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PART 1


Here follows a special 10-part series on Jackal & Lynx predation control, the ethical way – no poisons and gin traps here – just good, clean, ethical predation control! Even if you hunt in America or another country the basics to a night hunt are the same so anybody will learn something from this series!

 

It’s vital that we as conservationists and hunters strive to control and thin out predators ethically ; we have much wildlife in South Africa, and it’s up to us to help keep down predation. This is a very concrete account of ways in which to control predation, keeping in mind that to hunt ethically is the only option. To know how to hunt predators is important, it’s all about saving Africa’s vast wildlife population. It was estimated in the early 1950’s that jackal kill over 350,000 sheep annually, today it’s a lot more and close to 850,000 in a year!

 

 “G Laubscher”

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This series will cover the A-Z of jackal and lynx predation control, from the old ‘arcade’ equipment to modern high-tech equipment, recent computer technology replacing CDs, to the most advanced Alnet camouflage netting. The course will also include the basic tools that the predator hunter uses, calls, using the moon to your advantage, day camouflage, electronics, wind thermals, lights, lenses, aging jackals and cats, tips and general pointers - even urine and lures are discussed.  The important ‘jackal cycle’ is discussed in detail and much emphasis is placed on what sounds to use at what time of the year as well as tricks to help you succeed.

This series is one that can be referred to later as a refresher course. It has everything that you will need to understand the concept of ethical predation control. I have no doubt that, after you have completed this series, you will feel far more confident about how to succeed at predator hunting, and have sufficient information to help you in calling a trapping.

I have been practising my trade over many years and since 1984 I have used a variety of equipment, many that are now near to obsolete. With the high-tech equipment now available, we are blessed with computer chips built into callers; even CDs are fast becoming a thing of the past. But the basics of predator calling will NEVER change. Keeping to the basics will ensure that you will have fur on your truck after a hunt, and that’s what matters; results mean everything – and missing out on an opportunity is never an option. We will cover “LOCATION” – one of many secrets to achieving good results.

Nothing compares to sitting on the back of a truck in the late afternoon, waiting for the end of another beautiful day and the arrival of darkness, listening to the sounds of the bush – AND KNOWING that you have all the necessary equipment needed to be the victor that night. There is no doubt about it, when you know you have the best equipment on hand you automatically feel far more positive and determined to succeed that night!

To have a quality stand, location, weather and moon, together with top class callers, be it hand or electronic, good lighting, silent chair, accurate rifle and good camouflage – what can go wrong! Now it is just you and your knowledge needed to close the deal, and this is what I will offer you here.

Remember that calling is an art. We must be actors in order to produce realistic, dramatic, painful, urgent sounds, sounds sufficiently mouth-watering to get a predator’s attention. When we call, we are penetrating an area with no predator in sight, so we must call it to us, and this animal will approach with all its senses on high alert; the slightest thing out of place and it will vanish. The predator is not a herd animal, being mostly solitary, and on this type of hunt you don’t crawl to the predator and shoot at 200 metres; this time we must call it to us. So, the more persistent, focused, ambitious and dedicated we are, the more successful our calling will be

PREDATOR CALLING HISTORY

Back in the 1880’s the American Red Indian was the first to make hand calls out of wood and blow on them to achieve sounds to bring in game, as well as use their mouths to create convincing sounds. They also used to cover themselves in Buffalo skins or other game skins to get close to game for hunting purposes.
In the 1900’s a few gentlemen called Alcorn, Herters, Linsay, Olt and Higley were the first to design and make predator calls to sell to the public in the USA. They are all, without a doubt, fathers of the game calling industry. In 1930 Lohman was the first company to make the buck grunt caller, though many other American companies were manufacturing all kinds of game calls. In the 1960’s Johnny Stewart was the first to tape wild animals and play the sounds to lure in game.

An idea of open reed calls, made by Feather & Fur Game Calls

Today the predator hunting business is huge; it has a vast following and all companies offering calling equipment have to offer excellent products to compete in the market and survive. Some companies are so big they have their own television programmes and offer up to 450 items for hunting on their catalogues, like Lohman in the USA. It is estimated that in America about 87,000 individuals and companies manufacture game calls.  The internet is full of information, just punch it on a search engen and sit back, its mind blowing.

Idea of Custom four way calls – these are Cat   Killers made by Feather & Fur.

In 2002 for the first time in history we at Feather & Fur designed and started manufacturing calling equipment in South Africa. The operation is based in Cape Town, but Feather & Fur also exports call parts to the USA where the South African parts are fitted into American calls. But at the end of the day it was about time to put South Africa on the game-calling map; after all this is Africa! and we do have a couple of species worth calling!

