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Arms, Ammo & Optics

This is a very important part of predation control, one that many of us are guilty of doing, we often think that other ways are easier to control predators so resort to either poison or gin traps. Actually game farmers are actually causing more damage than good, not only to themselves but to neighbours and the wildlife of South Africa.

This is a photo of my personal cat urine/ lures I make up for cage trapping.



What category do you fall in? Are you a conservation conscious individual or an advocate of either gin traps or poisons?? Maybe after reading this you will consider putting down those gin traps or poison, maybe not, but what you will read will however be facts and areas of consideration.


Traps made in South Africa are not regulated or approved by any governing body to date, it’s like having game capturers delivering your game to you in a wooden box with no ventilation holes, would you like that??? NO!!!! , it’s the same as the traps, and when I speak of traps I mean GIN TRAPS. Any individual can make up a trap and sell it; he is not governed by a gazetted law, so it’s a free for all. Some SA traps are made that have teeth on them, very barbaric and these people making such contraptions should be shut down and imprisoned. BUT we don’t have a body strong enough to speak on behalf of animals, and the governments outlook on these aspects has never been or I don’t think will ever be addressed.

The fact is that persons using gin traps will know that they ARE NOT TARGET SPECIFIC, and anybody arguing that point is a fool, I have been in this business for a long time, and know first hand that they are not. Even the most professional trapper will at some stage catch an innocent animal. 

To make all trapping more systematic in America all traps that are made HAVE TO BE APPROVED by a trapping council in CANADA. All traps that are manufactured in America must be approved by the TRDC. The trap research and development committee of the FIC, the fur institute of Canada. All findings from FIC and TRCD programs are used in the USA and Canada. ALL traps are PERSONALLY LICENSED to the owner, strict laws apply on trapping. In SA we have no authority. The centre in Canada that carries out the tests is the biggest research centre in the world.

The latest development on traps are classed as SOFT TRAPS and are exactly that, so for ethical reasons these traps are designed to protect  and not damage or injure animals caught.

The biggest problem about trapping is that most of the people with traps don’t know how to use and set them properly. This causes major damage to the wildlife.


 Again we are using the difference of the USA to SA, poisons available here that are designed to ONLY target predators is a myth, similar if not the same poisons are now banned and illegal in USA, but here again they can be purchased in any quantity, and again no regulation is present to protect the innocent wildlife, these poisons are designed to be target specific.

  It’s claimed that if eaten by a jackal he will die within a few hours BUT if consumed by a sheep as an example he will NOT die. This is a complete fabrication of facts, I personally know 2 farmers that lost all their farm dogs because they consumed this “TARGET SPECIFIC POISON!”

 Can you imagine the chain effect of poison, a bat eared fox eats the poison, goes into its burrow and regurgitates the food for its pups, they all die then the owls and hawks eat at the carcass and die, it goes on and on…..

 It is impossible for a poison to be target specific, all dogs like jackals, house dogs, foxes, wild dogs etc have the same genetic make up, all different DNA but they all are similar as to how they are built, the make up is the same, so what kills a jackal will kill a house dog, and that’s a fact.

  Many farmers poison eggs and leave them around for  crows to eat, BUT all small animals like foxes, ratels, Meercats, polecats, owls and hawks will eat those eggs, so they all die, so that’s a very stupid move indeed. Many innocent animals die in South Africa EVERY DAY as a result of uneducated people doing foolish things, and remember even if a predator is a pest, it deserves a quick death, not a long drawn out painful death.



To be able to age a jackal will help in determining how many predators you have on your property and if they are adults etc. If you are successful to call in a male and female and after that find a few spoor of others and the months are January or February you can tell what they are and if they are family of the two adults you killed. So after finding more jackals tracks and you call in and shoot one you can do a test to see the age of the dog. It will tell you if you have other adult jackal on your property if this one you are about to check is older, or if it’s a young dog, so by checking the ages of the dogs will tell you who is on your property. REMEMBER those days of a pair of jackal that have their own areas are GONE!!!! This is no longer true at most places, many farms have seen an outburst in jackal numbers, one client of mine told me he saw 9 jackals in a group attacking a cows calf, all of adult persuasion.

