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PART 6


“JACKAL & LYNX CONTROL”


CALLING TIPS AND THEN SOME

Many tips and hints are found when a group of predator hunters get together, you will learn many things that are so natural but we don’t think about them and it often does not ring alarm bells, for instance how about this one- Don’t call to hard, if your call echoes it will be very hard for a predator to pin point the sound source and he will not be able to find you, so if you call don’t let your sounds echo! Here follows plenty tips that can possibly help you.

A good friend of mine David Miller of Oregon with a Bobcat, calling Bobs or Lynx in Africa, it’s all pretty much the same.

If you want really cool custom calls built for you with an American appeal contact David here, it’s very easy.

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dmiller0105@comcast.net  and see his really nice updated site right here www.doagamecalls.com

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The biggest tip of all is location, as I discussed in detail in the last edition, location is of major importance for a successful hunt. Look at the previous edition for an in depth discussion on location, it’s the key to success!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. I mention more at the end of this 6th part.

After camouflaging a truck walk 50m away, bend down to a predators height and look to see if anything is out of place with regards to the truck, cover any dash lights, mirrors, sweep out truck at the back, don’t hunt with more than 2 people, if you hunt with two guys work as a team, one lights the other shoots, use open jackal urine to help hide your scent, don’t eat at the back of truck, take rings and watches off as they shine, don’t use shade cloth to camouflage your truck as it shines in the red light or moon light and  squeaks in windy conditions, don’t hold your hand call with a glove it dulls out the sound and its not clear and does not travel that far, leave net over truck hanging lose don’t tie it down tight, stand in an area with bushes not higher than 30 cm’s for good vision. Don’t use black colours over your truck at night, no areas in the Karoo are black, you will be seen easily, cover your hands and face in case the red light reflects on you, use water brown paint on your calling hand. Park next to a small bush to break up your trucks outline, don’t park the truck on top of a hill it will be seen. Tie a small bush at the back of the truck, it helps disguise and breaks up the outline and a bush on the bonnet, these small things will help you vanish into the darkness and predators will not spot you.

DRAG A SHOT JACKAL BEHIND YOUR TRUCK FROM SPOT TO SPOT

 

Use quality calling and lighting equipment, have extra calls in case the CD breaks or you drop your hand call, check everything before leaving home, bath in clean water to remove day smells, smoke your clothes over a fire to confuse the jackal, don’t iron clothes they shine, put vanilla essence in mud and on tyres, call in areas with predator sign, predators are careful so make all your calling as normal as possible,

predators know the farm better than you so be prepared for the unexpected, don’t move to much on the truck, don’t give up calling to soon and give cats 55-60 minutes, and jackal 35-40 minutes, cats keep low to the ground, come in slow and low, jackal trot and are faster and more upright, typical show horse style, cats take longer to appear will sit long and look in your direction, blink slowly, often looking away. When a predator approaches don’t put him in the centre of the red light, raise the light so you catch him just under his feet, drop light for identification or shooting. If you don’t raise the light the shadows can scare him on the ground in front of him. When you scan with the light go 2-3 times in a slow circle in case you miss the eyes first time around, scan slowly, cats will give you a lot of time to shoot unlike a jackal, always first identify the eyes, don’t just shoot, you will see FAR MORE eyes than you will shoot at, many animals approach to a distress sound NOT ONLY PREDATORS! Remember to bath in water before leaving home, WITHOUT any smelly substances, clean clear water washes all the daily smells away.

Jackals have good noses, cats not, so in an area with jackal start lighting up mostly from down wind, remember not all jackals are clever, if you are not sure of a shot and if you will get him, rather leave the jackal for next time, DON’T MISS HIM!!!!. After they are educated it gets very difficult, most predators come into a call out of inquisitives rather than hunger.

Here is a tip not many hunters use, it concerns a laser pointer, after you have shot an animal and want to retrieve it - when you get down from the truck the whole world changes and you often walk in the wrong direction, and the red light also makes distances seem more or less than they actually are, so ask a person on the truck to use a laser to pin point the predators position. Here is another point that you can use a laser for. Try this next time, if you call in a cat, and he sits dead still or fails to move closer, but he is still 150 yards out then put on a laser, point the little red beam in front of the cat and move it towards you, the cat will forget about everything else and follow that beam in to you. Then at 50 yards you can take the shot. This is a trick I learnt from a professional cat hunter in Texas. This method works !!!!!!

I prefer a hand call at night to an electronic, it is more personal with me, then it is me that got the predator and not a machine, use good quality calls with stainless reeds like TNT or Lohman and Haydel’s, watch the moon and call with correct sounds for that time of year as we spoke about, hunt before a huge storm or after, with black skies, overcast for cats and also for jackal but a quarter moon will also be good for jackals, try calling in light rain, misty conditions, make sure your rifle shoots the first shot spot on with an ice cold barrel, and don’t sight in on the farm you will be hunting on.

