Outfoxing Foxes With Game Calls

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wc gave up shortly and returned to tlie jeep.

When calling it is best not to spend too much lime at one spot. If any game is going lo conic, it comes in a hurry. Ten minutes is ample. One requisite to calling succcss is to keep moving until you chance upon a productive location.

The best lime tor calling predators is at night. Meal-hungry animals prowl after dark in search of f<-od. Wear a headlamp, and keep the beam high, so that the ground is barely illuminated by the outer fringe. This is enough to reflect the eyes of approaching game. (It is wise to read up on your state game laws before attempting this nocturnal calling. Night-time hunting is prohibited in some areas.)

Foxes, coyotes, and hawks come most readily to the cry of a rabbit in distress. Bobcats and other cats are more wary. One of the brothers' latest innovations is a call that is death on raccoons. They had little success calling 'coons until they chanced to see a ringtail stalking a crippled sea gull. They worked on the twittering cry of a wounded gull until they imitated it in a plastic call.

"We anchored one night in a boat out in Granite Shoals Lake, near our home, and had 'coons swimming a hundred feet of water to get to the source of the crying," Murry told me. "I don't know why, but that call drives those critters frantic."

Another comparatively new addition to the brothers' line of game calls is one for deer. "It will revolutionize deer hunting," Winston predicted matter-of-factly.

The brothers find their best hunting in remote areas of Mexico where wild game abounds. One movie they made in Mexico last spring shows six lean and hungry coyotes racing in with abandon, oblivious of any danger, to get at the source of the squealling. Also in Mexico, they got a mountain lion to answer their calls, but it didn't stick around long enough for a shot.

Any country, however, that is inhabited by predators is good for game calling. The brothers have called the foxes on their ranch numerous times. Fact is, they practically know each one individually on sight.

'"These tales about the slyness and wariness of the fox are exaggerated." said Murry. "A fox is stupid when he is answering a call. All he can think about is that quick, free meal. At times, one will come in fast and he means business."

He told of the time when his father was crouched in a ravine, calling, when a fox came over the top and clamped down on his wrist. On another occasion, when a fox was spooked by Murry's whirring movie camera, it raced up Winston's humped back and leaped off his shoulder. This particular drama was captured on the movie film.

"You never saw a person come unglued as fast in your life as did Winston when that fox scrambled over his back," Murry remembered, laughing.

"That rascal still probably has a ringing in his ears," Winston added "I let out a whoop that would have put an Indian to shame."

We made five or six more stops and added another pair of foxes to our bag. In this particular area of Texas, there is no limit nor closed season on predators.

"We like to stage these hunts periodically on the ranch to keep our fox population in balance," said Winston. "They multiply pretty fast. When not using guns, we call the critters up and do our shooting with cameras."

Upon returning home I took the call the brothers gave me and went out in the backyard to practice. I blew a long, piercing blast. For a first attempt, I had amazing success. Game came running from all directions—the family dog, three cats, and my 22-month-old son.

No doubt about it the call works!

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