Practice calling coyotes somewhere soundproof

Now’s the time to start practicing if you’re planning to do any predator hunting this winter. You’ll want to be at your best before you take your first shot.

Coyotes are very wary critters. It doesn’t take long before they’re well-educated about hunters. The good news is that they reproduce pretty fast, so there’s always a new crop of dogs that haven’t been initiated yet.

But if you want to be sure to lure them in, you need to master more than just the basics.

Most coyote hunters use the rabbit in distress as their staple call. It’s not a bad choice, because coyotes generally eat more rabbits than anything else. But because it’s so widely used, the ‘yotes get pretty savvy about looking for humans when they’re investigating noises from a potential meal.

Think about adding a few other distress calls to your arsenal. Look for calls that simulate the noises made by other rodents in peril. Or maybe even birds, like woodpeckers, pheasants, or grouse. And while you’re at it, find a call that reproduces the sound of a murder of crows squabbling over a tasty morsel.

Calls that mimic the predators themselves work really well, too. But when you’re speaking their language, you need to be more accurate in your vocalizations than when you’re imitating a different animal.

That’s why you need to start now. Get your calls together, and practice with ‘em whenever you can. Puff on ‘em while you’re driving to work and back. Make some noise when you’re alone in the house. Get some audio tapes of the animals you’re trying to emulate, and try to match the sounds.

It goes without saying that this is an activity best pursued when there’s nobody else around. The spouse and the kids may smother you in your sleep if you squawk out a dying rabbit call while they’re within earshot. And few juries would convict ‘em.

And if your neighbors are close, you might want to warn ‘em if you’re going to do much practicing in the house. Nothing breaks your stride like a visit by the local constabulary coming to investigate blood-curdling shrieks.

But if you can find the time and the place to practice, it’ll pay off come December.