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PART 4


“JACKAL & LYNX CONTROL”

In this edition we cover an important part of predator calling, namely records, as well as stands, success, predator’s eyes, predator killing habits.  If you are like me and have many farms you hunt on it is of utmost importance keep records, after a while it tells a story.



RECORDS, STANDS AND SUCCESS

I have in total an amount of 47 farms I call on, some small and some huge, this gets rather difficult keeping track of what call I used, and when etc. So, I have a system I utilize, I have a file that I make notes in and when I get back to the office I log all info, this gives me an overall picture of the farm and what I call in etc. My form gives me date, time I start calling, what I call in, moon conditions, people with me, calls used, sounds used and what was shot. After two years I can look at the computer and it will highlight what farm is most active at what month, what farm offers more cats than dogs etc. I am a perfectionist so this is not so hard for me to keep track of. If you want to hunt professionally its important to keep records of all farms, they reveal a story after a while, it sort of jumps from the page as you go over it. I can tell exactly from years of hunting for instance at Sutherland what predators I can find near certain sheep camps etc in what months and what call they responded to the best. This kind of professional attention requires a little work but worth the effort.

With regards to stands (hunts) and success the form will reveal how many stands I must do at a place on that farm before I get a result, when I began hunting long ago I called with calls not exactly very wonderful, and got about one jackal out of 25 hunts at an active farm, BUT after I started getting better calls and learning I started getting one out of every 9 hunts, the calls also play an important role, so I make notes of what call is used and how often and what sound. Today I practise my trade with the best equipment in the world, achieving really good results. For a complete novice hunting jackal I would say 1 kill in about 18 hunts would be about right, for Lynx you would be doing well with a one kill in about 35 hunts, a hunter that knows the basics on an average farm not crawling with jackal you will be doing ok with a one kill out of eight to ten hunts, and for cats about one kill in 25-28 hunts. These are figures that I have put together after doing an analysis after speaking to previous people I taught and clients calling me. BE ADVISED THE WEATHER PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN SUCCESS. When I say 1 in 18 or 1 in 28 hunts this is hunting on the same farm, I don’t mean hunting various farms and getting those figures, each farm has its own separate chart.

This is also dependant on what location – like Namibia here you kill many if you are pretty clued up, we killed 26 jackal and a cat in 9 hours on my last trip, ALL ON DVD as proof,  so locations vary.

REMEMBER also, we have two kinds of Jackals, a Karoo jackal like from Montagu to Sutherland, past Beaufort West to Colesburg and larger Karoo, these are clever dogs, you cannot compare them to Natal Drakensburg, those Jackals are not half as intelligent as the larger Karoo areas. This is a fact, it has been proven.

 

THE ULTIMATE HUNTING TIME

This is another question often asked, if I was to have one chance to prove myself on an average farm with predation problems I would surely suggest I be able choose between two predators, jackals are active on a quarter moon to half moon, this is their most active time of the cycle, cats are also active but you cannot hunt him on a moon as he sees to good. For jackal I would choose a period when puppies are out November December, over a quarter moon, possibly overcast and before rain. For cats I would go for a pitch black night, after rainy weather and possible an area close to cover of some sort. BUT if asked generally what night for both predators I would say from experience I would go with a period the day before rain, overcast and pitch black skies, I am talking now when you cannot see your hand in front of your face, that dark. That would be my choice. I have killed many predators; both felines and canines in this weather and know it’s good. Winter you generally call in more, food is scarce and they need food, so any distress sound will get out the inquisitiveness in a predator, however most times a predator comes in out of sheer exquisiteness rather than hunger, but make no mistake his senses are still on high alert! 
April / May is the very best time to hunt jackals, its breeding / mating season --- Worst time is late June, July and August.

Also remember to keep a check on the jackal cycle that will be covered in a later edition as to use the correct sounds at the right time of the year will also help in getting results  over the ultimate hunting time. Don’t get me wrong, other times of the year other than Nov and Dec are also good, but again go according to the jackal breeding cycle. Matching sounds with seasons is vital.

THE LYNX IN PHOTO was called by me on a pitch black dark night, used a squeaky call sound to lure her in close, and was shot at 25 metres from the truck.

IDENTIFICATION AT NIGHT

After you have been calling at night for a few years, many things become second nature; however some things will have to be approached carefully. For instance NIGHT IDENTIFICATION. This is vital; I can promise you that MANY animals have taken the bullet by mistake. After a few years you will.

identify animals easier than you were able to before. Most times when a cat approaches it will NOT just sit in the open and say hi here I am. It will seek cover, stare you down through a bush and it’s up to you to make a decision. I hunted a camp one night with a client. Called in a set of eyes, BIG EYES. The client said it is a bat eared fox. I said softly NO WAYS it is on its own. Those critters are nearly always a bunch together. It sat still, out at 40 metres; it was between a rock and a few bushes. The client had a 12 power scope. I took the rifle and could see the ears as it looked left. A few minutes later we were driving home with a cat. IF IN DOUBT DON’T SHOOT! IT IS NEVER WORTH IT!

This is a very serious subject; many animals have taken a bullet by mistake. I read a magazine once about an overseas predator hunter that came to South Africa, his claim to fame was he came here to give farmers a calling course. He goes on to mention that he looked through his 14 power scope and at 275 metres could see the lynx’s face and the black lines on its face WHEN THE CAT WAS LOOKING STRAIGHT AT HIM! What utter garbage, I have never read such nonsense in all my time. If you look through a scope at night and look at an animals face the eyes are so huge and bright it blurs out your vision COMPLETELY. At 275 metres at night with a 14 power scope, what nonsense, no ways will you see what animal it is if looking at his eyes as he claimed or see any part of the face. And then he goes on to say that he shot a Steenbuck by mistake, if he could see the lynx how come he shot a buck????  It is very important to identify what we call in before you drop poundage on that trigger, it may turn out very costly. On calling courses this is ALWAYS a concern with me that a client can shoot the incorrect animal.