Excuse my crude drawings but I am not much of an artist



This is fun; learn how to age that dog, it is also good conversation between hunters and interesting indeed.


Here is a very easy way to tell the age of a dog, you always begin ageing a jackal by the bottom jaw, jackals have 6 top interior incisors (developmental lobes) and 6 bottom exterior incisor developmental lobe teeth, and have 2 canines on top and bottom that are used to rip and grip flesh firmly and puncture and damage the preys windpipes etc.

 The bottom developmental lobes (exterior incisors) is your starting point, the two central developmental lobes will be healthy and white after 1 year old and will be about 3mm long.  The top interiors of a healthy jackal that’s two years old will be 4-5mm long. After 3-4 years the two central exterior developmental lobes will wear down, then after 5-6 years the one on left of them and right (the lateral developmental lobes) will wear down after 7-8 years and the ones on far left and right will be worn down after 10 years. 

Then the top interiors, the two central developmental lobes will wear down after 11 years and the two lateral lobes will be gone after 12-13 years. After 14-15 years the left and right developmental exterior lobes will be gone. By this time (if he is still alive) a jackal is really old and will soon die. What you can do is to keep many of the jaws of dogs you kill, and you will after a while note the differences. For cats it is best explained that like us humans that after we get older our teeth recede, this is true with cats, you will notice that a cat with an age of up to 4 years will have a gap between the incisors and the fangs of up to 2-3mm away from fangs but older cats will have a larger gap.

If you can do what I did, I kept many jaws from various ages, this gives you an idea as to teeth wear and tear and also makes a nice conversation piece. 

This photo above is on a course; here I am showing students how the ageing thing is done. It is extremely interesting to learn how to do it.

REMEMBER ; If you shoot a dog, look it over - if its bitten on the face, under the jaw, on its sides ; - that’s a sure sign it is indeed an intruder dog, if you shoot a dog of over say 3 years old and if its in good condition, chances are you killed the resident local ALPHA male dog.



This is a very important topic that needs to be discussed, as we ALL at some stage will have come across such an individual. Unfortunately it is us that is personally responsible for having such an individual, due to UNEDUCTATED farmers we have the EDUCATED jackals.

Many times you hunt you see the eyes far away that fail to come closer and they bark at you. This is because you have shot and missed them before, or they smelt you, saw you, heard you or you use the same sounds to often and you have educated them. If you are out calling and you call in a jackal but you are not sure of the

intended shot, then rather don’t shoot, give it a pass, wait for next time. Many farmers have the equipment but don’t know how to use it, this educates the animals and you are causing more damage than doing good. By changing your tactics and strategies will allow you to outwit the jackal. Get him out of his comfort zone, call early in the morning at day break, try calling in a light drizzle of rain or in misty conditions. Jackals are on the move in misty conditions.

Make an early daybreak set up near a carcass killed by jackals, try sitting at a carcass over a full moon period, use camouflage and blend in well at day break, blend in and use an electronic call with a fawn sound with a decoy, use a pig sound, that’s a sound not many callers use and will be a different sound for a weary old jackal. Climb up a windmill and sit still, Jackals don’t look up

By changing calling routines will confuse a predator, they are not used to us calling in the early daylight, so utilize such a time, chances are you will be successful. Remember its vital to be at least a kilometre away from your car when you call, and get to your sitting area early in the dark, get ready and sit still, wear full camo, sit elevated so you can see well, sit in front of a bush to break up your outline, sit in a position so that when sun comes up it will be behind you, then when a predator looks your way the sun is in his eyes. Cover your shiny rifle and DON’T MOVE.

A lot of preparation goes into a day hunt, its vital you find a place that has active jackal activity, deposits, urine scent spot, carcass etc. Try hunt with two people so one person can watch your back door, no fun having a leopard breathing down the back of your neck! 

