Up on the Zeiss Victory Stage at the 2017 Dallas Safari Club Hunting Expo and Convention, predator calling legend, Byron South, was answering question from the audience about best times to call, how long to call, what animal distress calls to use for coyote and bobcats, and if several of those attending asking if they could accompany him on a future hunt.
One of the questions was “Do you prefer using your Convergent Hunting Solutions’ Bullet HP electronic call or your new mouth-blown calls.” I listened intently. “Of course I love and use both! One of the advantages of our electronic Bullet HP is I can call for a long time. Often that keeps coyotes and bobcats coming my way from a long distance and keeps them interested longer. With the mouth-blown call I can only blow only as long as I can get enough breath to do so. And, that’s not nearly as long as what I can play the Bullet HP.” The response brought a giggle from the audience!
He continued to explain both are important when trying to attract predators. And that often he switches back and forth between calls. He also pointed out both electronic and mouth blown Convergent Hunting Solutions calls are easy to carry and should accompany a hunter when going afield, whether specifically for coyotes and bobcats or hunting big game species, or for that matter anytime you go afield.
Me? I grew up with mouth blown calls. I admit having a great affinity for them. But I have too, used the electronic Bullet HP with great success. However, I like being able to tuck Convergent’s mouth blown calls in my pocket where they are always handy, whenever and wherever I’m hunting.
Byron patiently answered all their questions and stated unfortunately he had to go to the upcoming SHOT Show rather than hunt during the next couple of weeks as he wished he could. Perhaps those interested could accompany him at a later date.
I know how he felt! But this year, once DSC’s convention was in the history books, I was headed to the Sandstone Mountain Ranch near Llano to hunt whitetails for the final whitetail hunt/episode for our “DSC’s Trailing the Hunter’s Moon” for the 2017 show season.
Upon completion of the DSC Convention I headed to Sandstone Mountain Ranch (www.sandstonemountainranch.homestead.com) . While having supper with the owners and their ranch manager they mentioned having recent problems with bobcats killing critters, essentially in their front yard, in particular the owner’s wallabies, a smaller version of kangaroos, which were also “pets”! “They killed four in the last few days, including one I bottle-fed and raised from a small joey!” said the owner. “We gotta do something about those bobcats before they kill another one!”
I wish I could tell you we shot several cats to help alleviate further kangaroo death losses. But we did not. However, I left my Bullet HP and a set of new mouth blown calls with Chris Treiber. Thankfully Chris, shortly after we left was able to call in and shoot two big mature tom bobcats, both weighing well over thirty pounds, fully capable of killing wallabies.
A few days after our Sandstone hunt Blake Barnett, co-host of our DSC’s Trailing the Hunter’s Moon, and I had an opportunity to hunt predators several miles south of the Sandstone where I was hoped to call in a bobcat for him, and, possibly also for me.
We agreed not to shoot any foxes or coyotes which might responded, only bobcats. For him and me to do so was quite a commitment!
Blake was used his Ruger FTW/SAAM Hunter in 6.5 Creedmoor topped with a Trijicon scope and shooting Honardy’s extremely accurate 143-grain ELD-X Precision Hunter ammo. I had a Ruger Number 1 in .275 Rigby (known more commonly as a 7×57 in the States), loaded with Hornady’s 140-grain Soft Point, a load this fine and handsome rifles seems to greatly adore!
Over the years I have often called in bobcats during daylight hours at the times Activity of Feeding) Charts, such as found in “Lone Star Outdoor News”, indicate peak or secondary feeing periods. I found over the years if I called during those prime feeding times predators responded more than at other times. Before our hunt I consulted the latest issue and found a peak activity period in our immediate area would be near 2:30 pm.
Blake and I set up near a large whitebrush thicket about 2:15. Walking toward our hunt area I found fresh bobcat tracks and scat.
We set up together, but both watching different shooting lanes.
I waited to turn on the Bullet HP until birds started chirping again. I started loud, just like I had heard rabbits do when they were grabbed by a predator.
Frankly I did not expect a bobcat to respond immediately because normally they respond slowly, then sit almost out of sight where they watch before making a final approach. Uncharacteristically this one came at a trot, even before mockingbirds and other song birds announced his presence and almost as soon as I started the calling cottontail in distress calling sequence.
The mature tom stepped into Blake’s shooting lane. I saw him push the Ruger’s three stage safety to fire, take careful aim and pull the trigger. The bobcat, only about thirty yards distant, simply fell to the ground.
I continued calling hoping perhaps there might be another hungry or curious predator nearby. But when after two minutes of calling nothing appeared, I turned the Bullet HP off.
Blake’s bobcat was indeed a handsome old male, one that would later in the week be headed to The Wildlife Gallery where they will perform their taxidermy magic.
There may be those who do not agree with hunting bobcats, but they are predators which like other species as well as the habitat in which they live, needs to be properly managed based on good sound data. Doing so helps keep not only healthy and productive wildlife, but perhaps more Importantly a healthy habitat!