Callin’ Coyotes DVD

Great Products for Hunting Dog owners, Predator Callers and Outdoor Folks

Great Products for Hunting Dog owners, Predator Callers and Outdoor Folks

Callin’ Coyotes DVD

$15.00

I spent a year and a half in my van driving through and predator calling in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, North Dakota, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and a few other states I’m sure I am overlooking as I write this.  While in Idaho, I read a local “Thrifty Nickle or Dandy Dime” sales flier and a guy was advertising a couple of super VHS camera’s for sale.  I bought one of them a week or so later and began filming what would end up being, my first DVD, Callin’ Coyotes with Mark Zepp, From Warsaw to the Rincons.

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Callin’ Coyotes with Mark Zepp

From Warsaw to the Rincon’s

In the late 1990’s, I found myself living out of a Ford 350 van, pulling a 20 foot Wells Cargo trailer, filled with a gas grill, ammo and fur stretchers, and traveling the wide open roads of the wild west.  I had graduated from college in OH in 1986 and then spent close to the next ten years working in Missouri for a company by the name of Wick Outdoor Works.  John Wick was, and is today, perhaps the most knowledgeable and famous coon hound trainer and personality in that sport.  As a kid he was one of my hero’s and it was a dream fulfilled to work for he an Linda and to be John ‘s “right hand man” for all of those years.

As I look back on that time, much of my life was like a traveling carnival act.  I worked almost every day of the year for several years and spent months of the year on the road, traveling from one hound, bird dog, beagle, running dog and retriever event to the next throughout the south and Midwest.  It was a great life for a young, single guy, but like all good things, it came to an end when I was unable to buy into the company..

So I left and was unsure what the next adventure in my life would be.  I spent a few months on the island of Maui and then flew back to Missouri where my “rig” was waiting at my friends Dave and Betty Hollenberg’s farm.  (Years later Dave would be the “Best Man” in my wife Amber and I’s wedding.) I had $4k in cash in the van hidden in a water jug, some other money saved, no house payment, no debt, no responsibilities and a desire to travel the west and call coyotes.

I had blown into all kinds of different calls since I was kid and called fox while growing up on our farm in Ohio and then, years later, calling coyotes while in Missouri.  As a young kid and teenager I fished, trapped, bow hunted, called crows and fox and coon hunted.  I had very few other interests in life and always knew that hunting and being outdoors meant more to me that anyone else I knew at that time.  Even as a kid, I have never been good at moderation.

I spent the next year and a half in my van driving through and predator calling in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, North Dakota, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and a few other states I’m sure I am overlooking as I write this.  While in Idaho, I read a local “Thrifty Nickle or Dandy Dime” sales flier and a guy was advertising a couple of super VHS camera’s for sale.  I bought one of them a week or so later and began filming what would end up being, my first DVD, Callin’ Coyotes with Mark Zepp, From Warsaw to the Rincons.  One day, I pulled into Rawlins, Wyoming after killing a few coyotes in the morning, just ahead of a major snow storm.  A van, pulling a trailer, is no rig for slippery roads.  I had purchased some predator calls from Dan Thompson a few years earlier and on the hand written receipt, he wrote, “Stop in if you’re ever in the area.”  Since I was snowed in for several days, I called Dan and met both he and his wife, Wanda.  I visited several more times over the next few days and really hit it off with the Thompsons.  Then I headed to the Jackson Hole, Wyoming and the Grand Teton’s.  I thought about and interviewed for a job in a resort up there as a snow mobile guide in Yellowstone, but couldn’t shake my time with Dan.  So I called him on the phone and told him I’d like to hunt with him and film the hunts.  This was before Randy Anderson started the coyote video craze and I knew there was a market for this stuff, a guy just needed to get it on film and do a quality job with it.  Dan agreed and I spent the next couple of months in Rawlins.  I rented a hole in the wall hotel room for $60 a week, which wasn’t much better than living out of the van but at least there was a lot more room, and hunted with Dan when he wasn’t putting calls together and hunted alone when he was.  Camera and tape problems and many other obstacles showed up, which were all part of the learning curve, but we shot some great footage together and I learned a tremendous amount about hunting coyotes.  I tell everyone that I thought I was a coyote hunter and new a lot about coyotes until I met Dan.  I was sceptical about some of what he said at first, but in time, all of his information and his knowledge panned out to be 110% dead on.  Dan Thompson was a true “wolfer” in every sense of the word and there aren’t many of those guys left anymore. He passed away in December of 2011, just a year or two after he lost his wife Wanda to cancer but he played a big part in that first DVD and within the industry as a whole.

By the time the next hunting season rolled around, my van time was over, I was back in the real world and working a “real job”.  The truth is, I was damn near hunted out but also needed to feel productive again, so I found work at Tri-Tronics in Tucson, Arizona where I was a shoe in for a Sales and Marketing position with my background.  I now had a steady income, bought a better camera and a few months later, I met Eddie Hawkins at a local shooting range and he became my new hunting partner.

Those were great days.  Eddie was 100% green and 1000% enthusiastic.  He had done some predator calling without much success.  The first morning we hunted together I had coyotes crawling all around him.  It was a day that changed both of our lives.  He had the fever and a couple of years later, I had a helluva shooter and caller.  He went almost every day that first year, even in the summer months when it was 115 degrees and made every mistake a guy can make, but he learned from every one of those mistakes and got better and better.  He was always on time, which is a big deal to me.  To this day, if you tell Eddie to meet you at a specified spot at 4:00a.m., he’ll be waiting on you.  If he’s a minute late, something is up and there is a problem.

A couple of years went by.  I had to buy other cameras, a computer, editing software, and then figure out how to “drive the thing” as I knew nothing about computers or editing, but I learned and started the editing process. By the time I released Callin’ Coyotes with Mark Zepp, there were several predator-calling DVD’s on the market, but I don’t think any of them compared to this project in terms of camera work, scenery and educational value.  Even today, I think it is one of the “prettiest”, best edited, coyote hunting videos ever made.

All four of our DVD’s have a subtitle that have a lot of meaning to me personally and very little to anyone else.  I’ve never forgotten where I came from and how special that family farm was.  My parents are terrific people.  My dad, through all of his faults, and we all have them, is the greatest man I know.  He never understood my desire to hunt and had absolutely no interest in it at all, but he made darn sure I had every bit of hunting gear and everything else that I ever needed or wanted.  When others doubted, he encouraged, when I needed knocked down a few levels as a punk kid, he did that too, and he gave me a work ethic few others can understand.  Digging miles of fence post holes in rocky ground and stretching barb wire in the hot summer sun can do that.  Every job I’ve had since then has seemed like a vacation.

This first DVD, From Warsaw to the Rincons, was a way to tie my small hometown of Warsaw, Ohio and my incredible journey to the mountains around Tucson, the Rincon’s, into one package.

Good Hunting – Big Mark!

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