MAD Minaska M1 Complete Electronic Predator Call
Electronic call units are popular tools for predator callers who want access to a wider range of cries or are not confident with their mouth blown call expertise. Electronic units can recreate sounds that I am unable to mimic with mouth calls. They can attract a predatorís attention away from my shooting location. They allow me to concentrate more on observing the surrounding terrain for incoming predators while calling is taking place. They can also be played while I am setting up for a shot to draw the predatorís attention from my movements. A good electronic call is an excellent partner for the beginner, a tool for an advanced caller who wants more flexibility and provides critical backup to the lone caller who wants an extra edge. While I prefer mouth calls for many situations, I consider a good electronic call to be indispensable.
I hunt predators ten months out of the year for both commercial and sporting purposes. I have tested more makes and models of electronic predator calls than I care to count. Iíve tried nearly everything from inexpensive, limited range, hand held units up to some electronic marvels with boom boxes and nearly unlimited reserve sound access. Iíve used and owned cassette tape, CD, sound card, limited selection electronic sound units and downloadable digital sound units. The general rule of thumb is that the more you spend on an electronic unit, the better it is, and the more satisfying in the long run. While less expensive units have some appeal in the early stages of use, their weaknesses quickly wear thin and many end up in storage. When I consider spending the price of a good rifle on an electronic call I want a ďdirty dozenĒ basic traits to be present. I want the unit to be rugged, highly portable, dependable, easy to operate, long lasting on a single charge, low temperature tolerant, relatively loud, have extended range remote control ability, capable of reproducing a number of realistic sounds, upgradeable and compatible with other units. Most of all I want the unit to consistently call in predators.
There are a lot of units on the market and a number of them will meet a few of these traits. Some of them wonít meet any of these traits, except that they can be easily carried to the trash can. A very few will meet most of them and hardly any will meet all twelve to my satisfaction. One is the MAD Minaska M1 Complete. The basic product description gives a good overview of what the unit is and how it works.
The MAD Minaska Series M-1 Complete has a sound library of 100 lifelike, digital-quality game calls. This compact little powerhouse contains 10 easily accessible banks of 10 sounds. No scrolling or sending is required. There is no time limit on each sound so you can customize your call sequences to any length. The unit includes calls proven on coyotes, elk, bears, bobcats, cougars, snow geese, fox, crows, white-tailed deer, wild boars, raccoons and turkeys. The full-function remote activates the sounds from up to 100+ yards away under ideal conditions. The high-quality internal cone speaker provides clear, highly audible sound. The receiver includes an external audio-in jack for use with a microphone, MP3 player, CD or tape player, a 3.5mm external speaker jack, charging jack, auxiliary decoy function and a toggle for shutting off the internal cone speaker. The Mossy Oak Break-up camouflage base unit includes 8 rechargeable AA batteries and standard 12V wall charger. The remote requires one 9-volt battery. Specifications: Measures: 6-3/8" x 4-3/4" x 2-3/4". Unit weighs only 1lb 10ozs with batteries installed! Each M1 Bandit is loaded with Minaska Outdoors entire library of sounds (100 sounds). The M-1 Complete Includes 1GB compact flash memory which is removable and upgradeable up to 16GB. Includes a USB reader/writer for moving sounds to or from unit. 5-year manufacturer warranty. It is made in USA. Note: This unit qualifies for 1-Year Free Sound Downloads from the MAD Sound Library.Ē
I have used an M-1 Complete for a full season of predator and feral hog hunting and I have not had a better all-purpose electronic caller. I have consistently called in more aggressively responding coyotes, with faster response times, and from greater distances than any other unit or mouth call Iíve ever used. I will and have put it up against some of the best competitive units on the market and the M1 Complete has always provided superior performance.
