-By Brandon Wikman
Deer calls have been used for years to coax whitetails into range. It’s a standard deer vocalization that’s been mimicked and reproduced by nearly every outdoor manufacturer in the industry today. From plastic to rubber, and squeeze to blow, deer calls come in all shapes and sizes and by tomorrow they’ll have a new design. As much as I love using the grunt tube, often times mature bucks seem to pick up on that old-familiar gurgle that’s been tossed at them hundreds of times. This fall, especially during this time period, try mixing your calling up a bit by using a variety of tricks that mature bucks aren’t accustomed to.
During the rut I use my grunt tube, snort-wheeze, can call, and rattle bag all at once. In fact, this past weekend I called the biggest buck of my life out of a cornfield. Unfortunately, he was on a hot doe trail and did not have any ambition to make the extra hundred yard jaunt to my stand. Either way, he showed interest, emotion and a sense of curiosity, which is a deadly combination to drag a whitetail into close bow range.
I’ve learned through many outdoor experts and writers how to call. A lot of it is personal preference and trial and error. I use a method slightly different than others, but fortunately enough, I’ve had much luck with my calling technique.
Instead of being like every other average Joe in the woods, I make a point to be different. Before I clobber a set of antlers together and cough out a bunch of grunts, I make sure there’s no deer already on their way. Secondly, I tip over the can call, which makes that sweet seductive estrous doe bleat. I follow that up by a few immature buck grunts. I cast each grunt in every direction to cover the entire area’s sound bubble. Now that I’ve established a role-play or mock situation of a young buck chasing a doe, I slide my finger down to the mature buck grunt. This sets the mood for a definite fight as soon as you snort-wheeze. After pausing for a few seconds to take one more look around for any deer, I slowly tickle the antlers until I am comfortable enough to really bang, pop and grind them together.
I only rattle for a minute and end the battle with a long tending grunt, which sounds almost like a moan. This concludes the scene and wraps up the battle. At this point my bow is in hand and binoculars at eye level.
A few points to remember about calling:
- A buck will circle downwind of your calling 9 times out of 10. Be sure to have the correct wind and terrain blocker for your setup so he can’t get downwind of you. Use a river, field edge, steep bank or tall fence line to steer him in the position anywhere but behind you.
- Never call to a deer that’s already on his way. Your position will be revealed to him as fast as you can say “dang-it”! The trick is to give him a direction, not your address.
- Be sure to use mature buck grunts for calling in big bucks and young buck grunts to pull in younger bucks. Otherwise, you’ll simply scare them away.
- Never overcall. Period! Have you ever heard deer yapping away every other minute of the day? Absolutely not, live in a deer’s hooves for a minute and then take your approach.
- Calling in whitetails isn’t a surefire method that’ll work everytime. In fact, you’ll probably find that it doesn’t work just as much as it will work. Be creative and unique with your calling to establish a different sound that the buck hasn’t already heard of from the neighboring hunters.
Calling has its positives and negatives just like everything else we try to use to attract whitetails. Whether it’s a scent lure, bait or a secret trick; hunting wouldn’t be a sport if you didn’t have challenges.