ALWAYS go to the BEST SPOT first in the day, an hour or two before it gets dark and get truck ready, NEVER drive in with your lights on, go to other spots afterwards with lights on, GO TO THE BEST SPOT FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!  When you go to another spot put red lenses over your trucks lights, start calling softly in case a predator is really close, I like to start a hunt with a squeaking call we make, remember a cat will approach you from any direction so be alert, he can come in, disappear and you wont even know he was there.  Don’t let your calls echo, mix up calls sounds, two sounds, then 4,3.1,2 and so on, don’t be monotonous or dull sounding, put emotions into the sounds, make your sound realistic, that of a rabbit being torn apart alive.

The more in pain you sound the more you will get results, don’t use the same sound to often at the same farms, this educates animals, don’t blow long bursts of air into the call, rabbits have small lungs – predator are not stupid!, if owls dive bomb you when calling that’s a good sign your call sounds good, never aim for the head, it’s to easy to miss rather go for body shots, the red light distorts the distance, it makes it look closer or further than it really is.

Here is a tip I learnt from my American friends, after a VERY HOT DAY, really hot, if you have a single waterhole on your farm far from your farmhouse, sit near that waterhole from 5 in the afternoon till dark, if its full moon sit still till after dark, on a dark sky call at sundown till dark. Predators like cats and jackal will come to that waterhole to drink after a REALLY STEAMING hot day. Just hide yourself well and watch the area carefully. They know were to find water. CONCEAL YOURSELF WELL! Remember predators are always on FULL ALERT!

Make sure of the area that predator is lying before you get from the truck, its easy to go the wrong way, use a cyclists red light and hang it on the truck if both of you leave the truck, it is easy to spot if your torch dies on you. If you have shot a jackal call longer sometimes you call in another or get disorientated animals coming past, be careful of rabies, most jackal are carriers of rabies, make sure he is dead before picking him up, I always kick a jackals nose to check, rather be sure, than make a mistake and pick up an alive predator!!!!!!!.

Fit a laser pointer to your chair, mark spot the jackal is laying and walk to that spot, you wont lose it so easily in Karoo stubble.

These two tips are extremely important and attention must be given to them – Firstly if you are calling a camp never park 100 -200 metres from a jackal proof fence, if a predator comes in to your calls he wont be able to get to you, so park on a fence line, or even better on the corner, this will give you excellent vision and allow you to call two or even three camps with no fences to stop incoming predators.

Secondly, many guys place a speaker of an electronic caller away from them on the ground HUGE MISTAKE!, don’t do this, an incoming cat comes in low and slow, he looks at the sound source, he wont look in your direction and you WONT see his eyes. If you are a cat caller and read this, think how many cats you have called with a speaker away from you, chances are you won’t call any. Even for jackals, rather place that speaker no more than 5m from the truck. I have sensitive ears, and noise gives me a headache, so I place the speaker a little away from me on the bonnet or next to the tyres of the truck. But never further than that.

PREDATOR TRACKS / IDENTIFICATION

To be able to tell differences in spoor/ tracks is of vital importance, the following is taken from my personal files that I offer on my courses, this will give you easy pointers of what they look like, without getting to technical.  As a predator hunter I concentrate upon my target animals, so if I approach a farmer and he tells me what his problems are I can separate the innocent ones from culprits and concentrate on looking for activity amongst the problematic animals. Knowing what I am looking for is an important aspect of locating a calling location if no carcass is available.

To do this the identification aspect is very important. Here is a list of four predators and the ways of identification

Lynx/ Rooikat/ Caracal ;- This large, powerful cat has a characteristic regarding it’s front pad, the front of the intermediate pads stand out more, you will see the heavy indentation on the pad at the front. An adult cat will easily measure 6cm across the complete track. Also the Caracals paw pads are much further forward to that of an African Wildcat.  When they walk the nails are not protruding.

African Wildcat / Groukat;- This cat is grey and black in colour with rings on the end of the tail and is larger than a typical house cat, it has a  paw print slightly bigger than a house cat BUT the front 4 small pads are more closer to the main pad as that of a house cat, house cats are far forward.  Nails don’t protrude when walking

Black backed jackal/ Skaapvanger/ Rooijakkals ;- This jackal has a larger front paw pad than that of the Bat Eared Fox and Silver jackal. It has nails that show and they are short and stubby looking, but thick. They are generally 6,5mm long in total. Compared to the Silver jackal and Bat Eared Fox the Black Backed Jackals tracks look more impressive and stronger.

