Blowing on a call
Operating a mouth blown call

So what is the premis of this whole predator calling thing? The idea is that when a predator catches dinner, the prey animal does not always enjoy a quick and pain free death. Quite often, they are eaten alive, screaming while the predator begins the dirty work. I myself have never been witness to this in the field; anytime I have seen a coyote chowing down on something, it has been a small rodent that does not last long at all. And a coyote sure needs alot of these small rodents to make it through the -15 degree C winters! The idea behind predator calling is that predators, having caught and eaten their fair share of small animals, remember well the dying screams of their prey and associate this with dinner. Having made this association, they are extremely interested to investigate the source of anything that sounds remotely like this type of activity and find out for themselves if they might be able to share in the spoils.  

Frosty morning owl
You never know what is going to come when you start blowing on a call. Despite a day without seeing a single coyote, I immediatly stopped feeling sorry for myself when this great horned owl came silently swooping in to see what all the fuss was about.

Besides the sounds of prey species in distress, there are other triggers that sometimes catch the attention of predators. While coyotes may not be social to the same extent as wolves and dogs, there is certainly a sophisticated social structure that they have evolved governing interaction between themselves. Coyotes will often come to investigate other canine sounds originating within their territory and as such, deception efforts in this department are also often rewarded with a sighting.

Having simply stated this, there is a fair amout of nuance involved in developing a diverse repertoir of calling skills tailored to the oh-so-sly coyote. A good place to start is with the sounds of prey species...more specifically: Rabbits.  

Cottontail Rabbit
Coyotes spend much of their time trying to find dinner...mmm...this cottontail rabbit sure looks good!

With respect to mouth blown predator calls, none number more that those designed to emulate the sounds of a distressed rabbit. Rabbits are an abundant rodent across north america, and there are several different species. While it is worth understanding what species may live in your area, I have had good luck with just about all types of rabbit fact the first coyotes I ever called (they actually came trotting out of a draw in a group of three!) were responding to a Sceery Jackrabbit call...despite the fact that I have not seen a jackrabbit in this country for as long as I can remember.

Rabbits breed with an almost ferocious frequency. Some material I have read suggests this is an adaptive strategy the result of heavy predation, and in fact rabbits are prey species for just about every predator we have out here in western Canada. Birds of prey frequently swoop in on them from up above. Bobcats, lynx, and even cougars munch away. Coyotes, wolves, and foxes all keep a keen eye out for the ever-tasty bunny. It is no wonder they are as jumpy as they are and hugging cover as if their lives depend on it...because it does!  

Cottontail Rabbit
At some point in just about every coyote's life, it has caught and eaten a rabbit. The whole premise of this predator calling thing is reliant on the assumption that the coyote remembers well the sound the rabbit made while being eaten.

Most of the rabbits I have seen have been either at dawn or dusk. Seldom is it one sees a rabbit in the middle of the day. I have been told that this is the result of another rabbit adaptive strategy...they are primarily nocturnal. With most of the things that hunt them active primarily in the day, it is no wonder that you are hard pressed to see a rabbit going about its' business during the middle of the day. Coincidentally, most of the good success I have had calling coyotes with rabbit calls has been in either the early morning or the early evening.  

Jack Rabbit
The Jack Rabbit....the motherload in the coyote-dinner-department.

Rabbit calls tend to be pretty loud..this surprised me at first, but the more I thought about it the more it made sense. Strangely enough it was my cat that kicked me down the road to understanding. Her name is Tika and she is a pretty vocal cat. Sometimes we roughhouse a little and she can get can become quite vicious in a playful way when engaged in these activities. I never really connected the exessive volume of her howls and growls until one day she ran outside to come face to face with a large male Tomcat sitting on our front lawn. Well..the fight was on and never in my life did I imagine two such small creatures could make so much noise.

