Contributors to this thread:
Deer callingshare your experiences
Now that rut is past it's peek and deer season is for most hunters winding down, I would like to hear from people here that use and have used calling , rattling or both while hunting whitetail deer successfully on a regular basis. I'm talking about both blind calling and as well as but seeing bucks out of bow range you successfully called into range or at least got them to cover a considerable distance, but not commit What I would like to know #1-Is there REALLY a difference from one deer call VS another or is it as I suspect it matters not. #2-What calls do you use and when, what calls DON'T you use and when/why you don't, and #3-when do you rattle and when wouldn't you rattle. I have never experienced any success calling or rattling, on the contrary I have actually caused bucks who were going to pass by me out of bow range, to change direction and exit quickly with grunting at them, or they ignored my calls completely, but none ever responded with anything I'd call positive. So please help educate me on the finer points of calling and rattling whitetail deer.
Just yesterday I had a young buck bed 50 yards from me that I called in twice before this season. He did not even look at me when I called yesterday. I have had this happen before and believe they do get educated when we call too much. JMO.
I grunted in 3 nice bucks during the first week of November. All came to within 40 yards. One made it to 25 yds but never offered a shot. All were blind calls
As Habitat said, deer will become educated. Have called in several bucks over the past years with grunts and rattling. Both blind calling and with deer in sight. Also have had success with snort wheeze call on older bucks that would not come to other calling.
Had tons of reactions, both positive and negative, with rattling, grunts, bleats and snort-wheezes. Other than blind calling/rattling, which I do sparingly, I almost never call to a buck if he is looking at me, or in my direction. I try to wait until he is looking away or moving before I call to him. They are very good at pinpointing your location, so that helps to make them guess somewhat if they respond and come your direction. Also, if they are too far away to hear your mouth calls, I will rattle to get their attention, then try to lure them in with grunts or a snort-wheeze. IMO, less is more with calling and rattling. A snort-wheeze can be dynamite or can blow them out of the country.
Thanks for the replies so far. Will print out what I get here and try it out next year. I have some great sheds to rattle with and already have learned to snort-wheeze without a call.
Ha! I get lots of practice in the fall on the snort-wheeze, especially when it’s cold out. When my nose gets to running and I really need to blow it, I do a snort-wheeze into my handkerchief ;-)
I've had success with a lot of call manufacturers. That said, for bleats my favorites, in this order are: Woods Wise Cartridge (this was a tube with rectangular ends you slid the reeds in, one was a bleat, one a grunt) - which is not available any more, and mine is dead... sad; the can; the extinguisher (just tried this this year and it called in a 4point and the 9 I ended up shooting.).
For grunts the woods wise noted above, a buck roar from Primos, flextones version of the buck roar and the extinguisher. I've used other grunts and honestly, had success with some... my "like" of the calls above is more bout my confidence - I like the sound of them.
I will only grunt at deer I can see. For some reason I rarely have a deer commit and come in if I can see it and I bleat. But a grunt, that's worked a lot.
Blind calling Ill either just bleat - 2-4 bleats, each towards a different direction... or Ill bleat 1-2x, grunt 2-5x, bleat 1-2x, grunt 2-5x, bleat 1x (my wife said the woman should have the last word, tried this, and it resulted in her first deer... ever since I've always finished "combo" calls with the woman - bleat). If I do a combo, I point the call different directions.
I call to deer all the time. Blind calling and when I see them. I have had a lot of success with does and small bucks. Bigger bucks, not so much. Lot's of pressure where I hunt and they are just too educated to call to. I use my mouth and I have no confidence in a grunt tube although I have called them in using one before. I only called in one buck with rattling. I don't do it anymore. I think your set up is very important. If a deer can clearly see that nothing is in the area where you are calling from they will not come in. Ditches, bluffs, blow downs, humps etc. You have to block the view with your set up or just be in very thick cover.
I've had two clear instances where a grunt tube helped. I have a H.S. Chuck Adams Super Slam Quad Grunter, bought it twenty years ago.
About ten years ago I was watching a 9 point buck chasing several does in circles about 100 yards out, he was grunting and lip curling. I blew on my grunt tube, he split off from them and ran to me. Stopped ten yards in front of me looking around for the source of the grunt, he's on the wall now.
