Use Decoys For Predators and Hunt Feral Hogs

Editor’s Note: Do you want to have all the land you need to hunt and even more? Instead of your looking for land to hunt, how about if farmers and ranchers call you to come hunt their properties? Predator hunters often enjoy these kinds of perks. When coyotes, raccoons, bobcats, foxes and/or feral hogs create problems for landowners, deer hunters and turkey hunters, anyone who can remove these predators generally has an open-ended invitation and a warm welcome awaiting him to hunt new property. Predators kill and eat newborn livestock, including calves, lambs, goats, deer fawns, occasionally adult deer, poultry, domestic pets at times and turkey poults. They also destroy turkey nests and the nests of songbirds. In years past, trappers have kept predator numbers down. However, with the decrease in fur prices for many years, the predator hunter has replaced the trapper in many areas as the way to keep predator populations in check. Therefore, to have all the hunting land you want to hunt, become a predator hunter, and use Hunter’s Specialties’ products to be successful.

For many years, critter getters have used decoys, including bird wings, fuzzy animals or moving tails, to focus the predator's attention as the animal responds to the hunter’s call. I’ve even seen predator hunters use toy wind-up gorillas as decoys to get the animal's attention. However, when a hunter uses a decoy, especially in the eastern U.S., the predator never may see it unless the animal’s within gun range.

Recently predator hunters have begun using crow, owl and hawk decoys mounted on poles or set in trees above the sites from where they’ll call. Here’s the reason why. If you’ve ever called predators, you know that crows, hawks and sometimes owls will come in to your calling site first, looking for the animal in distress because these birds of prey and birds that feed on carrion hear very well.

MOJO Outdoors has brought one of the hottest new decoys – the MOJO Hawk, a spinning-wing hawk decoy - to the predator market in 2006. Many of us have heard about the MOJO Mallard and the MOJO Dove, both spinning-wing decoys, and realize how these decoys lure in waterfowl and doves. MOJO’s Hawk Decoy mounted on a pole appears to hover over an animal in distress, giving a visual to go with the predators call.

“One of the advantages of using a bird decoy is that when a coyote, a fox, or a bobcat comes to a predator call, he’ll be looking up instead of down,” Al Morris explains. “Often the animal’s using its eyes to try and spot the location of the prey instead of its nose. I’ve seen coyotes come to a bird decoy with their heads up, looking at the decoy instead of their heads down, testing the wind. I know some predator hunters who won’t go into the woods or fields without some type of bird decoy.”

The placement of a bird decoy provides reinforcement for the coyote that an animal or a bird in distress is in the region. The bird decoy takes the coyote's eyes to the place where it hears the calling originating. The predator’s not looking at the ground, attempting to spot the animal in distress because the predator knows it will find the wounded or hurt animal immediately below the bird of prey (decoy) the predator sees. These birds of prey decoys give the predator confidence to come in, take its eyes off the area where the call’s coming from and enable the predator to travel the shortest route to the decoy.

Hunt Feral Hogs:
Many people never may have considered hogs as predators. However, a feral hog like a possum will eat almost anything. Hogs have very keen noses with a more acute sense of smell than white-tailed deer. Therefore, in the spring, when livestock give birth to their young, often hogs will kill and eat the newborns. Hungry hogs also will eat deer fawns and turkey eggs.

Too, if you want to see a cornfield, a watermelon patch or any type of agriculture destroyed, turn a pack of hogs loose in it for one night. Generally when hogs first move into a region, many hunters get excited about having new animals to hunt. However, within a year or two, they realize that the hogs compete with native wildlife for food, destroy green fields, often root-up roads and make a general nuisance of themselves.

More hog calls, cover scents and lures have appeared in the marketplace in the past few years, and more states than ever permit hog hunting over an extended time. Alabama, Florida, Texas, South Carolina and other states have designated certain portions of their states with no closed seasons and no bag limits on hogs. In many states, hog season runs concurrent with predator season.