Serious predator callers carry so many hand calls into the field that their lanyards can look like clunky Mardi Gras necklaces. But ask me to pick a single go-to coyote call, and I’ll reach for my Circe, a simple polycarbonate hand call that can mimic just about any prey animal on the continent.
Easy to Blow: The stainless-steel internal reed of the Circe ($10; flambeauoutdoors.com) doesn’t require much breath to play. That means I can adjust the amount of air I force into the tube, making sounds that range from subtle squeaks to ear-piercing shrieks that carry across long distances and through gusting winds.
Hard to Freeze: Unlike exposed-reed calls, the Circe’s internal reed rarely freezes. Keep it in a jacket pocket in subzero temperatures.
Wide Vocal Range: Most tubular calls allow the user to cover the bell with one hand, closing the palm to muffle the sound and opening it to project higher-pitched screams. I like to blow air into the tube in a staccato rhythm while at the same time baffling the open end of the tube to add expression and urgency to the call.
Wide Register: My favorite of the four Circe models is the P-1 Coarse Long Range Rabbit (the others are the P-2 Medium to Long Range Cottontail, the P-6 Close Range Coaxer, and the MVP-4 Circe Three Calls in One combination squeaker and coaxer) because of its lower register that easily produces the gravelly scream of a mature rabbit having a bad day. By blowing gently, I can almost produce a purr or growl, but as I increase the air pressure, the sound turns into a high-pitched scream. I can also produce a very-high-pitched piercing, wavering wail by covering the bell so the air exits through a small space.
Ability to Howl: I can make passable coyote howling and barking calls through my P-1. To do this, I cut my breath short, almost coughing into the tube.