• Advertise with us
  • Blog with us

    Coyote John - Predator Hunting

    Coyotes and Hand Calls - Part III

    Some folks will tell ya that an open reed call is by far the best call to use.  I’m no expert on open reed calls, let alone howling with one.  But I do use them and I do like them and I do have success with them.  The nice thing about an open reed call is that it can do it all, from a rodent squeak, or a bunny in distress to various howls and yips and barks.  When you buy your first open reed call just keep in mind that the key to mastering them is patience and practice.  I can’t began to tell you how many hours I spent on the back patio just making a bunch of racket.  After a few weeks I knew I was getting close to sounding like a coyote when the neighbor from down the road stopped by one afternoon and wanted to know if I heard all the coyote howling up on our mountain.  Like my closed reed calls most, if not all, of my open reed calls are custom made.  I think two of the best out there are Tony Tebb from IA www.CustomPredatorCalls.com and Ernie Wilson from PA www.EWCalls.com.  Both of these gentlemen make a quality caller at a very reasonable price.  I think that once you master the open reed call and have some success with it you will find yourself, just maybe, enjoying calling just  bit more. 

    Posted on 11th June 2007
    Under: General | 3 Comments »

    Horses, Wives and Mountain Lions

    I am fortunate to have a wife who not only has bought me most of my guns and gun safes but she also has joined me on many of my hunting trips.   Could explain why we have been married for so long. 

    Many years ago we decided to take the horses and hit the mountain for at least a week or maybe longer. We took two saddle horses and two pack horse and enough rations for six days.  It was probably one of the most relaxing and enjoyable weeks of our life.  No phone, no TV, ”no nothing” except a beautiful mountain and a lovely sky each night.  We saw everything there was to see on this particuliar mountain, coyotes, coatimundi, javelina, bear, gray fox, deer, bear, everything that is except a mountain lion.  On the morning of the sixth day we started our journey back down into the valley and civilization. We were on a very narrow path on the side of the mountain  which was iffy even on a good day, one miscue by the horses and it’s over the edge.  About a quarter of the way down we ran into what had probably been a mini landslide sometime ago.  A lot of loose rocks on the path and fairly deep.  We decided it would be better to dismount and lead the horse down rather than try to ride them through this treacherous section of the trail.    We decided she would lead and we tied one of the pack horse to the tail of her horse and the other to mine.  About halfway through this stuff I looked across the canyon and sitting on a rock about 300 yards away was a very big cat.  I pulled the rifle out of the scabbard and tried to get my wife’s attention, I didn’t want to shoot and have her horse goes bonkers and pull both of them off the mountain.  Although all of our horses have been shot off of I just didn’t want to chance it on this very dangerous mountain side.  Try as I might I couldn’t get her attention and in short order the cat got up and disappeared into the mountain.  When we finally got through it and was able to ride again I told her about the cat.  She said I should have shot as she could of handled the horses.  I told her I wasn’t sure and I didn’t want to spook the horses and have her and the two horses go over the mountain side.  As wives are a dime a dozen but a good horse is hard to come by.  Being the gentleman that I am I will not repeat what she said. 

    Posted on 7th June 2007
    Under: General | 2 Comments »

    Coyotes and Handcalls - Part II

    In Part I I talked about handcalls in general, today let’s talk a bit about the closed reed calls.  I buy all my commercial calls and even some of my custom calls from www.AllPredaorCalls.com.   I think that a beginner in this game should start with a closed reed call.  They are easy to master and very effective, nor do they cost very much, even for the custom made ones.  You can buy them voiced for rodent squeaks, cottontail in distress, jack in distress and many other sounds.  With a little practice you’ll be calling them in in no time at all.  When I first started calling I did most of my practice work in the field, that’s how I found out what works and what doesn’t.  It’s fine to practice on the back patio, or in the car going to and from work but it’s in the field practice that will earn you big rewards.  I would suggest that you also pick up a crow call, I use my crow call in conjuction with the distress calls, a minute or two blowing the jack in distress, followed immediatly by the crow call for about a minute.  Crows like coyotes will eat carrion so my theory is that when a coyote hears the distress call followed by the crow call he immediately thinks - free meal.  Whatever call it is that you are using you should call with a passion, like you really mean it.  Put all your effort and thought into sounding like a rabbit on it’s deathbed.  A few of the closed reed custom calls that I had made are from R.J Adams www.dogwoodcreekcalls.com, Joe Bradshaw at www.arkyyoter.com and Tony Tebbe from www.custompredatorcalls.com.   These 3 call makers produce quality calls at a price that all can afford. 

