Field Staff Member: Rich Cronk
Rich Cronk has been calling predators since the early 1980's. His first coyote was called with a cheap tape recorder he borrowed from one of his children. That first coyote was taken on the first night out, and on the second stand. It was a moon lit night, and about four inches of fresh fallen snow would make the dark outline of a coyote show up well when it came out into the field after the rabbit he heard screaming. The strategy was simple. We stood in the shadows of the treeline while the cheap tape player sat about twenty yards out into the open field. The rabbit had only been singing for a few seconds when the coyote ran up and tried to take a bite out of the tape player. One shot from the ten gauge ended that coyote's career, and started a whole new career for Rich Cronk. Rich has been hooked on coyote calling ever since that night.
Rich called and killed quite a few coyotes with that old tape player, but it wasn't long before he decided that fooling coyotes with a mouth blown call would be more of a challenge. Rich's first mouth blown calls were of enclosed reed type long range calls from Burnham Brothers. The coyotes were easy to fool back then, says Rich. "The coyotes came like a dog to a whistle". A month or so with the Burnham Brothers calls, Rich decided that it would be even more of a challenge if he were to make a call with his own hands and fool the coyotes with it. His first do it yourself call was made from a tine of an Iowa whitetail, and the reed was a JC products cottontail reed wedged inside the drilled out antler tine. That little call worked just fine, and it wasn't long before Rich was making calls for other folks as well. Sometime in the late 1980's, Rich made the trip to Marble Falls, Texas for a visit with the great Murry Burnham. Murry taught Rich how to make the lip squeak sound, and Rich presented Murry with the little deer antler call that he had made. Murry said that the deer antler call "sounds just like a snowshoe".
Now an Internationally known custom call maker, Rich has made predator calls and coyote howlers for hunters all over the United states, Canada, Austrailia and Sweden. Rich has learned to imitate many different critter calling sounds by use of his own vocal chords, and lip squeaks. Rich has recorded many of his own calling sounds for use on electronic callers. Even the various lip squeak variations become long range calling sounds when played over a good quality digital calling machine like his new FOXPRO FX5.