The second time I had a decent buck come under me but I didn't want to shoot him since he was missing a few tines. He had come through pretty quick, and I decided to mess with him as he was heading away. I grunted, he came right back and looked around for the source, hung out for a minute or two and then walked off. Would have been an easy shot.
I have a rattling bag but have never had any luck with that. I've blind grunted and rattled a lot, just for the heck of it in the middle of the day when things are slow but nothing has ever come of it. Just figure I might get a deer I can't see to show himself.
I've done both and have had success with both. Combos of grunts and bleats with an extinguisher have worked very well. With blind calling I dont call to much per sequence. Key is be patient after calling. I've had mature bucks come sneaking in and surprise me some 20 minutes after my last sequence on mission to my location. With by sight calling I have had them look in my direction and go back to bird dogging/searching for a doe only to have them show up under my tree some 15 to 20 minutes later from behind me. They are VERY good at finding the exact spot from the call.
when i jump deer and they trot away not knowing what the intruder was and they don't wind you, i wait 20 min or so and let out a soft doe contact call... 80% of the time they come back in like those little munchkins on the wizard of oz , looking for the doe . Almost acts as an assembly call after you've busted a flock of turkeys, worked twice so far this season. Also, grunt call, buck will come around to get your wind...contact call, not so much.
I've grunted deer to deer and they have come by. Usually downwind which is a problem. Try to set up where they can't get downwind of you if you are going to call.
I’ll be carrying my grunt tube until season is over in mid-January.
A couple years ago, first morning hunting in Iowa, midmorning a doe, with mature buck and smaller buck in tow walking in cut cornfield behind me 40 some yards away. Doe was hot with big buck close. At about 75 yds out, I snort wheezed (with my mouth) and the mature buck immediately looked my way. A few minutes later he was broadside at 25 yds, but a limb was in the way. He went back to the doe and breed her. It was my first time hunting Iowa and didn't realize how big he was until I looked at the "big ones" the farmer had killed. The buck was bigger than all of his. Darn.
A couple weeks ago hunting in Upstate NY, midmorning a 3 1/2 yr old buck was cruising in the thick stuff 50 some yards away. I used a grunt call and grunted a couple times. He immediately stopped and looked my way. He came in on a string stopping at 10 yds broadside (downwind). 2-3 seconds later he caught my skunk scent (cover scent) and bolted to 25 yds. I was told this buck is the boss of the woods and should have killed him. I said, one more year he would be real nice.
This weekend I was with my son in ND and we saw a smallish 8 about 200 yards away. I bleated and I don't think he heard it. I grunted and got his attention. I grunted again and he stared for a while, but turned to leave after a minute. I hit the horns and he came on a dead sprint, heading right for us. He got to 27 yards, but never offered a shot. Minutes later I rattled in a 140+ 10 point, but he hung up at 80 yards. I bleated him in and he also got to 27 yards, again offering no shot. I'm convinced that if I had brought the decoy out either or both would be dead. But... it was not to be. Fun times and it's always a blast to call in deer.
I've had my best calling luck with the estrus can. Seems less threatening and never had any visibly freak out and bolt--can't say the same for rattling. Grunt tube, don't think it matters what brand, is hit or miss for me, have had some come in looking for source, but other times its essentially ignored.
I called the first buck ever this November. I saw him walking away from me about 120 yards. I grunted a few times and he crossed a big creek and walked within 15 yards of my stand. He was a small 8. I have tried calling bucks with doe and failed a few times. I think they need to be loners to make calling easier? FM
Been calling since the early 80's. Works about 10-15% of the time. Most effective on deer I can see and far more effective on young bucks and does. Have to know when, where and what call to make.
My experience is very different than Bowriter's. I'd say calling has been effective on about 50% of bucks I can see when calling from the end of Oct to the beginning of Dec. Before and after that have not been as effective. After early Dec I've still had good luck with a grunt call and sometimes a bleat.
I've never had a lot of success grunting, so generally do little of it, but about a month ago I had a good buck on the other side of a corn field, 250 yards by my range finder. He was making a scrape 4:00 in the afternoon and I figured "What the heck". Grunted at him with my 20 odd year old grunt tube. He looked up and slowly started walking my way...I didn't know initially if he just wanted to come that way or it was because of my grunts. Because the corn was stunted due to extreme wetness I watched him come all the way. He was definitely looking for me. As he walked by at 25 yards I proceeded to hit him on the shoulder blade like an idiot.