I did two years’ military service in 1980-1983 of which I spent 19 months on the border in the (then) South West Africa and Angola. I experienced my first jackal kill, shooting the predator while on guard duty. After the army I met two American hunters who showed me the basics of the craft and from then on I learnt from experience.  I decided to make the outdoors my living, and completed a few courses including that of becoming a certified hunter and gunsmith.

Surprisingly, courses for professional hunters pay little or no attention to predator hunting, I find this hard to believe, as predator control is an important part of hunting. So I had to be largely self-taught. Today I run Feather & Fur Varmint Hunting Tours, a hunting/touring business, and Feather & Fur Game Calls, the division of the company that manufactures and markets game calls. We have hunting rights on 2 family farms as well as 47 farms on concession. We also maintain excellent contacts in the USA and I am the official promoter of the world’s best electronic caller, namely the American Foxpro in South Africa.

 

CANINES & FELINES– OUR MAJOR PREDATORS

 

One of the most important things to do when deciding upon a predator hunt is to determine your quarry – what will you target? This is vital, as it will influence the way in which we hunt. So, to determine the quarry, chat to the landowner and ask him what the problematic predators are on his farm. On some farms Silver Jackal or Wildcat do not represent a problem; some farms have feral cat problems; some only have problems with Black-backed Jackal, whilst others only have Rooikat problems, so getting feedback from the farmer is important. It’s no good using a jackal sound on a CD if there are no jackals in the vicinity and only Rooikat. We don’t want to eradicate non-problematic animals either.

This is where we predator callers feature in the whole predator hunting equation: we can call in, identify and terminate predators, whereas the guys using gin traps and poison do not have this ‘discretionary’ advantage; everything they poison or catch with metal sprung traps will die or suffer in pain. There can be no doubt that this method of calling, identification and, if necessary, termination is an ethical one. And utilising this method helps us be target specific, whilst with traps and poison we can never achieve the goal of being target specific.

This series basically covers the most-often-spoken-about predators, predators that after years of research keep rearing their heads, namely the Black-backed Jackal, Silver Jackal, Lynx and Groukat/ African Wildcat. Please note that in this series I concentrate only on these predators and make no reference at all to any other sort of predator.

EQUIPMENT

Remember that if you have all the equipment, but don’t know how to call in predators efficiently and effectively, you could actually be causing further problems. Many guys who have the right equipment but don’t know how to use it, land up ‘educating’ predators. I once met a hunter who drives around at night with a truck and while the truck idles he calls for a few minutes and uses a white light! It is extremely important to know what you are doing and to be familiar with the calling concept!

The equipment we will be discussing in this series has been used by hunters and professionals for years, and they work. They are designed for easy use by either a novice or a practising predator hunter. We are fortunate that today we have such an array of exciting equipment that can be purchased and that nothing is impossible to get hold of, especially with the help of the Internet. Today we have high-tech equipment with crystal clear sounds, and have come a long way since the large 45 rpm records and huge tapes were used.

A very basic CASS CREEK electronic caller will cost you just over R140-00, which is very affordable, and it’s a killer call, and we will discuss many others that are available to help us all sound like professional hunters. The predator-calling revolution has never been this good, with such a wide array of top-class equipment to choose from: hand calls with excellent sounds, hand-held lights and rifle-mounted lights, lenses, simulated urines, bipods, camouflage and truck camo, even camo we can stick onto the truck body, items designed by hunters for hunters, and most of it simple to use. I can only say get involved and purchase the equipment you will need; we are in a golden age of remarkable equipment. See the Internet (under predator calling forums); it’s amazing what you can learn on these sites.

I will cover what the basic hunter will require with limited funds, and what he could buy with unlimited funds. I believe buying the best you can afford is the answer.

STANDARD PREDATOR EQUIPMENT NEEDED BY A NIGHT HUNTER & GEARING UP FOR THE FIRST TIME

 

There is a specific time during every hunt when I am really worked up; it has been like that since I began hunting and today I still feel that adrenaline rush and the anticipation of the hunt. That time is after I have started calling at the beginning of a hunt and then light up the night with a red lens; this is the time I am most anxious, waiting to seeing those large red eyes running in towards me - a sight never to be forgotten. Calling in Namibia you never know what those eyes belong to until they come closer!!!

Here I have an idea of the three common styles of calls, left to right, custom open reeded distress by David Millar of DOA Calls, again centre his custom closed reeded call and right a custom semi closed reed crow caller made by a gentleman in Holland- Tjeerd Calls.

These three depict the three common styles of calls made today. Some closed reeded calls come with plastic reeds and some others a stainless single or double reed, I like stainless, this is why I love my Lohman MVP-4.

 

Purchasing quality calls will help you call in predators, just make sounds very realistic and put feeling and emotion in your sounds to make a predators mouth water! If you can blow air you can blow a call.