The Bat Eared Fox/ Bakoorjakkals ;- This chap has a smallish  main pad BUT his nails are longer  and thinner, with the ends SLIGHTLY CURVED. The front 4 small pads are more forward in setting. The general track is 5 cm long. But the general width of the complete track is wider than other predators.

Silver Jackal / To some a Draaijakkals ;- This track is like a Black backed jackal track except the nails are much more thinner and the centre pad is smaller. Size of pad length  5cm.

These tracks will be easily identifiable after you have seen them all in real life, that way you get a better idea at what you are looking at.

I tell clients often on courses when we discuss tracks and spoor ( as I had such a question before ) that sometimes a hunter will be confused when seeing a single smallish paw print in the sand and he cannot decide if it’s a Wildcat or Lynx, well I use this system, and 99 percent of the time I am correct.  When the kittens of a lynx are older and out and about with the adult feline they will ALWAYS be in a group, two or more kittens with mommy, and when big enough they go on their own, BY THEN the track is MUCH larger than a wildcat so you will see its bigger. So, a lynx will have 2-3 or more kittens plus mommy with a big track, NEVER A LONE SMALL LYNX KITTEN. BUT the wildcat is smaller in paw print and is identifiable. And even if you find a few wildcat kittens all the tracks will be smaller than the lynx. Generally a very young lynx already has a biggish paw mark. So, GENERALLY spotting a lone small paw print is a wildcat.

You often find around April - May when the lambs have been born and a few killed that you find a few paw prints with mommy’s bigger track, this means she is teaching the little ones to hunt and they target your lambs even more.

This is a quick reference; Bat eared foxes nails are long, thin and curved 5cm, Black back jackal  nails are shortish and fat 6,5cm long, Silver jackal have long nails but thin up to 5cm, Caracal big track up to 6,5cm, African Wildcat track up to 4,3cm.

HUNTING PARTNERSHIPS/ HUNTER KILLER TEAMS

Depending on your situation on the particular farm will dictate how you will conduct your hunt, also remember many guys that are good shots in the day cannot master shooting at night, so many things will depend on the outcome of your decisions. Some guys just can’t find eyes fast in a scope, so practise.


You may own a game farm, you and your manager may want to hunt, or then some times you and the wife or you and your son, BE WARNED! Plan your actions carefully, make sure you have a nominated shooter, a good shot who goes every time, you cannot afford to miss. Changing shooting partners will place your hunt in severe jeopardy. Make sure you have a system that you work to. I hunt professionally, this is money in my pocket, and results mean everything, so I work to a STRICT PATTERN. On a few farms I hunt alone and use a rifle mounted light, call and shoot all myself. On other farms I have a partner who is my shooter, this guy does NOT MISS. If we think the dog is too far or the shot is risky we leave it for next time, we don’t take a chance and shoot. On other farms I shoot and my partner lights. I USE THE SAME PEOPLE ALL THE TIME!!!. 

You become what I class as a HUNTER / KILLER team, a team that works together, but as I said earlier sometimes you own a game farm and clients pay to go out hunting at night, so you then have a rule, they can go and they can call if they know how or you, you will let them light up a place (after a quick lesson) and YOU WILL SHOOT. Explain why, and they should appreciate your honesty.

I take out many people on calling courses, the biggest problem I have is that many of them are not used to night hunting- a client will not be able to identify a predator and this puts your hunt at risk. So, you being the shooter will by pass these problems, you can quickly sum up your clients ability to identify. If you’re in doubt then you must be firm and you must shoot.

To conclude this is an important tip you must never forget. How do you have access to your calls? Do you keep them in your pocket? How about around your neck on a lanyard? Yes? If so read on. Make sure that they don’t bang against one another and make a noise, especially if they are plastic calls. Wooden calls are quieter. If you use a lanyard make sure different calls hang at different heights, this will prevent them contacting one another. I use a braided lanyard from Arizona, and the calls hang apart, or I use a standard lanyard with calls at different heights as I mentioned. Rubber calls are quiet and don’t make any noise if knocked together. Remember if you bend down to not knock them against the trucks body etc.

All these tips are ones I have used for many years, ones that have helped me succeed and gave me that edge that I needed. They ensure a successful hunt and with fur on the back of my truck after a hunt gives me a sense of achievement.

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

The area you decide to start a hunt is the most critical, this must be your first and most well prepared stand, it is the most important one of the night you will make.

Know how to select a spot

W

hat 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  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, it will cause echoes, and you can also be spotted from the top of a hill.

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!

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. Here is 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 photo 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  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.

Next we discuss electronic calling equipment and & other quality calling items, lures and a basic hunting set up. For courses and calling equipment contact Gary at 0824853885 or e mail at sellis@telkomsa.net and see website www.africanpredator.com




 

WARNING

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


 

All contents copyright 2008. African Predator.