I will definitely use a grunt tube more in the future.
Thanks to so many of you for your great informative and educational replies. I will print it all out and go over it and use it as opportunity allows. Thanks again, DJ/Art.
I’ve had good success using a Primos can call and a grunt call. I don’t know what percentage of success because I usually call blind but I’ve called bucks and does in. Last year I missed a nice 10 point that had obviously come into the calling. He would walk a little and stop and look around and then walk a little farther obviously looking for the doe. One time I called in three bucks almost simultaneously. That didn’t turn out so good as the dominant buck saw the smaller ones and chased them off. If you’re calling you need to limit your movement as the deer will be coming in searching for the source of the calls.
My comments strictly relate to midwestern whitetails on private property but i have had very good success with rattling (mostly blind) and various grunts (when i buck is visible and within ear shot). To me, rattling success depends highly on the buck to doe ratio along with the setup. I have several stands that are perfect for blind calling as it is nearly impossible for bucks to get down wind from me without offering a shot oppurtunity. I have blind rattled in 3 of my largest bucks including my biggest buck but almost every mature buck i have rattled in will try to come down wind of the location i'm calling.
I had one of my best hunts this fall (Nov 4th) with my wife and she was able to get her first buck after bowhunting for 5 years. This was probably one of the oldest bucks on our farm (6+) and the most intense calling situation i've ever had. My wife and i were in a double set on a ridge when the buck came cruising upwind but below the ridge. He didn't offer a shot when he initially passed but when i grunted at him (he was 40 yards out) he turned around, came to 30 yards (no shot) up the hill and stopped. He clearly came up the hill to try to visualize the buck making the sound; when he didn't see another buck he returned in the direction he was headed. Knowing he was an old buck i tried a snort wheeze and he did the exact same thing as he did with the grunt. My wife drew twice on him but he did not present a shot and headed back in the direction he was headed. I let him get out to 80-100 yards and i did a light, 10 second or less rattle sequence. This time he came in but rather than come up the hill to inspect, he started headed back in the direction he came from (i assume to circle down wind). I was able to stop him and my wife made a perfect shot at 24 yards. It was an incredible hunt and i'm not sure we would have the deer on the ground if either of us were hunting alone.
You dont know unless you try but i like to rattle because the sound carries much further than vocalizations will and as long as you have a plan for your down wind side, you may be successful.
bb4x4, thanks for sharing your knowledge with me, and congratulations to you and your wife on taking a absolute brute of a 10 point. You are a truly lucky man getting to share such a incredible experience with your best friend.
Same as a lot of others. Have had good luck with both. Last year I had a 150inch 8 come by me tailing a doe. Missed him at 5 yards when my arrow deflected off a limb. He trotted down the trail but not super spooked. So after he went out of sight I hit the horns. 5 min later he was a dead deer.. This year I had 4 bucks chasing a doe in a bottom one of wich was an old 7 i was after. I got out of my stand and started towards them grunting with each step as it was super crunchy and figured they would just assume I was another buck. Sure enough 10 min. into the the stalk I hear a deer coming my way. At 10 yards a good buck wich I thought was the 7 pops over a lil rise and I stick him. Ended up being the wrong deer but was a solid 8. Fun times. May not be for everyone but I love calling to all animals so I really enjoy it.
calling in deer with a mouth call or using rattling and having success might also depend on the ratio of bucks to does. If there are a lot of does vs the number of buck, like 10-20:1 there might not be the incentive for a buck to come to calls or the sounds of rattling. I have had my best luck calling and rattling in late Oct and very early Nov, prior to breeding time when the bucks are starting to roam looking for an early hot doe. I have had some success with most buck grunt calls. I killed a good mature buck in Kansas, by snort wheezing after I got his attention with a grunt call. Not all bucks are fighters, and I might expect, most are just lovers. Ratting in bucks seemed to have started in Texas where a lot of the ranches maintained a buck to doe ratio of 1:2. Like some others above, I believe using calls while hunting will increase your success. my best, Paul
I've only had one positive experience with calling. Well two, if you count my buddy calling in a fawn with one of those silly Primos 'Can' calls. I did rattle in a buck in Kansas one year. But generally, I have no reaction either way, positive or negative. The buck will stop and look in my direction, then continues in whatever direction he was headed. Admittedly, I call very little to deer.