That is not the only thing she has demonstrated to me. Every once in a while, she comes home howling up a storm as she drags her latest kill for all to partake in. She has been fortunate enough to bring the odd rabbit home as well. I was surprised to discover that a the snowshoe hares she drags in are roughly equivalent to her in size, and I was shocked one day when she drug in this monster jackrabbit that was easily 1.5 times larger than she was!

I only had to imagine what that jackrabbit was capable of generating in the screaming department to put to rest all fears I may have harboured regarding blowing on a rabbit call with too much volume.  

Snowshoe Hare
A snowshoe hare.
Territory and Coyote Social Behavior  

As you are most likely aware, the coyote is an extremely social animal. There are rules in the wold of the coyote with respect to territory and how they interact with one another that are useful both to study and then exploit as a coyote hunter. The principle premis of these types of tactics is that coyotes typically have a well defined territory and are pretty concerned with respect to other coyotes within this territory. Coyotes will very often come and investigate if they believe a strange coyote is either on the boundary or within this territory. This can result in escalating levels of aggression between the coyotes and lots of barking, howling, yipping, and fighting can ensue.  

Coyote with Scars
This mature male coyote responded aggressivly to a Sceery variable pitch call. His face had multiple puncture wounds...some had scarred up from a long time ago, and some were right fresh. I'm pretty sure they are the result of fighting with other coyotes.

Coyotes also like to interact with each other on a much more social level. Quite often during the early hours of the morning or the early hours of the evening, you can hear one light up the sky with a stunning array of vocal prowess, quite often motivating other coyotes to join in. These auditory displays are also useful to the coyote hunter, as they can help you locate where the coyotes are and get them excited to the notion that there are other coyotes in the area.

Understanding a coyote's territory and social behavior are integral parts of learning to call effectively. In fact, territory and social behavior are primarily responsible for why a coyote comes to any type of call.  
Howling and other sounds.  

Coming soon! Information on emulating howling vocalization and how effective it can be in pushing that coyote's buttons.  
Hand Calls  

Coming soon! Information on the multitude of hand calls available today and how to blow them.  

My Favorite Calls
My Favorite Calls
Electronic Calls  

For starters, these things are illegal for the purpose of hunting here in Alberta. They are legal for the purpose of wildlife observation and photography though, and that being said, they are amazing. Coming soon...information on electronic callers!  
Close Proximity Tools for Special Situations  

Coming soon...some last little secrets to help you increase your prowess in the calling department.  
Surprises when calling  

I can't count the number of times that I have been out calling and been surprised one way or another. One of the most amazing of these types of surprises is the large number of animals that seem to respond to predator calls. There are the obvious ones, such as other predators, but sometimes the damndest things will come crashing through the bush to see what all the racket is about. One thing is for sure...the more you get out to call, the more you are going to experience!  

Elbow deer
These deer came crashing in to investigate a variable pitch call I was blowing one day. The wind was just right and I got to spend about a half an hour just soaking up everyhing these deer did as they settled down.
Ring tailed weasle
This sure ranks up there in the surprise day while trying to squawk up a coyote this little ring-tailed weasle came running up to partake in the free lunch. Once again, he was responding to a variable pitch call.
Having Difficulty Finding Predator Calls?  

If you take a look in the photograph of the calls I use most frequently, you'll notice that they are primarily all Sceery calls. While I like these calls, it is difficult for me to tell you how good they are in relation to the plethora of other calls available, as there is only one really large outdoor supply store here in Calgary, and there is not a large selection of different predator calls! They carry only a couple of brands, and I own pretty much the whole spectrum. Well...imagine my surprise when one day I stumbled across an internet supply store which offers just about every call you could possibly imagine! From the more popular mass manufacturers all the way to crafstmen who create custom cow horn howlers and everything inbetween...I think my VISA is about to take a beating.
Click on the image to go to

*NOTE* I have absolutely zero financial interest in nor have they provided me with any incentives for mentionning their website here on I simply felt frustrated looking for some alternatives to the skimpy supply situation here in Alberta and was relieved to find a more comprehensive selection for calls.  

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