These Realtree pros stack the furs each winter. Here’s their advice on concealment
Fooling predators is difficult because they’re hunters themselves. They are hyper-aware, relying on their sensitive noses, large ears and sharp eyes to secure prey and avoid becoming prey in turn. That’s the challenge – and appeal – of predator calling. Successful predator hunters employ a number of tactics to gain an edge, and the predator pros we spoke to agree the most important factor is concealment.
Predator Pros on Camo
Coyote hunters are downright particular about the equipment they use, especially camo. Pictured here, Byron South. (© Byron South Photo)
“I’m in the business of calling animals,” says Realtree Pro Staffer Byron South. “For this style of hunting, you direct the animal’s attention to yourself. This makes concealment imperative.”
Realtree pro staffers Fred Eichler and Mark Zepp agree. These guys travel to hunt all across the country and even internationally, so they look for versatile camo patterns suitable in a variety of terrains. Spending hundreds of days in the field has provided plenty of insight into what works and what doesn’t.
“Guys ask me about camo patterns and clothing, and if it’s all really necessary,” Zepp says, who has worn Realtree for close to 30 years. “The answer is always ‘Yes'."
During the 12 years Zepp lived in southern Arizona and hunted the western states, he used MAX-1 XT. When hunting snowy country, he switched to Realtree AP Snow camo. He’s since moved to Indiana and jumped on the EDGE bandwagon.
“I have called in and killed coyotes at 10 to 15 yards that didn’t even know I was around,” Zepp says. “This is not the wide-open sagebrush country of the West. It’s much smaller woodlots surrounded by cornfields or alfalfa pastures.”
Eichler, who hosts Predator Nation TV and lives in Colorado, says his cameramen had difficulty seeing him when he was wearing MAX-1 XT and EDGE. South also prefers these two patterns above all others, but favors MAX-1 XT.
“I generally do all my hunting sitting on the ground while calling. Regardless of what part of the world I’m in, the MAX-1 XT will blend in and make me disappear. I’ve never seen a situation where it won’t work,” South says. “I wear EDGE typically in more wooded terrain. It blends well whether I’m sitting or stalking on the ground or perched up in a treestand. It makes me feel invisible.
“Even though MAX-1 XT was developed mainly as a western pattern, I found it to be great no matter where I’m hunting,” he says, noting that he also uses EDGE plenty. “The EDGE pattern has a unique way of breaking up a hunter’s outline and not just looking like a dark blob when viewed at a distance.”
Learn More: How to Hunt the Western Coyote
Eichler. Realtree EDGE. Coyote. © Fred Eichler photo
“I’ve been wearing ScentLok for the last few years, and their clothing has really performed for me,” says Jon Collins, host of Tooth and Claw TV. “Coyote hunting can be extremely tough on clothing. We’re hunting coyotes almost year-round all across the country, so we need gear that’ll hold up. Everyone knows ScentLok for their scent control, but what’s often overlooked is the comfort and durability of their suits.”
His personal favorite is ScentLok’s Full Season Taktix suit in Realtree EDGE for its versatility.
“This suit can be worn from October through March. It’s light enough for the warmer months with only a T-shirt on underneath, and heavy enough for the colder months when using ScentLok’s BaseSlayers.”
He completes the suit with ScentLok’s Savanna Lightweight Shooters Gloves.
“I like using a thinner glove while coyote hunting because I need the extra control they provide,” he says. “I want to feel the buttons on my electronic call remote and the trigger on my rifle when it’s time to take a shot.”
Eichler also goes the scent-control route, but prefers ScentBlocker.
“It keeps me warm and comfortable without restricting my movement,” he says. Eichler chalks up his success not to his hunting or shooting skills, but rather his gear, which lets him spend more time hunting, especially in less-than-ideal conditions. “Performance clothing and gear is important when it comes to being able to stay in the field longer, which means more opportunities at even the smartest coyotes.”
King's Camo: Hunter Series Available in EDGE
Learn More: How to Hunt Coyotes in the Snow
More Predator Hunting Tips
Realtree camo. Believe it. © Mark Zepp photo
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