What to do...
And I suppose also what NOT to do.
I am new to predator calling, but I got out of town Saturday all day and got pretty far out. Have some mouth calls but opted for the Foxpro and used it all day on 5 or 6 different sets.
Thing is, I am just not sure what to do and if I am doing it right.
I used the snowshoe hare to start off every set. I'd kill the snow machine, set up, sit quietly a few minutes, then start the calling. I would call for about 2-3 minutes, then shut it off for a minute or 2, then start again. I did this for about 30 minutes per set before changing much. I then tried the other snowshoe call on there as well. Before I left a set, I'd throw out a few coyote howls to see if anything called back.
In all that time, I only got what I believe was a lynx to respond. It sounded like a big tomcat meowing at me. After it called out, I continued the snowshoe another minute, killed it, it called again but obviously closer (maybe 300 yards out compared to I'd say double that the first time) - I hit the call again, but lowered the volume a bit...never heard from him again and never got a look.
Because I thought it was a lynx, I decided to try the kitten call after no answer from the hare call for a while.
I guess I am just wondering now if I should have waited longer after setting up before starting calls and also if my method is normal or if there is a better way.
I didn't see many tracks....only one area with decent fox and lynx tracks but it was right by the trail and in the middle of calling, 3 machines came by (the only freaking people I saw or heard all day) so I am sure that killed any chance.
Any advice would be helpful. Thanks.
Oh, and I used one of those Quiver Critter hares that vibrates as a decoy. Don't know if that was a good idea or not.
Also, anybody know where to find hares these days? I used to go to Sutton and also up the Parks towards Willow and Talkeetna, but I haven't seen crap in quite a while.
I'm no Expert, but from what I understand Cats are prettyADD. They get distracted easily, try leaving the call and not stopping it. AlsoCats will sit at the edge of clearings and just watch. (My first lynx I onlysaw because it moved its foot while I was staring right at it; he was only 20yards away!).
What to do...
The longer you let an area quiet down after arriving the better in my opinion.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I have to point out that Alaska predator numbers are very sparse on good years and REALLY bad right now in south central due to the lack of hares you noted. Not trying to discourage you, just pointing out its harder than ever to find predators right now because their numbers are down too.
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So......I wouldn't call from the snow machine (or from where it's parked). Get at least a couple hundred yards away. Also wait longer that a "few" minutes to start calling. At least 15 min and a little longer would be even better. With my hearing, its hard to even imagine hearing a "meow" at 300 yards (let alone at 600) - I don't care how big the dam cat is. Are you sure it wasn't a canine vocalazation? I'm thinking coyote, maybe a whine?? Stand time - 30 - 45 minutes isn't too long to wait for coyotes. Cats are generally 40 minutes +, in my experience. Any type of decoy should help in moving attention away from you.
I think hares are going into the bottoom end of their cycle - might have to wait a couple of years.
With regards to 'right way, wrong way calling. My thoughts.... There is no right or wrong way. Sometimes a guy lets his caller play long, sometimes it's works if u only play it once or twice and then keep it quiet. There are just too many variables involved. Maybe the predator was close. Maybe he had to come a long ways. Which direction he had to come from.
Ild guess I probably set up and called 30 times over the last 3 seasons. I've called in one coyote season one. No shot. I called in a pack of wolves season 2. Shot and missed. This season called in lone wolf. Killed it.
Ive experimented with many many diff calls. Often, when I call in a spot till dark, when I go back to the area the next day I see that there are fresh tracks around. Maybe they came later in the eve after I left. Maybe they were there but I didn't see them. I suspect many come in but we don't see them. So consider your set up spots wisely. After some experience U will begin to 'feel' a good spot for a set up. You start to think a bit more like a 'predator'.
The main thing is just enjoy each time u are just out in the wild enjoying life. Eventually as u spend the time afield U will start to see and feel some advantages. When u finally get a chance at one, u can look a bit more at what u think u did right and/or what u could have done better.