To outsmart a SLIM jackal is easiest not to educate him in the first place, so if you have all the equipment but are not exactly sure how to use it rather go and hunt with an experienced person to see how it’s done. Remember if you are calling in the day the sounds are going to be different to what you use at night. Don’t use live jackal CD’s etc in the day it’s not natural, use standard food sounds, and in November/ December the young ones will be walking around, so food sounds are good. In October mother is feeding puppies in the dens so again food sounds are good.

Make sure that your camouflage that you wear is not shiny, is not black at a distance, does not make a noise and DON’T use camo net around yourself, its not natural, wear camo clothes with grey and brown colours, similar to the Karoo. For wheat fields a golden brown colour is perfect.

A lot can be written under the topic of educated predators, these are pointers that can help you in  eradicating them, in conclusion I would say penetrate his comfort zone, get him when he is at ease as I discussed, in light rain, mist and day break. They are not used to being disturbed then, so capitalize on that and call then, jackals know they are persecuted in the nights, so change your tactics.


What is predator calling without quality arms and ammunition? If you do attend a hunt at a farm the guide will want to see your rifle shoot tightly at 100 metres, it’s the same with predator calling EXCEPT!- grouping  your 5 shots means nothing! Yes that’s correct, it means nothing. Many rifles shoot differently with a clean barrel, dirty barrel, cold or warm barrel. So, your predator calling rifle will be fired at night when cold, and ONLY THAT FIRST SHOT MATTERS! The second shot and thereafter does not matter, you get one chance to drop that dog, if you miss he is gone. Make sure your rifle shoots it’s first shot spot on at 80-100 metres and that it’s checked on a cold barrel.

Another point is PLEASE DON’T sight in and check zeros on rifles within 2-3 kilometres of where you will be going to call, this will severely affect your chances that night when calling.


Over the years I have met many predator hunters, some professional some just occasional hunters, and the difference in equipment depends upon the individual, what he can afford and what he can buy. BUT one thing that many predator callers use is the need for good rifle telescopes, some use a 4 power, some a 9 and some a 24 power. But using very high powered telescopes has its drawbacks, the closer you zoom in the more the scope moves when aiming at an animal, the more you must correct the clarity at night, thus wasting time. Some hunters use big objectives as 50 or more. This is totally unnecessary; many will however argue this point.

Bigger objectives allow more light into the scope, but how much do you really need? A simple scope of 40 objective will work just fine, it has a big objective and upon looking through the scope you find the incoming eyes very fast, no problem. Top this with a maximum of about a 14 power scope and you are all ready to go hunting. Anything more powerful than 14 and the scope will move far to much, (the higher a magnification the more sensitive the scope is to movement) so using a 14 power is fine. I used a 9 power for many years when I could not afford much and I killed many predators with that scope. I owned a Hakko 9 power on a 223 rifle and killed many more predators than other guys with fancy optics, its often the hunters ability and not the equipment, so if you own equipment learn to become familiar with its use..

A lot has to do with you!!!!!!!!! Many guys cannot line up scope immediately with a critter and shoot fast; these people are better equipped with a larger objective scope. I market a 6-24x42 power scope, has mil dot sniper ranging system and an illuminated recticle for low light or night shooting. It’s a fun scope, but is far more than ample on a 12 setting at night. An illuminated crosshair allows you to see that crosshair easier, but again the brighter the red lines become in that scope the more it blur’s your vision, so a setting of about 4 is good for night shoots, most illuminated scopes are of top class quality.  The higher settings are good for low light day shooting. THE CLOSER YOU ZOOM IN THE MORE SENSITIVE A SCOPE GETS AND THE MORE THE CROSSHAIR MOVES AROUND WHILE YOU HOLD THE RIFLE WHEN ATTEMPTING TO AIM IT!


So, I would suggest for a standard night hunting rifle go for a 12-14 power with a 40 or 42 objective, then for day calling it would serve perfect as well, I like a 10-12 setting in the day.


Huge objectives are not necessary. What is necessary is to be able to acquire your target fast and have a steady rest!


