Calling predators isn't complicated. Colicky babies can do it. But babies are inconvenient in the field. Mouth-blown predator calls are handy but not very versatile. And blowing them with intensity can leave you gasping for breath. Recorded sounds on portable digital media players operated via remote control, on the other hand, offer several advantages.
A great electronic predator call should be durable yet light and compact, with a minimum of parts to lose. The best predator calls can be programmed with dozens of wildlife sounds. Some units use two or even four speakers. Most let you add additional speakers, which could further improve sound output. Some even have auxiliary jacks for adding motion decoys or video cameras.
There's a lot to consider when shopping for an electronic predator call. That's why we rounded up four of the latest offerings from top manufacturers or electronic predator callers and tested them over the course of a week last October in the high desert of southwestern Idaho. Here's what we found.
★ ★ ★ ★ - Excellent
★ ★ ★ - Very Good
★ ★ - Good
★ - Fair
OL's Protocal Explained
We began by reading each manual and following basic directions for charging and setting up the predator calls. We operated each of them with an eye to quality of construction, an ear to sound quality and volume, and a feel for ergonomics and ease of use. Controls and sounds were tested at 50, 100, 150, and 200 yards. Two testers relied on more than 40 years of calling experience in making subjective judgements on volume and sound quality.
Keep in mind that predators seem much less discriminating of sound than people are. Darn near any kind of squeak, whine, or cry can lure predators of various species. A library of hundreds of authentic wildlife sounds may or may not be a huge advantage.