One trick that hunters use to lure in deer is to call to them. If you can mimic another deer and say the right thing to them, at the right time, it can be very effective. I am a big believer in never going to a deer stand without at least a grunt tube. In the same sense, I am also a little in disbelief every time I see a hunter on TV grunt and rattle in a huge buck like there is nothing to it. We all know it doesn’t usually happen like that unless you are fortunate enough to hunt some of the hot spots that the pros do, so don’t get frustrated if the deer don’t come running. Never the less, it can work and if nothing else it can tip the odds in your favor while trying to trick an old wary buck. Here are some of the best deer calls and deer calling tips.
1. Grunt When it Makes Sense
One rule that I follow is to not make any sounds at all if a buck is already heading my way. It sounds logical but believe me, I have seen guys start blowing on a grunt tube at a buck that is already walking towards them. Whether it is just a reaction to getting excited or they are afraid the buck might otherwise turn I am not sure, but I keep silent unless the deer goes off course. This brings me to the first of the best deer calls, the buck grunt tube. If you see a buck that isn’t heading your way or that is going to pass out of range, then a couple of calls on the grunt tube can certainly grab his attention and get him to come closer to investigate. This especially works best pre-rut and rut when the bucks are cruising and looking for any kind of action. A single buck by himself will almost always come in for a closer look. Be aware that a more mature buck will often keep his distance and circle around downwind of you to investigate with his nose first. If he wasn’t going to come within range anyway it is worth a shot and if you are doing everything with your scent that you can, there is still a chance. What I have never had luck with is grunting to a buck that is with a doe during this time of year. If you can’t lure the doe closer to you then you might as well forget it. I have never grunted a buck off a doe to come see what the noise was all about. He’ll go where she goes 9.9 times out of 10.
2. Shake, Rattle, and Roll
With rattling, I personally like using the synthetic or even real antlers but the rattling bags and other devices also work well and actually require less movement from the hunter. The key is to use them in the right situation. The peak rut or the “chasing” phase can be the best time to do some rattlin’. When bucks are chasing does and being extremely aggressive, mimicking two bucks squaring off can be exciting. Last year in Kansas during a mid November hunt, we filmed two huge bucks fighting over a doe. You can bet we were banging the horns together after witnessing that. It is worth mentioning though, that less is better. You certainly don’t want to overdo it or you will just scare the deer off. Even the two bucks we filmed were not that loud as far as antlers hitting together. It was more of a pushing match with an occasional rattling sound. At only 150 yards away it was still muffled and hard to hear over the wind. The whole thing only lasted 30 seconds, so less is better. I like doing a short rattling sequence and then not hitting them again for another 20 or 30 minutes. You can increase your aggressiveness a little if it is windy out, otherwise the sound will travel pretty far especially to a deer’s ears; it doesn’t take much.
3. Sounds Like a Goat but Effective
Another go to call is the doe estrous bleat. This used to be a little tricky to mimic until calls like The Can came out. I have actually had a doe walk past my stand making this estrous bleat the entire time, one bleat after the next. Before that, I had never heard this sound before and for a minute I thought the farmer’s goat had escaped. The Can sounds pretty darn close to the real deal. I like using this call with a doe decoy. I think the visual aid helps sell the call but I have heard proof that it works well even without a decoy. A friend of mine dropped a P&Y a few years ago after coming in to his Can call. This is another call to use during the right time, obviously being the rut. Any other time of the year, it can actually scare deer because they know it is not natural. Like with rattling, I like to hit an estrous bleat sequence for 30 seconds and then lay low for the next 20 minutes or so.
With any deer call, I think common sense and being in touch with what the deer are doing at that particular time is crucial. Less is definitely better and never call to deer once you have been busted, this only educates the deer in your area. Remember to always play the wind the best you can and to keep your movement to a minimum. No doubt that luring a deer into range by calling to them is one of the most exciting deer hunting scenarios you may ever experience, and I guarantee no matter how it ends up, good or bad you’ll never forget it.
Thanks for reading and happy calling!