The California Varmint Callers Association


The first varmint hunting site on the net! The California Varmint Callers maintains this webpage for the benefit of all varmint and predator hunters.



Calling Predators


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When a predator is looking for the source of the sound you are making with your call he is naturally cautious and for several reasons, so we want to help him eliminate as many reasons for fear as we can.

Not only is he afraid of humans, but he must consider the possibility of confronting his natural enemies also. Most times a predator will circle trying to determine what you are, relying on three main sources:

No.1 sight (we assume you are hidden or camouflaged);

No.2 sound ( we assume you don't make any unnecessary noises while going from your vehicle to the call spot and during the call itself). A predator can hear the "click" of a rifle safety over 100Yds away! ;

No.3 he must smell something to make him want to get to the exact spot the sound is coming from.

The Circe call is not meant to sound like a bobcat or fox. It is tuned to sound like a trapped or injured cottontail or jackrabbit.

Hold the end of the call in the "V" formed by the thumb and palm of your hand so that you can amplify or muffle by opening and closing your hand.

Always blow the call from the diaphragm rather than puffing out your cheeks. This method give you much better breath control, which of course, makes your calling more realistic and produces better results.

Close you hand over the end of the call and blow hard, opening the hand at the same time. Make the first few screams loud and terrified, then let the screams trail off as if from exhaustion, ending with whimpering cries that gradually fade out. Wait about a minute and then repeat the complete series.

The caller must impart feeling to the screams emitted by the call. An injured rabbit's screams impart all the intonations of terror, pain and despair. The more terrified and frantic you can make the call sound the faster the predator will come in. It is not unusual to have two or more come into the call on a dead run after only a few screams on the call. However, the animal might be a mile or more away so its best to call for about 10 to 15 minutes at each stand. There is no hard and fast rule on the way an animal will come into the call, so the hunter must be alert. He must watch all directions, yet keep concealed and move as little as possible.

When you spot an animal approaching while you are calling, it's best to stop calling and let him come into close range. If he should stop too far out, or begin circling, use either the whimpering tone or give a few squeaks with the circe close range coaxer. Even an animal that is running away usually can be stopped and turned for a standing shot by this technique.

If you call an animal and make a kill, don't expose yourself or make any movement or noise. Predators frequently run in pairs or even families and it is not unusual to call two or more from the same stand. This is especially true with fox and with coyote in the late summer and early fall, less likely with bobcat.

The range of the Circe call will amaze you. Predators can hear it a mile or more away, depending upon the terrain and wheather you are calling in open or wooded country. Most of the time predatory animals are able to locate the exact spot from which the call is coming.

The Circe long range jackrabbit model is tuned to reproduce the loud, gravelly scream of a jackrabbit and is very effective on all predators as well as other wildlife.

The Circe long rang cottontail model is tuned to reproduce the higher pitched - scream of the cottontail rabbit. Both models are very effective and many callers use both models.

The Circe close range coaxer is best used with fast, short squeaks sounding like a mouse. This is very effective when the predator is close and you wish to maneuver him into a more favorable position or bring him even closer. It can be held between the fingers of the hand on the forearm of the rifle or shotgun, leaving both hands free the handle the gun, bow or camera. The coaxer is also very good for signaling your hunting partner when you see an animal approaching.

Predatory animals are more easily called in because they normally do most of their hunting at night. It is best when calling at night for two hunters to stand back-to-back in a small clearing, each with a good light held with the brightest part of the beam a few feet above the ground level and move the beam slowly back and forth. When using Circe's varmint spotter it is necessary to remain close to the vehicle or purchase Circe's gel cell battery pack. One person can man the light in the same fashion as mentioned above while the other does the calling. You will be able to see the eyes shine in the fringe of the beam. Don't put the bright part of the beam on the animal until you are ready to shoot. When using the red lens filter on the varmint spotter the animals eyes will glow a brilliant bright red and it doesn't seem to spook the animal as readily as the white beam. Use the same procedure with the red lens filter as with the white beam. When you put the bright light in the animals eyes, he will usually stop for a moment and give you a standing shot. Check your local game laws before calling at night. It is illegal in some areas.

