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Compared to when I was first introduced to coyote calling when I was in my early teens, to how I use a mouth call now. I have learned a great many things, which has caused a very dramatic change in my current, and very successful, calling style.

Photo of female coyote called in twice.I have subscribed for many years to Trapper & Predator Caller Magazine, and been an avid reader of the "Trappers" Predator department Editor, Jerry Blair, and all of his tips over the years. I've even spent money on video and cassette tapes on how-to call and, practiced what they professed in each. Some lessons learned brought better results than others. But I can only tell you that I have tried to pay attention to what I was doing at the time, that made a particular method work better than any other. My style may be like many others out there, I don't know. Since I have only hunted coyotes with but a few close friends over the years and they were tagging along with me. Either to learn or just for the outing and chance to get some varmint shooting in.

Here's what works for me:

1. Choose your stand wisely. (This aspect will be covered in detail in Where To Hunt.)

2. When taking a stand, give it a cooling off period. Eg; sit down, set out your cover scent, put on your face mask and gloves, adjust your rifle and/or camera to a comfortable position which you'll be able to maintain for up to 30 minutes and, take time to familiarize yourself with the area before you. Do this all quietly! There may be a predator nearby. The time taken here allows things to settle down in case you made more noise than you should have walking into your stand site..

3. Begin the call, quietly. Sometimes I may use a squeaker, or a coaxer, or merely use my wounded rabbit call as softly as I can with a short "session" of calls just in case there is something nearby. Many times I'm surprised to have a coyote appear only seconds after I've done this. I'm always more surprised that some of these early comers have appeared after I've cussed myself for making what seemed like an over-abundant amount of noise getting in to the stand.


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And let me explain my use of the word "session" here. I'll use it to refer to the times that I'm actually making noise with the call. Maybe chorus, or iteration, or something would be a better word, but just so you'll know...

4. Keep strongly in mind that you are imitating a relatively small animal in distress. I am just as guilty (in my early years of calling) of making very long bursts on the call at volume levels that would wake the dead. Your lungs are 10s of times larger than even a jackrabbit. While the volume can increase to a very, very loud level during the calling session, in order to really "reach out," the length of each calls voice -or wail- should be short to imitate the amount of air the distressed animal would be disbursing, realistically to make the same noises. Instead of a wwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, make it a wwaaaa. Don't fall into the old catch of a distressed rabbit call sounding like a baby's cry. It doesn't.

My hunting partner, Dave, still can't seem to get this right by my opinion. To me his calling resembles more of a long-winded, wailing pig. But he still manages to call in varmints. I like to think that this is one of the reasons why I get the honors of doing most of the calling though. In that my called-in ratio is much higher than his. I kid him about this too, in that I usually manage to get coyotes to come screaming in while most of the dogs that Dave call in come very late in the call, usually slow and cautiously. For example, one day this past February, one dog came down a ridge top at about 400 yards, walked nonchalantly towards the sound another 100 yards or so, and layed down to take a nap! Which brings me to...

5. Get the coyote excited! Long long ago, I had bought a calling cassette tape put out by Lohman Manufacturing, where a coyote calling champion was being interviewed about calling (I don't remember the Lohman rep nor the champions names now). The tape was more of a marketing tool for Lohman's various models of calls and the prowess of that rep to sell his videos and services with, than it was an instructional tape. But on the second side the champ was allowed some time to actually blow on a call for demonstration purposes. And interspersed with his demo calling technique, he stressed exciting the animal with what he called --and I do now too-- the "scramble call."

Before I describe the scramble, let me try and give you an outline of my entire stands calling sequence, to better get the idea across.

  1. soft, opening call (as described above) using squeaker, coaxer, or softly using distress call.
  2. 30 seconds to 1 minute of silence
  3. 45 seconds to 1 minute of louder, more distressful wails
  4. period of silence (in order to look for customers)
  5. The SCRAMBLE call - usually 1 minute in duration
  6. period of silence
  7. long, 1-1.5 minute session of distressful wails and cries
  8. period of silence
  9. IF there hasn't been a coyote come in by now...SCRAMBLE again.
  10. period of silence
  11. about 1 minute of monotone waaa's
  12. period of silence
  13. distress wails leading up in crescendo to a dying squeal
  14. wait for about 5 minutes in silence for any long distance travelers to come in.

This scenario, if it lasts through all of steps i - ix without a coyote or two making their appearance has taken about 5 minutes of time. And for me, that's usually all the time I need. There are of course, the stands that never produce, and the entire calling scenario occurs. But I will venture to say that 90% of the coyotes I call in come during or immediately after the scramble call.

The SCRAMBLE call itself: Like most other instructional aides I've used, I'll mimic here by telling you that you must think like you're the wounded rabbit. Whether you're thinking and sounding like a rabbit who has bolted from danger and ran into a cactus head on, a barbed wire fence and become entangled and is trying to free itself, or the rabbit is trying to escape the talons of death by a bird of prey. The key is: sound like it!

Use your hand in fast motion over the end of the call, along with your puffs into the call to sound like there's a fight occuring -- a fight for life. Squeal, squall, squeak, scream, muffle it, open it up and let it rip, and so forth. You'll be amazed at the results. Like when a dog comes blasting out of the brush at full speed less than 30 feet from you. You can only hope then that your hand/eye coordination is right on 'cuz there ain't no time to take aim. It's point and shoot -- fast!

And I will emphasize here too, what Jerry Blair and most other "pros"Photo of a coyote that came back a second time. do. If that first dog comes in, and you shoot ---miss, hit, or otherwise --- stay down and call some more. Just last Monday (23Nov98), I went out and in the first 4 stands called in 2 doubles, and a triple. The next day, I called in 4 dogs at one stand with camera shutters spooking them, gunfire sounding, and I think, one that I'd taken a picture of, came back in from a different direction. Gunfire doesn't seem to bother coyotes too much if they're not being shot at. Maybe it does sound like thunder to them. Or like a truck on the highway passing over a cattle guard. But the point is, if there's one dog, there's usually two, or more. Being a little bit lazy, I'd just as soon call in 2-3 coyotes at one stand than making 3 stands for the same number of coyotes produced.

Last updated: 12Apr2001.

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