-By Rich Miller
Last weekend I worked a promotional event in Perry, Georgia. While I was demonstrating the Pack Rack, a hot new call from Knight&Hale, I kept getting asked some of the same questions I seem to get ask at every show I work.
They all want to know if rattling and grunting works. My answer to that is: most definitely. Is it going to work every time that you rattle or you blow on your grunt call? No. But deer do react to grunting and rattling more times than not.
For me, there are a lot of advantages to using these calls rather than just sitting in a tree and doing nothing. With that being said, different times of the hunting season require different types of calling.
Early season requires softer grunts with just a tickling of the horns to mimic sparring bucks instead of an all out fight. During the early season you are trying to attract deer more out of curiosity instead of aggressiveness. When it gets later into October and November I get a lot more aggressive with my rattling and my grunt calls become louder. Like I said, this doesn’t work every time but it does work on a consistent basis for me. Confidence in a call and stand location has always seemed to equal success.
The other question I always get asked at shows is what is the best way to get on bucks in the early bow season? Over the years I have found that the most consistent places for me to harvest bucks in the early season is to hunt the food sources- whether it is a food plot, acorns, persimmons, or muscadines.
The thing I like about the early season is that it is the best time to pattern a buck. It seems like they are more predictable now than they are any other time of the year. The tough part is finding where they are hanging out without spooking them. Bucks seem to hang out in a very small area and don’t venture too far away if they have the food and water that they need.
If you can locate one buck then there are usually several more, because the bucks will stick together in bachelor groups this time of year. My Game Spy game cameras are the tools that help me the most when I am scouting. I can see which fields the deer are using and what time they are there. I can also determine where the deer are entering and leaving the field so I get my stand in a spot where the deer will be. The cameras also show me the size of the bucks that are using these areas, and that leads back to the confidence factor.
When I know that I have my stand in a location that has been getting a lot of use I am more willing to stay put and wait these deer out. The cameras allow me to scout without spooking the deer. Of course it is still hunting and the deer don’t always follow the plan that I have laid out for them, but these methods do allow me to be a little better prepared when the time rolls around to ambush these wily critters on their home turf.