Ducks? Look out. Phil Robertson would put his calls away if he was in my blind. Geese - not so much. My kid has confiscated all of my goose calls - he said I've mastered the gander repellent call.
I have had mixed results. Have used the can and about every grunt tube concoction known to man. I have called in younger bucks (3 yr old and under) as well as does. No luck on older bucks. Had one of our shooters on a ridge above me the last day trashing one of my trees. I grunted at him - no reaction. Snort weezed at him - no reaction. Played a good rendition of the star bangled banner on the grunt tube - no reaction. I am definitely not a candidate to be a grunt tube pro staffer.
I’ve spent a lot of time hunting whitetails and I’ve called in many deer but very warily a mature buck. When I do call in a mature buck he does not come within range or comes in down wind.
After probably hundreds of times I did have one mature buck come within range (30 yards) but I did not get a shot.
I have called and many small bucks and does. Grunting is better rattling sometimes works
Have tried several times over the past fifty plus years, but the only buck I managed to call in was by accident. Back in the days when I was using a Scary Old Baker (SOB), I was climbing a white oak on a little ridge, trying to do so quietly by making sure I didn't scrape against the bark as I mover the hand climber each time, and doing the same when repositioning the platform. I didn't trust the Baker very far, so I "set" the bar into the bark with the softest thud I could manage each time. I had reached about twelve feet with the platform when I heard something coming down the ridge on the same trail I was on.
A nice eight point came loping along in a stiff-legged gait, with the mane hair standing and blood in his eye, obviously intending to have a territorial dispute with some trespasser who was working over a tree on his turf.
He ran directly below me and on for another thirty feet or so then came to halt and stood there breathing heavily and scanning the surroundings for maybe a minute before walking on down the ridge and out of sight while I watched from my perch halfway up the tree he had just passed, with my bow still on the ground.
I do some of my best work by accident, but I never did see that buck again.
Lot of factors in calling and rattling. Probably #1 is pressure. if you are hunting pressured deer that have had every Yahoo calling at them, they get call shy real quick. Overall population is a factor, density of cover, (the thicker it is, the better it works,), buck/doe ratio if you are calling a buck, age of buck, time of year and probably, most importantly, do you know what you are doing or just tooting cause you saw it on TV. Will P once told me, his success rate was about the same as mine, 10-15% and that seems to be about average, depending on the time of year. Some deer, sometimes respond positively, some go the other way. Most ignore you. That also seems to be about normal. In areas where visibility is good, much of the communication is visual. In spring, when fawning, does are easily called with fawn distress call. Young bucks will respond well in early rut phase. Mature bucks are a different story. I have not kept records but I feel sure I have had more success with light, tine-tickling when bucks are still in bachelor groups than with any other audible calling method. I seldom, if ever, cold call. Watching my yard deer taught me a lot about deer vocalization. I lost my Tru-Talker call this year and the call I got to replace it will not make the sound I want. Can't find one that will. Guess I am going to have to learn to bucket rattle. Put one pound of corn in a metal bucket and shake it. l saw that work for a guy on television. :)
Don Vathone-Your results are just about average. I have never met anyone who had more than about a 20% success rate over any length of time. I have know a lot of the "calling experts", worked for one of the original pioneers of the business. If they told the truth, they would say just about what you said. When they started inventing vocal sounds, just to sell calls, then "creatively editing" television footage, the call business went in the crapper. One call, invented back in the 80's, was a 96% voice match for live deer. Nothing else has even come close. But, the deer don't care. As it is with elk or turkeys, the worst call I ever heard, I saw the animal make it. But...also one factor continues to hold true. Deer don't shout, they whisper. In deer calling, less is better.
