It was a dark and windless Sunday night when I drove to one of my favorite locations, affectionately dubbed the Pig Barn. This particular spot received its name because the property features a large barn that contains—you guessed it, pigs. I exited my truck and gathered my gear with ninja-like stealth, only to realize that the hard snow cracking beneath my feet meant I was going to be about as stealthy as a hippo making its way through a field of Wheaties. Despite this, I began the trek to my preferred call spot – all the while blowing a long lonely howl on the mouth caller made for me by a close friend. Upon arriving at the call spot, I laid down my FOXPRO Shockwave and got into position.
I scanned the field for about 5 minutes using my Nighteyes Dual Beam Headlamp hoping to catch a pair of eyes before turning on my caller. Unsurprisingly, this initial scan only revealed a handful of deer who had been undisturbed by the loud crunching of snow beneath my feet. Using the remote of the FOXPRO I started playing some distress sounds and let the FOXJack start its frantic but splendid dance. This time around I decided to give the prairie dog distress call a try. Now, you may be thinking to yourself – “Boyd, you’re in North Central Pennsylvania hunting coyotes that almost definitely have never seen a prairie dog, much less heard one.” Well friends, sometimes thinking outside the box pays off.
About 200 yards off at my 1 o’clock, I spotted an interested set of eyes making their way to my 3 o’clock before disappearing behind a small hill. Within a few minutes however I see the coyote break over the hill at a fast-paced trot. Once he hit the 125 yard mark I decided it was game time, turned on my Nighteyes Gun Light and aimed for his brisket. Then, as if somehow made aware of my presence he took a sharp left trying to catch my wind. Following his sudden change of direction was made easy with the help of my Shadow Tech Tripod topped with the Manfrotto Horizontal Grip Action Ball Head and Shadow Tech PIG Saddle. The perfect shot lined up, I pulled the trigger and let the mighty .17 Hornet roar! The 25 grain pill met its mark with a tremendous “thwack” and sent the coyote spinning back over the hill. After a few minutes, I knew it was time to recover the night’s trophy and switched my Nighteyes headset from the red Cree LED to the white LED with a simple push of a button. Once again I found myself trudging through the snow as I searched for the coyote – I even saw the same group of deer from earlier who were apparently undisturbed by my adrenaline inducing man vs. predator encounter. Before long I found my prize and gazed down at what I consider one of the most difficult animals to outsmart and harvest – at least on the east coast.
As I gathered my game and gear, I couldn’t help but think back to my younger years when I first began enjoying and learning about predator hunting from my father. He passed away in 2009 – I wonder what his take would be on today’s technology? After all, this is the man who spent his life predator hunting with batteries, speakers, and cassette players salvaged from the local scrap yard. His tools of the trade have been replaced with powerful electronics like the FOXPRO Shockwave capable of storing up to 1000 different sounds. His 12-volt spotlight wrapped in red cellophane has been replaced by a headset that adjusts from 10-100% brightness and weighs less than 8 ounces.
The efforts of innovators like Night Eyes and FOXPRO continue to help predator hunters find their mark without having sell a kidney to afford quality thermal or night vision optics. With products available at most price points, both companies show a strong commitment to the sport and the men and women who love it. As a predator hunter and all around sportsmen with decades of experience under my belt, I cannot recommend either company enough!