One of the most rapidly growing hunts is the small predator hunt. All over the country we have critters like coyotes and foxes; this offers a wonderful chance to take a beautiful canine no matter where you are.
The coyote is an animal that has been the symbol for many Native American tribes because of their wide range, spanning from Canada all the way down to Mexico. Perhaps an animal is even more iconic is the fox. There are 12 species in the fox genus which gives hunters the opportunity to hunt an animal that is specialized in its environment.
In recent years these predators have become nuisances, so much so that the United States government kills 90,000 a year to protect livestock. Predators alone killed 247,000 sheep in 2010; this caused farmers to lose out on $20.5. With sheep costing about $83 a head it seems to use that if you ask a farmer to hunt the land they just might say yes.
Before you ask those farmers though, you are going to need some equipment, and a small game license.
In our area we like to use Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity as a base layer, then use a Quaker Boy Outline Buster to better conceal ourselves. In the western bits of the country the Mossy Oak Brush pattern will more than likely be the pattern of choice to properly conceal yourself in that environment. Being able to effectively blend into your surroundings will greatly tip the odds in your favor when hunting these predators, they can often be more skittish than turkeys.
Since these predators are most active during the snowy months though we highly recommend picking up the winter version of the Quaker Boy Outline Buster and pairing it with a winter Mossy Oak pattern.
Calls and Decoys
When it comes to luring in those dogs you are going to need some gear to call them in and keep them coming. Quaker Boy has you covered when it comes to getting the right calls to do the job; there are two packs that are more-or-less necessities. Those packs would be:
- 3-Dog Night – Variety pack to mimic the group of yotes.
- Chompers – This is a 3 pack that can be used to mimic animals in distress to call in anything from bear to bobcats.
- Squeezin’ Screamer – This is an ultra-easy to use call that can be picked up by ANYBODY to have a successful hunt.
With these calls at your disposal you will be able to mimic anything those predators want to hear, but if that isn’t enough for you Quaker Boy does offer a wide variety of other calls to use. When it comes to decoys though we find it hard to beat a real critter. Since small game season is also here what we like to do is get a group of guys out in the woods, use our Quaker Boy squirrel calls and harvest some pelts. If you are looking for some lighter fur, rabbits may be the way to go.
Here is southern Michigan we are in a shotgun zone, which means we cannot use centerfire rifles or rimfire rifles over a .22. This presents us with a unique problem because the most popular rifle to use for small predators is the centerfire .223, and rightfully so. The ndustry standard for the .223 is Remington’s 55gr vmax rounds which produce about 1,000 ft/lbs of kinetic energy at 100 yard. The best .22lr round on the market is the CCI Velocitor, this round produces only about 90 ft/lbs of kinetic energy at 100 yards. These figures are ballpark(close ballpark) but they allow you to quickly see why the .223 is the rounds to use for predators if you are allowed it. In our area though we use a lot of shotguns and .17HMRs for critters of this type.
When it comes to picking a shotgun load, a No. 4 00 Buckshot being used with a modified choke is a hard one to beat, if you want to keep the pelt for anything. If you are looking for a real challenge though pick up yourself a PSE bow and fling some arrows out there at them.
Once you have all of your equipment in order go ahead and ask that farmer, once you get permission get out there and take some of those iconic predator animals.