Gizmos & Gadgets — Knight & Hale Cottontail Rabbit Distress Call

By Dave Dolbee published on in Archery, General, How To, Hunting

Knight & Hale has redesigned its Cottontail Rabbit Distress Call making it the perfect choice for use anywhere in the country to seduce coyote, bobcat, fox and other predators.

Knight & Hale Cottontail Distress Call

Friendly, compact and lots of volume – a predator’s worst nightmare.

The barrel design of Knight & Hale’s Cottontail Rabbit Distress Call has an ergonomic look and feel. The threadlock barrel screws into the shortened end piece for ease of disassembly, but more importantly, no more worrying about losing half of your call in the field. The wedge, reed and soundboard have also been redesigned, with the reed now able to “lock” into place. This allows you to reassemble the call—just the way it came from the factory—every time. The end result is a great sounding, user friendly, compact call, with a lot of volume.

Having a great call and being an effective caller are two different matters. Just because I owned a set of surgical tools… you get the idea. Fortunately, calling predators isn’t brain surgery. A mistake only leads to getting busted by a song dog and moving down the road a stretch to the next setup.

Distress Calling 101

A mistake novice callers often make is hammering the call too much. When making the sound of a dying rabbit, you have to… well… sound like you are dying. There is nothing wrong with hammering the call—loud and full of breath—at the beginning of a series. If a predator is close and responds immediately—that’s great. However, this does not happen often. More likely, you are going to be calling through your series for several seconds or possibly a minute or more depending on your area and quarry. Toward the end of the series you will need to fade away, tone it down, just as a dying rabbit running out of breath and energy would. Remember, dying rabbits do not end strong.

Hunter with bow and arrow crouched over a coyote

This coyote came in to 17 yards making it ripe for a bow shot from the author’s Mathews Z7 bow outfitted with a Trijicon Accupin bow sight.

After your series, wait and watch for a few minutes; let the predator do a bit of searching. Predators are not worried about prey dying before it gets there; only another predator finding it first. After 3 to 5 minutes without a response, you can repeat the series. Normally, I will give a setup about 15 minutes before moving on. In the East with hardwoods, the dense vegetation will not allow the sound to travel as far. In these areas I may only move about a quarter mile to make my next stand. However, in open areas such as the desserts of New Mexico, I may travel for a couple of miles before setting up again.

Go Get ‘Em

Learning to call with a more experienced caller is great. When that isn’t possible just head to your local hunting grounds —at night if possible. Just pull over and listen for howling a few minutes. If you don’t hear anything, give a few screams from your call and see if anything answers. This is a great way to locate animals and determine your setup locations for the following day’s hunts. You’ll make mistakes and learn as you go, but that is the beauty of predator calling. There is always another one just down the trail.

Tell us your favorite predator hunting tip!

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