wildlife is much more than being able to call well; the real calling competition occurs in the wild, where the animals are the judges.
The Four “Rules” of Calling Wildlife
Consistently calling in animals can be difficult. Calling them in close is a greater challenge. Scenarios from one encounter to another are completely different and unsuccessful attempts frustrate many callers. However, some constants do exist. Paying close attention to four guidelines can make communicating with wildlife more predictable than not.
Regardless of the type of animal you want to call in, being in the right place is paramount. It is impossible to call in an animal if it is not in the area. Scouting helps determine locations that are frequently used.
During scouting trips, determine where animals’ preferred spots are at different times of day. By recording your observations, a set-up location can easily be identified. If during your outings you don’t lay eyes on any animals you intend to call in, don’t fret. Several years ago, I gained permission to predator hunt on a new farm in southern Missouri. During my first scouting trip I didn’t see any coyotes but quickly found coyote scat, and the area was riddled with tracks. I returned three weeks later and called in a mature male coyote on the first set. Not only did my scouting trip confirm the presence of coyotes, I was also able to pick a successful set-up based on my scouting observations.
By scouting and determining the right place, callers have a higher chance of connecting with an animal. Calling an animal into a place it already wants to be can make you look like a world-champion caller.
Learning to communicate with wildlife is like learning to speak a different language. Vocabulary is