There are so many variables to say what works and what doesn't. I have called or rattled in lots of deer. My largest deer was rattled in early Oct. He was with 2 other bucks and just slowly feeding along. I grunted at them multiple times and they would look my way but just wouldn't commit. They all turned on a trail that would take them away from me. The big one was the last in line. I very lightly tickled my antlers together to imitate a couple bucks just sizing each other up. He stared in my direction looking for the other deer for a minute or so and then continued following the 2 other deer. I did the tickle antlers again and he turned and started my way. He did circle but luckily with it being early season it was still very warm and I think my scent was rising and he never smelled me. He gave me a 19 yard shot and scored 194. Now if I had rattled like 2 bucks fighting I'm sure I would have blown those deer to the next county. Another one I grunted in was with a few does. I could see him reacting to my calls but he didn't want to leave the does. Finally after 100 to 150 grunts he headed my way. He just had to see what was doing all that grunting. He gave me a 15 yard shot and scored 172. A lot of it I believe depends on the mood the deer is in. One day you can grunt twice and it comes running and the next day the same deer ignores everything. All I know is I will have my calls and horns with me from opening day til the last day.
There is something else you don't often read in magazines. Truthful comments such as the ones on this thread. It is hard to sell a truthful article about calling because the call manus would get mad. There is a highly touted call being promoted right now. A friend of mine sent me one with the instructional tape. The note he sent with it simply said, "Thought you could use a good laugh." he was right. See, there is no absolute when it comes to deer. What works for one guy, in one area, may run every deer out of the county, 30-miles away. I well remember when Dr. Marchinton identified the 13-vocal sounds a deer makes. Now how many do they claim they make? When a famous Texas deer hunter was claiming you could only rattle in bucks during the chase phase of the rut, I killed the #21, bow killed buck in AL. I sparred him and six other bucks in...on opening day in 90-degree heat and on a full moon. Much the same as Sean D's experience. Both calling and antler engagement are like painting a picture. The more detail you can add, the better the picture. But in both, two constants seem to remain-location and know when to shut up. When is the last time you saw a famous hunter on television explain how important it is to shut up and not use the call or rattling device that sponsors his show? Yet, get any "serious" call manu alone and he will tell you just how important that is. Will Primos is an honest one, Knight and Hale were stand up guys and Sam Collora, (Mrs. Doe Pee), probably knew as much about deer calling as anyone I ever met. Most of the guys in the business today, I never met. For me, calling was something I did if nothing else was working-it was a last resort. Still is. And this I know. There is not one product of any kind that you can buy that will work all the time on all deer. There is no magic wand or potion.
I've had good results with calling in deer. I've rattled 3 in and shot them all, grunted in many others and can called in both whitetails and sitka blacktails on several occassions. I have also used a bleat call to lure in mule deer as well as sitka blacktails. I've had it work on both once I learned to be persistent. I watched my friend bleat with his mouth last fall, very loud and obnoxious, but it worked and he pulled a tremendous sitka blacktail off of a hot doe and it came right to him. My favorite rattling situation was when I rattled in a buck with sheds I found earlier that morning, that was pretty cool. If I am hunting deer, I always have a grunt call or can call in my pocket, and depending on the time of year for sure rattling horns, might as well tip the scales in my favor.
(I call to deer all the time. Blind calling and when I see them. I have had a lot of success with does and small bucks. Bigger bucks, not so much. Lot's of pressure where I hunt and they are just too educated to call to.) - Well I did not take my on advice this evening and I tried to grunt at a mature buck that may have come close enough for a shot if I had not grunted to him. On a soft grunt and he locked up for over an hour. Even after dark he still just stayed on full alert. Eventually I just ran him off by shinning my flash light toward him. He only ran a short distance and I'm certain that he just watched me get down from the tree and exit. I will never be able to hunt him from that tree again.
I do zero blind calling but will grunt and snort wheeze about every other year if I'm confident a shooter is taken himself further out of range with little chance of coming back
LOL- Genesis, I lost my favorite call and bought a replacement I don't like. It came with a snort wheeze thingie on it and I took a hammer and fixed it. Wish I could find one of the old Tru-Talkers. I could make that sucker sing. All the calls I could find today don't allow you to make the most effective sound-the pleading, skanky doe bleat. (Hey, I invented that name). Picture a doe in a mini skirt, see through blouse and no bra with eye shadow and mascara in layers. Now, make that sound with a deer call. Can't be done with today's high-tech bugles.
