If you have been searching for a new caller, you have more than likely come across ICOtec and their digital game calls. You might’ve also noticed that in comparison to other caller brands, their prices seem quite reasonable and you might be seriously considering trying them out.
Well, the new re-designed GC500 is the top model within the latest ICOtec GEN2 GC range and provides a bunch of awesome features for anyone who is looking to spend a little less.
ICOtec GC500 Review
The outer design of the caller is pretty much same as the other GEN2 models that have been released by ICOtec, with the key differences being the functionality.
First of all, when you initially take it out of the box, you will notice it is super light and compact, so you won’t need to stress about carrying too much weight in your pack when you take it out.
Next, the redesigned handle, with its rounded end, makes it easy to hold without slipping, plus it enables you to hang it on a branch if you want to get it up off the ground.
If you regularly hang your caller up in the brush, you may find that the weight makes the caller fall back and face upwards, so you will want to make sure your caller is secure.
If you prefer to use a tripod setup instead, there is a threaded mount to allow you to secure your caller.
GC500 Volume & Sound
One of the biggest considerations when buying a caller is the sound and volume. Because of its smaller size in comparison to other larger callers on the market, it has a 15 watt speaker, however the sound quality is still really good.
If you are looking for a negative, you may want it to be a touch louder, especially on windy days. In bad weather conditions, you might find the volume is not quite enough for you to hear easily, but that’s to be expected in this small unit running on AA batteries.
If you find that you really do need some extra volume or want to increase the coverage, the GC500 comes with an audio jack for you to hook up an external speaker for that extra boost.
Caller & Remote Batteries For The GC500
For those who have used other callers, you will be happy to know the ICOtec GC500 only takes 4 AA batteries and the remote takes a 9 volt battery. For awareness, other electronic callers on the market can take up to a whopping 10AA batteries so this is significantly less in comparison.
Even with just the four AA batteries, the GC500 still has great sound output and the battery life is still quite good as its power consumption is quite low. And even in zero degree weather conditions, the battery life is still quite decent.
If you do make the decision to buy the GC500 caller, just take note that the batteries are not included, so you will have to buy these as extras if you don’t have any lying around.
To get the most out of your caller, and to make sure you don’t get caught out if you are out hunting, you might also want to look at getting extra rechargeable batteries so you can swap them around as needed.
GC500 Remote Features
The remote for the GC500 is relatively simple to use, and once you are familiar with the buttons and the layout, it’s easy to work out if you need to use it at night. The remote is also comfortable to handle with its simple ergonomic design.
To start with, the GEN2 GC500 model remote now comes with a pause button so you can turn the calls on or off, making sure you can create intrigue and adjust calls when trying to lure your prey in.
If you’ve previously bought the old ICOtec models, you might’ve had trouble with buttons being pushed and turning on while carrying the caller in your backpack.
You’ll be happy to hear that if you consider upgrading to the GC500 it now has an on/off switch on the remote. No more accidentally bumping it when moving around with it!
The digital screen is very easy to read during the day. The screen on the remote control also has a backlit feature to make it readable at night.
It also displays information such as the volume level, the remote battery level, plus a stand timer, so you know exactly what is going on at any time.
If you have 8 calls that you know always work no matter what and you want them to be easily accessed, you can set these up within 2 different favourites screens.
To make your hunts a bit more interesting to your prey, the GC500 is also compatible with ICOtec electronic decoys. If you decide to get one, you can use the GC500 remote to activate it, and control turning it on and off during a stage.
One of the big selling points for this caller is that the remote is meant to have a 300 yard range, plus not needing direct line of sight.
Although it's unlikely you are going to shoot from that far normally, knowing you can get up to this range, means it's going to be able to give you plenty of distance between you and your caller no matter the situation.
If for some reason you are needing to push the limits of the remote range, both the unit and the remote control come with an antenna.
For most situations though, I’ve found that there’s basically no need to even pull the antenna up on the remote as it has usually worked perfectly.
For some extra convenience and to make sure you don’t accidentally misplace the remote while using the caller, the remote can be attached to the unit for that extra little bit of portability.
A tip though, when you do go to store the remote, make sure to put it back on the caller flat side first or you might accidentally break the belt clip which would be a pain.
Programming Calls On The GC500
What makes the GEN2 GC500 better than the GC300 / GC320 models, is that is it is a programmable e-caller!
When you receive it, the GC500 comes with 200 preloaded calls already set up on a standard size SD media card so you can put it to work straight away.
The limit of 200 calls is due to the functionality of the remote, so there is no limit of the file size or time length. If you therefore have lots of longer call sequences, you can load these up as single calls and use an SD card up to 8GB in size to store them all.
The other great thing is that you can set up multiple SD cards with different calls, which you can then swap around. Gives you lots of flexibility for different hunting scenarios and making sure you have the right sounds for the job at hand.
You can add your own calls to the SD card (as long as they are formatted as .mp3 or .wav) and they will be picked up by the remote and play with on the GC500.
You will also find that there are a whole range of different free calls available on the ICOtec website. This will allow you to come up with a heap of call sequences that are perfect for whatever you plan on hunting.
ICOtec claims that its easy to program new sounds. For those who are not tech savvy, you might find it a bit of a hassle to add extra calls or to swap new ones in and out of the provided SD card.
You have to download them, then rename them, plus make sure you have three numbers in front. Some might find that this is way too much for a caller and want it to be simpler, however it is a relatively standard way of doing things.
Once you do it the first time however and figure it out, it will be heaps easier to program in the future.
MFK Sound Library
If you’ve been searching about ICOtec and MFK calls online, you might have seen that the ICOtec callers use to come with a range of MFK calls, however this is no longer the case.
The new GEN2 models comes with a range of calls, primary from ICOtec themselves, plus a few other providers, to give you a great selection to choose from.
Verdict On The ICOtec GEN2 GC500
For a programmable caller, the price of the GC500 is hard to beat. Although other electronic callers might offer a larger number of calls that can be programmed on the one SD card, you are often not going to need that many at a time.
With the ease of just swapping out an SD card, the limit of 200 calls is not going to be an issue for most hunters.
Combined with its small rugged construction, loud speaker with low power consumption, the GC500 is a great choice for beginner coyote hunters.
For those with more experience who are looking to try a different programmable caller, this choice will give you lots of features without blowing the budget.