    Posted on 31st May 2007
    Under: General | 6 Comments »

    Ultimate Predator

    I’m fortunate enough to live in prime cat country, not only do we have a good number of bobcats but we have a fair number of the big guys also.  This guy lives, almost, in our backyard.  We don’t see him on a regular basis, but we do see him often enough to know that he considers our backyard as part of his territory.  I took this picture a few months back.  I just decided I needed to take a walk up the mountain, we live at the base, just to get away and see what was going on up there.  I have a favorite spot that overlooks a dry wash and holds a fair amount of deer and several hugh bucks.  I took a friend up there last year and spotted a record book Coues for him.  Anyway I’m up there sitting on a nice rock outcropping just enjoying the afternoon.  I didn’t spot any bucks and saw absolutely no does, which is strange for this wash as I always see deer.  After about thirty minutes of glassing I decided to take a small break and set the small binoc aside, took out the tripod and put the big guys on.  Rested for awhile, then started glassing at the opposite hillside and still couldn’t find anything.  Decided I had enough but took one last look to my left and on the same side of the canyon.  Had he decided not to lick his paw I would have never spotted him.  How long had he been there?  I don’t know if he was in place when I got there or if he came in after I got there.  But he was no more than 50 - 60 yards away from me.  I don’t think he saw me so I’m inclined to think he got there after I got in position.  I just sat there a took a few pictures, and watched him,  he got up about 30 minutes later walked into the ravine and just disappeared.  I didn’t have my rifle with me only my Springfield XD-9 but I wouldn’t have killed him even if I had my rifle.  I have killed a fairly good amount of them over the years and been involved in more lion hunts than any person should be, I just enjoy seeing them now. 

    Posted on 28th May 2007
    Under: General | 1 Comment »

    Coyotes and Hand Calls - Part I

    Although almost all my calling today is done with my FoxPro FX3 (www.GoFoxPro.com) there was a time when all I had or could afford were hand calls.  Battery operated calls were for the wealthy and besides they were to bulky to be carrying around from stand to stand.  Digital callers hadn’t even been invented yet, at least I don’t thinks so. 

    My first call was a closed reed green Circe.  Tuned to sound like a cottontail in distress, I had never heard a real cottontail in distress so I just took their word for it.  That particular call accounted for a lot of Red and Grey fox and probably hundreds of racoon and more than a few skunks.  It also brought in my very first coyote and it’s what got me hooked on coyotes for a lifetime.  That call, although I no longer use it, commands center stage on my call shelf, and always will.

    Today’s market of hand calls is unlimited.  Commercial makers like Knight & Hale (www.knightandhale.com), CritR-Calls (www.CritR-Calls.com) and Primos (www.primos.com) all make quality calls at a reasonable price.   Knight & Hale makes one called the “Ultimate Predator I” which claims to make a sound unlike any other in the predator hunter’s arsenal.  I also use a trio of calls from CritR-Calls that can be purchased as a set called Coyote Caller’s Special.  This set includes the Magnum, Standard and PeeWee and sells for around $30. not a bad price for three quality calls.  All three of these calls are open reed calls and will require some practice time for the beginner, but once mastered they can be deadly.  Another excellent call maker is Primos, used and endorsed by Randy Anderson who has made some excellent DVD’s.