Here are a few pointers that can help you identify and animal at night. The cat, he approaches a call slowly, some times exceptionally slow, he will come in as I call it “slow and low”, then he will sit and look around as if pondering for a long period of time, he will then move a few metres closer and again stop and look around. Sometime stop and make out as if he is not at all interested in you, sort of like a house cat that turns his back on you.

Then all of a sudden he will run in closer and stop again. Another point of note is when a cat looks at a red light at night and he blinks, he blinks slowly, he opens and closes his eyes slowly, not fast like us or a dog. Cat’s eyes seem further apart at night than dogs, and also cat’s eyes are more sensitive than a dog so never use a bright light shining directly at a cat. These are small distinguishing pointers that I use at night to determine what is coming in. But be aware not all cat like creatures are targets; it could be a small spotted genet approaching, not a wanted cat, so wait till he gets closer for a visual identification.

If a cat starts blinking fast and looks around you had better hurry, this is a sign he will soon leave that area for good. After he blinks fast and looks around you have about 10 seconds left to shoot him.

Jackals are different, they trot in, are very upright and have a sort of show horse posture, in other words they look very streamlined and when they stop to look at that red light they wont often stop for a long period of time, they wont offer you a shot easy as that of a cat who sits still for long.  He has big pointed ears more upright than a bat eared fox and often when lighting up a black backed jackal after he has come in on a moon brightest night he will appear whiter to silver in colour. Jackal’s eyes are closer together in a red light than cats, and he stands A LOT taller. Here is another good tip for identification of a jackal, if you are calling and a bat eared fox approaches they GENERALLY nearly almost ALWAYS come in a few of 3 or more together, they are hardly ever alone, I think in all my years calling I may have called in MAYBE 4 bat eared foxes that came in alone, jackals are mostly singular or now and then a few-- but bat eared foxes come in groups. The most bat eared foxes I called in was 18 in a matter of 7 minutes, I have it on video, and the most I saw playing together was 28 on a farm I was calling. They came out of the bush sniffing the ground and playing, my partner and I counted 28, and they were 40 yards from us.

PREDATOR KILLING PATTERNS

If you are a sheep farmer or game farmer it won’t take you very long to tell the difference in what was the culprit to killing your stock. You will learn fast, as the two predators we are discussing have very different styles after doing the nasty deed.

A Rooikat / lynx will take larger prey and kill it with a bite to the throat, the vicious claws on the front feet are used to hook prey in order to get a grip with the teeth. The upper canines average 29-30mm apart and the lowers 23-25mm apart. Small prey is smacked with the front paws to get it down. Sometimes are Caracal / Lynx/ Rooikat may cover the carcass he killed with grass, this is an indication he will 90 percent of the time return to the kill site. The caracal feeds on the thick flesh of the hind quarters or between the legs, it does not remove innards of the stomach like a leopard, a leopard also pulls out the fur of its kills to avoid consumption of hair.  Leopards also remove a killed animal. When a Caracal has kittens the mother teaches the kittens to hunt, this is a time the farmer will lose far more lambs, unlike the jackal and cat can have kittens at any time of the year, they don’t have a special breeding pattern, but it’s more in summer months. They very rarely have rabies.

 


 

This large Groukat was called with my Lohman 210 hand caller

The jackal has a different style altogether, they sometimes grab sheep by the snout and wrestle it to the ground, it is considered an omnivorous species as it can consume many different things, a true scavenger who waits for left overs by larger predators as lion and hyena. These animals are good in a way they keep rats and mice from farms, but unfortunately they prey on buck species, sheep and new born calves of domestic cows. Jackals open the prey usually at the bottom of ribs and the hip area. Sometimes they peel back the skin and eat underneath. These predators will eat internal organs. Other meat and that of a rib cage will be eaten. In some cases of goats or lambs the head and legs is all you will find.  Silver jackal will take small new born lambs up to about 5-8 days old; will consume soft meaty areas and the innards, they like the buttock areas. In the book called “THE FLESH EATERS” by WT Miller it is explained how the African Wildcat becomes a lamb killer. Black backed jackal leave puncture marks on

the windpipe and the distance is about 25mm on uppers and lower canines are 22mm apart. For a Silver jackal the upper are 18-20mm apart and lowers 14mm apart. This should help in positive identification. African Wildcats/ Groukatte take new born lambs up to 8 days old, ostrich chicks or whatever is vulnerable, their uppers canines are 22mm apart and bottom fangs are 18mm apart. These cats are more problematic to sheep farmers in high Northern Cape and Namibia.

By measuring the puncture marks on the throat of the lambs you can identify the real killer, cats of this calibre have no trouble at all in killing small lambs, after all the lamb is so tiny it offers little if any resistance. This African Groukat had a belly full of evidence. It was also shot in late April, lamming time at Sutherland.

This was a monster lynx, huge! Called with my favourite caller a LOHMAN MVP-4.

 

End of Part 4

For more information on calling equipment and courses etc, contact Gary at 0824853885 or e mail at sellis@telkomsa.net and website at www.africanpredator.com . Next we concentrate on Calling and what call to use when, Calling echoes, sounds for day or night hunts, understanding the moon, and utilizing the moon when we cannot hunt.

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.