Calling All Wildlife
a primary tool for a language student, and animal communication is no different. Often, calls are made to animals that mean something totally different than what we intended to say. Biologists have been able to determine what most calls mean to an animal and how to understand the individual language of different animal species. Fortunately, the calls of just about any animal are available. Before you head afield, do your homework and spend some time familiarizing yourself with the language of the intended species.
In addition to learning the language of the species, it is important to learn how to duplicate the calls of that animal accurately. While attempting your first calls, don’t get discouraged; some animal sounds are easy to duplicate, but others take practice. Pick up a few commercial calls or try your hand at mimicking animal calls with your natural voice. Whether you choose to buy man-made calls or produce your own, make sure you spend time honing your skills. Your calls don’t need to be perfect, animals will regularly respond to average or below average calling, but more realistic calls mean a better response.
Say something at the wrong time and a conversation can go sour. Timing in any type of communication is important. With respect to animal communication, game callers must be aware of the time of year. For many species, the calls used to lure in an animal change as the biological needs of the animal changes. For deer, while grunting might be normal all year, the intensity and types of grunts may vary as the rut approaches. Rattling is not as common in September as it is in late October or November. Successful game callers use this knowledge and apply it whenever appropriate.
Reaction determines the success of any communication. When calling wildlife, the reaction of the animal will indicate if you need to call more or change calls, or if the animal simply isn’t interested. You can determine the reaction of the animal by paying close attention to verbal and nonverbal cues. For verbal cues, a call back from the animal is a good sign. Unless, of course, the call the animal made is in alarm or distress. Knowing the language of the animal and what each call means is worthy of mention again. Most successful callers agree that more is less when it comes to calling wildlife; only