Here in iowa I rattle in late October all the way through the rut. Don't use a grunt tube any more, I just snort wheeze with my mouth and it has worked awesome for me here.
some seasons back was the first time i heard a buck doing some click click noise, he was walking, licking branches and stuff, ended up gettin a nice heart shot...next season I see a small tree top shaking from my stand, i figure a buck is beating on that bush so i make that click click noise and see these large deer legs coming in... he was po'd hair back, fight mode... well he caught me drawing on him and busted me, man that was a cool sequence of events though!
Greatest of thanks, was not expecting this level of response. I have personally had ZERO success calling in deer and I will give my opinion why. I have never had the privilege of hunting a tract of private land bigger than 300 acres and never having more than 100 acres of what would be considered non-crop deer habitat and because of that I feel the deer I have hunted while may have not been as heavily pressured as public, they were pressured none the less as all of the farms around me were hunted, and more often than not hunted hard. Now factor in a high doe to buck ratio and I feel the conditions for me to successfully call or rattle in a buck just are not that favorable. I strongly believe people who regularly call in large dominate bucks are likely hunting property where the bucks are lightly if not very lightly pressured and are rarely educated by hunters calling to them and have a good buck to doe ratio that forces bucks to compete more for does than on land I have ever hunted. These to factors combine to make bucks more receptive to calling and rattling. Could be wrong, but that is what I suspect. I believe this because I have scared away far more bucks by grunting than anything else. Every single buck I have ever called at from basket racks to monsters either paused, looked my why and then continued leaving, ignored me, or expedited his departure. A little off topic, but in it lends some credibility to my thoughts. I have been elk hunting four times and EVERY time on every trip I successfully called in bull elk, quite often I might add. Also I NEVER successfully called in the same bull twice even though I tried on every trip. I feel my success was due almost entirely to I was on a limited entry hunt each time and was with near 100% certainty the first person to have called to these bulls since last elk season. I was amazed how quickly the bulls became call shy. I learned my lesson after my first trip and called rarely and only when needed. Again thanks for all the great responses.
Not to hijack the thread but can someone please tell me how just calling to a deer educates it what ever that means. I hear the same thing about spring turkey that just calling to them will educate them but i've never seen it happen .
I could write volumes on this subject. I bought my first grunt call in 1985 and it sounded like a ruptured duck. Didn't like it, bought a Haydel and with a little fine tuning to make it sound like the bucks I heard in the woods, called in many a buck with that thing. Soft grunts are the key. Only time I ever blew it without my hand wrapped around the end of the tube was on a B&C buck with 4 does 400 yds off on a still morning. He came all that way after only 4 grunts and was in bow range, and stopped the only place I couldn't get a shot.
My four biggest bucks were all rattled or grunted in. I typically rattle pretty aggressive, but rarely rattle in the early season. I rattle during the stages of the rut from pre to post, and get after it. But the key is not just banging them together, but lock them up and grind them. Watch a video of a buck fight and listen to the rythem of the sounds. It made all the difference in my response rate when I started doing that. Rattle in far more in the 80's and 90's than I do now, but it still works.
I won't leave the house without a good grunt call that sounds like a soft, deep throated pig. Doesn't work everytime but often enough.
Still have not found a bleat call I really like, but some work OK. Watched a 130" buck following a doe one morning, and another hunter west of them was blowing his grunt call like a trombone. The buck wouldn't even look. I pulled a fawn call out and called to the doe. She brought him right in, then I missed him. But it worked.
Will Primos told me to never call to a buck looking your way. Some of the best advice I ever got. And 99% of the time they will go downwind or attempt to get downwind of you.
I used to use a can call- I called in plenty of deer with it. However, I found that I can make as good or better bleats with my mouth, so I no longer carry the can. I can make my bleats sound pretty magoo, or I can make them sound whiny and pleading. Either or both work sometimes, but none work all the time!
