I'm really curious as to how other guys are calling predators up here and what's working. I'm not by any means a veteran predator caller, but have been spending the past 4-5 winters trying my hand at it. Here are some questions that I'm always interested to hear from other callers. I'll put my answers by the questions so maybe we can all get a learning/brainstorming session going here.
-What type of terrain do you have the most success in calling?
I have had the best luck in the evenings in large clearings and during the daylight hours in thicker areas with small openings near trails.
-What type of callers (mouth, electronic), details on sequence/sounds?
I use both, but when it's cold, I go with the electronic callers (FoxPro, Minaska, and WT), depending on the day. I prefer to make up my own 15 minute sound sequences starting with about 30 seconds of dying rabbit followed by 40 seconds of silence...so and and so forth. It's nice having a long sequence because I only have to push the remote once and then just sit back and watch for incoming animals. I like to run the caller at 3/4 to full volume typically. Once in a while on cold -30 days in the open, I'll go quieter because that sound really seems to travel. Or if I'm in a valley where the sound starts to echo off the hills, I'll tune it down a bit.
-Do you use decoys?
I use them on most stands with the electronic callers. With the minaska caller, it has a built in decoy that can be controlled from the remote. For the FoxPro, I have a custom decoy I built that can be run from the caller/remote as well. If I'm using a mouth call, I'll sometimes put out a decoy, depending on the terrain and how the wind is blowing.
-Do you sit or stand while calling?
When I'm on a hill overlooking anything, I'll sit on an insulated seat. If I'm in thick wooded areas, I'll stand and scan around more often.
- Do you use any Coyote/Wolf howl vocalizations?
I almost strictly start off with dying rabbits or bird. If nothing is happening, I'll sometimes end the stand with some yote vocals to see if anything responds. I try to not start off with Yote vocals in case a Fox is in the area and I spook him.
-Do you typically see trap lines in the areas you call?
I see lots of trap lines in some of the areas I've called, but have still seen animals. I try to get "away" from any lines that I see as I have this overall thought that those traps are working 24-7 and my 15 minutes of calling probably won't produce much.
- What caliber rifles/shotguns do you typically use?
I like the AR-15, but am going to start with a 12gauge in the thicker areas because the AR is tearing up fur at close range. I have a 17HMR, but have yet to kill anything with it.
- Do you wear snowcamo clothing or just "whatever"?
I wear all snowcamo: suit, bunny boots, gaitors, gloves, mask.
-Do you snow camo your rifles?
I have one that's all white and another that's going to get a new paintjob soon.
- How far are you willing to travel to call?
I'll drive 150-200 miles if need be in a single day to try new areas. I would like to do some longer 2-3 day trips this spring when we have more daylight.
- Would you be interested in having a "local" predator calling group of some sorts?
I'd be interested to meet other guys in the area interested in calling to share stories, gear, ideas with. I wouldn't want to show up and have everybody want to know the "honeyholes" though...lol...
- Have many of you called animals in the lower 48? If so, how does it compare to the calling here in Alaska?
I've never called anywhere besides Alaska. From all I can read, it sounds like it's a lot tougher (daylight, weather, access, animal density) than the lower 48. I see and read all of these things about guys in Texas or the Southwest killing 15-20 animals in a weekend and think to myself "I'd like them to come up here and show me that trick"....lol...
- Do you hunt solo or with a partner?
I typically hunt solo, but have been out with a hunting partner too. On partner stands, it's common for us to take turns on mouth calls if we're facing different directions.
- What do you typically take while out calling (gear in truck or snowmachine)?
I have a bag that I carry: Ammo, Flashlight, Batteries, Snacks, Insulated Seat, Extra Gloves/Mitts, Extra facemask, Handwarmers, para cord, duct tape, lighter/flares, decoy, mouthcalls, lanyard, knife, camera, range finder, binoculars.
-Do you use a bipod?
I don't use them. I have a couple, but find them to be a pain to use in the snow. I prefer to use my leg to steady the shot while seated and just shoot offhand while standing.
- Do you look for tracks or just make cold stands?
I'll do both. If I'm on the snowmachine, I'll look for fresh sign and call where I find it if it's not black spruce land. I'll make cold stands though in areas that look like they might produce.
- Do you have a limit on the temperature?
My cutoff is -32ºF, road hunt or snowmachine. I can sit for about 15 minutes at that temperature and do alright for quite a few stands on the snowmachine.
Any other ideas or general info to add to this would be great, I love reading and listening to how other people are calling animals.