Read a lot on this forum to keep your spirits/hopes high and get perspectives of others. It takes time but when it happens for U, you'll be surprised that it happened. Good luck!
One more thing. I think the wind is your friend. It gives a more positive scent flow direction and can hide normally spooky sounds from the animals (like snomachine sounds). So use it to your advantage.
Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!
Thanks for that...I have been out 3 times in the last week and had a good time but no critters...I'll go out again when the roads are less icy
Originally Posted by cod
I will just keep at it as I know the numbers are low.
i definitely feel like I did most things well after reading this.
i always sat with a berm to my back and the wind in my face, never moved anything but my head.
When I heard the cat, I was down across a pond with a draw between 2 ridges straight ahead and he was up the draw a ways so I think that amplified the call, plus I have excellent hearing even without the dead quiet
it sounds like I definitely need to wait longer after setting up and the only reason I called close to the trail that one time was because all of the tracks were right there - I definitely didn't like doing it and won't again
thanks again for the responses
Oh - and if the start/stop method isn't working, how long do you guys let the caller go?
I guess my thinking is that it isn't natural for a rabbit to scream for five or 10 straight minutes at a really high volume so if I let it run a long time at high-volume the animals would figure out it isn't real - or when you let it run long, do you just gradually decrease the volume before stopping and starting over?
I thought this thread was a good read.....
I could relate to what Bushwack jack said on page two. Especially the part where he spoke about 'rookie' mistakes. I've sat in my set up spot and realize... I should be over there, or, dang I forgot my gun pod, or, I should have put fresh batteries in.
I always carry hand calls along w my ecaller. I even took some squeakers out of some dog toys that I like to carry in my mouth while sitting. My thoughts are I can blow the squeaker without moving in the blind if something comes in and holds up. It's real easy to blow it at the proper low level volume without any movement at all, etc.
With regards to your question about letting a caller scream long w rabbit call... I think (mostly) U are correct. I think it's better to not let it scream for long periods. I would always start out softer and less frequent just for the fact that an animal may be real close to U. If that doesn't work and a bit later maybe try it louder/longer for animals farther away. But it could be you're scaring one away that WAS about to come in, soooo....
One other thought. I think the snowshoe hare (2) calls are over used. I've been in the woods setting up and heard someone start playing their rabbit call some distance away from me thru the trees. I think everyone and their brother plays it.
One day on the edge of seward while cooking dinner in my RV I played a kitten distress calls out the window while cooking some noodles at dusk. As I opened the door 8 min later to pour the water out of the pan, I spied a coyote sneaking across the open field 100 yrds away to get downwind of me. I suspected coyotes near town might partake in a kitty dinner. So change things up sometimes.
Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!
I'm not sure that I agree with the advice to sit longer. It can't hurt at the moment, of course, but I've taken to the approach that snowcamoman has shared over the years - better to do shorter stands with a shorter wait which leads to more total stands in a day rather than longer wait and calling sequences with fewer overall stands. If you're only going out for a single stand, then sure - waiting is probably a good idea. Personally, I usually walk 2-4 minutes away from my machine (if I use one, though usually I walk), set up, then a minute later start calling. Read some of snowcamoman's old threads - he is super efficient with his setup time and does VERY well. Again, it can't hurt to wait longer, but there are folks who have consistent success on multiple species who don't worry about waiting a long time before calling.
Originally Posted by AK Explorer
As for call length, I have had all of my success with lynx by just letting the caller roll without interruption. I play 20 minute sequences, and all of the lynx I've called in have shown up between 5-15 minutes (with one exception when one showed at ~30 minutes - that is a longer story). I might be leaving animals behind that would come in if I waited longer, but I'm also getting more stands in per day.
This year has been tough for me to get out. I've called only a total of 7 stands and thus far have nothing to show for it. I figure if I get something to come in one in ten stands, I'm doing well for my limited experience and skill set.