This is the time of the year, when temperatures are low with snow on the ground when predators will come to a call. (Outdoorsmen Productions Photo)
Predators, an animal that naturally preys on others, Coyotes, Fox, Bobcats, and Mountain Lions to name a few?
As a lifelong hunter and trapper, I’ve had numerous run ins with predators, in Nebraska as well as in Missouri, South Dakota and Kansas.
On one occasion there were three of us calling coyotes on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota,
Outdoorsmen Productions team members Ben Bearshield, Larry Myhre and I were set up on a snow covered sidehill with our backs to a grove of Pine trees.
I was filming, Ben was calling, and he and Larry were the shooters, I was set up on the left, Ben in the middle and Larry on the righ.t
We had just put out our ICOTEC decoy and where letting things settle down before doing any calling.
After a couple of different predator calls, Ben paused his calling to look over the location below us where our decoy was setting.
We generally call in one location about a half hour and then move on, and as it was nearing our time to move, I heard what sounded like an animal running along the snow on the ridge, I slowly turned towards Larry and squatted down to Larry’s right was a coyote that was eyeballing our decoy, while a second coyote was about halfway to where we were set up.
Neither Larry or Ben had seen them as their eyes were on the field out in front of us, and as I attempted to get their attention, I tried to bring the camera to my right to get the footage, the coyote setting just off Larry’s shoulder spotted me and then both coyotes covered the ground in front of us so quickly Larry couldn’t get a shot, Ben threw a few rounds in their direction as they were going over the hill.
Larry was beside himself and not happy about me blowing the setup, all I could say was when I looked over and saw the coyote setting on its hunches while licking its lips as it eyeballed Larry, I had to sound the alarm or he might have had a coyote in his lap, of course, he didn’t buy that, but that was all I was going to say about that.
Another time Larry and I were hunting turkeys in Missouri with Ray Eye, we called a few times and then noticed movement off to our right, as a Bobcat was coming our way, moving into the tall grass off to our right.
Being it was coming to us, we stopped calling and kept an eye on the edge the bobcat was coming up.
It took about ten minutes for the Bobcat to appear off to our right, catching us flat footed only about ten feet from where we sat.
He sat down on his haunches and just looked us over, where we couldn’t move an inch until the cat looked down the ravine from where it had come, we weren’t able to get a shot at the Bobcat, but both Larry and I were able to get excellence footage and photos of the Bobcat.
On another show we were again filming, hunting predators on the Rosebud I was filming, Ben was doing the calling, he and I were the shooters, with Larry filming.
We’d set up just below the skyline overlooking an open field with a cattle pond down at where the draw ended.
Ben gave one short call when two coyotes burst over the dam on a dead run, heading our way.
I had my rifle up as did Ben when the coyotes ran towards us, I whispered to Ben that we should take them, as they got within range, Ben thought he could stop them with his call when they got a little closer.
Unfortunately, the coyotes were moving so fast, they ran right through us, with neither of us, having an opportunity to get a shot
Then it was opening day of the Spring turkey hunt, Larry had taken the Honda Pioneer and headed towards one of my deer blinds, while I was set up in the draw, we worked the area for twenty minutes and not hearing or seeing anything, decided to head back to my cabin for breakfast. After breakfast we decided to give my cabin area, northwest of Hartington, we decided to set up one more time, with Larry set up along our property line, while I was set up in the field below my cabin.
We had another hunter that showed up on the east end of the neighbor’s field, and slammed his truck door, which caused the Tom coming Larry’s way to gobble.
Larry had several turkeys working his way up the draw when they shock gobbled and flew into a tree in the ravine below Larry. He wasn’t sure what had caused the birds to go into the trees and tried calling softly to settle them down and to work their way towards him.
As he finished calling, a Mountain lion slid under the fence below him, not wanting to draw attention to himself, he just sat there, his back against a Cedar, hoping the lion wouldn’t notice him and go west towards where I was setting.
On another occasion, we were set up in western Nebraska calling above the Dismal River, where we’d set up quietly, gave a few calls and as we scanned, the river bottom, a Bobcat poked its head up over the bank and we added it to our days total.
The Rosebud reservation is one of our favorite places to call predators, and on our second trip there to call predators, Ben and I were set up facing west to a somewhat cedar overgrown pasture.
Ben did the calling while I backed him up with Larry on our camera, using our binoculars, we spotted a lone coyote coming over a ridge far for us to get a shot.
It didn’t seem to be in a big hurry and eventually it sat back on its haunches keeping an eye on where the calling was coming from.
We worked the coyote, eventually it dropped into the field in front of us, where we could get a shot, at the coyote out about at 125-yards.
On the last hunt on the Rosebud, we were making a move to another location, when I spotted a big Bobcat working through a prairie dog town.
After the rest of our crew verified that it was a Bobcat, I put the Bobcat down which was the biggest Bobcat we’d ever seen.
Predator calling is a great sport, even when fur prices are down as you can call predators when nothing else is going on and most cattlemen more than willing to allow you to hunt predators as they’re hard on the newborn calves on their land.
If you want to get your heart pumping and at the same time removing excess predators from the area, helping the upland game numbers, to keep these predators in in balance, give predator calling a shot and once you do it, a sport that you’ll want to do over and over again.
Gary Howey is an award-winning writer, producer, broadcaster, former tournament angler, fishing and hunting guide and in 2017 inducted into the “National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame”.
He developed and was the Producer-Host for 23 years of his award winning gary Howey’s Outdoorsmen Adventures television series. He’s the Host of the award-winning Outdoor Adventures radio program carried on Classic Hits 106.3, ESPN Sports Radio 1570 in Southeastern South Dakota, KWYR Country 93 AM and Magic 93 FM in Central South Dakota, As well as on KCHE 92.1 FM in Northwest Iowa. If you’re looking for more outdoor information, check out www.GaryHowey’soutdoors.com , and www.outdoorsmenadventures.com, with more information on these Facebook pages, Gary Howey, Gary E Howey, Outdoor Adventure Radio, Outdoorsmen Productions and Team Outdoorsmen Productions. The Outdoor Adventures television show is available on numerous independent markets, and the MIDCO Sports Network.