The California Varmint Callers Association


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Bring Them All The Way In
Use Of Electronic Decoys


By Ron Mayeda

I have had the opportunity to hunt varmints with various club members using a variety of techniques. I was fortunate to hunt on two occasions with Bob Steinberger. He is a true believer in electronic decoys to bring in the cautious predator on the final approach.  We have all been frustrated with coyotes that appear to have been called before and will not come into shooting range. My hunts with Bob convinced me that an electronic decoy is worth the investment. On my first hunt with Bob he used a remotely controlled toy electric pig! When Activated, the pig, laying on it's side, would appear to kick all four legs. The use of this electronic decoy proved effective in bringing in wary coyotes which often times would stop 200yds out and only come in when they noticed the moving decoy. The use of remote control saved batteries by allowing us to turn off the decoy when no animal was present. On one occasion, a coyote came to the edge of a small clearing where we had set up the call box and decoy. While the coyote was looking at the decoy, a bobcat appeared about 20 yds from the coyote. For nearly 1/2 a minute, the coyote and the bobcat took turns looking at each other and looking at the decoy, unsure of what to do. I took a long shot at the bobcat in a stiff wind and missed. A while later, a fine bobcat came to the decoy and I nailed it.

In February 1996 I again hunted with Bob, but this time he had purchased a foam jackrabbit remote controlled decoy. We again had good luck calling in coyotes and bobcats and this time took an even larger bobcat which I later had mounted. An amusing incident took place on this hunt related to the rabbit decoy. Bob had set up the call box and rabbit decoy in a small clearing and took up a stand by sitting on a camp stool with his back to a high brush pile. While silently watching the call box and moving decoy, he glanced down and saw a shadow move up next to his left foot. Bob slowly looked down and saw that a large bobcat had silently approached from the rear and was crouched next to his left leg. The bobcat had his attention glued on the rabbit decoy and was totally unaware of Bob's presence. Bob had a Mini-14 laying across his lap with the barrel facing the side where the bobcat was crouched. Bob quickly lifted the butt of the rifle and fired. Amazingly, the round went high and off went the bobcat. Bob's Mini-14 had a miss-feed and he never got off a second shot. Bob was cussing mightily at having missed a kill less than one foot away!

If interested, I have seen the same foam jackrabbit electronic decoy on sale at Turner's Outdoorsman. Bob also recommends the use of a crow decoy mounted on a tall broomstick placed near the call box. Good hunting!


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