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Coyote Hunting: Types of Coyote Calls

Calls - Mouth blown
I don't know what it is about mouth calls that make them so appealing to me. Maybe it's because it is the great pride of accomplishment you get, when you successfully call a coyote in with one. Contrary to the heavy, bulky electronic calls. Mouth calls are easy to tote around, and inexpensive to purchase and maintain.

While I like to think I'm a pretty proficient caller with a diaphram type turkey call -- for turkey -- I don't use a diaphram call for coyotes much. Reason being is that the squalls required with a diaphram call to imitate a dying rabbit tickles the hell out of the roof of my mouth. But it works really well as a squeaker, or to make puppy yips.

Photo of authors favorite predator calls.For many years, I only used an old set of Lohman hand calls. Originally these calls, with plastic reeds came as a set. There included a long range jack rabbit call, a cottontail, and a coaxer. About a year ago my truck was broken into, and those calls along with a long range call by Ed Sceery were stolen. Lohman folks told me that the particular short barreled calls were no longer available and I'd have to settle for the newer type that were currently being manufactured.

While I was waiting for my order to arrive, I stopped by a local, Albuquerque sporting goods store. They had a Circe P5 on the shelf and I bought it. Immediately I liked the call. Very gravely, raspy voice, and you could really wail across some territory with it. First day I used it I called in several dogs and they all came in close at high speed. I noted on the Circe package that Lohman Manufacturing also made the Circe calls (they bought the rights to them several years ago, I'm told). So I ordered a couple more, along with the metal, replacement reeds.

Call coyotes in close!Whenever I go calling now, the Circes get used first. I carry both a P1 and P5 with me. The Lohman, wooden barreled calls (I've forgotten now their model designations) are along as backups to the Circes. They call in just as many coyotes, but the Circes are my favorites. Being metal reeded, the Circes do suffer from slobber-rot, as Jerry Blair refers to it. A long day of calling and they have to be set aside to dry out. The plastic reeds in the Lohman models are much more forgiving to spittle. Except in sub-zero temperatures when they --along with metal reeded calls-- freeze up.

Ed Sceery brand calls are easy to use and produce good tone. My partner Dave, uses a Sceery jackrabbit call. I still use a Sceery coaxer on a regular basis also. But Sceery's prices are getting a bit steep, at $25 per call, by the time you add postage and handling to them.

Calls - Howling
About 1994, I decided to add howling to my calling capabilities. Ed Sceery offered a howler "learning kit." Consisting of his howler and a tape to study/practice by. And after a few days of practicing, I gave it a try. Sure enough, I got a coyote to answer. Being a neophyte to howling, I immediately answered the real howler back. But very poorly. And that was the end of that.

Since then, I've used the Sceery howler, along with a variety of others to locate coyotes with.  For the do-it-yourself-er, one of my howlers started out as an owl imitation call (manufactured by Lohman).  Intended for turkey hunters to evoke a natural sound to cause a shock gobble for locating Toms.   The "mouthpiece" of this call had a cylindrical piece of plastic, surrounding the reed so that no pressure to the reed was asserted.  The sound then was a very low pitched Authors favorite howler calls.
and buzz-like hoot.  After this call bounced around for a couple of years in my pickup, that plastic mouthpiece

Photo (left to right): Custom, hand made cow horn howler, coverted hooter, Sceery model howler.

cover fell off.  Noting a distinct similarity to the mouthpiece of the Sceery howler, now uncovered with the cover missing, I gave it a try.  The result was very nice.  Good tone was produced from the wooden barreled call.  There was enough length on the reed atop the sound making portion of the mouthpiece to allow for the variety of pitches in a single "howl" to sound realistic enough that I had no fear of joining in to morning or evening coyote serenades.  As a plus, the make-shift howler took less lung power to blow.  I liked that.  The Sceery takes a substantial amount of lungs to howl with, but you will get lots of volume as a result.

I'm very much convinced that howling should be in the repertoire of all coyote hunters. From the standpoint that on several occaisions, I've had a coyote come in to a howl when they didn't come to the squalls of the dying rabbit calls. I haven't had the opportunity to have one come screaming in, ready to fight after issuing a "challenge howl," but I know it'll happen someday.

Howler calls also work great to stop a spooked coyote. Make a couple of yips or whines and they will always stop and look back. Giving the shooter another chance.

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Real Cow Horn Howlers

What did we ever do before plastic?  Read more about howlers here...
Here's a tip: After you have moved away from your vehicle quietly, and are fairly close to where you will set up your stand.  Give a long, lone locator-type howl.  Then listen as you move on in to your stand location.  Make your way quietly and scan the terrain around you. Many times a coyote will come in quietly to see who the new voice in his territory is.  Other times, this lone howl will stimulate the coyotes territorial instincts when he later hears your distressed rabbit calling.

Calls - Electronic
While electronic calls are used by many, I personally have not had much success with them at all. My hunting partner, Dave, owned one of these for a number of years. I borrowed it on several occaisions and spent countless hours in the field using it. But to no avail.

I can tell you this about electronic calls from my experience though. They are heavy to lug around in the boonies all day; they are expensive to buy, and expensive to maintain (battery replacement, handwarmers for improved battery life or component operation in cold weather, etc.). And the cassette tapes are not cheap either. I have noticed that a number of various calling tapes, no matter what their titles may be, sound very much alike. I had occasion to buy a distressed woodpecker tape some time back and I was amazed at how closely it resembled a baby cottontail distress tape. Call it coincidence but...

You can rightfully presume that I'm not a proponent of electronic calls.

Here's a tip:  An inexpensive electronic calling setup can be easily put together before you invest two or three hundred dollars in a commercial model.  For about $20 at Wally-World, you can pick up a Sony (or comparable name brand) portable cassette player.  Insert the distress call tape of your choice and give it a try.

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