Coyote Hunting Tips: Predator Hunting Hand Call or Electronic Call

It seems like whether to use a predator hunting hand call or an electronic predator caller has been an ongoing debate amongst predator hunters. Personally, I do not think there is really any argument for why one is better than the other. I believe both have their pros and cons, which is what I am going to explain within this coyote hunting tips article.

Pros of Using a Predator Hunting Hand Call

  • Unique and Different Predator Distress Sounds
  • Quickly Change Up the Sound

I started blowing a hand call at the age of 14. I practiced every day and drove my mother and the neighbors absolutely crazy.

Fast forward to my college years—I was still practicing in my truck every single day on my two-hour roundtrip drive to school and back. Not only did I learn how to make an open reed do more than just coyote howls and created different distress sounds, but I also began to wonder why.

Why does a coyote howl like this, and what does it mean? How can I respond accordingly, and what does that sound like? I researched, watched videos, read articles, and talked with as many predator hunters that I could to gain as much information as possible. I would drive around at night and get out of the truck with my hand-held predator light and start calling just to watch & listen to how coyotes reacted to my coyote howler. I remember closing my eyes and being really mindful of the tone in the coyote howls and the way in which they responded to one another.

At the age of 32, I am still always trying to learn something new every single time I go coyote hunting. I am a firm believer that solely using a predator hand call for the first seven years of my coyote hunting career truly pushed me to learn about the animal I so badly wanted to become insanely efficient at hunting.

Probably the most beneficial aspect of hand calling to coyotes is the ability to create sounds that coyotes have never heard. If you are hunting highly pressured areas, then you are likely hunting highly educated coyotes. These coyotes have heard just every coyote call sound out there that comes stock on today’s e-calls and no longer are enticed by the same old tune. Some may flat out run when they hear them. Calling coyotes with a coyote hand call gives you the ability to create unique sounds that they are unfamiliar with, and it will spark the curiosity and interest in educated coyotes. 

If you have practiced with anopen reed predator hand call and are familiar with them, you know that you can create pretty much any predator hunting sound out there on one—from coyote howls, rodent distress, rabbit distress, and pup distress. I once went to North Dakota in my younger years to coyote hunt with nothing but an open reed coyote hand call and closed reed cottontail distress hand call and killed 25 coyotes in two and a half days. With those two coyote hunting hand calls, I could make any sound I wanted.

When a coyote rolled in to my rabbit distress hand call and dropped after I pulled the trigger, I would instantly jump into a pup distress sound on my open reed hand call. I do the same today and continue to find success in being able to switch up sounds instantly by changing my airflow and mouth placement on open and closed reed distress hand calls.

Cons of Hand Calling Coyotes

  • Drawing Attention to Yourself

Really, there is only one con I can think of when it comes to hand calling to coyotes. When you personally are creating the sound with a hand call, the coyotes’ attention is directed toward you.  With this being said, any movement you make can be spotted, and the coyote will circle down-wind of your location rather than the location of the e-caller.

Reality is, we don’t see every single coyote we call in. When you are hand calling coyotes, you create movement from pushing air into the call and creating affliction with your hand. If a coyote is unknowingly watching you, they can pick up on this and will quickly leave the area. That coyote is then educated and more difficult to call in, especially with the predator hunting sound you were creating.

Pros of Using An E-Caller While Calling Coyotes

  • Directing the Coyotes’ Path with Electronic Game Call Placement

Today’s electronic coyote calls have the ability to hold thousands of coyote call sounds.  Besides the stock sounds, you can download additional predator call sounds like the ones I use from Predator Tactics. Having a variety of coyote sounds, rabbit distress, and other prey distress sounds gives you the ability to switch up the sounds on your predator call and keeps you from burning out stands and educating coyotes with the same old tune. Not everyone has the motivation to practice with hand calls. Learning to effectively blow predator hunting hand calls does take work. Pushing a button on the remote to your coyote caller takes minimal effort. The electronic predator calls that can be operated by a remote makes it easy to switch sounds accordingly when a coyote howls or you dump one and need to quickly jump into pup distress to bring in another coyote or stop another for a shot opportunity.

A huge perk of using an e-caller is that you take the attention off of your exact location. Setting the call fifty to a hundred yards or more in front of you or up wind allows you to steer the coyote to the predator call rather than your location. It can help to manipulate the coyotes’ path when circling and allows you to glass more and takes attention off of you so you are able to get away with more movement without being spotted and busted.

Cons of Using a Predator Hunting E-Caller

  • Batteries and Malfunctions on Electronic Coyote Calls
  • Educating and Over Calling Coyotes

Everyone who uses an e-call has been there. You get out into the field and get set up just to realize your predator call was left and is deader than last year’s grass. Or your remote batteries are shot. This can be a huge downer, especially if you forgot to pack extra batteries. Also being an electronic device, things go wrong no matter how good of quality the electronic game call is.  I’ve had remotes not link up and predator e-call speakers go bad out of nowhere. This is one of the main reasons I ALWAYS take two or more predator hunting hand calls on every stand.

Electronic coyote calls are convenient. You push a button and wait. However, a lot of coyote hunters get in the bad habit of letting the predator sound play continuously and/or playing it too loud. Coyotes have insanely good hearing. If you do this, you are likely overcalling. It truly doesn’t take much to get a coyote’s attention and entice their curiosity. A mouse or rabbit distress does not wail for fifteen minutes straight without pause. Pay attention to this and fluctuate the volume level. Many hunters run the same e-caller with the same stock predator sounds.  With this being said, coyotes have likely heard these sounds before and aren’t as enticed as they would be if you were casting an unfamiliar rabbit distress sound off of a hand call or a downloaded coyote hunting sound from another source.


In conclusion, I do not think there is really a solid argument for why using one or the other is better. Both have their perks and can be used to your advantage if done correctly. If you have the ability to use both, do it. Practice with your hand calls and download additional predator sounds to your e-caller. Try something new on stand and you will quickly see your success rate increase.

For tips on other coyote hunting practices, read Coyote Hunting Tips: Wind and Calling Coyotes.