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What’s the biggest predator hunting “secret “that ensures results??????


Making a set in Namibia on a recent predator hunt

What else is important? How about wind and thermals, scent, calling sounds, truck preparation etc, yes! All very important- BUT one other extremely important point is missing!  A point as important for the day hunter as what it is for night time calling- the answer is????? LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION!!!!!!

 Last month I teamed up with a family of hunters, we set out early and stopped at a spot “they decided would be good for me”! It was on a flat part of land and it had a koppie in the centre, next to a jackal proof fence, the one chap said “that’s your spot Laubscher”! I commented by saying- if you want me to hunt from up there I will rather go back to the farmhouse and have supper. Standing on top of a koppie (rocky outcrop) with a truck is not exactly very bright! I selected my own spot and called in a jackal after 30 / 35 seconds (see photo on my  website under photos). LOCATION IS EVERYTHING! Many will say wind is just as important- I was in Namibia this past year, called in black backed jackal, none of the dogs approached with the wind in their faces! So, it’s not always a factor, but LOCATION IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Also you cannot call something that’s simply not around.

So, how do you begin? Chatting to the farm owner or plaasvolk (workers on farm) will tell you plenty about the dog’s movements. But let’s take it a step closer. Let’s assume the dog or cat has killed recently, that’s the ideal spot to look over. If it was a day or two back cats tend to come back to a carcass they killed after 3-4 days. But let’s just say we know a predator has killed recently.

Scout a camp, get out at first light, (observe crows and vultures) for signs of dead animals. Scout on roads and cattle tracks for spoor (paw prints). Finding fresh lynx (caracal) mess is easy, it’s not buried like your house cat, and a jackal deposit is also easy to see.  Upon finding fresh sign, look over your immediate area. Does it look good for a calling stand?, is the grass or Karoo stubble low ( 30cm) about 12 inches, remember cats can hide behind anything, they approach “slow and low”.   Is area around you open for at least 150 metres in a circle?, is the area easy to get to by truck, is the area free of dongas or gullies that predators can use as approach and escape routes, is the area away from a jackal proof fence, if you call the animal can it get to you?, is the area at least 400 or more yards from any human activity?, is the area free of mountains near you? (Animals can look down on you). These are a few pointers to think about.

If you find tracks circling bushes, walking around rocks etc, this is a sign that the animal is hunting, and a good spot to call!
 

If you are calling a sheep camp, stand on the jackal proof fence line so you can call two camps, better still stand on the corner so you have excellent vision all around. If you stand away from a fence a predator won’t be able to get to you. Another point on location is NEVER stand on a sandy road, predators know farms well, they know yesterday nothing was in the road, upon seeing that big object (your truck) they will kick in the afterburners and get out of dodge very fast ( this is for night calling). Park away from a road or sand path used by cattle.

Your planned location is important, then the wind, try park facing the way you prefer shooting from at the back of your truck, for instance, I like shooting over the roof. So, I face downwind with the roof as my rest. In hot jackal areas I light up more times from that direction, but not all jackals are clever!  Cats also approach from any old place; wind is not an issue for them. (African Wildcat and African Lynx- Caracal).

Get yourself a nice open place with very few low Karoo bushes, park your truck near a few to help break up the trucks outline, also put a bush on top of the bonnet to break up the trucks outline. Use good camo net (not shade cloth) it squeaks and is shiny!. Don’t use black colours either, nothing is black in the Karoo, or you will stand out at night! Park your truck about 80 m from the dead animal that the jackals killed, face downwind! That dead animal will help hide your scent! THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT TIP!!!!  Start calling after it gets dark, make sure you arrive at this hunting spot at least an hour before it gets dark. Waiting for darkness you may even see the jackals coming! Before starting to call the first time ALWAYS FIRST LOOK AROUND THE TRUCK WITH RED LIGHT! Just in case a predator is walking close by, now start calling softly and after 5 minutes up the volume.

