Predator Calling in South Africa
How I call
My Calling Equipment
Guided Predator Hunting
Calling Status in South Africa
Predator calling is low-profiled in South Africa compared to North America. I am aware of few individuals who earn a part time income from combinations of predator calling related activities (such as selling calling equipment, training calling skills and eliminating problem predators for remuneration). Predator calling is virtually only known amongst sheep farmers, amateur callers and the (few) varmint hunting clubs. Amongst live stock farmers, game ranchers and hunters there is merely an awareness of the use of mouth and electronic means of imitating animal sounds. It is done more for amusement than for serious hunting. Basic equipment is imported from the USA or manufactured locally in negligible volumes. Few hunters would consistently go out with the sole purpose of calling predators.
With the prices of biltong (jerky) hunting climbing steadily above consumer inflation rate, I predict that in the foreseeable future more and more South African sports hunters will be looking at low cost hunting options such as predator calling.
Commercial exploitation of predator hunting is almost nil. Up-market plains game hunting ranches specify a fee in US$ for anything that can be killed by a wealthy foreign client, therefore they charge for jackal and cats. Biltong ranches do not value varmint as a potential source of income (yet), simply because biltong hunters are not interested in paying to shoot something that is not edible. In fact, most "biltong" ranches would encourage hunters to terminate caracal and jackal (no charge), should they stumble across them.
The large predators like lion, leopard, cheetah, spotted hyena and wild dog are only called in for photography, research, nature conservation management and poaching. Typically the caller will play a recording of random sounds of the targeted species, and not bother about prey distress signals.
Predator hunters like me target the smaller predators, some of which are varmint, some not. These smart critters know no borders and can be found on commercial game ranches, live stock farms and even suburbs, much like coyotes and bobcat.
They are black-backed jackal, Cape fox, brown hyena, aard wolf, bat-eared fox, caracal, African wild cat, black-footed cat, serval, civet and the genets.
For pictures, descriptions and hunting methods of these critters, follow this link to my site http://www.affordableafricanhunting.co.za See the section on "Econo Game"
How I call
I call much the same as North Americans do, in fact I learnt a lot from Internet forums. The calling sounds I use are typically those of prey in distress, or the social and territorial calls of the targeted carnivores themselves. I use lips, throat, hand caller and electronic callers. Combinations usually work best. I use a small CD player, conveniently boxed with rechargeable battery and amplifier. This mobile unit is adapted for use from a vehicle or on foot. The horn speaker can operate remotely if required (by wire or by radio). My hand callers are open- and closed reed types, diaphragm and squeakers.
I make a point of choosing the right sound for every occasion. For instance, during the mating season (April to July) territorial calls and barks of aggression work well on male jackal, whereas puppy distress works on females July to November. (That time of year I only call to kill when the farmer has a serious problem. I would mostly leave my rifle at home and take non-hunting friends out for entertainment.) Spring hare distress is not a good choice in an area where there are only shrub hare or Cape hare to be found. Similarly, fawn bleat on a farm with no steenbok or duiker. (Although when a predator is in an inquisitive mood, it will come in to almost any noise. No rules!)
Predators are curious opportunists. I once accidentally called in a leopard in the dense Bushveld on a dark moon night. It responded to a rabbit distress and came to within a few paces before I realized that I was being stalked. Equipped with a 222 Rem (and no leopard permit), it was not funny at the time!
I have more than enough farms to call on, within one hour's driving from home.
My calling Equipment
I built a special shooting platform with rotating chair on the back of my truck, then wired a permanent lead with independent fuse directly from the battery to the distribution board on the back. This feeds my calling gear, search light and shooting light. I prefer to call with a buddy, but am well geared to hunt alone. My rifle has a spot-light clamped to the scope, with switch on the stock. My search lamp if fitted with a rheostat-controlled red light as well as a white light. I can change from the former to the latter with the flick of a switch when the moment is right.
I use pre-frozen juice that smells of rotten meat, obtainable from the local farmer's co-op (used in fly traps). Sometimes I supplement this with some droppings of my tame white rabbits.
I also use moving decoys like sheepskin, jackal hide or ostrich feathers swinging in the breeze. My special home-made decoy is a remote-controlled, moving stuffed rabbit, driven by an electric motor.
A friend from California left me some rabbit urine and a vaporizer. This stuff is so precious that I am hardly using it!
Guided Predator hunting
I have recently started to offer guided predator calling safaris to American coyote hunters. To my knowledge no other South African outfitter has this specific focus. I flavor the safari with other varmint and affordable African plains game to make the trip worth their while. For detail, see my commercial site on www.affordableafricanhunting.com
... or drop me a note to firstname.lastname@example.org
I thank you for reading this page!
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