When calling in bobcat country you must be especially watchful as bobcats usually come in more cautiously than any other predator and will take full advantage of all available cover in approaching the caller. However, this is not a hard and fast rule as once in a while one will come in on a dead run. Bobcats are very curious and are apt to stand and watch the caller for several minutes, (providing there is no quick movement or unusual noise) thus giving you a standing shot. Bobcats are more wary than other predators and if you call one and kill it or miss there is very little chance of calling another or calling back the one you missed from the same stand. Usually by the time a bobcat is seen by the caller, the cat has already seen him but his curiosity will cause him to remain longer than other predators would. Always take a good look at anything off color or different from the last time you studied that particular area. Take special notice of any small white spots as most bobcats have a white spot on their chests. You will call many bobcats that you will never know about, but practice will increase your percentage of cats called or killed.

Coyotes probably provide more thrills and excitement for the caller than any other predator as they usually come in very fast and it is not unusual to call them within ten feet or less. When a coyote comes in warily it is important that you remain very still because he can be stopped or called into a more favorable position. When a coyote is spotted coming in it is best to stop calling and let him come because he has a good idea of the exact spot from which the sound is coming. He will stop within easy range to listen for another scream from the rabbit he thinks he is after: this should give you an easy shot. If the coyote is on the wrong course, or you want to stop him in a favorable spot, give a low, piteous cry on your call or a couple of squeezes on your Circe close-range coaxer. Coyotes often run in pairs or even families, so if you call one and make a kill, keep calling. Strange as it may seem, the sound of a shot does not bother them nearly as much as movement or human scent.

Foxes are probably the greatest suckers of all for a predator call. Once you convince a fox that there is a rabbit in distress, you almost have to kick him in the teeth to unconvince him. In fox country it is not unusual to call and kill several, one after another. If you call a fox and miss or only wound him, keep calling because it is sometimes possible to call him back.

Without question, the mountain lion is the most difficult of all North American game to hunt without dogs. They are the top trophy for the wild animal caller. They are fewer in number than other predators and the caller should know the animal, its habits and the country. Mountain lions are great travelers, except the female when she has small cubs. Mountain lions usually have an established hunting circuit, but when they make a kill they will usually stay in the area for a day or two. Choose a stand along a known lion route, a fresh kill or near a den.

When using your car to travel from one stand to another, try to park it quietly and in a low spot or other concealment. Don't slam car doors as that will scare animals within hearing.

Always walk into the wind away from your car for at least 100 yards before taking a stand. In approaching the spot you have picked to make a stand, be as quiet as possible and take advantage of any cover there might be to conceal your approach.

In choosing a stand try to find a high spot that will hide you yet give you good visibility in all directions. If there is a tree handy in which you can sit comfortably and just high enough for good visibility, it will be an advantage as predators don't usually look up into trees unless they are very close while you are actually calling.

Blend into the natural cover of the country in which you are hunting. Using a blind or camouflage clothing, greasepaint (green or brown) on face and hands, and scents to kill the human odor, are a great advantage to the caller.

Always call into the wind but watch all points as an animal may come from any direction. When an animal is sighted coming in, don't be in a hurry to shoot; let him come closer for a better shot. Sometimes there will be two, in which case you might get a double. Shoot the one furthest away first and the closer one before he gets out of range.

When scouting for good calling country, look for tracks and droppings around water holes, stream banks, game trails and in soft dirt along roads. If there are no predators within hearing distance you will draw a blank. Allow 3/4 of a mile between stands. Allow more distance between stands in open country than you would in wooded areas. Be sure to check game laws for the area in which you plan to call. Don't give up easily; predator calling will have good as well as bad days, just like any other type of hunting. Early morning and late afternoon is best for calling during hot weather, but is good all day on cool days. Calling is poor on very windy days, but not impossible. When calling in high winds, watch mostly to both sides downwind.

Good luck and good calling.


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