Your chosen location will be the judging factor of your hunt, it will play a huge part, so to ensure you have fur lying at the back after a night hunt, make sure your set up is good. If you have a mountain at the back 300 yards distant this will hide your trucks outline, but don’t park to close to the mountain.

Good vision from your position is extremely important, have no obstacles in your way, keep away from large trees and tall game farm fences (they shine in torch light) and make sure the truck has no fuel smells! PREDATORS KNOW FUEL SMELLS ONLY TO WELL!!!!!!!!!! After you put on camo net walk away to 50 yards, bend down to jackal height and look at the truck from the dogs height, see if you spot anything out of place, check in a full circle. Make sure to use your bottles of open animal waste / urines well, spread them out downwind to hide your scent. I have 4 bottles that I use. I put them 20m away from my truck, in a 9 o clock to 3 o clock position.

After you have hunted predators for many years you will often be able to select the spot that he will show up, I often am on the money when I select an area, this will help you in selecting the appropriate spot for a calling location. (Remember cats like to stick to cover). (See my comment 3 paragraphs down)

One of the biggest tips a predator hunter can give you is this tip, and boy does it work! ESPECIALLY FOR CATS! Your farm, does it have a rubbish dump far from the main farmhouse? Yes?? If so read on!!! For LOCATION you will hardly ever find a better place to call cats, it is the ultimate place, an absolute killer of a location,  the cats know mice and rats are in these places, so they hunt here, so call or trap these spots ! IT WORKS!

I like to have a good look at an area I intend to hunt, if the area has a donga that a predator can hide in or use as a travel route I keep way away from it and make sure I park at least 150 m from it so he has to show to get close to me. (I also know that I will have to take him before he retreats if suspecting something). But never park near the dongas, some open lands have ridges due to the harvester machine, this is also not good, a cat can hide low and you won’t be able to shoot at him.

Cats like cover but don’t worry about wind, if I call just for cats I position my truck facing cover or the koppies as chances are he will use that route. Heres a perfect example- in Sutherland we hunt an area near a broken bridge, we go in a sheep camp to the right on the way to Williston, when I park I face the koppies, behind me is a open grazing field. After calling this camp for 6 years guess how many cats came to my call from the grazing area and how many from the koppies? NONE came from the open field! This is as much proof as you will ever need.
 

This is the location I speak about in the above paragraph; we set up here at night and call, all the cats approach from those koppies in the distance. We shoot Dassies here in the day to bait the cages with for lynx.

 

I like to leave the farm early, this allows me to get to the spot, look it over, park properly and take my time to set up, Camouflage the truck well, set out my bottles of lure, and I also take one or two bushes with me to put on the bonnet to break up the truck well. Avoid high rises and never park at a location that an incoming predator can see you before you see him, like next to a wall etc, it must be open and you must have good vision. Here is a trick that I have used over the years and it works nicely. Just before I start calling and using the red light I put a few drops of EYE DROPS into my eyes, it not only cleans out the eyes but seems to make everything much brighter for at least 20 minutes, give it a try,  and you will see the difference.

On courses I strongly promote the use of an excellent location, this will enable you to kill far more dogs or cats, trust me, I have done this for many years. I was the other day challenged by a predator hunter in the Northern Cape, he questioned my tactics- I told him to not take note of me and do as he has done before, he said that I am a “ fyn” jagter,( I am a hunter who looks at the fine details) So what!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nothing wrong with that, yes I am a perfectionist, I don’t just do this as a hobby, its my full time business and living, teaching clients to hunt as well, so by telling them the correct ways and being “ fyn” is good with me, at least I know I am trying to teach them correctly. So, if you don’t like my methods go find a lot of information like this someplace else- chances are you wont in South Africa. I know other hunters who DON’T tell everything they know to students on courses, well why not? We are all fighting the same war; I have no problem at all in giving as much info as I can possibly give.

If you want more information on this subject go to the link called PREDATOR CALLING INFO on my website,  

Gary Laubscher

www.africanpredator.com

sellis@telkomsa.net
 

 

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