For calibres it depends upon a few things, are you in dangerous country? Can you call in a lion by mistake?, how about a leopard?? Go for a 270??. Well it’s a decision you will have to make, most night shooting on general farms throughout SA the range is 50-100 metres, and trajectory is not a consideration.  Or are you a fur harvester? Then a 221 Remington fireball will be a good number for jackals, I use a .222 and 223 and in more mountain areas I use a 243. These calibres I have used for many years.


Bullet heads are of importance, I load a 55 grain Sierra Blitz king in my 243 but this is strictly for hunting when you no longer require the fur as it causes tremendous damage. A ballistic tip of soft point bullet in my 222 or 223 works very well with a slower velocity. Here is a chart that I can suggest from personal experience.


Bullet Name & Weight                         Powder                                 Powder Weight                    Calibre


I used a reduced load of S335 in the 243, a charge of 28 grains with the 80grain bullet but did not get good accuracy. Also pistol powder MP200 loaded in the 223, a load of 7,3 grains with a 55grain head is excellent for 50 metres and less. But with such a little powder in the case you must put cotton wool in the case and push propellant against primer. With a reduced MP200 load use pistol primers. ATTEMPT THESE LOADS WITH CAUTION. I take no responsibility for damage to property or health.

Very young Silver Jackal called and taken with the Brno 222.

For night hunting I love this rifle big time, it is so accurate.

A friend once said to me, “man that rifle is seriously dangerous it is so accurate” I rest my case

This photo of the large fat Dassie, I shot from a distance close to 380 metres easily, from the farmhouse kitchen table, down to the river with a rock outcrop, it was a far shot, but I know the rifle, and at that range it’s a matter of putting the crosshair on the target at the point where thick joins the thin hair, and that is it. This particular shot was a head shot also, but that was luck.  I don’t get many people who believe me, but I had 2 witnesses. This is the same rifle as in the other photo. I love my 222; it’s a real accurate shooter. With the S321 powder with a 50 grain Sierra Varminter Soft point, I get 12mm groups if I want to group it, but for night shooting if it gives me a dead on shot with that cold barrel I am happy. Having a rifle you can count on is what its all about, and in over 8 years I have never had to change the settings, my scopes never move zero at all. My mounts are excellent and I can’t complain with the 222 and 223 I use. See the rocky outcrop behind me. I use 23, 5 grains of S321 in the 222 and in the 223 I use 25, 5 grains


Shooting Chairs

I would estimate 80% of the general hunters out at night would or will prefer a shooting chair; it helps a lot no doubt about it. I decided to design a simple but effective chair that the hunter can use for various applications and this is the design I decided upon.

“Simple and effective”.

My personal chair on a stand close to town, I use a small bakkie for these cat hunts.

 The Chair is:

                     Ideal for game viewing

                     Very nice for photography

                     Springbuck or other game culling stool for trucks rear

                     Night hunting Jackal / Rooikat stool

                     Sighting in stool for rifles

                     Folds up tiny for easy transportation

                     Any other applications that it would suit

This photo is of the same chair as the one above, but with another light fitted – calling cats here

The stool is compact and 61 cm x 61 cm x 69 cm in size / 10 KILOGRAM
Folds up for easy transportation if needed                     
Rotates completely
Has a battery holder underneath to house a small battery
Has an extra tube to put in an extra torch handle
The Rifle “V” is adjustable on the upright to suit a taller person
The stool is designed in a way that a CD player etc can be mounted in front of the shooter

The chair is spacious and not cramped, overall its set out for easy use and hunting comfort.

I mount a speaker on the armrest with a MP3 player also, and small amplifier, everything is just a nice height in front of me. By mounting the player to the stool helps as when the sound is playing and the chair turns it makes it sound like an animal is actually moving around from a distance as the sound waves change all the time, so by having the speaker attached to the stool makes it all seem far more natural at night. This sound system is NOT part of the chair when purchased. See it under prices.