 

Without using good quality night-calling equipment, your hunt will be ruined before it gets started. Remember that you will be operating in the dark with no lights to help you see, so all your equipment must be good. You must be well trained in its use and how it works in pitch darkness, without making any unnecessary noise. Remember you are hunting a survivor; the predator will analyse every sound you make and if he has the slightest suspicion that something is amiss, he will disappear and you won’t even know he was near.  Predators are survivors and will use all their tricks and sly techniques to hunt you down. Practise in your yard in darkness and get to know your equipment, I use a tiny torch fitted with a red lens to help me in darkness if I need it.

For the person new to the sport of predator hunting, you need a few items that I like to class as an “AFRICAN PACKAGE”. A hunter can get by with a very basic tackle box of equipment without breaking the bank, as long as you know how to call and when and what sounds to make. For a beginner I would suggest a simple tape or CD sound system and a set of CDs suitable for different times of the year, three calls (a squeaky coaxer call, a general food call, and a barking call), and a light with red lens (lights and lenses will be discussed in future editions). A small container with cake flour to test wind direction is a good idea as well – or hang a string on your shooting chair. You will also need camouflage for your truck, preferably non-reflective camo net. I use Alnet’s design and they also manufacture a new product called ‘leaf netting’ that is far cheaper, and comes in a length of 25m. For saving money buy Hessian sheets and sprinkle with darkish mud in places. DON’T USE BLACK AT NIGHT! We cover this later also.

I manufacture a shooting chair that fits the red light I also make, and I fit a small electronic caller to it, so it’s all neat and tidy and compact, the chair turns and so to does the sound, it makes the noises seem more realistic because from a distance it sounds like the animal is moving as the sound waves change as the seat turns. But if you make your own chair it must be DEAD silent!

Also personally, I would go on a course to get a better idea of the way you hunt, get a video to teach you, or go out with a person that knows how to hunt predators properly.

Buy equipment because it’s good not because it’s cheap!  

If I had the choice and money is no problem, I would buy the best equipment straight away, viz. a good light with red lens, electronic player and quality calls. The equipment will last for years. One of my lights has lasted for over 9 years, and it still has its original halogen bulb!

Here is a list for two different scenarios the LIMITED FUNDS and the UNLIMITED. You can choose the category that you would fall into.

Limited Funds

Hessian sheeting for a SWB truck (15M x2m)

CD Walkman or MP3 player with small amplifier and speaker with a CD of calling sounds

Red light no smaller than 500,000 candle power

Standard American Cass Creek electronic, Johnny Stewart or tape caller

A mass produced hand caller that makes distress sounds. Plastic preferably it produces louder sounds.

Rechargeable torch to walk in bush with to find predators

This list will enable you to succeed ok and you will be able to achieve success with it, now look at the other alternative, and see how it changes the hunt.

Rifle scope that’s generally good with 9 power with a thickish crosshair.

NOTE THAT ALL these items will be discussed in detail throughout this 10 part series.

 

Unlimited Funds

Camouflage netting without steel rings, green, brown and grey in colour – ( Alnet)

Foxpro digital electronic caller either FX3 or Fx5 ( Discussed later)

Quality red filter spotlight with matching silent chair

Set of open reeded Tweety callers, DOA’s, jackal barkers and Cat Killer calls

Million candle power torch or Sure-fire torch rechargeable

Proper set of full camo clothing for summer and winter, UV neutral colours and not black.

Night scope with larger objective to allow light in with an illuminated crosshair.

 

 This is a list for the unlimited category, prices are hard to determine. But if you are looking at this section prices are not an issue.  Look at   www.flambeauoutdoors.com  for Lohman and www.doagamecalls.com for a selection by David Millar, he can craft you a custom caller. I have about 9 of his style calls, and they are good working calls, worth every cent! I have shown a few here in these photos, if you need more pictures simply give me a call.

 

 TYPICAL NIGHT HUNT referred to in detail in this 10-part series

After you have established a location by finding a carcass or fresh spoor and decided to call at the desired spot, you arrive in the day about an hour or more before it gets dark, cover the truck, plug in lights, load the weapon, check all electronics or hand calls, and await darkness. This is a typical scenario, but in this 10-part series we will discuss in great detail all the factors that a hunter has to be aware of regarding calling in of predators and what transpires before a hunt begins.

Try to always make your stands interesting, after you finish a spot have tea or coffee and chat and socialize etc, then move on, enjoy the hunt and each others company, remember not everybody can enjoy what we do, most live in polluted cities and never get out at all, enjoy the moment and gods great outdoors.

  PREDATOR CALLS

When we call predators, we must become actors, putting feeling, pain and emotion into the caller; we must act like an animal being ripped apart. This is different to when we call other game: to call geese we make geese sounds, for duck we make duck sounds, and for buck we make buck sounds - BUT for predators, we must sound like potential prey, and the better we act the more we will become the hunted.