I only use a can call and have had a lot of success with them. Once I learned the "secret" to using them. Which is NOT calling to a deer that is facing you or coming to you. Patience is the key. I do blind call if I'm not seeing deer but once I see a deer I pay careful attention to it's reaction to my calling. Once I see a reaction I watch the head (since the body will follow the head) as long as it's pointed in my direction I don't call. If it turns it's head or starts in another direction I call till I see it react. Sometimes I've called as many as 100 times or as little as 2 or 3 times. Again it requires patience BUT THEY WORK!!!! I won't hunt without one they work that well for me.I don't even own a grunt call and after watching deer run away that should have come in I would NEVER consider using one again. Here's a couple I have killed using "the can"
John,yeah....I have a couple of tru talkers and it's the only grunt tube I really believe in.I just snort wheeze with my mouth so less junk ram in the cargo pockets ha
I like to call and have called in a whole bunch of mature whitetails and muleys with all sorts of them. Real antlers work best for rattling. I carry three different grunt calls but sometimes a series of belches works best.
As far as bleats, I only use two anymore- the Kmeer Deer bite call and the can. I know guys who are great with their voices. I am not good for deer, only elk.
As with calling elk and turkeys, so much depends on the setup and the mood of the buck. IMO, calling from ground level works 10x better than from a tree. Calling from ground level with some sort of decoy is even more effective. Also, the emotion and inflection used in the calling sequence is as important as the call itself.
How to educate deer to calling.
First you blind call in an area that deer will not normally expect other deer to be. Sort of like fishing where the fish are not.
Calling to a deer that can clearly see that no other deer is there. Calling when the deer is looking at you falls into this category.
Calling to a deer with a technique that is clearly out of context. Example a buck roar around an acorn tree in early season. Or an all out brawl antler rattling when bucks are in bachelor groups sparring.
Calling too much, which can alert a deer to something not being normal.
Calling with the latest and greatest grunt calls that clearly don't sound like a deer at all but more like a dying duck.
Calling and moving around in your stand while calling. Remember the deer will most likely turn to look at the source of the sound and if your moving around like the T.V. hunting stars you will most likely get busted. Most of this footage is edited in.
Calling on a calm no wind day where there is no chance of a deer having to guess if another deer is in the area.
Calling down wind where you expect to see deer coming from which is a wrong set up to begin with and will alert the deer with your smell. Try to set up where it is difficult for a deer to circle.
I'm sure there are many more that I have been guilty of and just haven't picked up on yet but here are a few.
My calling experience....
I call and call a lot.....any time....any where...with anything. I blind call and sight call. I may can( primos), grunt (any, but I don't use one too deep, I actually burp grunted one 10 pt in), rattle (plastic block is always in my pocket) and snort wheeze all in the same session! I rattle and wheeze the least but tend to tip the can and grunt every 10 to 15 minutes during a blind call session. Sight calling is an experiment by reaction. This year a buck was going by at 60 yds. He stopped, nose on the ground. At the first can his head popped up listening. His head went back down and I canned again. This time his head came up looking in my direction. Not seeing the deer his head went back down again. At the third can he just turned right to me and started coming! I shot him as he turned broadside at about 15 yds.
Painting the picture is right on. This is the picture that I thought of. Take a bar room, bunch of guys around the pool table, chests out, a lot of posturing, but not much happens. Then, in walks one of the guy's babes and someone makes a move on her....all hell breaks loose! So, sometimes when you grunt or rattle, another buck may not feel like wrestling with the boys. Now, tip the can and that changes attitudes real quick! Those bucks are now picturing Bowriter's doe in the mini skirt and the big buck may want to come and take her. Also, deer are just plain curious.
I have called bucks by rattling in early October in PA and NJ back when there were a ton of deer and the bucks were sparring setting the pecking order. I canned in does then as well. Calling also worked in the winter in New Jersey, and worked in the rut in Ohio and Massachusetts.
While I don't strictly focus on mature bucks, I have been lucky to shoot a 155" 11 pt, 142" 10 pt, 125' 10 pt and others of varying sizes as well as does while calling. All on public or publicly accessible land.
In bowhunting we are basically covering an area of 30 yrds around us. Now, how far can a deer hear our calls? 100 yds? 200 yds? way more? I hunt thinking that many deer go walking by me without even me even knowing. By calling, I feel that I have a chance to call them into my little circle in the woods. I do not use bait, rarely use scent and I use a climbing tree stand.
I really cannot recall spooking a deer with the calls. However, I have spooked plenty. The main problem is that the deer is coming in looking for the source of the call. They can easily pin point the sound and usually come straight to it, so it is very easy to get busted. But, it is well worth the risk... it won't work all the time, but often enough for me!