The red light is just left or right of the rifle rest and fits into the tube, the wires go down the pipe and to the battery at the back situated under the chair. I use a small 12V battery personally. The area is big enough to house such a battery. These batteries can be bought at any security shop that sells house alarm systems, they are rechargeable.

The chair is extremely solid in its completed state and being of compact design is far more user friendly. When I travel from one spot to another at night I simply anchor the seat so it don’t spin around in circles when  I drive, I leave the sound system attached and the lights in holder, it is totally safe and they wont fall out.

The set up is very user friendly and the chair can fold up if you want to take it in a vehicle to a venue or walk with it in the bush. I personally mount it on a truck with two strong thick struts across the trucks rear, and a support beam in the centre. It also has a few strengtheners underneath. It then gives me excellent vision and height for the chair to swivel completely. It is a basic chair designed to work for the hunter or even game viewer.

You will notice in front of the sound system I have a small red light, that is a cyclists or joggers red light they use so people in cars etc can spot them; I use that also at night. After I shoot and climb down I put it on to flicker, so if my hand held torch dies I will be able to find the truck again. Don’t laugh; once I walked far from my truck and my light died, this is when I learnt that trick fast! These are all just extra things I use to make a hunt more enjoyable.

If you want total stable seating take a large truck tyre and rim deflated and put it in the bak at the back of the truck between the wheel arch on either side, disconnect your car battery and weld the chair to the tyres rim, then connect your car battery again. Now inflate that tyre and it will inflate and get wedged in between your arch, no ways will it ever move. You now have a stable rest and the chair will never move around, only swivel as it’s meant to do.

I have designed and manufactured lights, game calls and electronic calling equipment for years now, but decided it was time to do something new for 2008-9 and get into the personal side of the hunt, as the more comfortable we are the better our success will be.

PLEASE NOTE; the stool comes standard with the swivel base, rifle rest and battery holder. This is how it is supplied. It does not come with the other extras shown. If you want lights for it look under our prices here    it has the equipment you will need, scan to the bottom of the PRICES section and you will see some photos of the lights. I have designed a new style hunting light for 2008-9 it is seen under PRICES. The lights are made to fit these chairs perfectly.

If you have long legs then you simply mount the chair higher from the floor on your truck, so no matter what your size is the stool will suit you.

Sometimes I don’t use two lights on the chair, a large scanning light and a rifle light, I just use one, it is not necessary to use two, sometimes I use just the light on my rifle, then it is with me the second I need it. But some guys use the light mounted in the pipe and NO rifle light, so it depends upon you.


I decided to price the unit according to the market value of ranching today with labour and material costs also including advertising costs, these can be mighty heavy, a quarter size ad black and white costs R3000 – R6000 a go so it is expensive.  The labour as you can imagine is hard and it’s not an easy occupation making such a stool. The retail price of the stool is R1800-00 excluding the courier.

I do not give any warranty on the stool or any cover at all, the reason is simple, the purchaser may abuse it, leave it outside to rust, not give it a little oil now and again, and it seizes up or rusts, or simply damages it, so it is out of my control, so you are purchasing the stool as is. No warranty given or implied on any part or function of the stool. But not much can really go wrong with it as it’s not like a motor vehicle. Feather & Fur also does not take any responsibility if the stool arrives damaged after delivery. The staff here at the plant will be witness that it left our premises in perfect condition.

Gary Laubscher 0824853885

The chair has an area under the seat to house a battery; I can supply battery’s and the chargers if you need them.  The complete chair is made with close tolerances to make it nice and compact.Simple grease the swivel base underneath for hours of noise free action; the chairs are well made and strong.


Below is a view of the chair with my Foxpro remote fitted. This gives you an idea of the way it looks from the seat. I fitted another battery in front also as a back up. Note my bottle of jackal urine open behind the truck on the ground facing downwind. I also don’t park in the road, but next to it.


A happy customer described the chair like this when I asked him if he was happy with it, he said – and I quote “Happy, are you kidding, man I love it! I sit like a king in my chair!”




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All contents copyright 2008. African Predator.