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What Are Electronic Predator Calls and How Do They Work?
Hunters have used animal calls to attract game since the time of atlas and bows. Though, in the beginning, they had to emulate animals with their own voices.
Eventually, people found out how to carve wood into a shape that would resonate at just the right frequency to produce sounds much like those an animal would make. This made calling much easier, and many hunters swear by these calls to this day.
But those calls still come from your location. Predators are wary about people, and rightly so.
Electronic predator calls separate you from the call, so you can hide safely far from the call while it attracts animals.
An electronic call is a tiny computer with some sounds in storage attached to a speaker. You use the remote control to activate and control the sounds produced by the speaker.
Predators (and other animals!) hear these extremely life-like sounds and come to investigate.
You can choose your calls. Common ones include rabbits in distress (a truly disturbing sound), female coyotes howling invitations to “visit” her, and the sound of animals getting into a scuffle.
You can also respond to wild ‘yotes with well-timed calls from an electronic caller. Is there a coyote howling over the next hill? Answer him with your own howl!
Electronic predator calls allow you to more easily call in bobcats, coyotes, crows, foxes, and many other animals, without having to fiddle with a physical caller or practice making the sounds yourself. You can spend your time hunting, instead!
We also have an article on how to use electronic calls if you are interested.
How to Choose A Coyote Call?
Now that you know what electronic predator calls are, let’s help you figure out which one will work best for you.
Though predator calls are good at bringing a coyote or other predator close in, they sometimes have trouble attracting the coyote to where you want it to go.
If the predator doesn’t see anything making the call then it can get suspicious and avoid the area instead of trot in front of your sights.
So, you may want to consider getting a call which comes with a decoy.
Decoy lures resemble cat toys. They’re a fluffball on a wand and have a motor which bounces the lure around. This looks like the movements of a prey animal in distress, which brings the coyotes running!
But decoys aren’t cheap, so you may want to drop this feature if you’re on a budget.
You can always buy a separate decoy later.
Number of Sounds
Electronic calls can come with a dozen sounds or hundreds of sounds. It’s easy to get starstruck by the possibility of a massive sound library, but do you really need that many different calls?
Each “sound” in an electronic call is already a series of sounds. They’ll repeat eventually, but coyotes generally don’t figure that out.
So, while a large variety of sounds can be good for particularly wary predators, most people draw in their targets without needing more than one or two sounds.
Programmable or Not?
Programmable predator calls are a mixed bag.
On the one hand, they vastly increase your call’s flexibility. You can add your own sounds and do interesting things with them.
On the other hand, programmable calls are more expensive and are harder to use. Non-programmable calls just require a single button press to work. You have to dive through menus to find the call you want with programmable predator calls.
If this is your first electronic call then I’d recommend avoiding the programmable calls. If you’ve already used predator calls before or really want to fiddle with settings, then a programmable call may bring you joy and a successful hunt.
How far away do you want the call from your hunting position?
Predator calls have stated ranges from 100 to 300 yards, but you likely won’t be able to actually control the call from that far away. Especially if the unit is on the ground.
Lifting the caller by several feet can help increase your remote’s usable range. But you may not need to put the caller that far away, anyway.
A 300-yard range sounds nice, but even if the coyote walks up to the caller you still have an over 300-yard shot. Most people bring their caller in closer, much closer.
Speakers are the caller’s muscles. Without a good speaker, the sounds won’t be life-like and the predator will stay away.
So, sound quality is a large consideration. But it’s not the only one. Coverage and volume are important as well.
Single-speaker calls will throw sound in one direction, which can limit how many coyotes you’ll call in. You can get better coverage by buying a unit with more speakers or take advantage of an audio-out port to add an additional speaker.
Volume is also important because a coyote that can’t hear your call won’t investigate. On the other hand, if you have a small hunting property close to rural homes, then a too-loud device may annoy the neighbors.
Thankfully, you can turn the volume down. But consider how far away you want to attract predators from and ensure that your chosen electronic predator call has enough oomph to throw sound that far.
FOXPRO is, perhaps, the biggest name in the electronic call business.
They don’t just sell predator calls. They also have deer, elk/moose, snow goose/crow, and turkey calls. FOXPRO also sells apparel and hunting accessories such as predator lights and carrying cases, though they are known primarily for their calls.
FOXPRO is notable for their calls because they do everything in-house. Engineering? They do it. PCB design? Done by their staff. Manufacturing and assembly? All performed in the USA. FOXPRO has been designing, manufacturing, and shipping their products from Pennsylvania for over 15 years.
FOXPRO also teams up with hunters through their Field Staff program.
Field Staff aren’t employees but they work with FOXPRO to perform activities such as working with hunting stores, conducting seminars, and appearing on FOXPRO’s Furtakers TV show.
In exchange, Field Staff are compensated for their time and travel expenses and get to try out new products.
The Furtakers TV show is a YouTube channel run by FOXPRO. They also host a community forum for hunters.
FOXPRO has also innovated and produced many features unseen by other electronic predator call manufacturers, such as the FoxBang and FoxPitch features mentioned above.
In short, FOXPRO makes some of the best electronic calls, does so in the US, and heavily engages with hunters. No wonder they’re such a famous brand.
Another highly-regarded electronic game call manufacturer, ICOtec focuses entirely on attracting animals.
All they sell are calls, decoys, and many sounds to use with them.
These electronic calls are usable with a wide variety of animals. So, while you may buy them for coyote hunting, you can use the same call for wildlife photography or for scaring grackles away from your property.
ICOtec also engages in community outreach. They maintain a database of veteran predator hunters who are willing to tutor newcomers to the sport. ICOtec also has a Prostaff program, similar to the one put on by FOXPRO.
In addition, ICOtec sponsors hunting sports teams such as Songdog Mafia, online shows such as Mountain Lodge Outdoors, and educational outfits such as Tony Tebbe’s Predator University.
Though Primos makes some of the best electronic animal calls, they are not a dedicated game call company.
Their product line focuses on the tools used by hunters to get a good shot on game. To this end, they sell hunting blinds, trail cameras, feed & minerals, and trigger sticks. Trigger sticks are shooting sticks with an additional trigger mechanism so you can easily adjust to the specific height you need.
They also sell hunting decoys, choke tubes, dog kennels, and hunting apparel such as gloves, masks, and vests.
Also, hunting calls. They have many of those.
The Dogg series of e-callers, as they call electronic calls, is not the end of their calls. Primos sells box calls, hand calls, diaphragm calls, and more.
While many places sell deer and duck calls, Primos has covered almost every type of animal you may want to hunt, and even some you legally can’t! They even have squirrel calls and owl “Hoot Flutes.”
Primos Hunting also has a television show called TRUTH About Hunting. You can also learn the art of calling through their online and DVD resources.
Primos started in 1976, when the founder, Will Primos, started selling his handmade turkey calls. They were made out of tin cans.
His calls spread by word-of-mouth until stores were asking him to sell his products. Then, in 1983, Will Primos created instructional audio tapes. He went on to develop more hunting gear. Primos Hunting kept expanding and they are the hunting call leader today.