The M-1 has a couple of quirks that some will not like. The sound bank list of available calls is written on laminated paper and can be misplaced or damaged. Although a heavy rubber band is supplied to retain the list, I scotch tape mine to the sending unit to make it more secure. Iíve also made a couple of laminated copies in case I lose mine in the field. The list is impossible to read in low light or darkness, so a small flashlight is necessary to try an unfamiliar call menu choice. The sending unit has easy to read, glow-in-the-dark numbers but that doesnít help much if you canít remember what bank and number of a particular sound. On the other hand, because of the unitís design, I can instantly shift from one sound to another with no delay and no scrolling. This is an excellent capability and outweighs the disadvantage of the laminated menu for me.
It is easy to forget to turn the unit off and run down the batteries. There is no low battery indicator on the unit. On two occasions when I shot coyotes just at dark, I forgot to turn the M1 off in the excitement of retrieving my animal and put the unit in my back pack. The next morning I didnít have a functional electronic call when I got to the field and had to fall back on my mouth calls.
My unit does not have an indicator of when a charge is complete. My unitís battery will run down in cold weather if left in the truck overnight so I am now religious about bringing the unit into the house and giving it a fresh charge every evening or before a day of hunting.
The positives far outweigh the negatives on this unit, however. The M1 is highly portable and can easily be carried in a fanny pack or heavy coat pocket. It is square and smooth edged for quick retrieval. I attached a short carry strip to mine so I can easily carry it over my shoulder and quickly hang the unit from a tree branch or fence post. This is very important to me because I want to be able to set up as quickly as possible with a minimum of exposure and I often like to hang my predator call in the air to draw a predatorís attention up and away from my shooting position.
This unit is absolutely dependable. It turns off when you want it off, the volume increases and reduces on demand, it plays what you instruct it to play every time. Sounds like a reasonable capability for a high end electronic caller? Youíd be surprised how many units donít or wonít consistently and reliably perform these functions. Iíve used some good sounding units that were total failures in the field for performing these simple procedures and Iíve lost coyotes because they didnít function when called upon to do so.
I very seldom place my electronic unit more than fifty yards from my shooting position. Frankly, taking a lot of time and risking exposure to place a unit far out on open ground will defeat your purpose so the hundred yard range of the M1 is more than enough for all my calling needs. What is more important to me is the fact that I can simply place the unit down or hang it as I advance to my shooting site with a minimum of extra movement.
The M1 is very good for sequence calling. If the dogs are there, this sequence seems to bring them in every time. I call for twenty minutes at most sites in a continuous sequence of these sounds running five minutes each.
Nearly all the coyotes I called in with this sequence were in sight by the time I was ready to use the Jack Nest sound. All of them seemed to increase their pace when I went to the Jack Nest pattern.
These are only four call sequences out of a hundred already preloaded in the unit and I can upgrade my sound library if I want to expand my choices or I feel that I have overused my current ones. So far that hasnít happened.
On two hunts I was out with callers who had very popular and expensive competitive models. On both occasions when their units got no responses, the M1 did. On both hunts we ended up using mine and leaving their units in the truck before the day was over. There is something about the sound quality of my unit that attracts predators when the others donít. My unit produces a slightly harsher and somewhat higher pitched set of distress cries than the competition and it works nearly every time!
Not only has it worked well with coyotes, it is the first unit that I have had consistent and fairly predictable feral hog responses with. Feral hogs are extremely difficult to call and the M1 has produced some excellent pig responses. My M1 has also successfully called raccoons from tree nest sites. I have only been able to accomplish this feat up until now with a cassette tape unit. My M1, during an October predator hunt, called in a superior 10-point whitetail buck. I was able to go back to that area and get that same buck during the deer season with an antler rattle, but the M1 helped me to locate it in the first place.
The M1 Complete is not cheap. However, it is worth every penny if you are a dedicated predator caller and need a tool that will provide superior mechanical performance and outstanding animal response capability. Mine is not going back to the company.
Copyright 2010 by Randy D. Smith. All rights reserved.
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