    A few years back I discovered the custom callers.  These talented craftsmen not only make calls that bring in critters but calls that are extremely well made and very pleasing to look at.  I have custom made calls from these gifted makers from Maine to California.  The best part of it is that their pricing is not a whole lot different than the commercial calls. 

    Two of my favorite call makers just happen to live in Pennsylvania, Ernie Wilson (www.EWCalls.com) and Curtis Houser (www.kettlecreekcalls.com).  I have at least a dozen calls from Ernie and have called many coyotes to the gun with them.  Last season when not using the FX3 I used his calls exclusively.  A few years ago and on a whim I contacted Ernie about making a very special call for me.  My daughter had killed her first Coues buck, a small fork, and I wanted him to make a call out of one of the antlers.  I knew that if anybody had the skill it would be he, and more importantly I trusted him.  Although at first reluctant he said he would try, no guarentees.  A few weeks later it arrived, when I opened the package I couldn’t believe it.  What a great looking call with a sound to match its’ beauty, the wood to antler fit is flawless.  This call is truly a “One-of-a-Kind” and will be handed down to my grandson when he is old enough to appreciate the finer things in life.  But for now this is one of grandpa’s prized possessions.  He also presented me with his very first “Four Call Series”, two closed reeds and two open reed calls.

    Another craftsman from PA is Curtis Houser (www.kettlecreekcalls.com). I have two of Curtis’ calls and they also look and sound great.  The latest one I received is an antler call with a series of holes in it, very unique looking but sounds like it will get the job done.  His calls will get a workout this coming fall and I’ll post a status report next spring.  By the way he has named this series of calls “The Back Stabbers”, when I first saw it I thought he was talking about our elected politicians.

    If you decide to buy a custom call - one word of caution:  ADDICTION that will only be cured by the continued buying of more custom calls.

    Part II next week.

    Posted on 20th May 2007
    Under: General | 2 Comments »

    Juan, Jose and the Feral Cat

    I posted this sometime ago in the Arizona Hunting Today Forums but thought I would repeat myself for those of you who may have missed it the first time and for those who read the blog and not the forums. 

    We have had a feral cat driving us crazy for the past several weeks.  Spraying all over the back patio and front porch, he has ruined a few chair cushions and has just been a real pain in the butt.  Attempts to get a day time shot at him has proved futile, leg holds and two Hav-A-Hart traps have not been productive.  Our Dobbie will not give chase because we (wife) have trained him to leave our (hers) cat alone, much to my dismay.

    Last weekend we had a few friends over for a BBQ,  just burgers and hotdogs, nothing special just good friends and good conversation.  As always when you live on the American/Mexican border the conversation turned to illegals and what we should be doing about it and what our government is not doing.  Someone made the comment, in jest of course, that when we see them we should shoot them, all except one.  The escapee would then return to Mexico and he would spread the word that it’s not safe to be an illegal alien in Arizona.  Everyone agreed, in jest of course.

    After everyone left the wife and I are still sitting out on the patio enjoying what was left of a beautiful day - lo and behold we look up on the mountain and there is Juan and Jose sneaking across the mountain trail.  Wife gets up to go in and call the Border Patrol.  At about the same time I see Mr. Feral Cat, rather in close and no place near Juan & Jose.  Grab the Ruger 77/17, line up on Mr. Feral Cat and bang flop.  Wife in the meantime was in the process of dialing, drops the phone and starts yelling at me “What did you do?”  “You didn’t shoot them  — DID YOU?”  It was just to much to pass up, so I replied:  “Not all of them, I let one go.”

    Chances are I’ll be sleeping in the travel trailer the next few days. 