A good quality call helps us. You generally get two kinds of game calls on the market, a concealed reed design and an open-reeded caller. Many people that have called for some time can master an open-reeded caller with ease. For the beginner or complete novice a closed-reed design is more appealing.  THE MORE WE MAKE A PREDATOR’S TASTEBUDS WATER, THE MORE SUCCESSFUL WE WILL BE, so be innovative, practise and make those sounds really good! That rabbit you are trying to copy must sound like its been ripped apart and this will get any predators attention!

Remember what you put in the call is what you get out. In other words, if you make a really dull sound into the caller, you will not raise much interest in any animal, BUT if your calls are realistic, suggesting pain and panic, with convincing emotion, that predator will think supper is on the table and come on in.

 

The open-reeded caller makes a greater variety of sounds than a closed design does; this also depends on who is blowing that caller, and how much practise the caller has had.  If you have owls dive-bombing you at a calling stand, for instance, that’s a good indication that your calling sounds are really good. For open reeds, I love calls made by THE VERMINATORS called TWEETY and SYCO TWEETY, and for closed reeds, without a doubt a LOHMAN MVP-4. If you look at my website you will see many photos of predators taken with a MVP-4.  




Lohman MVP-4


 

I am a firm supporter of a stainless steel double and single reeded call. For really quality custom calls, Lohman/ Circe, TNT and Haydel’s make excellent models. One of my all-time favourites is a Lohman CIRCE MVP-4, a true killer of a call; with 3 different settings in one call (a coaxer, short and long-range setting) all you do is flip the dial to what you need.

Here we have a selection of a few of my favourite callers; top to bottom we have Turbo Tweety, Thumper, Syco Tweety and the famous Tweety. These are very good calls, some of the very best calls I have used, the top one in ORANGE has two reeds on top of each other, The yellow one has a air chamber with two divisions and this allows it to make amazing crystal clear sounds.

I always tell clients, customers or students that I will NEVER say a product is good just for the sake of it, as my reputation rides on my comments, these calls I can stand by, they are great calls period!

 

Plastic calls have better distance and generate more sound, and rubber ones allow you to squeeze closed the ends for more sounds, whilst wooden ones have many different thicknesses for sound. The reeds are either metal or plastic, but I prefer stainless steel. The big difference between an open reed and closed is that an open reed will tend to make your ears buzz a little the next day, whereas the closed reed designs are more ‘ear friendly’. Sounds travel further at night due to low air pollution and a plastic caller helps us get even more range.

On the other hand, open reeds don’t get frozen up or full of spittle as easily as closed reeds, but it’s a personal choice with hunters and callers. But for a beginner, I would steer towards a standard closed reed call.

Look over the internet, you will be blown away at the amount on offer, if you want locally built calls give me a call, I always have a few in my truck while hunting - just in case my working call dies on me, little things like that you learn as time goes by.

If you can blow air you can use a hand caller, all it takes is a little time, patience and practise – and as predator callers we know all about having patience on a hunt, without it you won’t succeed!

To be able to hunt predators we must remember that we are up against an animal that has been persecuted for over 100 years, many are already far to educated because of previous altercations with man, and these individuals take a long time to forget it, we must hunt in ethical manners that allow us a clear conscience when we shut eyes at night and as I say if you call in an animal and you are not sure of the shot don’t take it because if you shoot the wrong animal or miss a jackal you are going to have more trouble than you had before.

 

This photo is of two young lynx I called in together with my TNT calls made by Lynn Jacobson in Utah, USA. They are also available on www.allpredatorcalls.com It helps using quality equipment, the results show. These are all closed reeded calls.

He also uses laminated wood for a custom look and engraves the faces of cats and dogs on the calls themselves. These also have my name on them.

 

This is a few ideas of open reeded jackal puppy, wounded jackal calls, all custom made, and very good sounding again made by David Millar. www.doagamecalls.com  

He can craft you various sizes depending on your hand size. Simply put nothing compares to a call that is made for you personally, it feels good to know that no other is like it.

 

 

End of PART ONE

In the following edition we look at truck preparation, camouflage, time management, lessons learnt as hunters, driving around, scent and people. 

For more information on calling equipment, lures, simulated urine, lights, lenses, courses, shooting chairs etc etc., contact Gary at 0824853885 or email sellis@telkomsa.net. Also visit the following website; www.africanpredator.com

 

 

WARNING

 

NO PART OF THIS SERIES CAN BE COPIED, PRINTED, EDITED, SOLD, PUBLISHED without the written consent of Feather & Fur. This series is all COPYRIGHT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

All contents copyright 2008. African Predator.