It’s not what you think . . . we are hunting partners. Kim Davis and I have been hunting whitetails together for the past couple of months and now, something unexpected that appeared on the trail camera has us up in arms—a bobcat! This cat had been stalking the corn feeder during deer season looking for prey, and he has been captured on camera hunting both day and night. Is he after squirrels, rabbits, or maybe a fawn, we wonder? He has to go, and sooner rather than later. This bobcat, along with the constant threat of coyotes in the area that are after deer, turkeys, and other small animals and birds, has us very motivated to help manage the rising populations of these predators. Now that whitetail hunting is over, we have another hunt to take on, and there is nothing more challenging and rewarding than predator hunting!
Mind you, we don’t know a darn thing about hunting bobcats or coyotes for that matter, but that will not hinder us at all. Both of us pride ourselves in becoming educated in every detail when it comes to new hunting skills. We have picked the brains of old-timers, checked in with hunting forums, and fallen asleep watching YouTube videos showing all the how-tos involving calling in coyotes and bobcats.
When I say we are dedicated hunters, this may actually be an understatement. Having logged endless hours of research, we were anxious to get out and see if we could do this. Yes, siree! We were sure those coyotes would come running right in when they heard that screaming, distressed cottontail call, especially with that very convincing bunny decoy, and its real action gyrations! After all, all the videos showed just that, so we were pumped.
I determined that I wanted to use my beloved 12-gauge Ultra Light Benelli and Coyote Dead shot, hoping to call in a coyote under 50 yards. Since Kim prefers to use a rifle, we were set up for action at any range. Kim confessed that she is hesitant to use a shotgun since she has broken a nail or two loading shells in her shotgun in the past. Sorry, Kim, I had to disclose that! Kim is one of those girls who always looks like a million bucks, and for many, it is hard to comprehend when you look at her, that Kim is a fearless huntress who hunts solo for white-tailed deer and hogs. She single-handedly hauled a 100-pound doe out of the woods in pitch blackness, covered up with mosquitoes, through muddy ruts to her truck, which was parked more than 250 yards away. If that was not a feat in itself, she somehow got the doe in the back of her truck, which sits at least 4 feet high!
Getting back to those nails. In a few months, I am going to get her out to hunt turkeys, and I promised her she would need to load one shell since that is all she would need to kill her first turkey! So, we had two very excited, very driven rookie coyote hunters with predator hunting gear and a game plan.
Primos Alpha Dogg Model 3757. This impressive setup boasts no-distortion speakers and can be operated remotely with one hand up to 200 yards. Our hunts will be specifically for bobcats and coyotes, so that is what we are focusing on. I love this system since there are expert hunts already programmed so we can easily access the perfect hunt we want.
Cottontail Decoy in Distress- We will set this battery-operated motion decoy up at about 50 yards.
Wind Direction App: Wind Finder Coyote Wind: This app shows your location along with the wind direction and a compass. It is perfect for getting your stand set up so that you won’t give away your location to the coyotes. Bobcats, on the other hand, are oblivious to human scent.
The Game Plan:
Our plan was to hunt in two different elevated deer stands. Both are double stands, offering good space for two hunters. Kim would glass the tree lines for signs of coyotes, and I would work the remote predator call. These stands are elevated 20 feet, so we felt that we had some advantage with scent control.
Well, things didn’t go exactly as we had hoped. With our “energizer bunny” decoy and realistic distress calls, the only thing we called in was a red-tailed hawk! We tried our best, but neither stand produced any coyotes or bobcats.
With all the rain we had over the past few months, our truck, even with four-wheel-drive, was too heavy to drive through the soft mud, resulting in us having to walk a mile or so. I believe that the long walk to our elevated stands probably took us past the coyotes and alerted them to our presence, evidenced by their tracks in the mud and scat on the shooting lanes.
I tapped into a very successful coyote hunter, Brent Creager, Pro Staffer with Les Johnson, and one of my blog subscribers for some advice. “I soft call, which means making several stands using low- to medium-volume sounds to open the land, with the idea of getting to a downwind location that provides me with a shooting lane. This works well when dealing with heavily pressured or educated coyotes. They are going downwind anyway!” explained Brent.
The last thing we wanted to do was to educate the coyotes that we were there, but since there is virtually no pressure from coyote hunters in this particular area, we are hoping we can redeem ourselves the next time out.
Nonetheless, we were thankful for our great day soaking in the majesty of the winter woods, refreshed with the crisp chill in the air, and with a renewed spirit we began planning our next hunt together!
Please follow us with Part 2 – Two Girls, Two Guns ….
Written for Waccamaw Outdoor Magazine, February 2019 Issue
Maggie is a Hunt Staff Member of Prois Hunting Apparel for Women