    Posted on 15th May 2007
    Under: General | 5 Comments »

    Hand Calls, E-Calls and Decoys

    So what do you guys use and more importantly how do you use them.  If I’m going out by my self, no question about it I’m taking the FoxPro ninety-nine percent of the time.  It allows me to place the caller 40 to 50 yards out in front and have the coyote focus on it and not me.  I’ll use it in conjunction with the Jack-In-The-Box Decoy with just a little drop of rabbit urine.  The JIB can plug right into the caller and both work off the remote.  So I have now focused on the 3 primary senses of the predator:  sound, sight and smell.  If I’m going out with a buddy we will normally take the handcalls, nothing like knowing that you call them in on your own ability.  The one doing the calling is usually 30 to 50 yards upwind from the shooter and we will trade off calling & shooting everyother stand.  Did ya ever wonder why the call it a stand when most of the time your sitting??? When using the hand calls I’ll normally place some turkey feathers or a red fox tail 30 to 50 yards out in front of me, the slightest breeze gets them moving and once I see a coyote coming in I’ll stop calling and let him focus on the decoy.  So how do ya’ll do it?

    Posted on 3rd May 2007
    Under: General | 5 Comments »

    Quickie in the Morning

    Actually was two quickies in the morning, which ain’t to bad for a old man my age.  Didn’t have much time to spend calling the morning I got these two so thought I would just head down the road a way and set up shop.  I walked through a tangle of catclaw, sage and mesquite and found a nice little knoll overlooking a dry wash.  I left my FoxPro, www.GoFoxPro,  and Jack-in-the-Box Decoy at home as I knew I would only be making one or two stands and I didn’t want the trouble of carrying them around.  I had taped to my rifle a Primos Mouse Squeaker, www.primos.com and hanging around my neck a custom howler crafted by Ernie Wilson, I don’t have his web address right now but I’ll post it and a few of his calls later.  After I got into position I looked around a little to get my bearings and tried to figure out which way a coyote would come in.  I gave two squeezes on the squeaker and almost got over run by the little female, no sooner did I see her that I noticed a bigger male coming in about 50 yards behind her.  I killed her at about 15 yards and then swung my little Sako .223 on the male who was now going at mach speed heading in the opposite direction, he died at about 100 yards. 

    Posted on 2nd May 2007
    Under: General | 4 Comments »

    Coffee with Wily

    While sitting out on the patio this morning enjoying a fresh brewed cup of coffee who should show up but Mr. Wily, once he realized he had company it’s down the driveway and out the gate. He is heading over to visit the neighbors, they raise chickens and ducks. To get back to the story. Before civilization took over our peaceful mountainside we had a family of coyotes who denned out in our front field every spring and used our little valley to raise their family. My wife and I would sit out on the front porch with 20×50 binoculars and 35x spotting scope and watch them for hours at a time. I learned more from watching them that I ever could from reading and watching DVD’s. I even learned a few howls and late at night we would sit outside and have a lengthy conversation going. Now instead of a nice little valley with a dry wash for pups to play in and learn how to mouse we have three ugly houses with a fourth going up as I type this. Whether this guy who showed up this morning is a direct family member of the pair my wife and I use to watch I can’t say, but I like to think that he is.

    Posted on 30th April 2007
    Under: General | 4 Comments »


    Welcome to Coyote John’s first ever blog.  Hopefully I’ll be able to entice you all to come back often and to add your own comments.  As my screen name indicates most of my blogs will be about coyote calling, but will also include all predators.  I have been calling predators for well over 50 years and enjoy it as much today as the day I started.  I have called dingo in Australia, fox in Europe, wolf in Alaska, Cats, (big & small) in Africa and of course coyotes in almost every state of this great country.  I am now privilage to live in one of the best predator hunting states in the USA, Arizona.  We have an abundance of predators and a very liberal season.  Coyotes can be hunted all year and there is no bag limit.   I don’t normally hunt them from about Feb through the end of Aug so as to give them time to breed and raise a litter.  More targets for the fall and winter months.   Although I have done some depredation work in the spring and summer months it is not something I look forward to. 

    Hopefully in the coming weeks I will be adding some blogs on hand calls and electronic calls, rifle and caliber choice, stand selection and a host of other subjects.  I look forward to having your thoughts and ideas presented through this blog and welcome to the fastest growing hunting sport in America. 

    Posted on 26th April 2007
    Under: General | 9 Comments »