Decoy Your Next Predator By Brodie Swisher
Feb 8, 2010 - 7:53:06 AM
While the sport of predator hunting continues to grow each year, countless hunters continue to go season after season without a successful encounter with a fox, coyote, or cat. Despite their best efforts, many would-be predator hunters come up short on closing the distance on their adversary, particularly when going head to head with bowhunting equipment. While there are many variables that can ultimately lead to one's defeat, the inability to "finish" an on approaching predator plagues hunters across the country.
A little over ten years ago I discovered that decoys can change everything when hunting for predators. When a decoy was added to the bag of tricks, my success rate on coyotes changed dramatically.
I often hear hunters complain about their lack of success when calling coyotes or other predators. They'll often say, "We've calledâ€¦and calledâ€¦and called some moreâ€¦but we never have coyotes respond to our calling efforts.
In reality, it's very likely that in many of these scenarios, the hunter has indeed called up a coyote, however one of a couple things have led to the coyote's quick departure. One in particular is that a coyote will often see or smell a hunter long before the hunter realizes the predator has responded to the callâ€¦and in many cases, the hunter is not aware of the fact that he or she were successful in drawing a coyote to the call at all.
It is imperative that a coyote, or other approaching predator, can see an object (decoy) that will help confirm the sounds they heard. The coyote's senses are as sharp as any critter in the wild. When an approaching coyote can't get a fix on the sounds heard, he will often go on alert. It is an unnatural presentation, and in many cases, the jig will be up. For this reason, a decoy place at your calling setup will greatly increase your chances to seal the deal when a coyote responds to your calling efforts.
Painting a Picture:
Easy to use authentic electronic calls from Cass Creek.
Few hunting experiences compare to that of a coyote charging hard to the decoy. With proper decoy placement, shots within bow-range are not uncommon. One of my closest encounters with a coyote came as I videoed a buddy killing a coyote charging the decoy at just 8 yards!
The key to such success is greatly attributed to a realistic calling scheme and the use of a motion-style prey decoy. Whether you're a beginner caller, or have years of experience, the crew at Cass Creek Electronic Game Calls (casscreek.com) offer a predator calling system with as-real-as-it-gets sounds and portability second to none. These calls provide live recordings of real animals, so there's no phony or mimicked sounds.
Predator Supreme Decoy from Advanced Decoy Research.
As for decoys, one of my favorites is the Predator Supreme Decoy from Advanced Decoy Research (DecoyHeart.com). The Predator Supreme is the missing link that appeals to the basic instinct of predators. I've found that few predators can resist a motion decoy once they lay eyes on it. A motion decoy will not only get the predators attention, but hold it's attention making shot preparation much easier. The motion decoy also allows the hunter to direct the coyote's path of entry to a pre-determined area for the kill. They never take their eyes off of it!
The Impostor from Delta Targets.
Another new and deadly decoy from Delta Decoys is the Fred Eichler's Smokin' Predators decoy series (deltatargets.net). Their IMPOSTOR decoy is sure to be the death of many fox, coyotes, and cats this year. With quiet motor operation and a durable, weatherproof, low-profile plastic housing, this high-quality model comes standard with 80703 Universal Rabbit Critter Tail, and accepts other interchangeable critter tail patterns (sold separately) for additional hunting scenarios. The Imposter is easy to set up and take down in the field, and its rechargeable, long-life battery has a 110-volt wall plug (included) and a 12-volt auto charger (included), for charging anywhere, anytime.
The Imposter features a remote control (included) with on/off switch for hands-free operation from a hideout location. Sporadic decoy motion mimics the real-life struggle of a wounded prey animal moving, resting when tired out, and then continuing the struggle. The telescoping decoy rod (included) provides flexibility for use in short grass and taller bush-and is removable for ease in carrying in and out of the field. When the ground is too hard or frozen to use the ground stake (included), the tripod attachment (included) provides quick setup and takedown. All components fit into a convenient, solid storage case (included) for storage and transport.
Montana Decoy Kojo Coyote
One of the latest trends in predator decoys is the use of life-size coyote imitations. Whether it's a full-body style or a photo-realistic silhouette, these imposters are proving that decoys that play on a predator's territorial instincts can be a deadly tool of the trade. From the folks that bring us the world's most portable life-sized decoys, the new Montana Decoy Kojo coyote and Fawnzy fawn decoys (montanadecoy.com) have looks that are sure to kill and user-friendly features that are second to none.
This new decoy combination paints a picture to approaching predators like no other. Much like domestic dogs, coyotes are very territorial. When they encounter another coyote in their country, with an easy meal (fawn) no-less, it will be more than they can handle. These lightweight decoys are particularly handy when you're putting some miles on your boots and packing all your gear as you go. (For the sake of safety, hunters should use extreme caution in how and where they set up when hunting with life-like coyote decoys.)
Quick Tips for Hunting Predators with a Decoy
Place the decoy where it is visible from multiple directions (elevated ground, fence post, etc.)
Place the decoy exactly where you you'd like for the predator to be standing for the shot. Unless you booger things up, a coyote will quickly close the distance to the decoy in an effort to get to the decoy.
Leave ample shooting opportunities downwind of your decoyâ€¦coyote's will likely approach from the downwind side.
Add color to your decoy to make it stick out from the surrounding landscape. Add a white rag to a brown or grey decoy when hunting in a dead (brown & grey) landscape.
Whenever possible, add motion to the decoy. A still decoy will often go unnoticedâ€¦and don't forget extra batteries!
Glass the surrounding country around you before walking out into the open to place your decoy. Coyotes will often be sitting at the edge of the timber waiting for an easy mealâ€¦if they see you approach, the game will be over.